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If Grayskul epitomizes Seattle’s predilection toward dark skies & never-ending rain and Blue Scholars the city’s earnest preoccupation with political activism & elitism, then The Physics, comprised of South End natives Thig Natural, Just “Justo” D’Amato, and Monk Wordsmith (née Gathigi Gishuru, Justin Hare, and Njuguna Gishuru, respectively) personifies the 206 as it is on a clear summer day: laid back, refreshing, and most importantly, at its best.Read More...
Created while attending O’Dea High School in the mid-90’s, the group immersed itself in hip hop, finding inspiration in everything from A Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village, and The Roots to Nas, Jay-Z, and Tupac Shakur. Locally, however, it was the Do the Math compilation that became an overarching influence. Says Thig, “[That was] inspiring too because it was cats from the Central and South End who were making dope music. And that was the first time we got introduced to Vitamin D's music. He is a huge influence on us too.”
In 1998, Thig & Justo left Seattle to attend college at Central Washington University while Monk remained in the city, attending Seattle Central Community College at a time when the hallways & classrooms boasted ciphers & battles featuring lauded local emcees such as Yirim Seck, Gabriel Teodros, and Khingz. Despite the distance The Physics continued to hone their craft, with Thig & Monk sharing emcee duties and Justo focusing on his role as deejay and producer. However, when Monk headed to Philadelphia in 2000 to pursue higher education at Temple University, Thig & Justo made the decision to continue making music without him. Monk would later return to Seattle in 2007 to pick up his role as co-emcee & hypeman on the forthcoming Physics offering.
With the 2007 release of The Physics debut full-length effort, Future Talk, Seattle got its first official taste of the group’s warm, engaging brand of hip hop. Showcasing production by Just D’Amato (who also lends vocals to a number of tracks), with additional contributions by BadFM, Phee Dill, Jihad Molet, Mario Sweet, & David DeJesus, Future Talk features soulful, smoothed-out beats that act as the ideal backdrop for Thig’s expressive, direct vocals and conversational, on-point delivery. In an age when excessive hyperbole threatens to dumb down hip hop music, content that is at once universally relevant and personally meaningful is important to the group, according to Thig. “It’s real life, we talk about things we go through, stuff we know about personally and stuff that the everyday person can relate to, i.e. having a 9-5; tryna stack enough money to live a comfortable life; relationships; and of course, kickin’ it with friends.”
From the wildly catchy single “Ready For We” (featuring Miss Malice on the hook) to the highly relatable musings of “I ♥ Beer;” from the unapologetic swagger of “They Call Me,” to the lay-it-on-the-line neo soul breakdown of “The Let Go” featuring Ike James, Thig Nat and Justo manage to keep it real in the truest sense, minus the clichés.