DUB Magazine Feature : Keak Da Sneak

11 04 2008


A young Charles Kunta Kinte Bowens Williams was an active kid. So active that his mother would often tell him he was hyperactive. Rather than describing himself has “hyper,” Charles would call it “hyphy.” Little did he know, his new word would later define a movement in hip-hop culture.

Now, the Bay Area native is known as rapper Keak Da Sneak, renowned for his unique rap style, recognizable voice and as a forefather of the “Hyphy movement,” a style of music and dance primarily associated with Bay Area hip-hop culture, where the music is distinguished by gritty, pounding rhythms (it is what crunk music is to the South). “To me, hyphy is energy,” Keak describes in his distinctive raspy voice. “It’s turning negative energy into a positive energy. It’s a way to express yourself without hurting someone. It just became popular, but we’ve been saying it in the Bay Area for years. It’s the way we live, and to us, it’s more of a ritual than a movement. The South gets crunk, and the Bay Area is hyphy.”


Although he may have coined the word “hyphy,” Keak doesn’t let it get to his head. His bumpy road to success has made him modest. “I went through a lot of bad record deals,” he describes. “I put all my energy into staying focused to keep going, always telling myself never to give up and quit.”
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Hip-Hop Saved My Life

11 04 2008

Lupe Fisco

He’s a backpack rapper with a penchant for flashy items and a knack for forgetting A Tribe Called Quest lyrics at the wrong time.

But Lupe Fiasco’s recent single, “Hip-Hop Saved My Life,” is as endearing a record as any MC could put together. The song is from his sophomore set, The Cool.

And he’s dedicated it not to one, but two of the game’s finest: Bun B and Slim Thug.

“With ‘Hip-Hop Saved My Life,’ I attempted to make ‘Kick, Push,’ but for rappers,” he explained to MTV Base. “To give a real basic play-by-play of the life of a rapper before he makes it — if he ever makes it, because you can get stuck in that and be trying to make it for the rest of your life.”

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