Seattle rap duo Sleep Steady is operating in the hip-hop underground now, but all indicators point to a strong career ahead.
Bands are often described as creating “driving” songs — as if their melodies and rhythms propelled the listener forward. But with Seattle hip-hop duo Sleep Steady — at the Central Saloon on Wednesday (May 11) for the next BAD DAD Collective showcase — that descriptor is especially apt. These guys make music they want to listen to in the car.
“The way we find our beats,” says emcee Cid Vishiz, 27, “it’s not very methodical. It’s very instantaneous — like, does this catch my ear in two seconds and do I want to listen to it while driving?”
Vishiz and Perry Porter, 26, say they spend an inordinate amount of time in the car going to work and gigs. They have gone so far as to invent a term for their style — “trunk” — which they describe as a hybrid of percussive trap and wild punk.
With Mackned, AJ Suede, Wolftone and Bass Rev. 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the Central Saloon, 207 First Ave. S., Seattle; $8 (206-622-0209 or centralsaloon.com).
Despite existing in the underground of Seattle’s hip-hop scene, Sleep Steady has already experienced some success. The duo opened a rally in KeyArena for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and recently placed two songs in the EA Sports video game “UFC 2.” The pair hits each track with rabid enthusiasm, as if their bodies were filled with lightning clouds and only rapping at peak speed will free them from the storm.
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So far the YouTube video for their track “Fight Kicks” has garnered 21,000 hits and the SoundCloud links for the two “UFC 2” songs have earned more than 100,000 plays.
Still less than a year old, The BAD DAD Collective is dedicated to bridging the worlds of visual art and music. The organization’s shows draw modest but passionate crowds — like the one at a showcase with Sleep Steady back in March. That’s the way Vishiz and Porter like it: 50 rabid fans versus a blah, 200-person house. (The duo also likes to do intimate house shows.)
Moving forward, Sleep Steady remains focused on recording new material. While no album is officially in the works, the group intends to release a single, called “WAR,” and will be featured on the June 20 record by Seattle rapper and producer Spekulation.
For now, after the Central show, fans may have a better chance of seeing the members of Sleep Steady driving around on Washington’s highways than of seeing them at, say, the Showbox or Tractor Tavern.
“I write all my raps while driving,” says Porter, who works days as a salesman and freelance visual artist.
“We have to do that,” adds Vishiz, a humanities teacher at TAF Academy in Kent. “As artists with day jobs, there’s no better time to write than on your way to work.”