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.

Spice 1
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

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  • bollocks

    Good to see someone giving love to the Bay, but we’re about much more than hyphy and tupac. Other big artists/sounds from the Bay:

    1. Too $hort
    2. E-40
    3. Mobb Music
    4. Hieroglyphics/Del
    5. The Pack (“Vans”)
    6. The Grouch
    7. Grip Grand
    8. Frontline
    9. Mac Dre
    10. Oakland Funk – Tower of Power, Sly & The Family Stone, Cold Blood, Graham Central Station, etc, which lead to the “oldschool” style of production from Death Row.

  • latino heat

    some Bay love on that’s what’s up.

    i say the same thing all the time. when you tell someone outside of California that your from here they always assume you live by Disneyland. like the Bay Area and Northern Cali in general don’t exist. despite the fact that the fuckin state capitol is in Northern Cali, not L.A. no diss to Southern Cali it’s just time that people took notice that this is a huge state not limited to one region.

  • latino heat

    that Cleavland Show bit was hilarious. me and some patnas were talking about that last night actually.

  • General

    I always bumped shit from the bay…

    Too Short-Another one of the west coast artists that never gets the true respect he deserves for the work he put in and the influence he had on rap as a whole

    Ant Banks-One of my favorite Producers from the early to mid 90′s

    Spice 1-Had some of the grimmiest CD’s ever released

    E-40-One of the greatest at the independent grind and had some hot shit in the early and mid 90′s also, not a big fan of his newer shit though

    Clyde Carson-One of the up and comers on the West from the Bay area

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics crew!!!

  • giantstepp

    Too Short, Spice 1, Ant Banks, Fortay and Yukmouth are my dudes from the Bay. People give E40 alot of props but Ive never personally felt his style. The Mac Dre and that movement were just ok to me. I dont hate them, but I aint bumpin they shit either.

    *makes mental note to bump some old skool spice 1 this evening*


      Spice 1 is in my top 10, got sum of the best albums all time!

  • Mr. North

    Its a shame those guy who pioneered don’t the the respect they deserve. The Bay Area is at least 50% of the reason the west coast was hot in the 90s period. Spice 1′s first 3 albums, DJ Extra Lg, E-A-Ski (genius producer, slept on)……P when he came out of the Bay The Ice Cream Man, Ghettos Trying To Kill Me….

    The Bay had all the real talent for real beside NWA, Dre,Snoop, DPG, and thier affiliates.

    • General

      Co-sign E-A-Ski, that cat is ridiculous…

      I still remember the track him and Dre did about 10 years ago. That shit was sick

  • Mr. North

    E40 how could i forget!!! Yes E40 to put it down to the fullest. His first 3 or 4 albums. The Click was the shit.

  • Mr. North

    E40 how could i forget!!! Yes E40 to put it down to the fullest.

  • thoreauly77

    i was born in downey CA, LA county, raised in moreno valley, and now live in the bay (san jose). the last couple years i have been finding out about more bay hiphop, and there is a ton of good stuff up here.

    i am surprised no one has mentioned another genius producer from the bay: rick rock. his beats go hard, seriously.

    also, quaanum projects has lifesavas, blackaliscious, lyrics born, lateef, and dj shadow (also gift of gab a sa solo artist without chief xl).

    stones throw is another important label from the bay, although peanut butter wolf often gets talent from elsewhere, such as dilla, madlib, mayer hawthorne, and madvillain.

    you also have street dudes like mac mall, traximillion, and keak da sneak.

    its crazy up here in the bay!

    • Mr. North

      Stones Throw is based out of LA for sure. Madlib is from Oxnard. But LA no doubt.

      • Quan

        .. yea i was wondering where he was going with that Stones Throw statement. . ha ..

  • jude raw

    let’s not forget saafir. boxcar sessions was a classic.

  • thoreauly77

    you sure?

    i thought PBW started in the bay. if im’ incorrect, its still all good though — the blog is the tale of two cities!

    and and one more thing:


    • Mr. North

      PBW may be from the bay. I cannot research right now (at work). But their office is in E. LA. All the events are thrown in LA. All the main artist pretty much live in LA too. But it is all good.

  • alderman j

    dial the seven digits
    call up briget
    her mans a midget
    plus she got friends yo i can dig it
    hers the forty swig it
    you know its frigid
    we got em chillin in the cooler
    break out the ruler
    thats the fattest stoke i eva seen!
    but what does keen and cali
    gettin weeded makes her fell like maui maui
    feel the good vibrations
    so many females
    so much inspiration!!!

    i get inspired by the blunts too
    i punk you
    if you roll with a punk crew
    brew, props and blunts to pass
    crews talk shit but in my face they kill my ass
    if you really dope why aint you signed yet??


  • The Fedz

    Being from Kansas City, bay area music is all you hear. Mac Mall was the shit early on, but shit I say to this day that Mac Dre is the best rapper ever, to me.

    People miss that Dre was not always a “hyphy” rapper thats just what caught on. Dre before E and after are like 2 different artist. But shit Dre found E same time I did and his music was the E anthem for black kids (much like Gucci has done recently).

  • latino heat

    cosign Fedz.

    Mac Dre is like Tupac in the sense that both Dre and Pac were completely different artists before and after they got out of prison. both were on a political conscious type vibe before, and after they got out Dre was on a party, stoner vibe and we all know what Pac became. most people don’t know that about Dre and think it was all hyphy music. if your really a fan of him do a little more research.

  • DV8

    Yall need to send a team of reporters out here (Nor Cal) and do a whole issue in XXL on The Bay Area’s underground/ independent scene. As a matter of fact forget the seperation just do a Cali issue period. From Diego to The Bay Cali is chock full of talent nobody knows about. Yall should especially take a look at our independent game and find out how our artist are millionares doing it their way. The South knows whats up thats why the South, the West and the MidWest all stay fuckin with each other. Now if we can only get the East Coast to get with the program then we can take back whats rightfully ours (HipHop) for real.

  • westcoastaggie

    MAC DRE is a West Coast legend. If he was alive today, the Yay and the whole west coast would be better. It’s a shame I didn’t hear any of his music until I graduated from Westchester in 2004 and was in North Carolina.

    BTW: Brooklyne, did u go to Westchester of Fairfax?

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Don’t think I ain’t writing all these names down. I pretty much have a lot of Mac Dre’s stuff.

    Who I have so far in iTunes(please feel free to list more so I can send my dudes on the east some heat):

    Bro Lynch Hung
    The Click
    Dru Down
    Jay Tee
    Jayo Felony
    JT The Bigga Figga
    Luni Coleone
    Suga Free
    Twisted Insane
    Young Dru
    The Coup

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      I know some I named aren’t Yay reppers.

  • latino heat

    @ $yk

    3X Krazy especially the Stackin Chips album. that album is a classic out here and has been out of print for at least 10 years. and if your lucky enough to find a used copy somewhere it goes for at least $20.

    RBL Posse

    Mac Mall

    i know you mentioned The Click, but specifically B-Legit. B-Legit did a song a few years ago with Jadakiss and Styles called Block For Life. shit is hot.

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      Good looking Taino.

  • GO-Getta’

    “Sum things neva’ change” a classic track by E40

    Luv from the Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!

  • Nor Cal Mufuckas

    Peanut Butter Wolf is from San Jose.

    Look up Charizma if you know anything about Peanut Butter Wolf. The best artist that is deceased from the bay besides Mac Dre.

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