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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

8 Hyphy-Related Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:47 AM

Bet ya didn't know that July 5 is Mac Dre Day in Oakland
  • Bet ya didn't know that July 5 is Mac Dre Day in Oakland

It's easy to identify hyphy music, but it's not so easy to chart its origins and evolution. In an attempt to compile the genre's "oral history," Complex gathered 14 Bay Area representatives — which included longtime artists, like E-40, Too $hort, and Mistah F.A.B.; newcomers, like Kamaiyah; DJs, like Big Von; and a slew of randoms, such as Mac Dre's mom, Wanda Salvatto, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, and Mac Dre's former manager, Stretch — and interviewed them about the musical trend and movement, or as E-40 called it, "lifestyle." 

It's a long article, so we did the digging for you and plucked out eight surprising facts that you might not have known about hyphy. Given that today is Mac Dre's birthday — the event will be celebrated tonight at The Regency Ballroom — we figured it would be appropriate to spend some time mulling over hyphy and reflecting on the ways in which it succeeded and could have gone further. So without further ado...

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sacramento Rapper Mozzy Releases Mandatory Check And It's Just As Dark And Gangsta As You'd Expect

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 12:56 PM

Dilettante rap fans might not know who Mozzy is — yet — but hardcore hip-hop heads, especially in California, have been following him since he exploded on the scene in 2015 with his highly-lauded album, Bladadah. (Rolling Stone named it the 22nd best rap album of 2015.) 

“It's like anywhere I go in the Bay Area, any mall they scream my name," the 28-year-old told Vice. "Everywhere I go they take pictures, they want autographs, any new merchandise I get they eat it up it sells out within a week,” 

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Get Off Your Cell Phone and Listen to Rapper Rexx Life Raj's New Single, "Handheld GPS"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 1:21 PM

  • Audible Treats
  • Rexx Life Raj

In Rexx Life Raj's new single, "Handheld GPS" — off of his upcoming debut, Father Figure — the Berkeley rapper waxes poetic about our technology-obsessed society and the distractions that our devices pose.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Premiere: Listen to Oakland Rapper Tree Thomas' Second EP, Your Eyes

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Twenty-six-year-old Oakland rapper Tree Thomas is a testament to doing multiple things with one's life. After graduating from Portland State University in 2012, the six-foot-eight MC moved to Malta, a small island nation off the coast of Italy, to play basketball for its national team. For two years he balled professionally, before moving back stateside to pursue a career as a rapper. (Although, he penned his debut mixtape, 2013's Peach Street, while in Malta. Talk about multi-tasking!) 

He followed Peach Street with a self-titled EP released last year, and today he drops his newest project, the EP Your Eyes, premiered here on SF Weekly. Over glitchy, synth-driven beats produced by Jay Ant of The Heartbreak Gang, Thomas spits acerbic witticisms in his characteristic laidback flow.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Premiere: Berkeley Rapper Rexx Life Raj Pays Homage to Steph Curry in His Spacy, Cavernous New Song, "Young Wardell"

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 12:04 PM

You know what's great about Steph Curry? Well, there's a lot of things that are great about him — he's a team player, a great shooter, a nice dude, and a seemingly dope dad — but what gets us going is his road to success. Despite the fact that he's neither the tallest nor fastest guy on the court, he worked his ass off to be the best player that he could, and you know what? It paid off. 

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Monday, May 23, 2016

East Bay Rapper Caleborate Drops a New Video and Announces His Next Album, 1993

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 12:59 PM

  • 36neex
Berkeley rapper Caleborate — who we believe will be the next big thing to come out of the East Bay — drops a new music video today for his song, "El Bandito," off of his 2015 album, Hella Good. The lush, melodic track, which melds well with the 23-year-old's athletic, deliberate flow, was produced by Bay Area natives Drew Banga and 1-O.A.K. 

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Moment of Truth: The Top 7 Bay Area Hip-Hop Albums of 2015

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 10:16 AM


Moment of Truth’s first year comes to a close and it’s been a pleasure covering hip-hop in the Bay throughout 2015. If the year in music showed us anything, it’s that hip-hop artists in the area are getting more comfortable with stepping outside of any previously established Bay area norms. Where we’ve always been a hyphy-heavy hip-hop community, the bass-forward sound isn’t the only way to create viable hip-hop that hits.

Not gonna lie, I’m hella proud to claim all of the artists on this list as part of the Bay area hip-hop community. There’s way more than these seven to shout out, but these were the ones that stood out above the rest. With that, here’s Moment of Truth’s Top 7 Bay Area Hip-Hop Albums of 2015:

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Moment of Truth: An Enigmatic 10 Years of Blue Sky Black Death

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 12:00 PM

  • Ricky Powell

Blue Sky Black Death is a sequential skydiving term that refers to the yin-yang symbolism of the sky and the jumping-off point. The concept contrasts the beauty of the blue sky with the dark foreboding ground, whereupon skydivers accept that their blissful experience will always carry the possibility of death.

Blue Sky Black Death (BSBD) is also the prolific production duo of Oakland-based Ian Taggart (Young God) and Seattle-native Kingston Maguire (Kingston). Their 15 album discography includes productions featuring Gang Starr’s Guru, hip-hop Renaissance woman Jean Grae, and up and comers Deniro Farrar (on the fantastic Cliff of Death volumes) and Nacho Picasso. 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Moment of Truth: Catching Up With Peanut Butter Wolf

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 1:18 PM

  • Isaac Sterling

Peanut Butter Wolf and his Stones Throw Records label are a part of the very fabric of hip-hop today. Among the label's hundreds of releases are classics like Madvillain's Madvillainy, J-Dilla's Donuts and Lootpack's Soundpieces: Da Antidote. Wolf is Chris Manak, a San Jose native who owns and operates the Stones Throw label in L.A., but graces the Bay Area with appearances on the regular. And every show promises something unusual, engaging and intriguing for hip-hop heads.

The last time Manak was in the Bay, he dropped a “Breaks and Beats” set at Brick & Mortar Music Hall of all 45rpm vinyl recordings. It was a unique explosion of funk, soul, and hip-hop that left a memorable PB Wolf imprint on the crowd. This Sunday, Manak is dropping a set at Social Hall SF. We caught up with him after a show he played in El Paso. He shed light on the state of the vinyl industry, Kanye West appearing in the Stones Throw documentary, and some exciting upcoming releases for the label. Check it:

You cool with me calling you Chris, or should I call you Wolf?

Anything but Peanut [laughs] The French call me Peanut, The English call me Wolf, and the Japanese call me Peanush Buttah.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Moment of Truth: 8 Thoughts After SF MusicTech

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 2:35 PM


Moment of Truth is SF Weekly's Hip-Hop column, appearing every week on All Shook Down. 

SF MusicTech descended upon the Kabuki Hotel in Japantown for its 18th Summit this past Tuesday. This was an opportunity to get a snapshot of the crossroads between tech innovation and musical creativity in our unique Bay Area climate. On the surface, SF MusicTech wasn't much different from other tech conferences, pinning together like minds to foster business connections and deal-making. But it was unique at its core, in that it put the music industry at the center of every single discussion. 

I largely looked at the day from my hip-hop lens, but often stepped outside of that to fully appreciate what went down across the board. With that, here's some highlights:

A disconnect exists between tech companies and artists

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  • 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.'"