Despite being the capital of the incredible and one of a kind state of California, Sacramento is a place that is rarely talked about unless the topic is government. The Kings have been on a downward spiral ever since Robert Horry’s miracle shot in 2002, and being that there isn’t any other sports teams, or major universities (besides Sac State), or any other national identity to the city, it just isn’t on most people’s radars. Even in California. The first time I went was when I was 22 years old, and I have been living in Ca my entire life, and specifically in the Bay for the vast majority of it. Pathetic on my part, I know.
Yet out of nowhere Macramento’s hip-hop scene has started to emerge on a national level. First the forgotten OG’s have been making a push for reemergence. Brotha Lynch Hung jumped back into the scene by getting signed to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music and releasing Dinner and a Movie, which was a pretty amazing yet dark and creepy piece of art that earned him his highest sales numbers since the mid-late 90’s. Additionally C-Bo has announced that he and Yukmouth are reuniting for another Thuglordz album which has surprisingly received more press than when they got together in the first place, which is lame because both aren’t what they once were on the mic. Yet Sac’s few familiar names are not the only ones making ripples in the music scene. Newcomer Bueno has teamed up with Grammy nominated producers Stereotypes and has been killing it with 808 and synth heavy trunk music (download his newest free mixtape Maloof Money 2 here, ), while another relatively unknown rapper, C Plus, has earned some internet love on sites like 2DopeBoyz, download his newest mixtape, All On Me, here.
Yet while both Bueno and C Plus are undeniably grinding on their way to success, without a doubt the biggest new hip-hop artist out of Sac has got to be producer Lee Bannon. Not only has he provided tracks for MC’s from both coasts including Talib Kweli, Inspectah Deck, Consequence, Termanology, Skyzoo, Torae, The Jacka, UNI, and Strong Arm Steady, but he also produced the entirety of an 11 track EP with C Plus called The Smallest Giant (which is available for free here, and Never A Dull Moment with Michigan’s Wille The Kid which garnered a lot of hype, anticipation, and discussion on the net. While that would be enough for most people to cap off a quality 2010, Bannon released one more project for the internet to devour this month, this time pairing up with another Sacramento native named Chuuwee.
To start things off Hot N Ready is free, so make sure to go grab it here. Next, if no one told you anything about this 11 song, 18 minute project, I would be amazed if you guessed that this came out of the West Coast or was made in 2010. That is as long as you forgot about the fact that theres a song named Sac, and Chuuwee mention’s their city on more than a few occasions. The point I’m trying to make is that Bannon’s production has a raw vintage quality that is more akin to experimental east coast hip-hop from the 90’s than anything recent out of California other than Madlib. The samples are chalk full of static, hissing and pops that come from old records, and they all have a dark and eery feel to them that is far from representative of the California sunshine. Chuuwee fits right in on these beats as well. His subject matter is rugged and street oriented, but it is expressed with a vast vocabulary of multisyllabic words that would make him fit in perfectly as a Wu affiliate. I also really like his desire to keep his tracks short and with much more time spent on verses than hooks. I’m impressed with Chuuwee and surprised because I feel like someone with hunger and bars like him would have more of a following than he does. Hopefully this project gets things moving in the right direction.
Yet if I had one complaint about the album (get ready, cuz it’s a familiar one) it’s the lack of drums. I understand Lee’s desire to have a throwback organic sound, but I can’t get down with a rap album that has a practically nonexistent rhythm section. This is the same reason why I haven’t listened to new music from Madlib in a year or two. I’m not saying that it needs tuned synthesized kicks that carry the bass line like a lot of todays rap, but audible drums on the majority of tracks is not that much to ask. Imagine how much better “Change Em”, “Super Nigga 2010” and “Sac! (916)” would have been with a crisp snare and kick combo. Maybe it’s just my personal taste in music, but I see no reason to leave those elements out.
Despite the lack of drums, anyway you look at it, this album is well worth 18 minutes of your time. Dope sample selection and dope rhymes from a gritty city that is on the up and up. I’m excited to see Sac Town keep it coming with quality music.