Does Sac still hate hip-hop?

The good, bad and ugly from an eye-catching movement

Mahtie Bush <i>loves</i> hip-hop.

Mahtie Bush loves hip-hop.

Photo By Josh Fernandez

Download Mahtie Bush’s Hate Is Love podcast for free at

The Sac Hates Hip-Hop tag line was bold. And semi-obnoxious. But it was also a pointed generalization—a carefully constructed, definitive statement masterminded by 27-year-old emcee Mahtie Bush.

It was meant to turn heads. And it did.

It’s been a couple years since SN&R covered the Sac Hates Hip-Hop movement (“Hater baiters,” SN&R Music, June 28, 2007). Bush’s original manifesto was a response to Sacramento venues and media outlets banning and shutting out hip-hop acts. Much has happened since the movement’s outset, some planned and some not.

But the aftermath of Sac Hates Hip-Hop has been primarily good, sorta bad and, yeah, a bit ugly.

The good: Perhaps it was irony that led Bush to a healthy pot of success after his SHHH campaign. Shortly afterward, The Source, one of the most widely read and influential hip-hop magazines in the nation, got wind of Bush and his muckraking ways and did a little feature on the emcee, which was “a dream come true.”

The movement was also instrumental in generating a collaboration between Bush and Chino XL, a well-known emcee (and card-carrying Mensa member) for Bush’s Hate Is Love podcast. Bush has also collaborated with Keith Murray and DJ G.I. Joe and is working on a full-length album, Backpackramento, which will feature Chino, Murray, the Alumni, Wyzdom, Chase Moore and Mic Jordan, and should hit stores in the next few months.

But perhaps the best thing that’s come of his movement, says Bush, is exactly what SHHH set out to do: It raised awareness. And now, Monday through Sunday, clubs are as soaked in hip-hop as ever.

“It seems like everyone’s got a venue now in the downtown and Roseville scene,” says Bush.

So, Sac hated hip-hop.

The bad: Bush had his share of problems stemming from the movement. Sacramento rapper C-Dubb went as far as to make a diss song about SHHH, which was critical of its whiny approach. “I feel like if you want the respect, you go earn that shit,” C-Dubb said, not mincing words in an interview last year.

Bush takes it all in stride. And he even seems to derive a certain satisfaction from confrontation. “I was happy that [C-Dubb] got nominated for the Sammies [Sacramento Area Music Awards]. I was one of the guys that voted. I got a lot of love for people, but I’m not here to clear anything up,” he says.

But there’s still work to be done. If the hip-hop scene is thriving, then there’s the chance that it could be thriving too well.

“I’m kind of bored. There’s nothing wrong with everyone getting along—that’s a great thing. But at the same time I feel like nobody’s competing anymore. [It’s] good to up the ante,” Bush says.

And, of course, there’s the stigma of instigating a movement that made nationwide news: “To this day, certain people introduce me as ‘Mr. Sac Hates Hip-Hop himself.’ That will stay with me for the rest of my life in Sacramento. I have no problem with it. For the nerds who do have problems with it, that’s on them,” Bush says.

The ugly: Just as this story was in its final draft, Bush calls the office. He says his friend, who lives out in Woodland, was posting fliers to drum up support for Bush’s Sammies nomination this year.

After a day of fliering the city, the girl found that her yard had been TP’d. Not a big deal, but after looking around her front lawn, she noticed on her door one of the fliers she had been posting around town with Bush’s face on it. Also on her door was a spray-painted message.

In big, unmistakable letters, it read: “Fuck Bush.”