Personality Crisis

As commercial hip hop radio becomes tired, turf wars flicker out, and the underground diversifies, does the Bay Area have its own identity anymore?

In fact, D suggests, "where it even becomes a story of collaboration, you know, like the bay and L.A. are collaborating, the question should be, 'Why was it ever separated?' Why did somebody decide that they weren't going to play music from all over, and [instead play] just one particular type of music?" In other words, a regionalism rooted in rivalries and even a de facto geographical segregation of artists was once an overt industry marketing strategy. And today's increased fostering of collaborations between artists of different regions signifies a reversal of sorts.

Oakland's Hieroglyphics, on the leading edge of Bay Area hip hop's independent movement.
Jacob Rosenberg
Oakland's Hieroglyphics, on the leading edge of Bay Area hip hop's independent movement.
Local hip hop DJ, writer, and activist Davey D.
Local hip hop DJ, writer, and activist Davey D.

"People are swaying away from that [regional emphasis] just because ... hip hop has gotten to the point where everybody's influencing everybody," Domino says. "[But] where they take it is yet to be seen."

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