Hyphy might be indelibly linked with the Bay Area, but we’ve certainly got to more to offer than thumping bass and 808 claps. Granted, quite a few hyphy- and mob-inspired albums did come out this past month, but those weren’t the only local albums that dropped. Caleborate gave us a meditative, old-school hip-hop record with 1993, Tanukichan served up some soupy, dream-pop ditties with Radiolove, and Marc E. Bassy brought the island vibes with Groovy People. And those are only some of the offerings that came out this past August.
We’ve rounded up 11 of the most worthy local releases for your listening pleasure, so check ’em out and get the lowdown on the down low.
1993 by Caleborate
Berkeley rapper Caleborate has a thing for releasing albums during the summer. Last year, he dropped Hella Good, and this year, he graced us with its 14-track follow-up, 1993. Named in honor of the year he was born, the 23-year-old wordsmith proves yet again that he’s got both lyrical prowess — seriously, this guy can spit mouthfuls of words with ease — and an ear for laidback, eclectic beats. If you want to digest the album in its true form, listen to it chronologically as Caleborate promises us that there’s a “loose story line that includes actual (unscripted) dialogue that depicts the current state of things for many of us twenty-somethings in the Bay Area.” But you can just as easily listen to it out of order and still get the gist of this contemplative, introspective album, too.
Fear of Life by Creative Adult
Explosive guitars, heavy drumming, and tons of feedback are the main takeaways from this San Francisco quintet’s sophomore album. Released by Run For Cover, Fear of Life was recorded entirely using analog equipment, with some songs on the nine-track record running over eight minutes. Fear of Life is full of texture and great for listeners who love unbridled energy and touches of early Britpop (think Oasis or Spacemen 3).
Groovy People by Marc E. Bassy
San Francisco-born Marc E. Bassy has since left the Bay for L.A., but his ties to NorCal run deep. In each of his projects, he has at least one feature from a Bay Area artist, and, in the past, musicians like IAMSU!, P-Lo, and Kehlani have made appearances. In his new EP, Groovy People, G-Eazy pops up in the first track, “You & Me,” a sunny, tropical-infused pop ditty that shows a marked change from Bassy’s previous R&B, slow jam style. With its lighthearted vibe, Groovy People is a perfect pairing for the summer months.
6 Speed by IAMSU!
With his third studio album, IAMSU! proves that he’s got the formula down pat for making a banger. Bouncy, buzzy, and bassy, 6 Speed is one of IAMSU!’s darker albums, filled with braggadocio anthems and anecdotal anthems that pretty much everyone can relate to. With relatively few features — only Show Banga and Hella Rawh! make appearances — the album is one of ‘Su’s most pure and unadulterated. It’s hyphy to the max, and though perhaps a little bit redundant, a worthwhile listen to anyone who likes songs that slap.
Extended Play by Kai OD
The third project from San Francisco-born, 22-year-old artist Kai OD, Extended Play is an eclectic listen that fuses rapping with quirky electronic and industrial melodies, as well as a smidgen of live instrumentation. The goal of the project, he says, was to create “something different. I think my goal, musically, is always to just make something that I’ve never heard before.” Extended Play gets major points for its uniqueness and creativity factor, and it’s a nice appetizer to the main course that Kai OD is no doubt currently cooking up.
Stag Frenzy by Stag Frenzy
Hailing from San Francisco, Stag Frenzy is a new project by musician Ayal Nistor who is also in the Israeli band My Second Surprise. Stag Frenzy’s self-titled debut was actually created using songs that Nistor had cut from a My Second Surprise album that he felt “had evolved to a new phase” and would be more fitting under the guise of a new band. Recorded in Nistor’s Richmond District bedroom, the eight-track album is sleek and upbeat, with a dreamy, pop bent.
All The Right Places by ymtk
Filled with upbeat pop tracks and island vibes, Oakland-born ymtk’s All The Right Places is the perfect soundtrack for summer, and a surefire way to start any party. Filled with features from local artists, like Rexx Life Raj, IAMSU!, Marc E. Bassy, and Too $hort, All The Right Places is a jaunty, dance-inducing record, and proof that the Bay Area has more to offer than just hyphy and mob music. For a highly-recommended listen, check out “No Job.”
Radiolove by Tanukichan
Tanukichan is a musical project by Oakland’s Hannah van Loon, a former touring musician with Trails and Ways. Radiolove is her debut solo record, and, well, we’ll put it this way: If the album were an item of clothing, it would be a well-worn, incredibly soft, pilled sweater. The tracks on Radiolove are lush and grandiose, and Loon’s soft, breathy voice melds well with the occasional jangly guitars and bassy undertones.
Official by Kool A.D.
Is it just me or does Oakland rapper and former Das Racist member, Kool A.D., have a Snoop Dogg-esque sneer to his voice in this album? Produced by Trackademicks, Official is Kool A.D.’s first foray into new territory: hyphy. But since hyphy is by no means a new genre, the album sounds a bit predictable and familiar, but no matter: If you like Bay Area rap, then that’s what you’ll get from this record. Expect thumping bass, clapping 808s, and all the synths you could ask for.
EP 1 by Museums
The first project by San Francisco quartet Museums, EP 1 is a sonically diverse listen that runs the gamut — in three songs! — from gritty electronic-rock to glistening dream pop to sweeping electronic melodies. Helmed by leadsinger Chelsea Bryan, the record is a solid entree to the new band that showcases its many sides and sounds, and it will no doubt leave you wanting more.
ShowTime 2 by Show Banga
On his sophomore album, ShowTime 2, San Francisco-born rapper and HBK member Show Banga churns out upbeat, hyphy-influenced tracks that will get any party started, guaranteed. With features from fellow Bay Area artists, like IAMSU!, Sage the Gemini, Kool John, and P-Lo, the 15-track album is a fun listen, even though, technically, it’s a tribute to his father, ShowTime, who taught Show Banga how to hustle and make it in the independent music world at a young age.