Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Hip-hop, R&B, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

cover art

Common Market

Black Patch War

(Massline; US: 20 May 2008; UK: Unavailable)

Before the popularization of mindless, cartoony, ultra violent West Coast gangsta rap, the foundation of early ‘90s hip-hop was politically aware, East Coast folk. Washington lads Ryan Abeo (RA Scion) and the Blue Scholars’ Sabzi bonded in their coffee riddled hometown over their mutual respect for socially responsible classic rap, for Bahá’í Faith, and for each other back in 2004. Shortly thereafter, their self-titled Common Market debut added a key log to the perennial fire that is Seattle’s music scene.

One of their goals is to turn Seattle into the Bay area North, and their latest effort Black Patch War is certainly a step in that direction. Scion’s flow is liquid, with superb word choice and breath control, while anyone who has heard Rawkus’ Blue Scholars knows Sabzi’s old-school soul fueled beats easily rival those of 9th Wonder. Lyrically, Scion spins into rhyme the struggle of independent farmers against Big Tobacco and progressive minds finding their place outside the Old Church in the face of its unwillingness to adapt. He attacks complicated subject, but his delivery and smooth beats make them easy to digest. While it may never be on MTV, this is the kind of hip-hop that creates actual positive change.


Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.

Common Market - Trouble Is (Live at Album Release Party)
Related Articles
22 Apr 2009
RA Scion namedrops NHL hall of famer and former all-time points leader Geordie Howe. As an old school Canadian hockey fan, I have to like this EP. The fact it is Common Market's best work yet makes that easier for me.
2 Nov 2008
Tobacco Road might be a long and winded path, but it's certainly worth the effort. Just make sure to take a breather here and there.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.