Hip-hop, don't stop

One local artist gives a shout-out to the Sacramento’s peaceful, socially active and creatively thriving scene

Luke Tailor’s music epitomizes Sac’s creatively vibrant and socially active hip-hop scene.

Luke Tailor’s music epitomizes Sac’s creatively vibrant and socially active hip-hop scene.

Photo by lisa baetz

Andru Defeye is a local hip-hop artist and founder of ZFG Promotions.

Sacramento has never been a mecca for hip-hop. It’s a B market at best. National tours hit our city in the middle of the week on their way to a weekend in the Bay Area. In the midst of these realities, some guy shoots up the sidewalk outside a packed Nipsey Hussle show at Ace of Spades, and the public begins scrutinizing hip-hop as not only a genre of music, but a culture.

This is dangerous. Don’t judge an entire culture’s identity by a single person’s irresponsible actions.

The Sacramento hip-hop culture is vibrant far beyond the neon of the nightclub stage. What is seldom recognized is the work of people like Miss Marianna, with her Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is campaign, a community service campaign to furnish the homeless with wellness care packages; Low End Theory’s involvement with Rock The School Bells, which uses the genre to “educate and empower students and the community” about the power of higher education and promoting social change; Sol Collective’s innovative youth recording/beatmaking programs and Sacramento Area Youth Speaks’ powerful outreach through lyricism. At 17, Sacramento rap phenom Issa just dropped an anti-violence track that is currently being taught as curriculum at Sacramento Charter High School.

Sacramento hip-hop may still be struggling for airwaves, but the revolution has never been televised.

There’s an exciting new crop of talent with voices worthy of that “Most Diverse City in America” title that Sacramento is still trying to hold on to. From the community-driven bars of Dre-T’s Sacramentality to Luke Tailor’s playful precision on TextBook Money, the new class of Sacramento hip-hop is loudly announcing its presence. Meanwhile, veterans like Task1ne and Century Got Bars continue to provide an example for the new generation, with major moves like Task’s TeamBackpack selection and Century’s iTunes feature following the release of her album 3 last year. Did I mention her recent performance at TEDx?

It has been said that prophets are never recognized in their own towns. This seems to resonate for Sacramento hip-hop artists. Artists such as SBVCE and Maryann (Baegod) have been quietly gaining national attention with over a million Soundcloud plays on their hip-hop and trap tracks. JustKristofer’s soulful sonnets recently caught the attention of West Coast rap legend Warren G, who has been serving as his hip-hop mentor. And the list goes on.

Don’t forget hip-hop’s strides on local radio. Soosh*E and #TheNewAtNineBoyz on Hot 103.5 continue to push the limits of how much local music corporate radio can support.

In this growing city, hip-hop culture is far from frail. It has proven to be one of the most powerful mediums we have to provide our communities with self-awareness and the tools to rise above self-destruction and violence—the very pitfalls that the person who pulled a gun outside the Nipsey Hussle show obviously wasn’t able to escape.