Freddy Flossalini sets it straight
It’s always nice to get letters after a story comes out. Even if the writer is critical, it means that people at least are reading. And reacting. Which is exactly what emcee Freddy Flossalini did in a recent message, taking SN&R to task for past coverage—or lack thereof—of hard-core street rap. But his note wasn’t all negative: “I’ve recently been paying more attention … since C-Dubb actually started getting press.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to see the paper actually shedding light on the other (street hop, gangsta rap, etc.) artists.”
He’s got a point. It’s easier, admittedly, to review conscious rappers; they seem more accessible and, you know, less scary. For instance, when Flossalini rhymes on “Go 2 Werk” (from his new compilation album, Kal-Qaida Gang) about putting down guns, he’s not talking about stopping violence: He’s saying pistols aren’t big enough for the damage he wants to inflict: “Fuck the pistols, bring the missiles and the C4 / Let’s blow these motherfuckers to bone and gristle / and particles / If you don’t want no beef, what you start it for? / We’re the niggas from the deepest part of where the heartless roam.”
That’s just wrong. But the fact is those are some competent and effective lyrics, especially when paired with a simple, ominous, stripped-down beat. His rhymes are ferocious, dexterous. He’s more than just another Sacramento turf rapper.
Flossalini, a serious looking 27-year-old who chooses words carefully in casual conversation, met with SN&R face to face recently at a Midtown coffeehouse to talk about his music and the state of Sacramento hip-hop.
“Honestly, when I sit back and listen to my album, it’s exactly what I want it to be,” he says, adding that he’s not trying to pigeonhole himself as a gangsta rapper. “I want to bridge that gap between hip-hop and street hop. It’s kind of like when I threw the Sac Loves Hip-Hop and Sac Hates Hip-Hop show and got Mahtie Bush and C-Dubb together.”
And getting Bush and C-Dubb together is no small feat; they have a strong distaste for each other. But the rift between the conscious-rap scene and the gangsta-rap scene hurts hip-hop, so Flossalini aims to tear it down, even if it means putting two people who dislike each other on the same bill. “It’s a big division, but the thing is … you can bridge that gap. And that’s what I’m trying to do,” he says. “It’s very rare you see a Bueno and a State Cap. show, or a Neighborhood Watch and a C-Bo show.” Flossalini might blow you up into tiny little pieces with explosives, but he’ll also put you back together, as good as new. Nice, right?
With influences like the classic New York lyricist Rakim and the slain West Coast icon Mac Dre, the boundaries of the often-divided hip-hop scene don’t limit Flossalini. His diverse résumé is proof of that. He’s worked with artists including Doey Rock, the Alumni, Joezy Wells, Bueno, Bugzy and Hollow Tip, to name a few. And there’s no limit as to whom he’ll work with in the future. Until then, he’s got the Kal-Qaida Gang mix tape and the Flossalini Is My Homeboy album (out in December, which “features Mahtie Bush and C-Dubb,” he brags), and he does as many local shows as he can get his name on.
Of course, it helps when local media isn’t reluctant to write about the more thugged-out side of rap. Flossalini’s critical letter—honest, articulate, just enough humor to be interesting—is a lot like his music. “My track record is nice,” he ended his SN&R missive. “Look me up on Google: ‘FLOSSALINI.’”