Before COVID-19 shut the world down, if you were to go to a concert you would see at least a handful of people capturing the night through their Instagram or Snapchat stories. Over the course of a year, Gary Campbell of Crane City Music attended and captured more than 50 live shows in quick clips shot on his iPhone. He has taken this footage and remastered it into a theatrical film called Newcomer: a Seattle hip-hop mixtape. 

The fly-on-the-wall video treatment helps place you in the audience as you bounce from one Seattle music venue to the next. Presenting the film in black and white further enhances the abstract almost avant-garde vibe of the visuals. There are moments within Newcomer where the artist’s visuals on stage take over the screen and you forget you’re watching candid footage captured on a cellphone. 

Official Trailer For Newcomer: A Seattle Hip-Hop Mixtape

Newcomer shows the world that Seattle has creativity lurking around every corner of the city. This is a raw, gritty look at the DIY culture our creatives have built from the ground up based on the same traditions of hip-hop’s forefathers. Over 90 artists from all around the Pacific Northwest are featured throughout the film, many who have been featured on Respect My Region before. We have created our own ecosystem here, regardless of what others think, and Gary is showcasing a small part of that with this film. 

The passion it took for him to shoot and edit this film and the passion it took those artists to create a performance that Gary was then able to capture is the kind of energy we need to remind ourselves about in this period of time without concerts. It also serves as a reminder of what we stand to lose if our community doesn’t rally behind economic relief for the arts and nightlife industries. While you watch Newcomer, reflect on what it is you love about the hip-hop community, harness that energy, then fight for what you believe in so this doesn’t become the last historical documentation of what our live music scene once was. 

Watch Newcomer: A Seattle Hip-Hop Mixtape

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