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Ray Porter

Seattle emcee Porter Ray's highly introspective lyrical style found its wings when the rapper began processing trauma, loss, and pain through his music. Following a string of personal tragedies, the rapper began releasing mixtapes prolifically, eventually catching the attention of indie giant Sub Pop, which signed him to the label in 2015. After a wealth of more casually released recordings, Porter Ray's dreamy studio debut Watercolor arrived in 2017. Born and raised in Seattle's Central District, Ray has been writing and rapping for most of his life, but he didn't begin releasing material until 2013, several years after his father died and his younger brother was shot and killed as a bystander to a violent altercation. Other personal setbacks continued to plague him, such as close friends and family going to jail and having to drop out of high school. He turned to music to process his grief and pain, releasing several mixtapes in 2013 alone. BLK GLD, WHT GLD, and RSE GLD all appeared that year, followed by Fundamentals in 2014. These early recordings saw Ray developing a style that found his nimbly delivered raps about personal subjects backed by atmospheric, downtempo beats. He signed to Sub Pop after meeting Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces) and appeared on THEESatisfaction's second Sub Pop album EarthEE. As Ray worked on his proper debut album for the label, his EP Nightfall was released independently in 2015, with a vinyl release by German label in 2016. Another mixtape, Electric Rain, also appeared that year. Ray's Sub Pop debut Watercolor materialized in the spring of 2017, a psychedelic and sometimes almost ambient take on hip hop that featured guest appearances by Stas Thee Boss, Shabazz Palaces, Cashtro, and many others. He followed up late the next year with EP release Eye of the Beholder.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo


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