From Dusk Till Dawn ... 

The bars, bands, and clubs to keep you happy.

Page 6 of 9

New York may have been ground zero for hip-hop, but the East Bay has always been a hub for innovation. It began, really, with local mogul Too $hort (, whose method of selling cassette tapes from the trunk of his car quickly became part of his brand identity. He was soon followed by other stalwart independent hustlers with a go-it-alone entrepreneurial spirit and slightly-more "conscious" lyrics. Next-generation hustlers included members of the now internationally known Living Legends ( crew and Oakland's beloved Hieroglyphics (, which included Casual, Pep Love, one-time major label act Souls of Mischief, and celebrated avant-gardist Del that Funky Homosapien, whose left-field style will still leave listeners scratching their heads. ... Speaking of avant-garde, the East Bay is a breeding ground for emcees who can take an idea in all sorts of funky directions. Anticon ( co-founder Odd Nosdam ( culled influences from indie rock, hip-hop, acid jazz, dub, and experimental music to form incredible mind-bending soundscapes that actually appeal to a wide audience. His Anticon cohort doseOne ( is one of the most out-there rappers to ever catch on in the East Bay, known for dystopian imagery and a distinctive rap voice. Collectively, they've produced one of the most impressively discographies in East Bay hip-hop, laying ground for such abstract groups as cLOUDDEAD and Subtle. If utter inscrutability isn't quite what you're looking for, try the also talented but slightly more conventional Gift of Gab (, who easily oscillates from narrative-style rap to unconstrained alliteration (i.e., analogue arsonist aimin' at your artery to overzealous rhyme ZEA-LOTS!). ... "Bay Area ambassador" E-40 (, long known as the West Coast's most prolific coiner of new slang words, rose to national fame with the 2006 hyphy movement, which was undoubtedly a renaissance for street-oriented, club-style rap in the East Bay. ... Its main architect, former 3XKrazy emcee Keak Da Sneak (, is known for his rough, pixelated, immediately identifiable growl and stream-of-consciousness rap style. ... Keak wasn't the only rapper to gain prominence with his signature town songs; Oakland native Mistah F.A.B. ( also took the street style and made it radio-friendly, with his up-tempo, boisterous hits about partying in the club, getting kicked out the club, ghost-riding the whip, and eventually, ghost-riding a yellow bus with twenty-inch rims. ... Now that hyphy has pretty much been put to bed, East Bay heads are returning to the more politically oriented emcees like Zion-I ( and the Coup's Boots Riley (, who've managed not only to spread their message through hip-hop, but also foray into other media. (Both are committed activists, and Boots even enjoys guest spots on Real Time with Bill Maher). ... Among the rising stars is spoken-word poet Ise Lyfe (, whose new album The Prince Cometh incorporates a free-verse, narrative-style flow in a hip-hop template, with stunning results. ... We're also seeing the rise of more nostalgia-based groups like the electro-rap outfit Hottub (, which combines a post-punk, girl-group aesthetic with MPC samplers and 808s. ... One group that does the era-straddling thing really well is Quannum Projects' Honeycut (, which features alterna-crooner Bart Davenport over uniquely melodic, sample-driven breakbeats by RV Salters and Tony Sevener. ... Aside from bringing lyrics back to the forefront of hip-hop, many new indie groups are incorporating live instrumentation. Known as a West Coast analogue to Detroit, the East Bay has a long history of amazing soul bands, from Lenny Williams to '90s-era crooners Tony Toni Toné (, whose leader D'Wayne Wiggins is known as a key figure behind Destiny's Child and now-ubiquitous singer Keyshia Cole ( ... Gorgeous R&B icon Goapele ( incorporates jazz and hip-hop styles into her music, while the prodigiously talented Ledisi ( can manhandle any jazz or blues song. ... Now, a lot of the rising soul instrumentalists are venturing into hip-hop. Crown City Rockers ( have long been known for their ability to trick out a Bach Invention with a hip-hop backbeat, and for their vast knowledge of musical styles. ... The Coup enhances its sound with killin' background vocals and electric bass by Dewey Tucker, who also plays for new-school soul man B'Nai Rebelfront (, and for the ten-piece Kev Choice Ensemble ( Choice is one of those rare local cats who's gained a strong following before his releasing his full-length debut. Given his skill as a jazz pianist and songwriter, he'll definitely have real staying power. ... One thing that probably won't fade out any time soon is our flourishing East Bay DJ scene, which includes such icons as DJ Wisdom (, who moonlights as "Papi Chocolate" and boasts a Latin collection (of downloads, at least, and perhaps actual vinyl) to rival that of any salsa and meringue waxslinger in town. ... As far as technical chops go, few could step to the Oakland Faders (, a four-man crew that includes Spair, rising mix kingpin Mere, former "World Famous Wake-Up Show" DJ Joe Quixx, and the inimitable Platurn, whose talent for scratching and cutting is unparalleled. ... Granted, yesterday's champion record-cutters are having to change tactics in the era of Serrato Scratch software, which has paved the way for such highly choreographed acts as San Francisco VJ Mike Relm ( For the most part, we've managed to take the new technology and claim it as our own.

World, Latin, Reggae, & Reggaetón Artists


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