Hyphy is dead, sure -- but Mistah Fab is very much alive.
The Oakland rapper, provocateur, former hyphy spokesman, and wordsmith has had quite the year so far, dropping two street albums, wowing an SXSW audience (and others) with his freestyles, and maintaining a Twitter feed that is at times hilarious and fiercely combative.
And frankly, we ourselves have no idea what to expect from his set. Fab has dropped two street albums so far this year, both of them vastly different. On I Found My Backpack, released in January, Fab leans toward more conscious-rap territory: Over old-school beats, he rhymes about how he gets blamed for the failure of hyphy to break out of the Bay Area, the loss of his mother, and the rampant violence in his hometown of Oakland. He puts his rapping out in front, especially on tracks like "Boom Bap," whose pared-down sonics seem designed to remind the listener that Fab's lyrical skills never went anywhere.
But on The Grind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste 2, Fab returns to full-on gangsta swagger, rising atop synth-laced bangers to celebrate sex, being awesome, and the inadequacy of his rivals. If I Found My Backpack showed off Fab's sensitive side -- and even that's a stretch -- The Grind 2 is something of a return to the more celebratory themes of his earlier hyphy work.
And most recently, Fab -- who says he no longer smokes weed or does other drugs -- rhymes about another addiction that will doubtless be familiar to his fans: sneakers:
Whichever side of him we get, we're excited to see him on an S.F. stage on Aug. 6, along with Crystal Castles and other great local artists. Stay tuned to this blog this week as we unveil the other performers at SF Weekly's second annual All Shook Down Fest. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.