Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

From Basics To Based: Grab One Hour of 'Dope' Bay Area Rap

Posted By on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 9:58 AM

click to enlarge Swag!
  • Swag!


Believe it or not, "Digital Underground" used to mean something other than that secret server farm 400 feet beneath South Park. Want proof? This just in from the Good Records blog, via Tumblin' Erb: Cities of Dope, an expertly mixed and surprisingly instructive hour of Bay Area rap.

Jonny Paycheck -- not to be confused with the late honky-tonking rebel Johnny Paycheck -- takes it back to the scene's golden early days, with old-skool numbers from the likes of RBL Posse and Rappin' 4 Tay, gems from luminaries like E-40 (a lot of E-40, in fact) and the late hyphy progenitor Mac Dre, classics from The Coup and Too $hort, and deep cuts from Eyedle Mode and expansive backpack crew Bored Stiff. Also, some young upstart named Lil B.

My personal favorites come late in the mix's second act, including the freewheeling thuggery of San Quinn's

"Shock the Party" and Black Dynasty's 2Pac-channeling, Ice

Cube-referencing pseudo-unity anthem "Deep East Oakland." And of course

it's always a pleasure to hear The Coup's "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night," especially in its regional context. And check the way this E-40 beat adds a little Cali funk to the principles of Big Boi's "Shine Blockas," more than 15 years before the fact.


For me, the best part of Cities of Dope -- and at the same time the most humbling -- is the occasion to dig a little deeper into the work of the acts I've never heard of and see how long most of them have been around, how tirelessly they've been peddling their wares since, in some cases, the early 90s. Hell, look at San Quinn's discography. By comparison, Lil B's overnight fame seems kind of scandalous (although, to be fair, his contribution here, "Myspace," finds him at just about his most lucid and listenable).

Anyway, stream or download the mix here and take an hour to appreciate the depth of the scene. Here's an epigraph, courtesy of The Dereliks' "Searching for the Perfect Beat":


Scene two: I seen these two members of this crew that I didn't like, acting like he didn't see me

I hesitated 'cause I wasn't gonna say shit -- but if I didn't, that wouldn't be west coast, now would it?

So whatchu wanna do, whatchu wanna do? We spoke about the revolution,

then came to the conclusion that the rhyme was our solution

----
Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Daniel Levin Becker @dlb, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Daniel Levin Becker

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"