By Black Dog Bone
From Murder Dog Vol 14 #2
In the Bay we had the Mobb sound and then we saw the coming of the Hyphy sound. I feel like Hyphy hasn’t even started yet. The sound is still in the making. What do you think?
Definitely, and I’ll always support the Hyphy movement. Personally, my music pertains more to Mobb and street shit. But all swagger is different in the new generation in the Bay. As far as what we rap about, our style, the way we dress. It’s a new sound, a new wave, it’s a new movement, and I feel that I’m one of the front runners of this new Bay shit. Even though my music is more on the street shit I’m a Hyphy soldier. We gonna bring this shit over to the mainstream and make sure we stay in the game with it. It’s the best thing smokin out here in the Bay.
Lyrically you’re talking about the Gangsta lifestyle, but how would you describe your music? Is it more up tempo like Hyphy?
I got the Rick Rock track on my album called “Scrape Scoot”. I got The Federation and Turf Talk on there. I’m putting extreme lyrics over all typa beats. I got a whole bunch shit. When I did the “Scrape Scoot” song I let Federation do what they do, I let Turf Talk do what he do, I let Rick Rock do what he do, and I just spit my straight street shit over that beat and it worked out good. I did the song with Droop-E a couple of years ago called “Meet the Dillas”, which is another up tempo Hyphy kind of track, and I spit some more street shit and it worked out. I’m finding a way to mesh shit all together. My shit, I definitely would describe it more as street, but I’m definitely with the Hyphy movement.
The whole thing about Rap is that it’s gonna always have the street element. You can’t take the street out of Rap. It could be Crunk music or Hip Hop or Hyphy, it’s still gonna have the street element.
That’s right, cause Hyphy came from the streets. It was in the streets long before the Rap thing. Hyphy has grown into a lotta different things. Like Mistah FAB has taken Hyphy to a different level, like for the kids. FAB is definitely for the kids, getting the kids involved. People like myself, we go the gritty grimy sound. It’s so many different ways to go with it, but FAB is takin it mainstream. The Hyphy movement is definitely from the streets.
Originally where are you from?
I’m from the San Francisco, Filmore district. I came up under San Quinn for a long time at Done Deal Entertainment.
You’re working with Done Deal?
I used to be with Done Deal. I’m signed to Koch now. My album came out on October 3 of last year, about 5 months ago.
What a lot of artists and producers are saying is that Hyphy was going on in the streets for a while, and they came and made the music to go along with it. Is that the way you see it?
I definitely agree with that. Hyphy music is the soundtrack to a lifestyle. It was a lifestyle first. The Bay Area’s always been diverse. We had MC Hammer, then we Hip Hop groups like Hieroglyphics, as well as the Too Short pimp shit. We never had one defined sound. Now we have a defined identity in the Bay. When you think of the Bay you think of Hyphy. The rappers in the Bay woke up to the Hyphy movement and made a soundtrack to it. It exploded over here and eventually it’s gonna explode everywhere.
What I see is that people everywhere in the country are really excited about the Hyphy sound. Because it came only from the Bay, it’s not in Atlanta or New York or the Midwest. It’s unique to the Bay Area.
Right here. It’s something we can call our own. It’s our answer to Crunk and it’s definitely home-bred. The roots is right here.
Just seeing the people and their styles in the Hyphy movement is entertaining. People are getting real creative with how they dress and present themselves.
No doubt. Everybody’s dressing wild. The kids go crazy at the shows! They be havin their own mosh pits in the middle of the crowd. The whole crowd goes crazy. It’s high energy. Everybody’s having a good time. I call it “controlled chaos”. People are dancing and doing crazy shit, but it’s staying positive. It’s under control, nobody’s getting hurt. People aren’t taking it too serious. It came from the streets, so the music is made so the kids can get involved. Artists are bringin it so the kids can play around with it.
Another nice change is that the artists are able to make good money doing shows. A few years ago those opportunities where there.
Most definitely, this movement is paying off for all of us. I’m taking care of my daughter from this music. I’m doing a lotta stuff, travelling all over the country and seeing that I wouldn’t have been able to see without this Rap. I’m enjoying it.
How old are you and how long have you been doing music?
I’m 25 years old. I came in the game when I was 16. My first album came out on Done Deal in 2000. I was in the group called Fully Loaded. It used to be me, Bailey and Don Toriano. We was up under San Quinn. Now I’m solo. I got the deal with Koch and E-40 got behind me. We did a lot last year. We did 106 and Park, MTV, Jam of the week. We did a lotta shit.
How did you get the deal with Koch? How did the ball start rolling for you?
Koch took a chance on me like a year ago. They were interested, then 40 vouched for me and we closed the deal. I just had to start getting my buzz up so I did a few mixtapes with the Demolition Men. I did my own mixtape and I came out with a song called “That’s the Business” produced by E-A-Ski. It was slow at the beginning, but then we decided to shoot a video for it. Then it just went crazy. The video made it to MTV. It made it to BET. It made it to VH1 and it just got crazy after that. I started selling out shows out here. I’m still building up the buzz, I’m still not satisfied, but I’m definitely goin in the right direction.
In the Bay Area, as much as the rappers, the producers are shaping the sound. There are a lot of real creative producers coming out right now.
A lot of ‘em. I think you already talked to my in-house producer, Mal Amazing. That’s my personal producer, he does all my shit. Like Traxamillion, Mal Amazing, Young L, Droop-E. It’s a bunch of young talented dudes. Mal, Droop and L are all under 20 years old. Then you have Bedrock, Roblo, a lotta them. Hyphy is just starting to explode. It’s still in its baby stage. There’s so many new cats coming out just now. It’s a whole new sound being born and we’re definitely industry-ready. We’re ready to go all over the country with it. I know definitely The Pack are moving all over the country. I’m getting good response in New York and Down South and Midwest. Our sound has definitely matured. No offense to the old Bay, they paved the way for us, but it’s new blood now.
We all need to open the door for the new.
Exactly. I’m tryin to open up the doors for the younger cats comin up under me too. While I’m still tryin to get in the door, I’m gonna make sure the door stays open for everyone else.
Who are some of the new artists coming up that we should look out for?
One you definitely need to look out for—I call him my little brother, he’s straight outa Richmond—his name is The Gift. The guy is crazy! His flow is crazy. We’re developing him right now and getting him ready. He came out with an album one week after mine, but he didn’t have too much promotions behind him. Next time he comes out it’s gonna be over. He got a whole bunch of Hyphy joints on his album, he got Gangsta joints, he’s well-rounded. Another hot artist coming up is J. Stalin out there in Oakland, Beeda Weeda in Oakland, we got Boo Banger, D-Vo from Tha Gamblaz, outa San Francisco. Killa T’s from Lakeview, that’s San Francisco too. It’s a lotta young blood, man.
Are they more on the Hyphy or Mobb sound?
The Mobb sound has kinda like evolved now. The old sound of Mobb from ‘95/’96 with like RBL Posse, Get Low Playaz and the old E-40 shit. But now the beats for Mobb music are more up tempo, more party and fun. It’s changing. All these artists I named fall in between. Like if you listen to The Pack, they got their fans goin Hyphy, but they’re rappin about day-to-day street shit. Their hooks is real catchy and their beats are up-tempo.
Hyphy doesn’t have to be just about going dumb. Hyphy is a style of music where you can talk about anything. Don’t think it’s limited to any one subject.
I agree with you there. It’s got to be more than just typical Hyphy subjects. I want to expand the vocabulary of Hyphy. If all you talk about is ghostriding and going dumb it gets boring. If we riding this Hyphy wave we gotta keep it new and keep it fresh and keep new shit comin. We can do a thousand “Go Dum” songs. We gotta talk about them streets. Hyphy came from the streets, that’s where we got to keep it.
The music has changed and will continue to change. Who can say where it will go next year.
We keep expanding. All the new artists like Clyde Carson and the Team, myself, we’re giving ourselves room to grow. This shit is gonna get even crazier next year. We’ll continue to step our game up. We don’t wanna get locked in a box, we definitely want to keep our horizons open.
Who are you working with for production?
On my album E-A-Ski got a joint, Rick Rock, Droop-E, Mal Amazing. I got Rashad Williams. I got a whole bunch of new people too. I got the whole Bay on my album: Mistah FAB, The Team, Federation, Turf Talk, E-40, B-Legit, San Quinn. I got The Lox out of New York. On my new album I’m workin with Traxamillion a lot and a new producer named Automatic. Then Mal Amazing. I’m working on so much crazy shit.
Artists in the Bay are getting a lot more opportunities to perform than they used to. Have you seen a big change?
In the late 90’s maybe it was a show once every 2 or 3 months. And it would be somewhere far away like Modesto or something. Now the Bay Area Rap scene’s gotten so big that there’s shows every week. Artists are getting paid just to tour the Bay Area now. It’s never been like that. I’ve done 30 or 40 shows in the last 6 months out here. It’s picked up real good. Now Bay Area artists are celebrities in our own area. It used to be when we’d go to Kansas City or St. Louis or Denver we’d be stars out there. Now we’re stars right here. The radio KMEL is playing us, 94.9 is playin us. MTV is playin me, Frontline, The Pack, E-40. Now we’re celebrities at home. Now they’re payin their 20 to 30 dollars to see us perform at Club 17. It’s definitely a good look. I’m so happy, that’s why I don’t what this shit to burn out. We don’t wanna over-saturate it, we need to keep it fresh and new.
The local audience is supporting the Bay artists like they never did before. Now you can go platinum just selling records in the Bay Area.
Our only enemy is these bootleggers. But I can’t get mad at the consumers. I appreciate their support.