Collaboration is a common practice among local creatives, and it can lift an artist or entrepreneur to a whole other level. Individually, Ontario, Ore.-based lyricist Oso Negro (Steve Stein) and local "beatsmith" Weighn Beats (Chris Christopherson) are serious players in the area rap/hip-hop scene, so when they put their heads together, the result is a fusion of drive, skill and ingenuity. The latest collab from these longtime partners is Werebear (self-released, April 2017), a concept EP described by Oso as "superimposing my stories over a framework loosely based on Interview with a Vampire," adding, "No gore though, really."
Werebear isn't gory but it is dark—in a good way. Slow beats and sometimes foreboding melodies have a cinematic, hypnotic quality that, with headphones in, make it easy to close the door on the outside world and just fall into the sound.
The album art is by "underground Bay legend" Z-Man (San Francisco), who is also featured on the track "Maniac." And the last track on the EP is a remix by Toronto producer/MPCer Fresh Kils. Talk about collaborating.