Updated: Jun 9, 2021
By DJ Phresh Pharaoh
A budding scene littered every weekend with underground ragers, hall parties, and “official” club events. The events themselves hosted by local models and entertainers whose popularity rises with each comedic clip, short film, and photoshoot they participate in.
A culture powered by authentic artists who have toured the nation, been grammy nominated, invited to SXSW, and played venues as big as Key Arena or the Tacoma Dome. Backed by experienced DJ’s who’s mixes are reaching hundreds of thousands of organic plays and have attracted the attention of radio stations, AND held down the stage with celebs. Pushed by a crop of promoters with the ability to book big names such as Gucci Mane, Chris Brown, Migos, and 2 Chainz.
All of this being supplemented by successful local entrepreneurs who run the clothing labels, studios, galleries, and production houses that make everything look so damn good. Seattle? Tacoma? How about both? Washington is winning right now.
The growing energy of the entertainment scene has engulfed the entirety of a region from Everett to the Renton Highlands to and all the way to Lakewood. It's too soon to collectively define the multiple forces that have been growing and moving through Washington for the past 4 years. However, that day will be here soon.
Often overlooked, or falsely labeled as a “copy-cat culture”, The Seattle and Tacoma scenes seem poised to bring the Pacific Northwest to new heights. In fact, brands like Sony, Zaytoven, Beluga Heights, REVOLT, Atlantic Records, and Amazon are already scouting the area for talent and creating opportunities.
If names like:
Gift Of Gab + Grimes
Tre Da Don
Keyshawn The King
Kodac The Great
Repsect My Region
DJ Phresh Pharaoh
and Shawn Parker don’t ring a bell, then you are officially out of the loop. But have no fear. These people are doing numbers, and they’re DAMN GOOD, so you’ll be seeing them soon.
You’ve probably never been to Seattle or Tacoma, You have no idea about America's best kept secret.
Let me explain....
The events are getting bigger, the parties are more LIT.
As a DJ and promoter who has built a solid career without ever holding a residency, I feel I have unique perspective on this. I’ve played events from Everett all the way down to Lakewood (as far south as Portland if we want to get technical), and haven’t missed a stop along the way. I won’t rank each city in this post, I’m saving that ammo for later, but I can safely say Seattle/Tacoma is the most lit environment for up and coming Hip-Hop events in the country.
Active hall parties boasting crowds into the 4 and 500’s are liable to occur on any given weekend. The stories and footage from these events will leave you wondering if you had accidently been watching the Worldstar Snapchat feed instead of your own. Curious? Check out #WeLitFam/The litigation room, Elite Projects, FYE The Mobb, and several more.
While we are pulling from my experience let’s talk about the house parties, often dubbed “trap-house parties”, that Washington residents hosts on the low. Now I’m not here to debate or promote any of the illegal activities that may or may not be a part of this aspect of the scene (winky face), I’m only here to validate the thrill of partying on the edge. The edge of reasonability and responsibility, even the edge of a cliff (there are some really dope locations for house parties).
Location, theme, and the uncertainty of what will happen next are trademarks of the underground Washington house party scene.
That same person you see shit talking house parties Sunday morning, was probably at one having the time of their life the night before. As Young Jeezy would say, they’re only mad now because they “lost their mind and their cell phone in the same damn night”.
As for clubs and major events, look no further than the Tacoma Dome, Nuemos, Showbox, White River Amphitheatre, Amber Lounge, The Crocodile, Stage, and Alma Mater. Even concerts put on by local dispensaries are undeniably good; Big ups to Platinum Reign, Sky Movement, The Gallery and 425 Trees.
Who can complain about acts like 2 Chainz, the Yin-Yang Twins, or the Migos? Name the last concert where you saw Lil Uzi, Gucci Mane, Lil Dickey, and Rich Homie Quan all take the same stage, after dope sets by local artists...I’ll wait.
PNW’s mainstream fishing grounds
It’s a well known fact that the PNW has an affinity for weird Indie music, ask anyone. And for the most part we are ok with that. However our affinity for the strange has also been a big factor as to why artist from the area don’t see more widespread success outside of the PNW.
Seattle and Tacoma have finally managed to nurture a culture that may change that once and for all. Mainstream music is celebrated and sought after in Tacoma and Seattle. And not in the “ride the wave” kind of way, either. Originality is still an essential building block to success as an artist in the PNW, but so is taking into account the current music that fans are listening to.
Artists in WASHINGTON have managed to stay true to form for the PNW while being influenced by the trends that are sweeping the nation. The result are artist like Lil Mosey, Will Jordan, K Shiday, 200paid, and Macntaj. One of these artists is Grammy nominated, others are boasting millions of streams online, but it’s likely that as a mainstream American you may not have even heard of them yet.
Let’s face it, we have a bias problem in America. Inherently, we believe all roads to relevancy must go through a big city or a major label, 2021 is the year to open our eyes and ears to all of what the PNW has to offer.
Models and bottles, baby
The scene for models in Washington is big and bold. There is a litany of what many would consider IG models, and also a concentration of modeling teams and troupes in the area. Rafael Inc, Hotgirlsquadd, Milion Angel's are great examples of brands that embraces the local community while promoting true (paid) success as a model.
Its not at all what you think. They take models with potential, teach them to build a brand, and then turn that brand into a business. These models are taking paid trips to Vegas and LA, where they are securing even more paid work. That is, as long as they are not to busy here at home walking the runway, hosting events, crushing photo shoots or making cameo in music videos. Talking about staying in focus.
Big Baller Business Model
Secure the bag. Tired of hearing that yet? The young entrepreneurs of Tacoma aren’t. There are an impressive number of independent stylists, MUA’s, engineers, photographers, directors and designers chasing more than just a check. They’ve truly ingrained themselves into the local culture, sponsoring artists and events, even funding trips to SXSW. All the while using their platforms to entertain and inform the people.
On a higher level, there are some OG's from the cannabis and event industries who have hit the ground running with the lifting of the quarantine. With major labels looking into the city, and local businesses primed to partner with the right brands, there's no telling what the future will hold.
Factions are forming, and teamwork makes dreamwork
This is probably the most important part of WASHINGTON'S growth. It’s not that these brands and artists are succeeding solely on their own that makes them great, it’s the fact they have largely been working together. Is it perfect? No. Is there infighting and drama? Yes. But who doesn’t love a little drama? The most important thing is that individuals are becoming factions, and those factions are working together to build the Tacoma scene into a force to be reckoned with.
A Tacoma OG told me 2021 is the year to wait for, and by then I don’t think it will be up for debate, WASHINGTON will wear the crown as the entertainment capital of the Pacific Northwest. AND the PNW will emerge onto the national entertainment scene. Sorry, not sorry.
- Tradon Jordan
Atlast PR Team