Bay Area beats

By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  February 19, 2007

Behind the natural-emergence myth that comes with any new strain of commercially viable music, be it rap or rock, there’s almost always a more complex reality. Many of the artists associated with “new” hyphy, including E-40 and Too $hort, were Bay Area icons long before the style had a name. E-40, in spite of a mixed Warner Bros. debut (last year’s My Ghetto Report Card), deserves more attention than he’s received in his decade-plus career. And he’d make for a great leader of any Bay Area movement. The one glaring omission on Hyphy Hitz is E-40’s “Tell Me When To Go,” the Neptunes-like bare-bones cut that announced the genre’s arrival on the national scene. Sure, the track’s beat doesn’t sound that different from what’s already on rap radio. But as with any of hip-hop’s subgenres, its purer sound will eventually find the mass audience it’s been playing to all along.

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