Pocket Fixed Mob’s brothers rap together, stay together

In a city known for gangster rap, a young collective creates surreal personal hip-hop

Are these faces the future of Sacramento hip-hop?

Are these faces the future of Sacramento hip-hop?


Check out the members of Pocket Fixed Mob at 6 p.m. Friday, August 12, at Sol Collective, 2574 21st Street. Admission is free.

Alec Good chose the very un-hip-hop-sounding name of Lake Natoma as the title for his upcoming mixtape. His reason: It's a local hidden gem. The same could be said of his hip-hop crew Pocket Fixed Mob, a collective of some of Sacramento's most talented yet relatively unknown rappers. And they're young—all hovering around 20 years old.

“We’re doing something different,” Good says. “There’s a lot of gang rappers in Sacramento. We’re not just about hard bars and trying to sound cool. It’s from the heart.”

Pocket Fixed Mob’s hidden-gem status could change soon, as several in the nine-person crew have new releases scheduled in the next couple of months. Unlike hip-hop subgenres popular in Sacramento, such as gangster rap and horrorcore, these guys create left-of-center, innovative and personal hip-hop, in the vein of Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt and Chance the Rapper.

Think of them as Sacramento’s Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Like the Los Angeles group, Pocket Fixed Mob is also a large collective of solo artists who mix street smarts, surreal beats and weird references with honest, often emotional lyrics.

“A lot of people are just saying something, just hiding what they’re going through,” says rapper Darin Steele. “We’ll put it to you on a plate.”

They started calling themselves the Pocket Fixed Mob in 2010: a group of high school kids from the Pocket-Greenhaven neighborhood who rode their fixie bikes around. At the time, they were just friends, though some had already dabbled in music.

Of the nine members, six are rappers: Good, Steele, Wod Higgins, Moose Marlowe, Breon Hill and Lupe 94. The other three have different roles: Nico G is a producer, designer and manager; Adam Takeuchi also manages, produces and functions as the group’s accountant; and Jairus handles merchandising. Everyone works on their own projects, but they help each other whenever possible.

“We were a group before there was a label to it—we were just brothers,” Higgins says. “We all really heavily play a part in each other’s music because everyone gives each other momentum.”

Each individual rapper will perform at the Pocket Fixed Mob show Friday, August 12, at Sol Collective, which also kicks off a fertile period for the crew. Between then and the end of September, five rappers will put out mixtapes or EPs. The sixth, Lupe 94, has an EP planned for early 2017, but he’ll drop singles in the months leading up to it.

“It’s going to be a big splash, all of our fans coming together,” Marlowe says. “Someone might listen to my song, see that I have a song featuring Breon on it, and then start listening to him, and vice versa. That’s what gives us the most power.”

In the not-too-distant future, they plan to release an official Pocket Fixed Mob album. Now’s the time to see what each rapper brings to the table.

Meet the Pocket Fixed Mob

Wod Higgins Good Problems II (September 23)

Higgins, formerly known as Kahlil, is by far the most visible member of Pocket Fixed Mob. He just released a single with Mozzy called “Don’t Trust You,” which will be on Good Problems II. Higgins’ tall, skinny stature and weed-soaked flow brings to mind a tattoo-less Wiz Khalifa, but Higgins spits more contemplative thoughts over minimalist, airy beats. Earlier this year, he released The Tale of Wod Higgins, then went on tour with Pouya and the Suicide Boys, got home and recorded Good Problems II in a matter of weeks. www.whereiskahlil.com.

Moose Marlowe Sleepless in Sacramento (August 30)

When Marlowe brags, it sounds more like he’s simply relaying obvious information. (“Won’t sign that deal unless it’s multimillion.”) He’s got a gentle, fearless face and delivers some clever wordplay, often mixing sincere, romantic gestures with raunch. Sleepless in Sacramento is filled with slow, funky jams and a nonchalant street vibe. It’s also a long time coming. He’s been working on it for years, tweaking every little detail several times over. http://soundcloud.com/moosemarlowe.

Breon Hill The Guru (September 11)

“I know everybody loves me cause my shit is universal,” Hill says on The Guru. It sounds like a boast, but it speaks more to his quick wit and positive attitude. He assembles some cool grooves—like an awesome flute sample on “One More”—and delivers honest thoughts about life, personal tribulations and keeping your head up in the face of adversity. With his spider-like dreadlocks and machine-gun flow, he’s one of the more energetic members of the crew. http://soundcloud.com/breon-hill.

Alec Good Lake Natoma (September 12)

Apart from Higgins, Good is probably the most prolific member of the Pocket Fixed Mob. He released three mixtapes and three EPs in 2013 and 2014. He’s been less active the past couple of years due to some personal issues but is returning strong with Lake Natoma, an insightful and funny batch of tunes. (“I only fuck with bitches that do yoga, shop at Whole Foods.”) He stuffs his verses with whip-smart references and clever metaphors, relatable to anyone in the internet age. Good’s conversational flow—and occasional bout of singing—fits nicely with his surreal, lo-fi beats. http://soundcloud.com/alecgoodmusic.

Darin Steele Starvin’ Artist (September 5)

Though Steele only just started releasing his own stuff, his musical roots date back to childhood. He sang in his church’s choir, an influence apparent in his emotionally-stirring beats. Steele’s debut mixtape, Dawg Eat Dawg, was released last year and discusses the injustices faced by black Americans. Starvin’ Artist, meanwhile, addresses his own personal struggles, which he faces with a positive mindset. (“Life is trife when you’re not wealthy, so I’m trying to keep my pockets healthy.”) He’ll also pass out copies of another new release, Lost Attraction, at the Sol Collective show. http://soundcloud.com/darinsteelepfm.

Lupe 94 A*P*P* (Early 2017)

Lupe 94, formerly known as Don $crilla, typically releases singles here and there. That’s because his talents are divided up between his own music, shooting videos for other Pocket Fixed Mob members and designing posters and album covers. Despite a look that falls somewhere between laid-back hippie and easy-going skater, his deliberately disjointed raps are unhinged and intense. He says he “puts his heart in the beat.” http://soundcloud.com/evil49.