Oakland rap?
June 1, 2010 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend any Oakland rap / hiphop to me?

My problem is that, driving down the 880 every day from North Oakland through Hayward, I'm constantly listening to Houston rappers (mostly SUC: Lil Keke, Z-ro, Fat Pat, Big Pokey, Lil Flip, UGK, etc). This music is highly regional, so on my drive through Oakland I'm constantly hearing about how great Houston is. Oakland gets occasional mentions in the lyrics, and it seems like there's some connection between rap in Oakland and the South, and I love Oakland, so I keep thinking I should be listening to music which is more local.

I'm familiar with Yukmouth, Keak da Sneak, Dre Dog, and of course E-40 and Too Short (now in Atlanta). These guys are great, but when I listen to them and do my usual music-discovery process by checking out people they rap with, I always end up in Houston again (Yukmouth -> Lil Flip, Too Short -> UGK). Oakland rap doesn't seem to be as densely interconnected as elsewhere. Talking to guys on Bart I only seem to bump into people pretending to be Priest the UGK.

It would be great if anyone has any Oakland rappers to recommend. I'm also interested in if there's any good record stores in Oakland which promote local music like b-side records used to.
posted by doteatop to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Juicy Gotcha Crazy!
posted by hal_c_on at 6:53 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: Probably not what you have in mind, but Hieroglyphics.
posted by box at 6:54 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: Also probably not what you have in mind, but The Coup.
posted by box at 6:59 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: Does Berkeley count? Lil B (THE BASED GODDD, tm, etc.) is a modern day Kool Keith from Berkeley. He's an acquired taste, for sure, but it really is some addictive music.
posted by wrok at 7:01 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Anything in the Anticon Collective:


(posting from phone--no fancy link)
posted by sourwookie at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: The Digital Underground are probably not what you had in mind.
posted by chrchr at 8:12 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: Be aware that though anticon does mostly hip hop records, they also put out some meandering (occasionally brilliant) electronic music, which is hit or miss with me.

As for others, there's Hieroglyphics and Del the Funky Homosapien on one end and then the Coup slightly over to the side. Keak and e-40 mind as well come from another planet when compared to those three.
posted by jng at 8:28 PM on June 1, 2010

Response by poster: Heh, everyone thinks their answer isn't what I had in mind. Thanks for responding anyway!

I'd never heard of Oaktown 357, and I forgot about Hieroglyphics and The Coup; I haven't listened to them for years, since before I moved to Oakland. I'll be sure to check them out again. Browsing from the Hieroglyphics link I found Clear Label Records down at 50th Ave that seems to have a lot of artists.

Maybe Berkeley can count.

I've heard a lot of Anticon, but it seems like they're pretty nebulous; a lot of artists from the Midwest or Canada. Anyone specifically in there representing Oakland?

Not only did I not know DU was from Oakland, I definitely didn't know "Digital Underground is ... notable for launching the career of member Tupac Shakur". Crazy.

I'm marking best answers as people respond, but since the 880 is so long, more answers are definitely appreciated.
posted by doteatop at 8:40 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: of anticon, sole's early stuff. typical alternative hip hop of that era.
posted by jng at 8:54 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: I used to be in the same theater program as this guy. (Some sort of horrid myspace embedded music thing midway down the page. Ugh. Find it and turn it off, Ashkon is worth giving a listen to.)
posted by mollymayhem at 9:08 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: The Frontline. They are from Richmond, and they are damned good.
posted by gnutron at 9:18 PM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: Lyrics Born is a pretty awesome East Bay hip-hop rapper.
posted by Ookseer at 12:50 AM on June 2, 2010

Best answer: hell yes, Lyrics Born! check these:

- Always Fine Tuning
- Callin' Out
- Last Trumpet
posted by jammy at 6:14 AM on June 2, 2010

Best answer: Are you into "conscious" rap, ala anticon collective, or are you cool with hyphy? (Lots of people who like rap seem to hate hyphy, or a lot of the people who got their start with hyphy, which is a shame.)

Anyhow, I can't have a list without including Mac Dre. Lots of stuff really started with him. Mistah FAB is great and probably the heir apparent.

J-Stalin is also solid.

Kafani had a semi-hit with the song about NASCAR.

My personal favourite is Haji Springer. I feel guilty, but he's a lot of fun.

You should also try to check out the "Slappin' The Trunk" series of comps or the early "Thizz Nation" ones. Some really great stuff there.
posted by kendrak at 7:05 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hey Kendrak, when I was younger, I used to listen to more what people call 'conscious rap', like Mos Def, Aesop Rock, Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Freestyle Fellowship, Talib Kweli, Kool Keith, Blackalicious, the Roots, People Under the Stairs, also classic stuff like Special Ed and Nice and Smooth. Now I'm a lot more of a Biggie, Tupac, Young Jeezy, Eazy E kind of guy (that probably puts me in your hyphy category).

This thread is awesome, I'm starting to feel ready to hit the record store. Anyone with more to add though please fire away.
posted by doteatop at 8:20 AM on June 2, 2010

doteatop, i know a lot of people who love mos def, aesop rock, et al, but loathe mac dre. it's a shame.

if you have the time and inclination, you should check out a rasputin's. they actually have a lot of very local rap that's pretty much impossible to find otherwise. they seem to always have the latest mixtapes.
posted by kendrak at 9:23 AM on June 2, 2010

Best answer: Rafael Casal (recently) and the rest of the Getback Crew — they just put up a new track by Daveed Diggs. (The Getback Crew also post videos by other mostly-local musicians on their YouTube channel.)

A couple of local blogs you might check out for more leads: 38thNotes.com and Thizzler on the Roof. The music filter on Living in the O. The O-Scene. The music filter on The DTO. (The music filter on Our Oakland doesn't seem to have been updated in a while.)
posted by Lexica at 11:26 AM on June 2, 2010

Response by poster: Hey, marking this resolved as I now have a big stack of CDs for my commute tomorrow including among others the Frontline, Shady Nate, J. Stalin, Mistah Fab, Mac Dre, Lyrics Born and Hieroglyphics. Thanks everybody!
posted by doteatop at 6:45 PM on June 2, 2010

He's mostly miss, but some of the songs off his current mixtape have a pretty decent vibe.
posted by cashman at 10:43 AM on June 3, 2010

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