Pullman will get a taste of Seattle hip-hop Thursday night on The Posses off Broadway (TPOB) tour’s first stop.
Rap artists under independent labels have come together to perform around Washington for two weeks in February. The tour is a showcase of the emerging artists’ talents and a way to introduce fans to new music as some prepare to release albums later this year.
Dyme Def, Eighty4 Fly, Royce the Choice, J. Pinder and GMK the Great will be collaborating with DJ Vega the Virgo during the concert scheduled to start at 8 p.m. at the BellTower.
Royce the choice
Royce Thomas—Royce the Choice—said he creates lifestyle music; everyday raps people can relate to, as opposed to mainstream rap about such topics as cars and money. He compared his music to Coca-Cola.
“Coca-Cola as a brand has all these different varieties of sodas, water and everything else,” he said. “But it’s still under the same company, under the same body. That’s how I think I am. There’s nothing that I can’t do as far as rapping goes, but I still try to be Royce in that.”
Thomas said he moved to Los Angeles at age 18 to pursue a career in fashion design. Though he had always been involved in music — rapping was the last thing on his mind.
But after fashion and acting interests didn’t play out, Thomas said he began managing hip-hop artists.
“Seeing that I had a real shot at it, I went for it,” he said. “I started taking music a little more serious … and the further I got into it, I saw that I was able to do something major and make money off of it. Now I love it. It’s not work anymore.”
Currently, the fad is for rappers to exaggerate reality, Thomas said. But his ultimate message is for people to realize they are cool, even if their lives are not lavish.
“You are as corny as you see yourself,” Thomas said. “There’s nothing really extravagant that I can say about my life. But you find (noteworthy) things about yourself and you point them out so that no one will forget.”
Justin Pinder, known as J. Pinder onstage, said he does his best writing while driving or doing the dishes. Pinder, who described his music as soulful and traditional hip-hop, said sometimes he is even able to write full songs in his head before recording them.
"My writing and the things that I talk about in my music are more meaningful,” he said. “If I was writing pointless things it would be more difficult to remember. If you write something that you’re emotional about or attached to then it’s much easier to remember the story.”
Pinder said he is an emotional musician so his mood comes across easily in his lyrics. His music has been varied from the darker points of his life to the happier times.
Having sung for his church choir, Pinder said he realized early on that he wanted to make a career out of music. However, coming from a low-income upbringing, he said he didn’t see too many other options.
Pinder said if he could do his life over again he would be a doctor or a lawyer.
“I try to encourage people a lot in my music,” he said. “I feel like that’s one of the things people didn’t tell me growing up. Even now people are dream killers. They are quick to tell you to be realistic and shoot for the ground and not for the sky. I don’t believe in that.”
Deavon Taylor, aka Eighty4 Fly, said most people don’t know that though he exclusively makes hip-hop music, he listens to more alternative rock. Taylor said his favorite bands include The Frey, Coldplay and Empire the Sun.
Still, he grew up listening to rap in a family of musicians. But Taylor said his main interest is in producing, so his main inspiration for rapping came from producers like Jay Z and Dr. Dre.
“A bunch of my cousins and my older brother used to do music so as a kid I would be around them,” he said. “(Rapping) just looked like a cool thing to do. Before you know it, you’re kind of good.”
Taylor described his music as sounding new age, trendy and commercial. But with a new mix tape called “#Fly World” in the works, he said he is changing his style to include more honest lyrics.
Having performed at a WSU fraternity last year, Taylor said being in Pullman was a crazy experience.
“(Pullman fans) really almost treat you as if you are a celebrity,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of awkward because in Seattle people get used to seeing your face so much that it’s almost a tough crowd. Out there it was nothing but love.”