Mistah F.A.B.: Yellow Bus Ridah

posted May 25, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 45 comments

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay area has been instrumental to many of the art and cultural movements of the last five decades. Like a proud mother, the Bay area regularly birthed talented and gifted innovators and forward thinking artists. During the 60s and 70s, San Francisco legends Sly & The Family Stone, the Doobie Brothers and ConFunkShun left their platformed footprints on the world of funk. Santana introduced the world to rock music deeply infused with Latino flavor. And lets not forget the undeniable influence of The Bay was during the psychedelic scene of the 1960s. Add the Black Panthers, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beat Generation and Rice-A-Roni into this mix and the influence of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay area on American culture over the last 50 years is as undeniable.

Given its colorful history, its only fitting that The Bay also has a rich Hip Hop history. Not only is it home to legendary MCs like E-40 and Too Short, but it also boasts a hip hop community as eclectic as its musical forefathers. From the Hieroglyphics crew to Mac Dre, MC Hammer to Luniz, the Bay has definitely given Hip Hop its fair share of memories. Hell, Master P and Tupac even claimed it as home. Id be remiss if I didnt mention the spectacular vernacular of the Bay area, much of which have become staples of hip hop lingo. But for all that The Bay has given the hip hop world, it still doesnt get the respect it deserves. To hear Bay area Hyphy superstar Mistah F.A.B. tell it, the lack of respect from the hip hop community rests on the shoulders of the Bay area artists that ride and die for the Bay area sound. Hes always felt like artists from his hometown can sometimes become comfortable in their local celebrity.

They dont go out of the bay! Thats the problem, says F.A.B. Theyre big at home, big in their own world and they dont try to make it outside of the bay.

According to F.A.B., hip hop has become he say she say but no longer what you say. Being that hip hop music was born of rebels and have-nots, he decided to put his own stamp on it, speaking for those who cant or dont.

People love me because Im the voice of the streets. My brother was incarcerated for 12 years, my daddy died of AIDS, thats me, he says matter-of-factly. I speak for that person whose mic is on. but the volume is very low. Thats how he sees himself - another in a long line of artists that represent the people, but hasnt gotten the chance to be heard.

Enter Son Of A Pimp. Released in spring of 2005, Son Of A Pimp was equal parts turf music ("Do It Live For Me"), sideshow soundtrack ("N.E.W. Oakland") and club banger ("Hey Little Mama") with a fair share of social commentary ("If 'If' Was A Fifth", "The Mama Song"). But it was one line on "Super Sic Wit It" that made him into the poster child for the Hyphy generation:

I do the dummy retarded and ride the yellow bus.

Those words solidified his place in The Bays current Hyphy scene. Son Of A Pimp not only sent shockwaves through The Bay, but caught the ear of Atlantic Records, who snatched him up. Two years later F.A.B. is preparing The Yellow Bus Ridah, his major label debut.

Before The Yellow Bus Ridah was ready to go, F.A.B. released the lead single, "Ghost Ride It", to harsh reviews.

I embrace contradiction, says F.A.B. If listening to Son Of A Pimp didnt hint at the many sides of his music, then "Ghost Ride It" definitely does a lot to step away from what many may have thought about his music. Though loved by some and probably hated by more, "Ghost Ride It" samples the famous Ray Parker Jr. Ghostbusters theme, which many saw as a cheesy gimmick. Does the criticism bother him?

Love me or hate me, theres no in-between, but Im a grown ass man, he shoots back. I dont make music for everyone. I dont have an obligation to anyone but me.

While this may be true, he still has a great love and hometown boy admiration for The Bay. Before The Yellow Bus Ridah sees the light of day, F.A.B. has decided to treat his town folk to what he calls a Bay ride album. Da Baydestrian (Faeva Afta/Thizz Nation/SMC Recordings) is F.A.B.s ode to the Hyphy cultural that has embraced him and put him in the position to release a major label album. With tracks like the Trackademicks produced "Furley Ghost" and the Traxamillions produced "Sideshow" (featuring Too Short & Keak Da Sneak), F.A.B.s hoping that this offering is going to rile up the fans as they anxiously, and perhaps skeptically, await The Yellow Bus Ridah. But more importantly, hes counting on this being the opportunity to put the Bays top sidered footprint on the hip hop map for good.

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