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Monday, November 5, 2012

Thizzler's Bay Area Freshmen 10 Cypher: Local Hip-Hop Tries To Get Its Game On

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Stevie Joe at the Freshman 10 Cypher.
  • Stevie Joe at the Freshman 10 Cypher.

Bay Area Freshmen 10 Class of 2011 Star Cypher

Rafael Casal, Richie Cunning, Mike-Dash-E, Show Banga, Young Bari, Damey, Young Gully, Lil Rae, Symba, Cousin Fix, Nikatine Da King, Shady Blaze, Erik Tha Jerk, Mistah FAB, Stevie Joe, Big Rich, Bailey

Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012

Brick & Mortar Music Hall

Better than: The "Home Turf" show on KMEL, though not quite as good as KMEL in its totality.

Hip-hop is certainly no meritocracy, and in a sterile, perennially under-nourished environment like the Bay Area, it can be a particularly tough line of work.

Just ask Stresmatic. A member of the once-famous Fairfield hyphy group The Federation, he's now an elder statesman of the Bay Area scene -- which basically means he's relegated to rapping hooks on other people's radio hits. He prefers listening to rock music these days (his new group is a rap-rock hybrid called 1st Place), and says it's doubtful The Federation will return to its original glory. "We all have kids," he explained.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Watch: E-40 and Too $hort Pretend They're Insensitive Men in 'Dump Truck'

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Too $hort and E-40 in "Dump Truck" video.
  • Too $hort and E-40 in "Dump Truck" video.

On "Dump Truck," the first single from E-40 and Too $hort's long-awaited collaborative double-album The History Channel (which drops on Nov. 6), the two longtime friends are joined by the youngsters in Travis Porter, which is not an individual but a group from Atlanta that's popular for making music for strip clubs. The video finds this collective crew popping up amidst a big room full of wiggling posteriors.

See also:

* What The Hell Is Too $hort Doing on VH1's Couples Therapy?

* The New Too $hort: Oakland Rapper Reconsiders His Image After a Scandal

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Top Five Tracks From the New Darkest Before Dawn Bay Area Rap Compilation

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM

darkest_before_dawn_mixtape.jpg

Yesterday, Atlanta-based production unit SMKA released Darkest Before Dawn, a 10-track album compilation that showcases the best of the Bay's MCs spitting over their beats. Featuring a roll call of rappers that includes Shady Blaze, The Jacka, Mistah FAB, Richie Cunning, and MC Zumbi, here's our primer to the five freshest collaborations on the project. You can download the whole thing for free, or stream it on Soundcloud.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

After 19 Years of "93 Til Infinity" Remakes, Only Freddie Gibbs Has Done It Justice

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

"93 'til Infinity" was released 19 years ago today.
  • "93 'til Infinity" was released 19 years ago today.

"Dial the seven digits. Call up Bridget/ Her man's a midget. Plus she got friends, yo, I can dig it..."

It was 19 years ago when Tajai, Opio, Phesto, and A-Plus first upped us on how they just chill, roaming the strip for bones to pick, attackin' with the smoothness.

"93 'til Infinity" still stands as one of the best hip-hop joints to ever come out of the Bay -- the West Coast's proudest contribution to the kicked-back, jazz-based, lyrically-complex rap style A Tribe Called Quest was making famous in the early '90s. For Souls of Mischief, that debut album, which bore the same name as its lead track, would be their most commercially successful. The record was released on Sept. 28, 1993 and, like the way the crew chilled, its legacy will persist 'til infinity.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mac Dre Thizz Face Mask Is Here, Just in Time To Go Dumb For Halloween

Posted By on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 2:49 PM

It could be yours, maybe.
  • It could be yours, maybe.

Halloween is just around the corner, and your winning costume has arrived: It's the Mac Dre thizz face mask, a $29.99 piece of rubber and fake hair shaped just like the face made by late Bay Area rap great Mac Dre while thizzin'. (White, extra-large T-shirt not included.)

Thizzin', not that we should have to remind you, is Bay Area slang for the state of being high on Ecstasy. And it is widely known that Mac Dre made the best thizz face of all time.

Hence the mask. We can't quite vouch for its legitimacy as a product yet -- we'll update this if we get more info -- but there's a pretty hilarious webpage selling these things with the pre-Halloween timing obviously in mind. And in case you want to make your own thizz face sans mask, here are some guidelines via Urban Dictionary:

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kreayshawn's "Go Hard": The Oakland-Bred Rapper Tries on Mallrat Pop

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM

kreayshawn_go_hard_grab.jpg

After a rather malnutritious return to the spotlight with "Breakfast," Kreayshawn, the Oakland-bred waif who sorta raps, is back today with a new video for "Go Hard," the second single off her upcoming full-length debut, Somethin 'Bout Kreay. So how is it? Well, like most of Kreayshawn's output, it's garish, boorish, foolish, and kinda fun. Here are our thoughts about "Go Hard" in seven quick bites:

1. Lil Debbie is back. We missed her. Yay!

2. Suppose we'll just have to get over tight lyrics not being a thing that Kreayshawn bothers with. The way the chorus only bothers with actual rhyme for the space of two lines just feels kind of cheap and hasty, as does the way she fills another time around the hook with those "La La La La"s. But she still lobbed this one just over the boundary line of "catchy."

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Premiere: Hip-Hop Crew 40Love Share "Tiki Tiki," Talk Working With Zion I's Zumbi and Their Crazy Animal Masks

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 3:30 AM

40Love lookin'... wild.
  • 40Love lookin'... wild.

The hip-hop troupe 40Love is currently in possession of the most famous animal masks in modern Bay Area music history. Having made their debut in the video for Wallpaper's "#Stupidfacedd," the plastic faces are now being sported by three-quarters of the group in promotional pictures for upcoming album Dreams Don't Sleep. It's a project which Miss Haze, the non-masked member of the group, promises will be hooked around the relationship between dreams, reality, and the power of "raw spiritual energy."

Ahead of Dreams Don't Stop's July 24 release, All Shook Down got its hands on an exclusive premiere of the new 40Love song "Tiki Tiki." A ferocious, electronic-tinged blast of Bay Area hip-hop funk, it also happens to feature a cameo from Zion I's MC Zumbi. It also seemed like a great excuse to check in with Miss Haze, G-OFF, and producer Mikos (sadly DJ Whooligan was AWOL when we tried to reach him) for a chat about ancient Chinese tales, getting remixed by Bassnectar, and the raw and undiluted power of animal masks.

What's the meaning behind the song title "Tiki Tiki"?

Miss Haze: It's a children's story set in ancient China about a kid who has too long of a name. The whole album is really a mission statement for the power of harnessing visions to transform reality. It's just a raw energy track.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Watch: New Local Rap Videos From Kool John, Erk Tha Jerk, Lil B and More

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Kool John and Plane Jane.
  • Kool John and Plane Jane.

It's been a lively few weeks in the world of local rap videos, and it seems by and large like people are stepping up their visual game with better cinematography and storylines. Here are some of our recent favorites:

Kool John and Plane Jane, "Me x My Sis"

In the past week, Richmond's Kool John has released this video and a free mixtape, Live From The New Bay V.1. He and the wonderfully self-assured pal Plane Jane demonstrate the kick-back nature of "shmop living" over a woozy rework of Da Brat's "Funkdafied" instrumental.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A-1 and Flosstradamus Flip Lana Del Rey into a Smooth Rap Track in "Now You Do"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Thirsty?
  • Thirsty?

Here, fresh off his inclusion in this year's KMEL/Thizzler Freshman 10 list of hot young Bay Area rappers, is San Francisco's own A-1, rolling through a corner store and pushing (mostly*) positivity over a Lana Del Rey-sampling beat produced by Flosstradamus. The Woo Staar-directed video is plain -- he buys a bottle of water and say hi to the homies -- but that doesn't matter, because A-1's flow is the important thing, the way it speeds up and slows down, rolling over the syllables of "...you never say a single intelligent word," or, even better, "... especially if you start me with a carbonated barley beverage."

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Friday, April 13, 2012

The Top Five Most Important Lessons From Lil B's NYU Lecture

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Lil B at NYU
  • Lil B at NYU

Props to The Fader, which has carefully transcribed Lil B's 86-minute lecture at NYU on April 11 in order to present a full Based Scripture (you can also listen below). What an act of love and extreme patience it was to note on paper B's patented go-somewhere-else sentences, which rarely conclude neatly.

But between B's endless non-sequiturs, the announcement of a forthcoming rock album with one of the "biggest artists in the world," and the obvious amusement of the students who came to lavish ironic laughter and cooking utensils on the Young Based God ("I would have worn a suit so y'all could take me seriously," he says at one point), there were lovely and simple life lessons that deserve more than the juvenile ridicule he was met with on Wednesday night in New York. (Read the Village Voice's full account.) Of all the advice he doled out, these are our favorites:

5. "Get gold teeth! Don't be thinking so hard, like, 'Oh, man, I can't get gold teeth.'"

Banish those negative thoughts of being rejected by society and grill it up, y'all. Your future rap career will thank you.

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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.'"