When people think of the Bellingham Music Scene, rap is defiantly not the first genre that comes to mind. The mainstream hits of the genre frequently play at parties, but a meaningful performance is extremely hard to come by. That is what makes rapper Scotty Sensei so special. In a town that does not heavily engage in rap, 21-year old Scott Howell was able to breakthrough the mold and make a name for himself.
Originally from Langley, Canada, Howell has lived in Bellingham since he was 11-years old. Although Howell is not originally from Bellingham, it is where the persona Scotty Sensei was born.
“The sensei thing came because when I first started making music I felt like I was trying to teach something,” Howell said. “It has a nice ring to it, the s flow.”
The sights of the city are in many of Howell’s music videos. He filmed sections of his 2015 FYWF video during a performance at Bellingham’s Make.Shift Art Space—a venue notable for curating local artistic talent. The Bellingham Bay is also the backdrop for sections of the music video for ANGLS off Scotty Sensei’s solo album Kanji.
Scotty Sensei’s music video for ANGLS dropped in October 2016
In the four years he been releasing music, a lot changed for Howell. He began his career as part of the group The Cinematiks, while his lastest album release Kanji includes no features. It is pure, uncut emotion strait from Howell to the listener.
“The Sensation was more hoping and dreaming about certain things and Kanji was more of a reality, what was actually happening in my life,” Howell explained. “It’s more real. It’s not sugar coated cotton candy type of shit, it’s actually me expressing all my emotions and understanding the darkness.”
Although Howell moved on from The Cinematiks, he brought one member with him on his solo venture. Longtime friend Collin Ness, or Dextro, produces almost all of his tunes. They worked together to produce Kanji, and the duo was proud to share their creation with the world during a their headlining album release party performance this past December at the Wild Buffalo.
Throughout his career, Howell gathered inspiration from artists such as Mos Def and Del the Funky Homosapien, and recently worked on a collaboration with one of his other inspirations—LA based artist Blu. Working on a track with one of his idols was a standout career moment for Howell.
Howell is currently working on more singles and a music video for his latest release IDK. This video will be releasing soon, so make sure to subscribe to his Youtube channel and give his Soundcloud a follow to keep up with Scotty Sensei’s newest releases.
What’s your favorite Scotty Sensei song? Have you seen him perform? What artists do you want to see in our Bellingham Artist Feature Series? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!