Ever since Chanarah first hit the Seattle scene back when she was performing under the name Zelli, she’s brought with her a superstar energy. It makes sense, her parents are living local hip-hop legends – her father is Silver Shadow D and her mom used to dance for Sir Mix-A-Lot. She comes by her flawless, exuberant style naturally and executes it effortlessly. And honestly, it’s something our city needs. Her music feels like the antithesis to the “Seattle freeze,” beckoning our passive-aggressive, introverted selves to let down our guards and actually enjoy ourselves for once!
Chanarah’s music doesn’t need to voice a mission statement to make its intentions clear. You’re supposed to play her music out loud, with your friends, and without inhibitions. If you can’t be with your friends (hello, quarantine), it reflects those moments when you were most exuberant – I still recommend playing it out loud though, her tracks sound great on headphones but this is speaker music if I ever heard it. Either way, it feels like communal music and that idea is reflected masterfully on her latest single “That Pop Tho,” featuring Holly Michelle and Mowett. Chanarah shares a bit about the song’s genesis:
“In 2013, I performed at my first show ever where Holly Michelle and Mowett were also on the lineup. Throughout the years we would run into each other at shows and give support. In 2019 while working on the track with Cidro Onetoo (formerly known as Cid Vishiz from Sleep Steady) I thought to test it out at my KEXP performance for Pride at Wildrose. With only a verse and chorus, the crowd ate it up! From there I knew I had to get two more women on there and instantly thought of Holly Michelle and Mowett. After sending in their verses, history was made. I realized in the Hip-Hop community here, there has never been this big of a collaboration with all women on a track. It was important to make this happen, because there is a habit to pit women against each other in music and I wanted us to be an example to show that women can work together and make something special. Given that there is covid, we still want to do a music video and Mowett lives in Atlanta now making coordination a bit difficult, but lookout for that in the future!“
Chanarah’s collaborators echo her statements. Michelle says in a statement, “Being able to create and work with other female artists from my city was a dope experience. It’s all about girl power.” Mowett adds, “To me, it means a hit record! It shows that women from our city can come together for something good. It also gives the other up and coming female artists a different outlook as well such as "if they can do it, so can we".
All three artists’ sentiments resonate in the track. The climbing synthesizer lead escalates over the bouncing beat, the perfect foundation for Chanarah’s cool, confident voice to glide over as she repeats the title – like a party meditation. Each new verse playfully boosts the last, you can practically hear the crowd screaming and cheering them on.
Listen to “That Pop Tho” below.
The Melbourne-based trio float away on their meditative new single.
The rising, Portland-based hip-hop producer lets Martin Douglas in on his golden era influences, his process, and the banger that put him on the map.
Leading up until the Upstream Music Fest + Summit, a Northwest regionally focused festival with over 300 acts, KEXP will be featuring a new local artist from the lineup with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. Today’s post features Seattle rapper ZELLi, performing Friday, May 12.