Source of Labor

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Source of Labor
OriginSeattle, Washington
Genreship hop, rap
Years active1989–2004
Associated acts
Past members
  • Wordsayer 1989-2004
  • Upendo Tookas (a.k.a. Negus I) 1989-2004
  • DJ Kamikaze 1989-1997
  • Derrick Brown (a.k.a. Vitamin D) 1997-2004

Source of Labor was a rap band formed in 1989 in Seattle, Washington, consisting of Wordsayer, Negus I, DJ Kamikaze, and later, Vitamin D.[1]


Wordsayer and Negus I are brothers and Kamikaze was their roommate when they began performing at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in Seattle's Central District in 1989.[2] Source of Labor began a collective at that time that evolved into a record label called Jasiri Media Group. Their first show in downtown Seattle was in 1993 at the Crocodile Cafe.[3]

Source of Labor was loosely associated with the female rap act Beyond Reality, whose lead, MC Kylea, was Wordsayer's partner and mother of his first child.[4] Both of which performed at the all-day Rap Festival (featuring 30 or more of the top regional rap/hip-hop acts of that time). The event, much like Lollapolooza, was strictly Rap and was called "Phunky Phat 95." It took place at the Evergreen State College during the summer of 1995. Source of Labor performed at Seattle's arts festival, Bumbershoot, and inspired Macklemore to become a rapper.[5] Wordsayer later gave Macklemore his first show at age 15.[3] Source of Labor has been an inspiration to many other artists like Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Ryan Lewis, Strath Shepard, and Thee Satisfaction.[6][5][7][8]

Source of Labor's contributions to Northwest hip hop were extremely influential in shaping post-Nastmix hip-hop. They were part of Seattle's second hip hop movement, the first wave centering around Nastymix recording artist Sir-Mix-a-Lot. Some credit the group's front man, Wordsayer, with personally moving hip-hop out of Seattle's Central District and into the rest of the city. In 1997 Source of Labor's DJ Kamikaze was replaced by Vitamin D.[1]

Source of Labor disbanded in 2004 and the artists went on to focus on their individual projects. Wordsayer continued producing and taught poetry at Franklin High School. Vitamin D continued his rapping and production career.[1][9]

Wordsayer, born Jonathan Moore, died of kidney failure in March 2017.[3]


Albums, EPs, and Singles[edit]

Year Album Label
2001 Stolen Lives Subversemusic
Year EP Label
2001 Full Circle EP Subversemusic
1995 Sureshot Singles EP Jasiri Media Group
1995 Source Of Labor (Cassette) Jasiri Media Group
Year Single Label
1999 Wetlands 12" Jasiri Media Group
1997 Overstandings 12" Jasiri Media Group
1996 Balance 12" Jasiri Media Group

Guest Appearances, Compilations, and B-Sides[edit]

Year Album Artist Label Song
1999 Table Manners 2 Vitamin D Tribal Music Inc. (freestyle)
1998 Classic Elements Various Artists K Records Aunt Anna
1997 Word Sound Power Various Artists Jasiri Media Group (8 tracks)
1996 Do the Math Various Artists Tribal Music Inc The Shining
1996 14 Fathoms Deep Various Artists Loosegroove Records Cornbread
Year 12" Artist Label Song
1999 I Reality Beyond Reality Jasiri Media Group Raindrops

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mudede, Charles. "A Source for Seattle Hiphop". The Stranger. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  2. ^ "Let's Start the Show | Seattle Met". Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  3. ^ a b c "A Brief Hiphop History of The (Now) Late, Great Jonathan Moore". The Stranger. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  4. ^ Charles, DioMari. "Making Seattle Beats Since He Was 8 Years Old". Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  5. ^ a b "5 Classic Hip-Hop Albums… According to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis". Vibe. 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  6. ^ "Grind And Shine: Shabazz Palaces And THEESatisfaction". Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  7. ^ Erdman, Derek. "Nardwuar: Our Man in Canada". The Stranger. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  8. ^ "Why Should I Give a Fuck About the Ghetto Chilldren?". The Stranger. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  9. ^ "Download this: Vitamin D's "Funk on Sight" mix". The Seattle Times. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2017-04-15.