Back Up In This B****: After a couple false starts, the West is beginning to show some zest. Forty-four reasons come to mind. But here are 15 that prove Cali is definitely active.

It’s been more than 10 years since the West Coast was a dominant force in the rap game. While the East Coast, the Midwest and the South have had their respective runs, folks in California have been waiting for the ball to come back around. There have been moments—Dr. Dre’s 2001, The Game’s 2005, the hype of the hyphy movement a couple years ago—but nothing has restored the glory of the Golden State’s golden era of 1992 to 1996.

Lately, though, there’ve been some tremors out by the San Andreas fault. Snoop’s back on top. The Game’s playing hardball. Once-dormant giants E-40 and Ice Cube are enjoying late-career resurgences. A gang of lesser-known artists, too, are rumbling the underground in a way that makes it seem like 2008 could bring a seismic shift along the Pacific shelf. Here are 15 rappers and producers starting to quake the earth out in the land where the sun sets.


1> Clyde Carson

REPRESENTING: OAKLAND
Label: Moe Doe/Black Wall Street/Capitol

Like the “five-tool” players baseball scouts drool over, Clyde Carson has the total package: looks, swagger, lyrics, flow and songwriting. Though he’s released a couple singles (“2 Step” and “Doin’ That”), his recently completed, newly titled album, California State of Mind, is still in scheduling limbo, but his association with The Game’s Black Wall Street Records should keep his name poppin’.