The Other “Otherside”: Seattle’s Underground Rap Scene


By Mike Ramos

Macklemore is undoubtedly the face of Seattle hip-hop right now. This has been made clear in his plentiful TV appearances, sold-out national tour dates, and his starring role in the recent film "The Otherside," a documentary about "Seattle’s underground hip-hop scene." It's worth noting that the documentary that masquerades as an in-depth look at the underground shares a title with one of the white rapper’s most preachy anti-drug songs.

But before Macklemore's thrift-shopping, same-loving ascent to multi-platinum status, the last time Seattle music gained national attention was during the 1990s, when grunge bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden showed the world some of the darkest, strangest, most heroin-tinged rock sounds it had ever heard. Similarly, while Macklemore is working his way up the Billboard charts and into America’s hearts, the city’s underground started a grunge-like wave of villainous, suicidal, drug-abusing rap that actually sounds like it’s from the damp, sunless forest that is the Pacific Northwest. Here's a trip to the other otherside—this shit's too dark to be hitting the charts any time soon.

Click to start the list

  • Seattlite

    Great list, but you’re missing The First Lady of Moor Gang (Gift uh Gab) who can rap circles around most of Seattle’s scene.

  • Urbanist

    no onry ozzborn? wheres sadistik?

  • sam

    The homies from the hood too YS, Drese Ru, D Valley, Avatar, D Menace, Conman, the cd got the best rappers in the town.

  • kwhite

    sadistik is from Yakima.. he aint even a real seattle artist

  • RichardGrieco

    No Onry Ozzborn/ Dark Time Sunshine?! SMH.

  • TownBiz

    Raz Simone….. Duh.

  • majX

    You missed Chief, Gift uh Gab, Thaddeus David, Jarv Dee, JByrd, all Moors all day. #moorgang

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  • jacob

    Definitely forgot Jarv Dee