The Northwest rap artist Rockwell Powers has teamed up with DJ Phnisey to contribute a new album to the hip-hop scene, and it just so happens that they got their start at Pacific Lutheran University.

Zach “Rockwell” Powers and DJ Phinisey have been making music since 2007, when they first met while living in the same residence hall at PLU.

Rockwell has opened for Northwest hip-hop legends such as Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Common Market, and he has been extremely active in the Northwest hip-hop scene. Phinisey made a name for himself as a prominent DJ in Northwest hip-hop scene, collaborating with artists such as RA Scion and Grynch.

The two released their album “Build” Oct. 16, featuring a number of  artists including RA Scion of Common Market and Xperience, who was a prominent figure in Macklemore’s second album “The Language of My World.”

“Build” is about an hour long and consists of 12 expertly crafted tracks.

It is beautifully composed with a combination of heavy, intense beats, lyrics filled to the brim with emotion and an outstanding ensemble of Northwest artists.

It’s obvious these guys put a lot of work into this album, and they did a phenomenal job of representing the Northwest hip-hop scene. This album is one of the best that has come from the Northwest.

There is not a track on the album that seems unlikable, but here are a few that are outstanding. “Alive” is filled with emotional lyrics pertaining to Powers’s life and is underlain by an uplifting and catchy beat infused with some heavy bass.

“Denial,” featuring Ra Scion, is another personal favorite. It features a heavy and dark electronic beat, with lyrics riddled with political undertones. The beat is extremely catchy and filled with a perfect combination of electronics and bass.

“No Bull,” featuring Jay Barz and Xperience, is another outstanding song. The song centers around the Northwest hip-hop scene, and is once again, filled with an extremely catchy beat and chorus.

The trio of rappers featured in this song showcases how each artists style compliments the others, making this one outstanding song. Plus, it focuses on Northwest hip-hop so one cannot help but love it.

Foe those new to Northwest hip-hop, “Build” is certainly a good place to start. “Build” features a number of outstanding local artists and really shows what the Northwest is made of.

This is an album that is highly recommended. It is available for download on iTunes and Amazon and is also available in the following Tacoma stores: Bleach, Feather & Oar and Kings Books.  Check out Rockwell Powers’s website for more information on the artist.

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