There are some cities that just live and breathe music no matter what the era might be, and Seattle is definitely one of those cities. From garage rock and punk to grunge and formative hip-hop, there haven’t been many corners of the American pop culture lexicon that the capitol city of the Pacific Northwest hasn’t covered, and demonstrating its viability as a new rap mecca this spring is MariBased1. MariBased1 presents a deep underground jam in “48 Ratchet” beside BeatKing that is surprisingly rebellious and more in tune with a southern cloud style of hip-hop infrequently found in the PNW; but alas, this is part of the reason he stands out as much as he does at home.
Let’s start with the cornerstone of this track; the flow of its leading man. Not only does MariBased1 never have to force the narrative home with an aggression added into his execution, he actually lets the rhythm of the instrumentation put an exclamation point on his statements for him. When you’ve got as charismatic a beat as he is in possession of here, you can afford to be more efficient behind the mic; thus, this is one of the better examples of disciplined rapping I’ve heard in a long time.
The percussion is actually just a bit louder in this mix than the bass is, which sets up an interesting standoff between the backend and the lead vocal in a few spots that ultimately denies us complete catharsis at the conclusion of the song. Was this intentional? My gut tells me yes, simply for the fact that the tension here is rather brooding and goes a long way towards humanizing even the brashest of verses MariBased1 could throw at us. He’s thinking about the story he wants to tell from every angle, which is the hallmark of a true icon any way you dice it.
There’s still a lot to unpack in MariBased1’s artistry, but if you’re looking for a good place to start this March, “48 Ratchet” might be the right song to press play on. He’s been on my watch list for a minute now, and if he can keep grinding as hard as he has in the making of his most recent collaboration with BeatKing, I don’t know that his seeing mainstream exposure before the end of the year would be out of the question at all. It’s a hard life to choose, but I think MariBased1 made the right choice in picking a career in entertainment.