October 4, 2016

Evan Gabriel didn’t bet on the Browns this year.

To break a cycle, you have to go against the grain. While the Pacific Northwest has never been known as a hotbed for hip hop, there’s a litany of young talent not only in Seattle and Portland, but easily overlooked cities like Tacoma as well. Meet Dior Worthy, a Vancouver-via-Cleveland rapper who has been steadily building his name. Today, Passion of the Weiss premiers the visual for his newest joint, “Paycheck,” directed by Patrick Wilcox.

Worthy’s life, and musical career, have long been a balancing act between motivation and hopelessness, boombap and trap, homelessness and luxury. Raised partially in foster care, his mother eventually found East Cleveland unstable and moved the family to Vancouver, WA, when Worthy was in 2nd grade. He recalls feeling really out of place in such a white city. But music provided an audible sanctuary during his teen years. At Eastern Washington University he’d begun rapping seriously. Shortly after, he decided to pursue his passion full time, and dropped out.

Over the last year, he’s opened for Ty Dolla Sign, Jazz Cartier, Tory Lanez and YG. Thematically, Worthy often brushes shoulders with the upper echelon. In June, he performed at a Paris Fashion Week pop-up in collaboration with The Incorporated, who serves as Worthy’s creative director, and who directed “Opening Ceremony” and “The Kid.”

“Paycheck” is a buffet of bars, an intro to a budding artist from a region with a nascent hip hop presence, but a lot to say. In king of the junkyard fashion, Worthy raps vehemently at an army of relationships. The camo balances out the white fur coat; not too flashy, just the right amount of Boot Camp Clik meets Birdman.

“I’m telling them to strive for more than paycheck to paycheck,” Worthy says of “Paycheck’s” treatment over the phone. “I’m telling people to get away from that cycle.”

From sleeping on floors, to finessing his way into top-tier functions in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, Worthy’s music embodies dreams trumping the 9-5 stability. This is brass monkey in a champagne flute. It’s noble, daring, and rough around the edges. It’s payday.