Return of THEE Boss

Stasia Irons—one-half of THEESatisfaction—has chops. As a rapper, she gravitates toward the stickiest parts of the beat and leans on thick, satisfying rhymes. Her terse, bouncy words make an event of each passing drum hit. As a producer, she squishes jazz and soul samples into tight loops with vigorous, traipsing bass lines. 

Irons, who moved to Brooklyn last year, returns to Seattle to DJ a dance party this weekend. The show is put on by groupmate Catherine Harris-White’s new event production company Space Theory and also features a slew of underground MCs local and non. (Stream her Soundcloud selections—deep, funky, slinky and spacious soul—here.)

I talked with Irons, who DJs under the name Stas THEE Boss, about her move to Brooklyn, its effect on her work and coming back to Seattle.

City Arts: When did you move to Brooklyn? Whereabouts? Did you have any contacts out there?

Stasia Irons: I moved to Brooklyn last year, June 21. I live in Bed-Stuy right by the Marcy Projects. I have a lot of people I fuck with heavily that live in NY and family members. 

What prompted your move?

A number of things. I’d lived in Seattle/Tacoma my whole life and I needed to bounce. I felt stagnant. I was hungry for different images that could inspire me. I fell in love. I wanted the new experience. I’ve been having an interesting time adjusting because the winter was so brutal during the Polar Vortex. I’d never been that cold before! I couldn’t write anything but I made tons of beats. Spring and summer in Brooklyn are magical and I live for that time. Every time I start getting homesick, I remember not having anything fun to do on a Friday or Saturday night in Seattle. 

Ishmael Butler made some Brooklyn-centric music in Digable Planets. Have you talked to him much about Brooklyn as a place?

I usually just ask him about the weather and why he didn’t prepare me for the extremes. There are some elements of Brooklyn that’ll never change and it’s cool that we can share that experience together. I listen to the jams he made back then and he truly captured the vibe.

Race has always been central to TheeSatisfaction’s movement and identity. How do you see Seattle in the context of race and gentrification right now?

Seattle was “Gentrifried Fresh” when I was getting ready to leave. It’s not solely a Seattle phenomenon; it’s happening in Brooklyn, Oakland, Minneapolis. I’m sure that the South End now probably looks like Ballard and the new South End is probably Kent and Auburn. Change is good though. 

TheeSatisfaction has built itself on organic creation; how has distance affected that process of creation?

There’s no distance at all really. We’re telepathic and tuned-in. Both of us share the music we make, we’re still on the same wave. I know that will never change. I think now that we’re covering more ground. It’s easier for us to connect to other artists.

How are you feeling about coming back to Seattle? What are you looking forward to most?

I plan on eating Paseo’s. I need to roll down Lake Washington Drive. I need one good drunken night on the Hill with my oldest friends.

You’re one of my favorite people to watch perform. Did touring after the album’s release change your relationship with performance? 

I love being on the stage; I yearn for it. Touring made me a better artist because I learned ways to keep things fresh. I’m never tired of doing things that I love. I’m never tired of eating Haribro Gummi Bears. They taste the same every time.

Stas THEE Boss DJs at Re-Bar with MoRuf, OC Notes and Porter Ray on Saturday, June 7.