Artful duo MC Geologic and DJ-producer Sabzi—Seattle’s hip-hop veterans Blue Scholars —just raised the bar with their third and latest full-length album, Cinemetropolis, a package of socially conscious rhymes, soulful beats, and short films inspired by the raps; it’s “a visual soundtrack.” But isn’t that just code for “music videos”? Not quite. They’ve recruited local filmmakers—including the makers of the Sonicsgate documentary—to do some extended storytelling, creating featurettes like A day in the life of Seattle without the Sonics for track “Slick Watts.”
Grocery store goof-off “Fou Lee” (above, directed and edited by Canh Nguyen and Jason Hakala) is their first true music video released with the album. It may hint at Jay and Silent Bob hanging ’round Quick Stop in Clerks, but Geo says in a statement that it was "inspired by shopping trips we made to that grocery store when we lived in the heart of Beacon Hill, from 2004 to 2008. We had house parties during recording sessions for The Long March and Bayani during that time, made a lot of coffee runs, had a lot of meetings, and the meals we shared were usually cooked with ingredients bought at our favorite Vietnamese-owned Philippine grocery store, where the staff greets you in Tagalog spoken with thick Vietnamese accents. This song uses food as an analogy for who we are – a mash-up of ingredients, chopped up and thrown onto a fire made from memory instead of recipe.”
It’s also a great song: polished, fun, showing off their chops and new grassroots energy (they went off label for Cinemetropolis, raising over $62,000 through kickstarter). As for the album: I’ve had it on repeat all day. Blue Scholars celebrates its LP release with Macklemore, Mash Hall, JusMoni, and friends at Neumos this weekend (June 17 & 18). The show is all ages, and tickets ($15) are still available.