In an industry filled with coastal bias, it's about time someone from the West Coast, more importantly the Bay Area, was given the opportunity to shed light on our side of things. Welcome to a West Coast State of Mind, where I'm only bias sometimes, but at least I'll admit it. - Ill Will ([email protected])
In a conversation with a dear friend of mine the subject of what I want in life came up. My response was something to the extent of, all I want is for the people around me to be cool. For them to blow up, succeed and for the majority of their dreams to come true. I'll never forget her response... "You ever think that they're waiting for you?" Never once, but maybe it's because I feel like in the greater scheme of things that I truly ain't shit. You can't blame me, though. The San Francisco Bay Area has a way of belittling everything. The birthplace of "Playas" is also the birthplace of "Playa Haters." Few recognize what I do out here, even fewer appreciate it. Don't get me wrong it feels great when I go out of town and meet people and they genuinely know my work and love it, but I never wanted that- I want my home to be proud. The flaw in that want is our home isn't even proud of itself. That changes now.
Why doesn't New York, or damn near anywhere else for that matter (even LA), respect Northern California's rap scene? Because Northern California doesn't respect it. In most regions you'll find at least one local song in rotation, out here, just recently they added two for the first time in three years. One of them was Goapele, who had to go to LA and blow up before KMEL jumped on her extremely dope single. The other song was a pawn in the radio stations fucked up way of once again shitting on the Bay Area. After a week or so of the song being added, they dropped it. It was a set up. But it's beyond the radio stations, Hip-Hop was born, raised and has taken comfort in living in the streets. And for some reasons, love don't live here anymore. That changes now.
Honestly, I don't blame them. The west coast's problem has been that it's held on to the same artists for over a decade without anything fresh reinventing the scene. And those same artists gave up a long time ago. They truly turned an art form into the new dope game. JT The Bigga Figga, who was once a rising star, saw a glimpse of the bleak future and sped the game up three notches, flooding the stores with garbage, recycled albums to make some money. Get your money boy, game recognizes game, right? Local artists started acting like hoes, selling themselves to ballers itching to get in. Distributors like Bayside Entertainment gave pressing and distribution deals to any piece of shit that could record an album , and after a few times of taking chances and getting bit, avid supporters said "fuck it" and began to tune into the Roc-A-Fella radio matrix that is Big Von's Chop Shop on KMEL (Please note that Von has been making an attempt to making things better with the Bay Area Battles and his recent breaking of, "Everybody In Da Club", by The Team-a very hot record on the upcoming Bay Area Playas 5).
Before we go any further, let's re-cap. I love the Bay Area, the radio stations hate us, the forefathers of our scene eventually led to its demise by releasing garbage to make money.
Destroy and rebuild is the new plan. A decade ago the Bay began its rise to almost greatness and fell short. Expect a different ending this time around. What's power if you don't exercise it? I have the forum to speak on whatever's on my mind, I don't believe this one piece will change anything, but it might spark something else from someone else. It's time for a formal introduction to the The Bay Area's new hope.
1. Keak Da Sneak isn't someone I'd consider a part of the new bay, but right about now he's in great position to do something big. He's the Bay Area's top seller and his albums that are released on Moe Doe Ent. are the best put together records in the Bay-period. His third solo, Copium, is dope as fuck! The production is half handled by Rick Rock, and the other half by E-A-Ski. Here's a warning though, his flow is an acquired taste. But he's the epitome of Oakland. Oh, and he's where E-40 got "Fo Sheezy" from.
2. Next up is Frontline. For those that watched MTV's emcee battle, the one guy from California in the entire thing placed second. Yeah, Locksmith- the guy that was fucking robbed of a victory in front of millions- makes up one half of the Richmond duo Frontline. Lock is raw as fuck and that's why Left- the other member- is barely ever mentioned. Left is dope too, it's just that most come second to Locksmith. They just put out a dope-ass mixtape and are working on their album, which is coming out very tight.
3. Another group that is making noise is F.E.-Fuck Everybody. Sound familiar? Mr. Kee, Dutch and Dap are the original Fuck Everybody boys, I came along, loved their music, loved their concept and incorporated it into what I was doing. I'm releasing their album July 22. Don't think it's some Benzino/ Source shit goin' on though. These kids are really dope.
4. San Quinn, like Keak Da Sneak is an artist that's been around for quite some time, but as a part of JT The Bigga Figga's GLP. In the past few years he's really established himself as someone to look out for for. If only he could get his shit together. My diagnosis from the outside looking in that he has too many people pulling at him in different directions and that tends to have people standing in the same place.
5. Straight Hits Entertainment is a company I would bet on to, without a doubt, make a lot of noise and a lot of money, for many reasons (The main one we'll keep a secret, I won't bust out the flying Archers just yet. LOL) They have two rap artists, both with two distinctive styles. Mistah F.A.B.m and Preach Martin (pronounced Mar-teen). F.A.B. is a Wake-Up Show favorite and gained a lot press early this year and was featured in The Source, among other publications. His debut didn't take too well with the Hip-Hop community but his young, mad-talented and what they're getting ready to drop in November is crazy as hell. Their other guy, Preach, spits that pimp shit with a 2003 twist and if he'd ever finish his god damn record he's capitalize on the buzz he's got with his single "Bad Misses." It's hard to pinpoint why Staright Hits will succeed, but you know how when one person makes a move, everyone else scrambles to try and do something? Well, S.H. is the type to just sit ca! lm! and cool because they have a plan and know what they're doing. I'd love to put out a project with them. Jazzy, what up.? LOL
5. There's a new group out of Oakland called The Team who's real hot right now, they have this single called "Everybody In Tha Club" that's on fire and KMEL is supporting it to certain extent. These kids have definite crossover potential. Their working on their debut "The Negro League" coming out on Moe Doe Entertainment ( The same label as Keak Da Sneak) I'm defeinitley expecting a very good album from them this October.
6. More Oakland kids building a buzz, respectively, are Balance and Esinchill. Balance is a smart dude and rolls with Fronline. He's a got a strong voice and good vocal presence, but I actually see him making more of an impact behind the scenes. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see me and him working on something together in the new future (maybe a Frontline album??? LOL!) The other cat, Esinchill, is receiving his recognition from just straying form the norm. He's one some other shit, almost, sorta like Devin, but not really. You gotta hear him to get what I'm sayin', but I'm definitely feelin' him.
Other mentions deserved are Rick Rock's Federation, they've got a deal with Virgin and their album comes out in October. You have to believe that Rick would save his best production for his own gain, so expect some heat. I just wish he'd help out the scene a little more like E-A-Ski does. Speaking of, E-A-Ski he just dropped a past and present mix cd that's hard as fuck. Ski's got dope tracks and what's even better, he fucks with the new kids. What he should do is grab one of them and maybe some real moves would be made.
Well, that's about all for now, I handled mine. It's time for ya'll to do your part.