California Love: A Tale of Two Cities
In case you missed the memo, I reps the West Coast all day, every day. So as soon as saw the above clip air on The Cleveland Show last weekend, I immediately thought to myself (mid-laughter): “I’m gonna have to hear about this from everyone tomorrow.”
As much as I love the fact that the Bay Area has finally gotten some national exposure in recent years thanks to the hyphy movement, I’m from Inglewood not San Francisco. I’m starting to realize that I spend way too much time spinning my wheels trying to explain that to folks. At the end of the day, though, the rest of the country doesn’t realize (or care) that LA and the Bay are more than a six hour car ride away from each other. That doesn’t mean I don’t have love, but I’m just saying.
So in appreciation of my hometown’s neighbors to the north, here’s a completely random list of things the Bay produced that influenced me personally.
Growing up in Inglewood, my dad wouldn’t let me play outside… or listen to rap music. I was “sheltered” but you couldn’t tell me that when I’d sneak tapes my older brother made for himself into my old Teddy Ruxpin (don’t laugh) and turned into a baby gangsta! I was a few years late but any rap I could get my hands on was new to me back then. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t a good look but in the long run Spice 1 exposed me to a lot of harsh stuff that inspired my nerdy little self to pick up books and ultimately turned me into a mini-revolutionary… Well, in my own mind at least.
Born in New York, raised in Maryland and reppin’ LA to death, Tupac the man never would’ve been 2Pac the artist had he not linked up with the Bay Area’s Digital Underground. Even though they had my man dancing around with blow up dolls, he paid his dues with Digital and was put on the right way… Ultimately.
The Hyphy Movement
The first time I ever saw kids “go dumb” was in eleventh grade when my high school basketball team played Oakland Tech in the State Championship game. I’d never seen so many kids with locks and gold teeth outside of the South. Kids were throwing their heads around and making the craziest faces at us, and you have to imagine that this was well before hyphy caught on in the mainstream, so we didn’t know what to think. The sight was so crazy that our entire fan section (which was side by side with theirs) spent the majority of the game watching them and not the teams on the court. Later in college, when I figured out what was going on, a party just wasn’t a party without Keak, Mac Dre, or E-40. —Brooklyne Gipson