There's practically an entire genre of music video that revolves around two basic elements: San Francisco at night, and black-and-white imagery. The latest quality contribution comes from fast-rising Bay Area rapper IamSu!, who finds Union Square, the Stockton Tunnel, and the general vibe of the nighttime city in monochrome a perfect setting for this moody cut off his $uzy 6 $peed mixtape. "Losin' Ft. CJ" finds the rapper in introspective mode, rhapsodizing about the sacrifices he's made to rise in the rap game. That sweet vocal hook and swirling background sample -- basically the whole backing track -- comes from Rochelle Jordan's song of the same name. But IamSu! and CJ definitely add some lyrical edge to Jordan's smooth nightscape. Check it out:
In a new interview with the UK Guardian, Snoop Dogg dishes on a huge range of subjects: his metamorphosis into Snoop Lion, how many joints he smokes per day, and whether he'd ever consider going into politics. (Also, how to be a pimp and a married man at the same time.)
He even explains his thoughts on homosexuality in rap -- and why he doesn't think it will ever be accepted. Despite this skepticism, though, Snoop seems to understand the struggle for gay rights as basically analogous to the struggle for civil rights. From the story:
Behold, Antwon. The San Jose rapper's End of Earth mixtape made our list of the best local rap releases of 2012, and his latest tape, last week's In Dark Denim, is even better. (Grab it here.) The highlight and first video is "3rd World Grrl," a gritty party-funk beat that features Antwon getting explicit about his sexual pursuits. That would be a fairly accurate description of all of In Dark Denim, but (as SPIN's Brandon Soderberg has noted), Antwon's sex raps stand apart: They come off less as annoying braggadocio and more as desperate liberation. There's a pleasure to lines like "We fuckin' in the morning like who cares who we waking," sure, but it comes in lieu of the darker moments that surround "3rd World Grrl" on In Dark Denim. Suitably, then, this song has an all-fun video, where a puppet Antwon gets his silly-ass mack on in the club. Watch it, grab In Dark Denim, and let's all wait excitedly to see where Antwon goes next.
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.
Bossalinis & Fooliyones
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