Yes, Macklemore is from the Northwest. But check out these talented artists from Portland, where the hip-hop scene is making noise after cops shut down a number of local shows.
Gregory Poe, aka Illmaculate, won the Scribble Jam battle rap competition in 2004, and has consistently been a heavy-hitter in the Pacific Northwest hip-hop scene ever since. He’s described his March 2014 album Clay Pigeons, which pairs soul-bearing lyrics with blunted party beats, as a “momentum builder.”
Essential track: “Woodstock”
Vinnie Dewayne moved from Portland Chicago for college but never stopped repping his home neighborhood, St. Johns. His 2012 mixtape Castaway got people talking about his expertise, and he’s got a new mixtape, St. Johns Scholar, in the works.
Essential track: “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”
3. Mic Capes
Heady and passionate emcee Mic Capes, whose real name Michael Caples, is also from Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood. His 2012 debut Rise & Grind was strong and soulful — do yourself a favor and listen to “Wake Up” immediately — and he’s been teasing his sophomore project Concrete Dreams with some loose bangers.
Essential track: “Stokely Barmichael”
4. Mikey Vegaz
Mikey Vegaz, born Eddie Bynum, Jr., has gotten attention from places like XXL andThe Source since his freshman album Fli Rock was released in 2007. Since, the self-proclaimed “Prince of the City” has just gotten better — check out his 2013 tape,Gold Kilos N Tha Trap.
Essential track: “Gods Be Gods”
5. Glenn Waco
Born Loren Ware, Glenn Waco flow that’s laid-back but full of intention. His November 2013 mixtape NorthBound mixes stories about growing up amidst violence in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood with smooth, lighter fare. Try lusty “Crush” or the nostalgic “Gutterball.”