The Bay Area:
Name: Keak Da Sneak
Affiliation: All N Da Doe Records
Hometown: East Oakland
Claim to fame: Keak, one-third of ’90s group 3X Krazy, has found solo success with his trademark gravelly flow and creation of the word “hyphy,” sparking the third-generation high-energy movement currently taking the nation by storm.
Discography: Stackin’ Chips w/ 3X Krazy (Virgin, 1997), Sneakacydal (Murder One, 1999), Dual Committee w/ Agerman (Moe Doe, 2000) Hi-Tek [X] (Moe Doe, 2001) Farm Boyz (Out of Bounds, 2002), Counting Other People’s Money (Moe Doe, 2003), Keak Da Sneak (Moe Doe, 2004) That’s My Word (All N Da Doe, 2005)
Name: Turf Talk
Affiliation: 30/30 Records/Sick Wid It
Claim to fame: During 2005 Turf Talk’s delivery received the most press coverage among his peers. Although related to E-40, his contagious style and distinct sound helped create a persona that appeals to fans outside the Bay Area.
Discography: The Street Novelist (Sick Wid It, 2004), Brings the Hood Mixtape (Sick Wid It, 2005), West Coast Vaccine (Sick Wid It, 2006)
Affiliation: Done Deal Records
Hometown: San Francisco
Claim to fame: At the age of 14, San Quinn was the youngest member of Get Low Playaz and earned a Guinness Book World Record for most album appearances (over 150) by someone under the age of 21. After blazing trails for the rest of his extended family (Fully Loaded, Ya Boy), Quinn continues to demonstrate utmost lyrical competency and is one of the hardest-working rappers in the Bay Area.
Discography: Don’t Cross Me (Get Low, 1993), Live N Direct (Priority, 1995), The Hustle Continues (Priority, 1996), Explosive Mode w/ Messy Marv (Explosive Mode/Priority, 1998), The Mighty Quinn (Champeli Ent., 2001), I Give You My Word (Done Deal, 2004), The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds (SMC, 2006)
Hometown: East Oakland
Claim to fame: One-half of the duo Luniz, and best known for teaching the world to put “5 On It,” Yukmouth stays true to his name with his combination of immense lyrical prowess and controversy to match.
Discography: Luniz’s Operation Stackola (Virgin, 1995), Thugged Out: The Albulation (Virgin, 1998), Thug Lord: The New Testament (Virgin, 2001), United Ghettos of America, Vol. 1 (Rap-A-Lot, 2002), Godzilla (Rap-A-Lot, 2003), United Ghettos of America, Vol. 2 (Rap-A-Lot, 20TK), Million Dollar Mouth Piece (Rap-A-Lot, 2005)
Affiliation: Sick Wid It/BME
Claim to fame: Possessing so much game-spitting swagger that he had to create his own dictionary, E-40 is one of the most influential and underrated rappers in the game.
Discography: Federal (Jive, 1994), In A Major Way (Jive, 1995), Tha Hall of Game (Jive, 1996), Element of Surprise (Jive, 1998), Charlie Hustle: Blueprint of a Self-Made Millionaire (Jive, 1998), Loyalty and Betrayal (Jive, 2000), Grit & Grind (Jive, 2002), Breakin’ News (Jive, 2003), That Fire (West Coast Mafia, 2004), My Ghetto Report Card (Sick Wid It/BME, 2006)
Name: Messy Marv
Hometown: Fillmore, San Francisco
Claim to fame: Messy Marv is the quintessential dope-dealer-turned-rapper who has consistently gotten better with age. Known for a super-saucy flow and ear for clean engineering, he is also one of the biggest leaders in record sales in the Bay.
Discography: Messy Situations (Ammo, 1996), Explosive Mode w/ San Quinn (Presidential, 1998), Still Explosive (M. Entertainment, 2001), Bonnie & Clyde w/ Marvaless (Urban Life, 2003), Disobayish (RT/UTR, 2004), Bandannas, Tattoos, and Tongue Rings (RTE/DRT, 2005)
Name: The Jacka
Affiliation: Mob Figaz LLC
Claim to fame: A consistent track record and a laid-back gangsta flow on albums like the instant Bay Area classic The Jack Artist afford this Mob Figa one of the biggest independent underground following .
Discography: C-Bo’s Mob Figaz (Get Paid, 1999), The Jacka (Akbr, 2001), The Jack Artist (The Artist, 2005)
Name: The Team
Affiliation: Moe Doe Records
Claim to fame: Clyde Carson’s whisper-sound preceded Ying Yang Twins and David Banner, setting off copyright-infringement rumors. Mostly known for their club-bangers, The Team has a unique sound that showcases the diversity of the hyphy movement.
Discography: The Negro League (R.T./UTR Music, 2005), World Premiere (Moe Doe, 2006)
Name: Mistah F.A.B.
Affiliation: Thizz Entertainment
Claim to fame: The youngest of the bunch, this yellow bus-drivin’ Baydestrian is the Freestyle King of the Bay Area, and Thizz Entertainment’s strongest representative.
Discography: Nig-Latin (Strictly Hits, 2002), Son of a Pimp (Thizz Ent., 2005)
Name: Rick Rock
Affiliation: The Federation
Claim to fame: His vast amount of production experience was instrumental to the creation of the West Coast, and later the “hyphy” sound.
Selected Production Resume:
Jay-Z “Parking Lot Pimpin’”
Fabolous feat. Nate Dogg “Can’t Deny It”
E-40 feat. Fabolous “Automatic”
Ma$e “Breathe, Stretch, Shake”
The Federation “Hyphy”
Busta Rhymes feat. Mariah Carey “Give It To Me”
Beanie Sigel feat. Daz Dillinger “For My Niggaz”
E-40 feat. Turf Talk “I Got Dat Work”
Messy Marv “Hypnotic”
Turf Talk feat. E-40, Stress “It’s Ah Slumper”
WC feat. Case “Flirt”
RBL Posse “Concrete Jungle”
C-Bo feat. Yukmouth “Spray Yourself”
Jay-Z “Change The Game”
Spice 1 feat. Saafir “Thug Poetry”
B-Legit feat. Too $hort “So International”
Name: Mac Dre
Affiliation: Thizz Entertainment
Claim to fame: The late Mac Dre was known for his charismatic alter-egos as much as his coinage of words such as “thizz” and “stupid doo doo dumb.” After his untimely death in late 2004, his influence inspired the Thizz Movement, generating homage from youngsters and OGs alike.
Discography: What’s Really Going On? (Strictly Business, 1992), Young, Black Brotha (Strictly Business, 1993), The Rompalation, Vol. 1 (Romp, 1996), 17 Reasons Compilation (Black N Brown, 1998), Stupid Doo Doo Dumb (Romp, 1998), Rapper Gone Bad (Swerve, 1999), Mac Dre’s the Name (Out of Bounds, 2001), It’s Not What You Say…It’s How You Say It (Thizz Ent., 2001) Heart of a Gangsta, Mind of a Hustla (Thizz Ent., 2000), Thizelle Washington (Thizz Ent., 2002), Al Boo Boo (Thizz Ent., 2003) Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics (Thizz Ent., 2004), Genie of the Lamp (Thizz Ent., 2004), Da U.S. Open (Thizz Ent., 2005), Welcome to Thizz World (Thizz Ent., 2005), Money Iz Motive (Thizz Ent., 2005)
Other Players to Watch For:
Ya Boy: Coming up under the tutelage of San Quinn, the young fire spitter recently left the Bay behind in search of fame with The Game and Black Wall Street.
Balance: Christened the “Bay Area Mixtape King,” Balance has received nationwide recognition, mainly for his collaboration with DJ Vlad and contribution to the intro of the World Famous Wake Up Show with Sway and Tech.
Bailey: Mostly known for his hit “Fuck Yo Couch,” San Quinn’s little brother is rising rapidly thanks to his freshly inked deal with City Boyz Muzik and partnership with J. Valentine, a Bay Area R&B singer signed to J Records.
Droop-E: Producer behind such huge hits as “Super Sic Wit It,” this 17-year old prodigy is making waves on his own, never mind the fact that E-40 is his pops.
Frontline: The Richmond-bred duo made headlines with the instant classic “What Is It?,” produced by E-A-Ski, while MC Locksmith caught momentum from finishing in 2nd at MTV’s 2003 freestyle competition.