Review Revue: High Performance – All Things Considered

It’s worth reminding ourselves that the recent heady days are by no means the first wave of Seattle hip-hop, or even the first time Seattle hip-hop has made it big on the national scene. Of course we all know Sir Mix-a-Lot, but it’s not like he just appeared out of nowhere. There were other artists working here in the ’80s and ’90s, and probably continuously up to the relatively recent explosion. A name that hadn’t been familiar until I checked out this record, but that seems to have been a big part of those early days, is Nastymix Records, Seattle’s first rap label. The label released music by Sir Mix-a-Lot as well as lesser known artists such as America’s Most Wanted and High Performance, before folding in 1992 upon Mix’s departure for Def American. (Thanks Rick Rubin!) The comments here provide a nice glimpse into the Northwest’s first incarnation as a “Rap Mecca” – as well as a handy guide on how to refer to Tacoma for cool people.

“Thanks to Nastymix and rappers like these, the Northwest has been transformed into a Rap Mecca. If the production was more hot, this would make H on its own merits. The lyrics are sharp and the grooves are funky enough. It’s hard to choose favorite cuts here – they’re all solid. No laughable ballads, no silly novelty tunes. The video behind the first single (2.3) was stolen by Ice-T, and the intro for 1.2 is classic. These Tacoma youngsters deserve H. P.S. And no red dot!”

“‘The Hill’ is very righteous. They’re talking about your neighborhood – not LA.”

“Very fine! Yeah Tacoma!”

“T-town. (rhymes with Sea-town: don’t let your slang down)”

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