Friday, February 1, 2013

Rap Roundup: New Songs and Videos by Droop-E, Iamsu and More

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Droop-E channels the 1930s with "'N The Traffic." - SICK WID IT
  • Sick Wid It
  • Droop-E channels the 1930s with "'N The Traffic."

As these new releases might suggest, Bay Area rap continues to evolve and become harder to pigeonhole. This is especially true when it comes to matching songs up with a visual; the same old bitches-in-the-club videos that we see all over the country don't really fly here unless they're super-duper fly -- and set, like, 80 years ago.

See Also:

* IamSu! on KILT, Getting an Invite From E-40, and Why He Wants Lil B to Do an "Up" Remix

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The 10 Best Bay Area Hip-Hop Records of 2012

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

It's been another big year in Bay Area hip-hop, with one huge collaboration album from two local greats and lots of strong releases from young local upstarts. So before the world ends, let's round up the 10 best Bay Area hip-hop/rap records (including albums, mixtapes, etc.) of 2012.


Main Attrakionz

Bossalinis & Fooliyones

[Young One]

Cloud-rap chit-chat aside, with their full-length studio debut Mondre M.A.N. and Squadda B simply conjured up a breezy and funky set of rap songs. With beats handled by a whopping array of producers (including Zaytoven and Harry Fraud), the duo's slurry, freestyled flows seep into the tracks and gel just beautifully. And with "Do It For The Bay," featuring Fillmore's finest DaVinci, Main Attrakionz can claim a modern hometown anthem. -- Phillip Mlynar

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amazing Video: A-1 Raps in S.F. Streets Amid Post-World Series Chaos

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 8:43 AM


As settings for music videos go, this is one of the more interesting ideas we've seen: S.F. MC A-1 (aka Adam Traore) filmed this video for "Double Dose" in the streets of San Francisco right after the Giants won the World Series. Amid the toilet-paper-throwing and sign-waving and Henny-passing, there are fires, vandalized buses, and some seriously grouchy members of the San Francisco Police Department. Things get dicey a few times, especially toward the end, but A-1 keeps his cool, rhyming pretty much on-lyric throughout the whole thing despite many, many distractions. It makes for a good rap video, but "Double Dose" is almost more interesting as a street-level document of what really happened the night in 2012 that the Giants won it all:

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Friday, November 16, 2012

12 Years of Jazz Mafia: Adam Theis on the Group's Rise and Anniversary Concert

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Jazz Mafia
  • Jazz Mafia

They wrote the world's first hip-hop symphony (Brass, Bows, and Beats) and performed it at the Monterey Jazz Festival. They held a regular Tuesday night gig at an S.F. club for a decade. They formed a live hip-hop group (Shotgun Wedding Quintet) that rhymed about Bay Area history. They've performed alongside artists like Beck, Carlos Santana, Digital Underground, and Lyrics Born. And this Saturday, Nov. 17, founder Adam Theis and the collective of San Francisco musicians known as the Jazz Mafia will celebrate their 12 years of existence with a blowout at the Fillmore featuring all of the group's spinoffs and artists, and with a special contribution from noted local DJ Qbert. Ahead of the show, we spoke with Theis about the origins of Jazz Mafia, how things have changed in 12 years, and what to expect at Saturday's show.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Watch: Richie Cunning's "City Boy" Makes Chop-Suey Out of "Don't Stop Believing"

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM


"I've done shows so packed, I crowd-surfed to the bar/ I've done shows so wack, I left the merch in the car."

So here's Richie Cunning, hard-grindin' S.F. rapper extraordinaire, back with "City Boy," a new Giants-saluting/struggle-encapsulating video. The clip finds Cunning circling around AT&T Park in the post-dawn glow, finding a not-too-subtle link between the battle of that team of weirdos and his own quest to rise in the rap game. Like most of his songs, it's filled with hard-nock tales and juicy anecdotes like the one above. Oh, and did we mention that the beat for "City Boy" is built out of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing?" It's about as fitting as tribute as this S.F. native could find -- and a great farewell song to a baseball season that ended only yesterday.

See also:

* Richie Cunning on San Francisco, Stevie Wonder, and the Wonders of Google Image Search

* The Zen Buddha of the N-Judah: Rapper Richie Cunning

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Top Five Tracks From the New Darkest Before Dawn Bay Area Rap Compilation

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM


Yesterday, Atlanta-based production unit SMKA released Darkest Before Dawn, a 10-track album compilation that showcases the best of the Bay's MCs spitting over their beats. Featuring a roll call of rappers that includes Shady Blaze, The Jacka, Mistah FAB, Richie Cunning, and MC Zumbi, here's our primer to the five freshest collaborations on the project. You can download the whole thing for free, or stream it on Soundcloud.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roach Gigz's Five Essential San Francisco Spots: Music, Crab, and Baseball

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Roach Gigz releases his debut album today.
  • Roach Gigz releases his debut album today.

Roach Gigz releases his debut studio album today. Titled Bugged Out, the rapper is banking on the project to build on the buzz his mixtapes have cultivated and jolt his career up another notch. So with Gigz being at the forefront of San Francisco's fresh new generation of rap talent, we got him to run through his five essential hometown spots. He obliged -- and came through with a selection heavy on food and music. Gigz performs with Main Attrakionz, A-1, and Baby E this Friday, Sept. 7, at Slims.

Amoeba Music

Man, I was addicted to music. I used to be in Amoeba for hours. All the way in the back, when the hip-hop section used to be in the right corner, you could catch me going through every single clearance CD they had. I used to come up on all the good shit. I have this one memory from back in the day when Eminem first came out with the Slim Shady LP. My mom dropped me off in front to go run in and buy the CD, but the teller who was helping me, she was like some older woman [who] played me out crucially: She walked me outside to the car and convinced my mom not to let me buy it because it was too explicit and that bullshit. Every time I'm on Haight street I always stop by Amoeba.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Premiere: Shady Blaze and Young Gully's Breezy, SMKA-Produced "Greatness"

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 8:33 AM


Dropping in October, new mixtape Darkest Before Dawn will see a fresh line-up of Bay Area rappers hopping on tracks crafted by Atlanta production unit S.M.K.A. As a teaser for the project, which will include input from Roach Gigz, Mistah F.A.B., and DaVinci, All Shook Down is proud to present the premiere of "Greatness," a slick and slinky future anthem that features Shady Blaze and Young Gully flowing over a hypnotically breezy production. To complete the listening experience, we also checked in with Shady Blaze and S.M.K.A.'s Mike Walbert to get their own thoughts on the song.

How did the Darkest Before Dawn project come about?

Mike Walbert: We reached out to a popular blog in the Bay Area [Thizzler On The Roof] that covers the music and asked about sorting out this project. We're from Atlanta but we've always been fans of Bay Area music.

Shady Blaze: Matt Werner [from the blog] hit me on Twitter saying he wanted me and Young Gully to collab. That's it right there.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hear Le1f's "Wut": A Hot Track From an NYC Rapper Who Is, Oh Yeah, Openly Gay

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM


Being a black male who raps and is open about his sexuality is still a big, controversial deal in post-Frank Ocean 2012, if the headlines and blog comments surrounding New York rap breakout Le1f are any indication. But before we get into that whole ugly issue of rap's latent homophobia, let's deal with "Wut" on a purely musical level. First and foremost, it's a great track. The dude's got a tall, funky kinda steez, freaky/revealing clothes, and some quick cleverisms on the mic. The spare, bouncy production from S.F./L.A. production duo 5kinAndBones5 just booms (please, turn up your bass). That "Wut" is a hot track and video seems almost inarguable, even apart from the lines about cuddling a Ukranian "he" and feeling light in the loafers. You just wanna hit play again as soon as it ends.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A-1 and Flosstradamus Flip Lana Del Rey into a Smooth Rap Track in "Now You Do"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

  • Thirsty?

Here, fresh off his inclusion in this year's KMEL/Thizzler Freshman 10 list of hot young Bay Area rappers, is San Francisco's own A-1, rolling through a corner store and pushing (mostly*) positivity over a Lana Del Rey-sampling beat produced by Flosstradamus. The Woo Staar-directed video is plain -- he buys a bottle of water and say hi to the homies -- but that doesn't matter, because A-1's flow is the important thing, the way it speeds up and slows down, rolling over the syllables of "...you never say a single intelligent word," or, even better, "... especially if you start me with a carbonated barley beverage."

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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.