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.

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