Making a musical shift

It’s a rap revolution

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

If you had told me when I began writing about music in this area all those years ago that the day would come when the surest way to sell out a show in Bellingham would be to book a hip-hop act, I might not have believed you.

Hip-hop? More popular than garage rock? More popular than bluegrass? In Bellingham?

I didn’t see it coming, but I’ll take it.

Although various forces have brought about this cultural and musical shift, the Wild Buffalo is currently at the forefront of the local rap revolution, and their current calendar is a reflection of that fact.

Sir Mix-A-Lot is one of those people who played the Wild Buffalo once—and has made it a stop on every tour since. The Bellingham audience is a force to be reckoned with and the Seattle rapper who likes big butts and cannot lie (you other brothers can’t deny) knows just how to handle our overly enthusiastic crowds. As is always the case when Sir Mix-A-Lot brings his posse from Broadway to Holly Street, his Fri., Oct. 20 show is sold out, so if you’ve slept on buying tickets, you’ll be square-dance rapping outside and wishing your boyfriend was swass like Mix.

You’ll have another chance to scratch your hip-hop itch the very next night, Sat., Oct. 21, when Trinidad James plays the Buff. James does hail from Trinidad, but comes to us by way of Atlanta and that city’s rich underground hip-hop scene. He achieved some notoriety—and gold-record certification—for 2012’s “All Gold Everything,” which is a song title, fashion direction and lifestyle choice for the rapper who, according to his official bio “refused to sacrifice his love for his mother or lust for material things.” Stay gold, Trinidad James.

Several days later, Lyrics Born, the man whose packed-out show at the now-defunct Nightlight years ago alerted me to the fact that Bellingham was a town dying for quality hip-hop, returns to Bellingham and the Wild Buffalo for a Thurs., Oct. 26 show. Japanese-American, with a Jewish-Italian mother, hailing from the Berkeley, Lyrics Born breaks every hip-hop mold and remakes them in his own style and according to his own vision. Fiercely indie, unapologetically political and with a monster of a live show, Lyrics Born might have been around a minute, but he sure hasn’t lost a step. He helped announce the dawn of the hip-hop era in Bellingham, and if you haven’t seen what all the fuss was about, now’s the time.

The last artist in this roundup hits town on Halloween—Tues., Oct. 31—a night when Bellingham always lets its freak flag fly. But something tells me that Brother Ali will be more than able to take the fright night madness in stride. A longtime member of the Rhymesayers Entertainment crew and one of the more respected voices in independent hip-hop, Ali is another artist who makes his message the focus of his music. He has an extensive history as a community activist, makes it a point to explore issues relating to privilege in his life and his lyrics, and will bring with him the thought-provoking and inspiring songs from his first album in five years, 2017’s All the Beauty in This Whole Life.

As mentioned, Sir Mix-A-Lot is sold out, but tickets for the Trinidad James, Lyrics Born, and Brother Ali shows are still available—but going fast. Any or all could sell out at any moment. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

More Music...
The Accidentals
Everything to see here

When I was a teenager, I probably had big plans of some kind. But in reality, I spent most of my time making and then consuming microwave fudge in my friend’s basement, watching Grease and Dirty Dancing over and over, and gossiping deep into the night about people whose names I can no…

more »
Bellingham Irish Festival
No camping required

When I think of going to music festivals, first I consider the fun parts—seeing a bunch of bands I like, discovering new ones, people-watching with my friends and that whole anything-goes vibe that festivals tend to encourage.

And then I remember the parts I don’t love quite so much.…

more »
Summer’s End
Say it ain’t so

It was truly a glorious summer. Day after day dawned with blue skies and ample sunshine just made for prolonged basking. Evenings were mild and encouraged wandering until the stars twinkled their way out, one by one. Sure, the lack of rain was concerning. And the smoke from nearby wildfires…

more »
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Grand Opening and Open House

11:00am|Social Fabric

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Clean Eating

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|downtown Bellingham

12 Minutes Max Auditions

5:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Art Night

5:00pm|SpringHill Suites by Marriott

Amber Sky CD Release Party

6:00pm|Presence Studio

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

6:30pm|Lincoln Theatre


7:00pm|Village Books

Poetry Party

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Halloween Movie Night

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

USA Dance


Thriller Dance Class

7:00pm|Moles Farewell Tributes

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Holding the Light

8:00pm|Honey Moon

Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Lynden Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Pumpkins 4 Pajamas

9:00am|Lakeway Fred Meyer

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Terrell Creek

Landscape stewards work party

9:00am|Chuckanut Center

Scarecrow Stuffing Contest

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Pumpkin Patch on Rails

9:00am|Wickersham Station

Port race ponders a wasted waterfront


Blaine Oktoberfest


Everyday Superheroes 5K

10:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

98221 Studio Tour

10:00am|Fidalgo Island

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Bellingham Comicon

10:00am|Ferndale Event Center

Community Cider Pressing

10:00am|Chuckanut Center

Enlightened Caterpillar

10:30am|Village Books

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Crown Jewel Wilderness

11:00am|Western Washington University Bookstore

Mushrooms gone wild


Conquering Writer's BLock

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Winter Birds of Whatcom County

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Undersea Bubble Fantasia

2:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Brew on the Slough

5:00pm|Maple Hall

Community Library Celebration

5:00pm|North Fork Library

Bellingham Hoptoberfest

6:00pm|Bellingham Sportsplex

Seeds of Change

6:30pm|Edison Granary

The Great Unconformity

7:00pm|Village Books

The Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Skagit Symphony's Gala Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Whose Live Anyway?

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Original Comedy Night

8:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Trove Village Books
Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

98221 Studio Tour

10:00am|Fidalgo Island

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Church of Brunch

10:30am|Gretchen's Kitchen

Bellingham Repertory Dance Open Rehearsal

11:30am|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Wild Mushroom Show

12:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Building

Fresh-Milled Whole Grain Baking

1:00pm|Bread Lab

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Answer Tour

6:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Trove CWWarrenMiller Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble Bellingham Farmer’s Market