Haters to the left
On his new album, Sacramento rapper C Plus grows up and tells all the local jokers to kiss off
Sacramento rapper C Plus is out to make his first million before age 30. If you find that amusing, cool. The 25-year-old is serious. So much so, in fact, that he doesn’t issue pedestrian “I love haters” talk. He even wrote the song “Change Up,” addressing the family- and friends-turned doubters in his life with the words; “Is this what I got up in the game for? / So all my loved ones can I ask what I changed for?”
C Plus just self-released a new album L.O.C.A.L—the acronym means “Loyalty Over Cash and Luxury”—a digital-only release available via iTunes and Bandcamp. With mixtapes dating back to 2006’s The After-School Special Vol. 1, C Plus may still be in his 20s, but he says he feels old. Maturity has kicked in harder than ever, as visions of reaching 30 and having nothing to show for it gains focus.
“I’m not big on partying or distractions,” he said. “Whether it’s girlfriends or not being able to kick it with friends who weren’t focused and in the long-term fell off, it’s funny I named [the album that], but the theme took off with its own identity in the process of recording.”
His words: “God works in mysterious ways.” L.O.C.A.L began as a catchy acronym influenced by the growing pride in Sacramento’s grassroots movement. When the recording sessions wrapped in September, C Plus says he was changed, done with local jokers.
There’s a scene in the 1992 flick Juice in which Q, played by Omar Epps, endures an earful from his “Wrecking Crew,” who tell him he can’t win a deejay competition because the contestants are world-renowned, and Q is “just local.” C Plus sampled the sound bite on “Intro (LOCAL),” evoking the character with the retort, “Kiss my local ass.”
“I’ve had many of the close homeys tell me that: ’You’re just a local guy,’” he said. “The more we pushed the concept, … we felt that stigma of being local. It always has a negative connotation to it. It makes you think something is low budget or not professional.
“We wanted to erase [that stigma],” he said. “If something is local and comes from the city you’re in, it doesn’t mean it’s not as good, if not better than what’s on the national level.”
C Plus recorded a few tracks in the Bay Area as well as some with the legendary Ski Beatz in New York. But the bulk of L.O.C.A.L was done in Sacramento, mostly at Omina Laboratories, alongside executive producer Chase Moore, with some tracks laid down at SoundCap Audio in Midtown. In addition to Moore, Hippie Sabotage and a select few other interior players brought live instrumentation to Plus’ music for the first time.
The music reflects a passage of time: Court dates for two separate minor drug-possession charges; a five-year relationship dissolved into nothing; and laments to those who are no longer around due to death, incarceration or personal differences all trickle into the album’s narrative. C Plus did not write an autobiography, per se, but the album nonetheless reveals reflections on tribulations.
“By the time we finished the album, I realized it’s two years of my life on wax,” he said.
The album also features a hedonistic anthem in “Girls on Drugs” and a hyperbolic sequel to Scarface on “Scarface 2,” for those who prefer mainstream hip-hop—rap demands bravado, after all.
Beyond the album, C Plus says he’s eyeing the long term, currently occupying any downtime doing design work and managing his career—all with the hunger for that first million dollars. There’s a line on the album closer “Invisible,” in which he says, “Two more albums, then I’m out.” In short, the rapper’s got a self-imposed deadline to meet within five years.
“I might end up doing more [music], but I’m trying to be a millionaire before 30, and I’m a little behind right now,” he said.
“If I’m 30 and I’ve not reached goals I expect to reach, I’ll focus on design … or promotion or something,” he said. “I like doing music, but I’ll go wherever the check’s at.”