Ryan “Rev Shines” Shortell is best known as one-third of Quannum hip-hop act Lifesavas, but he’s also one of this country’s legendary crate-diggers. A beat fanatic who can name the source of nearly every sample he hears, Shortell was indoctrinated into hip-hop’s inner circle during a long stint at Portland record store Jump Jump, where he sold inspiration (in the form of obscure vinyl) to the likes of J Dilla and Pete Rock. Shines continues to push beats, as well as run his fledgling label, Shine Language, and DJ frequently about town. We caught up with him for a tour of PDX’s essential hip-hop stops.
Just Be Complex/Compound Gallery
107 NW 5th Ave.
My boys own this place–it’s a clothing and toy store downstairs, and a gallery upstairs. They’ve got a lot of stuff imported from Japan. I’m not a big toy collector–I just have a few figures from that Adult Swim show Metalocalypse; I mainly come here to buy sneakers. There are a couple other boutiques and skate shops in town that carry some Air Max 90s, but Complex has the all-out Nike account so they always have the crazy colors. I’m a sneaker head, but I’m not a collector. What’s the point of having them if you don’t wear them? I’m trying to wear more collared shirts, though–the girls go crazy for those.
214 NW Couch St.
This is where I buy new hip-hop releases. This store’s been around for 10 years; my boy DJ Kez, who plays with me at The Fix, owns it. They used to have a ton of in-stores here–I remember watching Aesop Rock in that corner and this place was packed. As for new stuff, I really like Blu from C.R.A.C. and Guilty Simpson. Also, Shawn Jackson and Newman from Giant Panda–they recently came to Portland to record a whole album in a week. [The project] is called New Jack Hustle–the beats are solid, the rapping is good, Vursatyl’s got a verse on there, and Murs’ verse is insane.
2716 SE 21st St.
I got my first tattoo in January… Sorry, Mom! It’s script on my wrist that says “Don’t Forget.” (If you know me, you know I’m always forgetting something.) Ever since then I’ve been hooked. My friend Brian educated me on the difference between good tattoo artists and bad tattoo artists, and that’s how I met Jacob Redmond. I knew I wanted a samurai, and Jacob happens to specialize in Japanese styles, so I let him do whatever he wanted. This one’s for the ladies–those wifebeater shots kill ’em every time!
La Calaca Comelona
2304 SE Belmont St.
I would always drive by here and bug out because the skeleton statues outside are the same as the graphic on Skullsnaps, which is this famous old funk record (it’s the beat behind tons of famous hip-hop records). I later learned about Dia de Los Muertos, but I still think about it every time I come here. They have big platters that I’m sure are dope, but when I’m in a Mexican mood I’m also in a cheap mood, so I always get the carne asada tacos and the al pastor tacos. Delicious!
3130 SE Hawthorne Blvd. #B
This is a big store with over 35 different vendors–anybody that wants to sell their records here can. That means there’s, like, 20 rock sections, eight soul sections, and on and on. You could come here every day and there would be something different, because another dealer might have brought in a new stack of records. I’ve been here with J Dilla, ?uestlove, Spinna, Kenny Dope. People are going to hate me for blowing up this spot, but oh well.
The Fix at Someday Lounge
125 NW 5th Ave.
Every Thursday night, you’ll find me down at The Fix with Ohmega Watts, Kez, Dundiggy, and Ronin Roc. It’s pretty much a place for us to play whatever we want, from funk and soul to hip-hop and classics. Lately, it’s really been popping off. Seems like anyone who is in town will roll through, from Cut Chemist to LeBron James!
Favorite Portland artist:
Pleasure. They were the best funk/soul band from the Northwest in the '70s and '80s. Really classic breaks.