To those outside the Yay Area, the hyphy movement may have worn out its welcome. But in the land of stunna shades, hyphy-chondriacs still embrace the art of gettin’ stupid. At the head of this sound is the Federation, who provide a worthy soundtrack with their sophomore set, It’s Whateva. With producer Rick Rock manning the boards, the trio of Dooniebaby, Stresmatic and Goldie aim to get more people ridin’ the yellow bus.
On raucous tracks like the warped-out “18 Dummy” and the boomin’ ballad “Git Naked You Beezy,” the Federation show their ability to hang with Rock’s eccentric musical tastes. The high-octane party continues on the WC and Tash–featured “I Only Wear My White Tee’s Once (Remix).” Ridin’ to a thumpin’ bass line and looming synths, Dooniebaby proclaims, “L.A. fornicatin’ wit’ the Bay/Nine months later everybody federate/White tees and khakis, we mixin’ it up/Lo-los and scrapers, we yokin’ ’em up.”
Although Rock’s protégés take hyphy music to great heights, brolic bars are not their only trick. On “My Rims,” an interpolation of Al B. Sure’s “Nite and Day,” the group crafts a mellow scraper anthem. They soften the mood even more with the Snoop Dogg–assisted “Happy I Met Yew,” a swaggering club cut powered by Spanish guitars and rumbling hi-hats. Although the sampling of the classic ’80s hit “Sunglasses at Night” is a notable experiment, the resulting “Stunna Glasses @ Night” is more rave than rap. Fortunately, Stresmatic’s clever lines (“Stunna shades on and my wrist look heavy/I wear ’em in the dark like Fab 5 Freddy”) save the ode to the Bay’s favorite accessory.
Aside from their heavy reliance on remakes and the hollow production work on “Scraper to a Benz,” the Federation succeed in putting a more universal twist on hyphy. With It’s Whatever, the Bay Area representers make going dumb seem like a smart move.—JOZEN CUMMINGS
Read the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the
November 2006 issue (#86)