No Superhero

Victor Shade beats a new metaphor.

Sipping his trademark 12-ounce triple-shot mocha through a full-bearded smile, Ryan Abeo looks every bit the superhero in disguise. Known best as RA Scion, the voice of Common Market (his collaboration with Blue Scholars' DJ Sabzi), the MC's latest incarnation is a new project with producer MTK called Victor Shade—the alter ego of Marvel Comics, android-superhero The Vision.The concept came after the passing of Abeo's brother-in-law Jimmy, a prolific comic-book collector who created a detailed list of superhero identities for friends and family before his death. RA Scion's superhero was Victor Shade, and upon further investigation he discovered a number of similarities betwen himself and the illustrated hero."It's definitely not literal, and I haven't yet found that I've had the ability to stick my arm in somebody and make them explode," he said. "I don't have superpowers, but what I do have is the conflict and identity struggle."Abeo isn't alone in his continual identity crises, brought on by pseudonym shifts and out-of-scope day jobs. While VS producer MTK doesn't see superpowers in himself either, he relates to one of the biggest issues at the heart of the project."Do I identify with the idea of being a superhero? No," said MTK. "I make beats, and I don't place myself on any pedestal for that. I've gone through the egotistical stage already, and have the gift of 20/20 hindsight to realize how silly all of that shit really is. But I relate to the duality."By taking his experiences in Seattle into account, Abeo sees his most recent project as more Seattle-centric than anything he's done—a new metaphor reflecting the illustrator's original intentions of mirroring society."It's not gang talk, it's not just gun-and-drug talk, and it's nothing that people would think I wouldn't be writing about," he said. "But under this pretext of the comic realm, you start to talk about what's happening in the streets. You have this conflict that exists in the comic world between good and evil."Aside from the obvious content shift away from the more politically charged material Common Market came to be known for, Victor Shade has taken on a much more earnest and aggressive sound to match its subject matter. Drawing on inspiration from some hard times, MTK approached his beat-making without any preconceived notions—except that "all he wanted was for it to be hardbody."While the self-titled debut release will most likely remain available only digitally, Abeo assures fans that the duo is already working on Victor Shade II in the same way that left its debut sounding pleasantly unpolished."That's the intention, to keep creating music without any real defined plan," he said. "We didn't establish any such plan when we put together the Victor Shade album, and that's the way it should be. If anyone considers the first release to be unofficial, Victor Shade II will be proper."

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