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NON-STOP HIP-HOP: Confidence is key

Lacey's LA Swagga have plenty

LA SWAGGA: From Lacey with purpose/photo courtesy of MySpace

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Gangstas.  Hipsters.  B-Boys/Girls.  Juggalos.  The Skinny Pantsers?  Who knows?  There are so many different sub-genres and clicks stemming from hip-hop culture right now.  It's hard to keep up with who's who, and it's even more difficult to nail down the specific characteristics that accompany these newly emerging contingents in hip-hop.  All of these groups are vying for their place in the hip-hop community; they can all fit in, but the effort to be different always prevails in hip-hop. 

Enter LA Swagga.

The Lacey-based duo of LA Swagga is comprised of the thin and dark chocolate-toned lyricist and MC battle champion, LA White, and the thicker businessman-turned-MC, caramel-colored personality, Swagg.  Both in their early 20s, they attended high school in Lacey and grew up together.  The fact both LA White and Swagg come from motivated households gives clear insight about how they chose their title, and even more understanding about how confidently they walk, talk and - most notably - rap.  LA put his name on the map with strength following a MC battle victory in spring 2009, and as a duo the pair gained local momentum in the summer of ‘09 with two singles, "'80s Baby" and "Money Walk" from their debut, For The Fam.

"We chose LA Swagga as a name because it fit us and it stuck", says LA.

"We stand out because we have a message of having fun, not supporting violence and making music that people can vibe to", LA continues.  The duo shoots for positive lyrics without the use of profanity, and they feel the image they put forth supports their stance as willing role models. 

So many artists state they don't choose to be role models, but for Swagg being a role model is not a choice - but a duty.  Swagg was a PK, as they are called, also known as a "preacher's kid" - and he learned discipline, business and the arts from within his household.  Swagg chose education and has been educated from Hawaii to Olympia's Evergreen State College. 

LA, on the other hand, learned to do the right thing by watching family doing the wrong thing. 

"My uncle was a GD [or Gangster Disciple - a gang native to Chicago, but prevalent in Seattle] and I got into a little bit of trouble, but learned what not to do before I got too deep," says LA.  He's one of the lucky ones, as the path of mistakes has led too many young males of color straight to incarceration - a path LA chose to avoid. 

Instead of following the stereotype, together the duo decided to use their talents to pursue goals.  The results have been pleasing.

LA Swagga was nominated with two Weekly Volcano 25360 Awards 2009 for ‘Best New Artist' and ‘Best Album' and they are readying for the release of their sophomore offering, LA Swagga is Mr. Gold Medals and Mr. Blue Ribbons - dropping June 10.  Receiving significant radio play from KSVR (Mt. Vernon), KUPS (Tacoma), KOWA (OLY), FRO (OLY) and KAOS (OLY) has also helped their campaign, and they are preparing for stone-stepping performances at KUBE 93's Summer Jam  - and an as yet unrevealed tour. 

It's a wonder, and a testament, what awaits a hungry duo of intelligent and party-rocking MCs like LA Swagga - and they're proving it.

LA Swagga CD Release Party

With SP, DJ Luigi, DJ Travisty
Thursday, June 10, 9 p.m., $10 cover includes new album
The Royal Lounge
311 Capitol Way N., Olympia

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