Today, Oct. 21, marks the birthday of Keak Da Sneak, an Oakland, Calif. rapper that now turns 41.

Employing his unmistakably raspy voice and a uniquely Bay Area sense of style, Keak has long been credited with helping spearhead the Bay's hyphy movement. Through the years, the creation of the term hyphy, which is a word used to describe a Bay Area subset of hip-hop, has also been attributed to Keak.

Born in Alabama, Keak and his family eventually relocated to Oakland, a move that would prove to be an important one. By the time Keak reached middle school, he'd started rapping in earnest. When he was 15, he teamed up with his friend Agerman to form the duo, Dual Committee. In 1994, the duo landed their first big features, appearing on two cuts from C-Bo's The Autopsy EP ("Murder Man" and "Stompin in My Steel Toes"). At the time, C-Bo was already well into his career as a rap star out of Sacramento, Calif., so Keak really began to make some waves on the West Coast.

Around that same time, Keak and Agerman added a rapper by the name of B.A. to their crew. Calling themselves 3X Krazy, the newly minted trip dropped off their debut album, Stackin Chips, in 1997. From there, the crew would drop off two more studio albums on their way to gaining respect in the rap game.

While the previous years were big for Keak, he didn't drop his official solo album until 1999's Sneakacydal. While the LP failed to find a spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart, it did mark the beginning of what would be an extremely long solo career. Since dropping off his debut LP, Keak has become one of the most prolific artists on the Left Coast, unleashing 20 solo projects since 2001. He's shown no signs of slowing down, either.

Last year, Keak, just a few months after being shot in Richmond, Calif.., dropped off his Withdrawl album, a solo LP that includes features from E-40, Mozzy and more.

Happy Birthday, Keak Da Sneak, and here's to many more!

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