If you're native to Seattle, you know that our city is best known for its Grunge scene and our hip hop notables like Sir Mix-A-Lot, Mackelmore, and many others, but many are unaware of the deep Black musical roots that exist in our vibrant town. Since the 1920s, Seattle has been home to a rich scene of jazz, swing, and R&B in nightclubs and dancehalls along Jackson Street and the Central Area. This scene was where up-and-coming stars such as Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Ernestine Anderson, and, later, Jimi Hendrix began to make their marks on the world. Rhythm and blues transformed the Northwest music scene in the 1950s, breaking through racial barriers and laying the groundwork for the "Northwest sound" in rock and roll, and that sound has continued to evolve into 2022 with local artists like Black Stax.
Black Stax’s, Felicia Loud and Jace Ecaj, sound is like Miles Davis, Etta James, and Langston Hughes adapted for savvy, hip-hop, and neo-soul listeners. By any standard, their music is not ordinary and nothing is dumbed-down or gimmicky.
It is smart music; every word is carefully chosen and every song carries a message of social justice and community upliftment. Fans appreciate their eclectic, urban sound laced with jazz and 70s-era soul, which provides life’s soundtrack to the sophisticated connoisseur. A collaboration that works, Black Stax successfully blends and bends the musical genres of blues, jazz, R&B, and hip-hop.
To keep our community connected with our local Black artists, BUILD Art Break is back this week with a new episode. This week AC sits down with Black Stax to talk about their new mixtape COINS. They also have a great conversation about community, the power of the creative process, and the ways artists and communities show up for each other. This episode also includes a quick art activity to help us remember to find happiness in the spaces we live in and the places we call home.
Check out the new episode below.
You can learn more about Black Stax at their website or check out their musical releases on their Bandcamp. Also, be sure to subscribe to the BUILD Art Break YouTube page for more on local artists and creating Black joy through art!