Eugene Weekly : Music : 11.29.07

In the Spotlight
Deez nutz bring back Northwest cool

E-40, Cool Nutz 8 pm Sunday, Dec. 2. McDonald Theatre. $22.50 adv.,$27.50 door

The first time I ever saw or heard of Cool Nutz was in 2005 during a Common show at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. DJ Chill was warming up the crowd during the opening act when someone sauntered onstage, two-steppin’ and wearing the familiar Furley grimace of piss recognition. “Who’s this guy in the glasses?” I asked my friends. But after being met with blank faces and shrugged shoulders, I figured he must have been just another area rapper who had earned a quick set thanks to some local clout and lucky connections. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but when Too Short came to town the next year and this guy appeared onstage once again, I started to take notice. Now, it seems like you can’t talk about the Northwest rap scene without mentioning Cool Nutz. With a hip hop pedigree that spans over a decade, the Portland native has finally started to make his way into the spotlight. This year alone he’s been featured in Spin, The Source and Murder Dog magazine as the man who is putting the Northwest on his back and Portland on the map.

And why not? Although the upper-left portion of this country has done a great job of producing many underground, conscious hip hop artists (see Swollen Members, Common Market, Blue Scholars, etc.), it has been lacking mainstream representation for a hot minute. Hey, Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Baby Got Back” is as great as it is ridiculous, and I anticipate it will live on forever at middle school dances, weddings and bar mitzvahs across the country, but I refuse to believe that you will go down in history as the biggest rapper to hail from these rainy Western states. It’s time to pass the torch. And with E-40 and the rest of the Sic Wit It Records crew behind Nutz, it might not be too much longer before this relay starts. Nutz’s newest, King Cool Nutz, is due out December 4th through his own Jus Family Records. These tracks mash the undeniable pop and tweak of Bay Area hyphy with a touch of locced out Cali funk and unabashed Southern stomp to create a lyrical playground that has the ability to be catchy enough for the rest of the country