Thirty-year-old San Francisco native San Quinn (Quincy Brooks IV) has been releasing independent rap records for exactly half of his life, rhyming mainly about his Fillmore District turf. His seventh solo album, From a Boy to a Man, is his first as executive producer. It chronicles his growing pains as he tries to bring a taste of San Francisco's streets to the rest of the world.
If he succeeds, it will be because of songs like "One of Them Gangsters," which shatters S.F.'s idyllic image in a hail of bullets. Another highlight, "My Zone," could easily be about drug traps in Atlanta or Detroit but focuses on the Fillmore. Quinn reflects on the violent desperation of youth when he raps, "In my zone, the area that I call home/In my zone, young baby boy with the chrome ... call shots through a Metro phone/Old beef never left alone." Throughout the record, the instrumentation has a flair for the dramatic, with minor key flourishes and crisp, lively beats. It's distinctly different from the decidedly happier hyphy synthesizer aesthetic that has recently grown in influence locally. From a Boy to a Man is the strongest release to date from an important San Francisco voice, but he'll still have to get on the road and perform to really spread the word.