Art and Culture Articles - Hip Hop Movement in the Bay Area

by JERMAINE PARRISH - Date: 2010-07-26 - Word Count: 455 Share This!

1 rappers from here are still the same people from 10 years ago. There's a long list of things spawned here that others have soaked up and had success with. It seems every artist runs his own label, emulating Too $hort's entrepreneurial success of selling music out of his car trunk.

Also gone is trade publication Gavin, whose annual music-business conference provided exposure for area acts. There was underground, then gangster rap. That climate has sparked an equally diverse and creative musical legacy shaped by such rock, pop, and R&B/funk icons as Grateful Dead, Santana, and Sly & the Family Stone. New rappers here have to be smart enough to stop doing localized music and rhythms and try to make it bigger.

Now it's more alternative urban.

Then there is the commercial radio juggernaut; as in most markets, there are few airplay slots for new rappers. When it comes to the business side of music in Bay Area hip hop scene, frustration colors conversations. The Bay Area has always had flavor when it comes to music. In 1996, the group decided to throw its own underground concert, the Broke-Ass Summer Jam. Bay Area hip hop has always done things on its own terms. Among the reasons R&B is getting more love than hip-hop on the current scene is that "veteran rappers aren't letting the new rappers in. One act that has provided a blueprint for building momentum are hip-hoppers Mystik Journeymen. The indies are bread and butter, with the majors as the icing on the cake.
The Bay Area has gotten kind of blasé on the rap side. Bay Area hip hop is broken down into four movements: organic hip-hop independent of New York; the California freestyle/lyrical phenomenon that surfaced in the mid-'90s; a thriving DJ scene, especially in the Asian community; and neo-soul/spoken word.

However, major labels aren't taking the time to develop artists anymore.

Headlining the Bay Area hip hop gold rush of the late '80s and '90s were MC Hammer, Too $hort, Mac Dre, and E-40. The Oakland group grew tired of being left out of local radio stations' summer jam events. Most hip-hop slang comes from the Bay-'pop ya colla, fo' sheezy'-that Jay-Z and others have made their own.

San Francisco and Oakland are home to a diverse mix of ethnic groups and cultures. It doesn't have the music industry that's in New York or L.A. The Bay Area hip hop generation is different now.

If the Bay Area is a fertile breeding ground for diverse music, it is also a wellspring of independent labels. With the slowing economy, exacerbated here by the dotcom blowout, many clubs have closed. Support also comes from independent retailers like Amoeba, Rasputin, and 18-year-old Creative Music Emporium.

Hip Hop Mogul

Related Tags: bay area rap, bay area hip hop, bay area rappers, new rappers, bay area artists

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