Tribal Productions - Do The Math

From Geo of Blue Scholar's twitter:

2 yrs ago in the same hip hop class at UW I asked the students what Seattle rap they listened to, and few responded., asked same question and they responded hella quick     etc. on the other hand only one student had ever heard Do The Math, Classic Elements or 14 Fathoms Deep etc. 

Guess I'm sayin it's dope that ppl paying more attention to the present but wack that they forgetting the past. And I'm getting old.

Tribal Productions @ Bumbershoot 1996 - Left to right:
T.H.C., Sho Nuff, C-Note, Tizzy-T, Infinite, Vitamin D, E-Wreck & DJ Topspin on the tables. 
I share this sentiment exactly, in both a linear sense relating to my age and an emotional one. For the record I am not in favor of releasing something as monumental as Do The Math for free. However, when the alternatives are used copies of the album for sale at a staggering $90 dollars, or simple ignorance due to lack of availability, my own position on the devaluing of music needs to fall back.

I cannot in good conscious belittle our town's lack of acknowledgement of this master work and at the same time not provide the means with which in our current media climate for anyone unknowing to experience the very thing that I treasure.

Do The Math is an album. Not a mixtape (MIXTAPE (c) Random DJ screaming). It is a physical thing to treasure, which sits on my shelf next to a small but precious collection of music that was created and gestated and born in the 206. It's value to me is irreplaceable.

Vitamin D, Capabilities, Culture Born, B-Self
Do The Math is not - like so much other tripe and haphazard bastardizations released these days - a random collection of ones and zeroes, nothingness that is frantically promoted for a day, perhaps a week, before withering away in a sea of broken links and expired download locations. This is a product of labor, a thing crafted into physical essence by the hard work of a crew collective moving forward toward a single shared objective. 

Please appreciate that Do The Math is a snapshot of a million instances of a multitude of lifetimes, traveling from an era that is distinctly different than our present one, culminating in songs. Songs of joy, sorrow, whimsy, boastfulness, agression, obstacles...but always songs of triumph, because the very act of their creation was in truth a righteous victory.

Vitamin D, C-Note, Topspin
As always the priority and the goal of this archive is to accurately record and acknowledge this time period of our Seattle music scene, the men and women involved and the legacies that they have left. Do The Math is a particularly substantial piece of that legacy.

A towering piece of work, it's songs span the entire breadth of voice, tone and texture that Tribal Productions featured at it's apex. I would respectfully submit that since it's release there has not been a single Seattle album that compares to it - even simply at an economic level by containing this much quality music over the course of 25 tracks (24 if your cd is like mine). 

Since it's release, some of the members of the Tribal Productions camp have continued to remain active in and or around music, so for them this release is but a genealogical footnote in their varied careers. Some members have moved in other directions, which positions their participation in this album as a kind of high school varsity team photo. A future past, a glimpse of what might was in a previous life and time.

For me Do The Math is such an outstanding piece of work as it includes appearances from some of the Town's least appreciated Kings and Queens of microphone technique. As an example, do you understand the value of having no less than four appearance from Infinite, one of which is a solo song? Infinite! You might as well find 24 carat gold pouring from your headphones directly into your brain.

H-Bomb, Infinite, Topspin
Clearly, I'm in no position to objectively *review* Do The Math, and I have no desire to do so. What I do want is to acknowledge this piece of work as an artifact of tremendous value, a document of what was then, which clearly continues to informs what is now. 

Seattle, this is one of the best things you've ever been witness to being created. I do so very much hope that you know it.


Album Cover & Postcard Photos (c) Diana Adams :

Notes: I've replicated the credits for Do The Math as exactly as I can. If you see an error, please let me know and I'll have it corrected.

Also, as bonus material the download link above includes scans of the cover, inner artwork, a postcard and a show flyer from the album's release.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

they got it up free anyway though on their bandcamp , u can donate if u want. so stoked on downloading. tight post

Anonymous said...

This album is the bomb. Thanks for posting. Appreciate all the work that went into this.

Cody B said...

This album and all groups/rappers from Tribal def need to be acknowledged when discussing Seattle/ Northwest hip hop. I bought the Do the math cd in 96 and Narcotik intro...tape in 95.

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