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Party Mountain: The Mad Rad timeline

{Mad Rad has two CD release shows coming up. The first is at Neumos on Friday, December 3 with Champagne Champagne, Viper Creek Club and White Fang, 21+; the second is at the Vera Project on Friday, December 10 with Champagne Champagne, Helladope and Infinite Loop, all ages.}

For two years now, the Seattle hip hop act Mad Rad has been one of the most polarizing and argued-about bands in the music scene. Everyone seems to have an opinion one way or another on this group (I’m decidedly pro-Mad Rad, for what it’s worth). With three MCs (Buffalo Madonna, Terry Radjaw and P Smoov) and a DJ, their talent is undeniable and they put on some of the most exciting lives shows in town – and each one seems to raise the stakes for the next one, but they have also had several run-ins with the law. As you’ll see below, often just days apart. On their song “Caveman,” the group shouts “fuck you, that’s how we do around here” and that sums up their ethos well. It doesn’t sum up their music, though, considering the time and attention (especially) put into P Smoov’s beats.

The makeover they’ve gone through is particularly impressive, first as a band persona non grata at most major venues in Seattle to playing the mayor’s victory party. It’s been a strange ride but they’ll end 2010 on a high note with the release of their excellent sophomore record, The Youth Die Young next week. The album itself doesn’t so much as try to replicate the energy from Mad Rad’s stage shows but to establish the unquestionable talent amongst the four.

Below, I’ve assembled a timeline of public events in Mad Rad’s history, beginning and ending with the release of their two albums, White Gold and The Youth Die Young.

September 16, 2008: Mad Rad releases their debut album White Gold. (Source: Amazon)

December 16, 2008: Charles Mudede of The Stranger writes, “Mad Rad represent a new third wave of local hiphop. Whereas Seattle’s first wave was based in the CD, the second on Beacon Hill, the next wave’s epicenter looks to be Capitol Hill. More than that, as the first wave emerged in the Clinton years, the second in the Bush, Mad Rad’s looks like it will emerge in the age of Obama.” (Source: The Stranger)

January 11, 2009: A fight outside of Neumos with security staff around 3am has three members of Mad Rad arrested and prompts a ban from most venues on Capitol Hill (Neumos, Chop Suey, King Cobra, The Saint, The War Room and Havana) and both Showboxes. (Source: Lineout, follow-up)

May 2, 2009: Mad Rad is served with a $500 lawsuit from wheat-pasting posters on the Amante Pizza building advertising a show at Chop Suey towards the end of 2008. Radjaw told The Stranger “I want to fight this, but with all the other bullshit going on, and us trying to be on good graces, this is the last thing we need. So we will just pay it…. It’s bullshit, but we are going to deal with it and move on.” (Source: Lineout)

May 24, 2009: Mad Rad plays the first set of the second day of Sasquatch and they are one of the most talked-about sets at Sasquatch, in no small part to Buffalo Madonna climbing to the roof of the Yeti Stage. (Source: Reverb)

May 29, 2009: Mad Rad plays a sold out show at the Comet, their first on Capitol Hill since being banned in January.

June 17, 2009: Seattle Weekly publishes a cover story on Mad Rad, written by then-music editor Jonathan Cunningham called “Mad Rad’s Trouble-Making Hipster-Hop” with the subtitle: “Do we really want this quartet to behave?” (Source: SW)

June 23, 2009: Darwin and Buffalo Madonna are acquitted for assault stemming from the fight outside of Neumos in January. (Source: Reverb)

July 25, 2009: Mad Rad plays an after-party for Capitol Hill Block Party at Chop Suey. Posters all over Capitol Hill say “Not Guilty”.

August 13, 2009: Radjaw is forced to shave his beard off when losing a one-on-one basketball game to Sir Thomas Gray of Champagne Champagne at the Funhouse. (Source: Reverb)

September 18, 2009: Seattle music veteran and insider Kerri Harrop announces that she’s now managing Mad Rad and P Smoov’s other group, Fresh Espresso. (Source: General Bonkers)

November 3, 2009: Mad Rad plays mayor-elect Mike McGinn’s victory party at the War Room.

November 23, 2009: P Smoov releases his “Face Scrunchers, Volume 1” mixtape of beats. (Source: Out for Stardom blog)

December 5, 2009: Mad Rad headlines the second night of Go! Machine (Champagne Champagne the first). Both shows sell out the Crocodile and are viewed as unequivocal successes and a tell-tale sign of strength for Seattle’s hip hop scene.

January 1, 2010: Radjaw and his girlfriend are arrested for assaulting a cab driver after they are allegedly thrown out by trying to have sex in the cab and refusing to pay the fare. The girlfriend was accused of threatening the cab driver with a knife. In March they would be charged with theft and assault. (Source: Seattle Crime)

January 21, 2010: Mad Rad played a free concert at Neumos, their first since the club banned them. The Stranger writes “the crowd composed not of familiar faces but rather of a lot of potential new fans, and there really was a triumphantly celebratory vibe in the air, and rightly so.” (Source: Matson on Music; Lineout)

June 23, 2010: Seattle Crime reports that prosecutors dropped charges against Radjaw and his girlfriend when the cab driver involved in the altercation declined to press charges. (Seattle Crime)

July 27, 2010: Spin names Mad Rad one of the “10 Best Bands of Seattle’s Block Party” and said to “expect big things…in the near future” following their triumphant set on the main stage at Capitol Hill Block Party, which concluded by playing their song “My Friends” with over twenty local musicians joining on stage to sing along. (Spin)

July 28, 2010: Lineout posts a diss track against Mad Rad by some guy going by “CozRoc”. It borrows a DJ Premier beat, is called “Y’all are Cheez” and it is embarrassingly funny. (Lineout, YT)

September 28, 2010: Kerri Harrop sends out an e-mail announcing that she will no longer be Mad Rad’s manager. It said in part: “It has been just over a year since I started working with Mad Rad.  When we first met, they were banned from virtually every major venue in town.  They were pretty well recognized by the SPD, and many folks in Seattle’s music world knew them only through a litany of online commentary… Over the course of this year, we have worked hard to mend bridges and prove that there is more to the group than sensational headlines.  We have seen great successes and have had a lot of fun.”

October 3, 2010: Guerrilla Candy reports that Go! Machine, the two day showcase of local hip hop that was so successful in 2009 will not happen on December 3 and 4, as scheduled. Radjaw cited difficulty finding the right lineup. The CD release for Mad Rad’s The Youth Die Young is scheduled for December 3 instead, at Neumos. (Guerrilla Candy)

November 30, 2010: The Youth Die Young is released.

{Photo by Rabid Child Images, from}

(Correction: I had gotten to date of the Beard Off wrong – right day, wrong month – when I first posted it. It’s been updated with the correct date, August 13, not October.)


Chris Burlingame is the editor of Another Rainy Saturday.