Northwest hip-hop holds it down in Portland

A recent road trip took us to Portland, Ore., for the Western Regional National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Conference. Held at the Portland Convention Center, representatives from Oregon, Utah, Washington, Montana, Northern California and Idaho colleges were all on deck looking to book the hottest acts: from indie rock bands to a hypnotist.

Seattle's hip-hop contingency consisted of two people: us.

We took as many CDs and bio's we could to hand out to perspective talent buyers. All of them were gone within 15 minutes on the first day. It seems Seattle is hotter in Portland, than it is in Seattle.

While we were there we ran into Oregon hip-hop pioneer Cool Nutz of Jus Fam Records.

He invited us to the Hip Hopalooza at Berbati's Pan, a pool hall and performance spot in downtown. In the house were Boom Bap Project, Asun, Khazm of Cyphalliance, and Abyssinian Creole reppin' for the S.E.A. Reppin' for Portland was Crenshaw, Cool Nutz and Sirens Echo.

Sirens Echo, if you haven't heard, is off tha chain! Imagine a west coast Salt & Pepa that can sing like En Vogue. Go see them if you get a chance.

The students at the conference made their desires very clear: "We want hip hop on our campus."

They also said they wanted to see more of a variety of musical forms showcased. For a long time indie hip-hop has found a home on many college campuses in the south and the east coast regions.

The gravitational pull in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest of what Skuntdanana calls "The Hatrix" keeps artists here, unable to escape the pull.

Many world famous hip-hop acts can acredit their success to college radio and concerts on or near a campus. Now it's the Pacific Northwest's turn. Conferences like NACA ( are one possible way for artists to transcend the glass ceiling of "The Hatrix."

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