Some things are just needed for cultural purposes

Bay Area, Summer 2006:

I had just graduated from high school and frequently partook in activities that many 17-18 year old young men enjoy: playing Madden, drinking, chilling with girls, BBQ-ing, and other laid back activities. I had a close friend that shared similar interests, except for his taste in music. He was a huge fan of Bay Area music and would blast it on a consistent basis. While Tell Me When To Go was getting major airplay and the buzz around the Bay Area music scene was at an all time high, I wasn’t really a huge fan of the Hyphy movement. ;At that time, my boy was always blasting artists like J. Stalin, The Federation, and The Jacka. He was playing them so much that I began getting more annoyed with every listen, which to a certain extent, influenced me to be anti-Bay Area music

One day my boy popped in an album that would make me a believer. It was the perfect balance of Hyphy music that people enjoyed partying to and some real lyrical consciousness that hardcore hip-hop fans could enjoy. That album turned out to be Son of A Pimp by Oakland native Mistah F.A.B.and to this day it’s an album that I always welcome being played no matter what the situation is.

Son Of A Pimp has been out for a decade now and is still regarded as one of the Hyphy movement’s best offerings from the that 2003-2008 era. Along with Too $hort, E-40, and the late Mac Dre, who signed the rapper to his label Thizz Entertainment in 2004 before his tragic murder, Mistah F.A.B. is viewed as one of the founding fathers of the Hyphy Movement and has become one of the most respected most underrated MC’s in Hip-Hop.

in 2014 I worked for an independent Bay Area hip-hop publication and I had the pleasure of interviewing F.A.B. about his legacy. One subject I brought up was his plans on releasing the sequel to his highly acclaimed album. As F.A.B. put it at the time, “It’s still a touchy subject for me, because to me it’s more then an album. It is actually a promise to my [late] mother. It’s very personal.”;F.A.B. then discussed the star-studded guest list that he had for the album’s track list and how he feels that the album will go down as a classic when it’s all set and done. “Regardless of what I do, I WILL release the project…one day.” Over the next two years, F.A.B. would go on to release a few mixtapes that received some praise outside of the Bay Area. However, his plans on releasing the long awaited sequel was always in the works due in large part to the promise he gave to his mother.

editorial-24-3-son-of-a-pimpOn May 27, 2016, F.A.B. fulfilled his promise. 11 years after its predecessor, Son Of A Pimp Pt. 2was released to the world. SOAP2 follows a similar blueprint to the first installment, as it’s filled with soulful, smooth, party, and self-conscious records. Like the autobiographical funky opener Son Of A Pimp where he uses a Too $hort inspired flow to tell the story of his up-bringing.

What is different this time around are the names that appear throughout the 21-track album. While the first installment boasted some of the best and most notable artists that the Bay Area had to offer part two goes a step further to boast some of the best and most notable artists that hip-hop as a whole has to offer. The all-star cast of features includes the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Crooked I, Boosie Badazz, Jadakiss, Carl Thomas, 2 Chainz, B.o.B, Tech N9ne, as well as fellow Bay Area comrades E-40, Too $hort, IAMSU!, G-Eazy, Keysha Cole, Netta B, the late Jacka and many more.

F.A.B. lets the artists showcase their strengths while still managing to maintain his own over production by Tha Bizniss, The Mekanix, Pete Rock, and Sean T. For those who remember, Sean T produced F.A.B.’s Son Of A Pimp cult classic, Kicked Out The Club.  On SOAP2 ,Sean T gets Fabby Davis Jr. to return to his Thizz Ent. roots with the record Still Feelin’ It which samples the classic Mac Dre record Feelin’ Myself that I’m sure every Bay Area fan can appreciate. The bangers keep coming with tracks like the P-Lo produced record On All Mommas, the future twerking anthem Backseat which features tongue twisting verses fromTech N9ne and B.o.B, and the 2 Chainz assisted banger IDKW2D.

editorial-24-5-son-of-a-pimp-fabEven though F.A.B. likes to keep the party rocking he still wants to spread the word on social justice like the sober but gospel-tinged record All Around The World, which features a booming hook from Keysha Cole“Bigger than rap, let’s focus on facts” he raps, “50% of minorities in jail, and most of em black.” The most hyped up and raved about track that the album offers is the emotional Survive, which features none other than Compton’s good kidKendrick Lamar, hook man Kobe Honeycutt, and Slaughterhouse representative Crooked I, who highlights the track with one of the most heartfelt verses on the album where he talks about the death of his father.

However no track strikes an emotional cord more then the record Brother To My Brother. It is disguised as a letter to F.A.B.’s incarcerated brother where he talks about why he hasn’t written to him when he is locked up and how he is pretty much alienated from his life.

When you first come home, we had plans to change the game up
When you got out it was like “Damn you changed up!”
I was thinking we could be like Baby and Slim
Me and you we can take over the game and get this win
All I needed was your patience and for you to believe
But you was more interested in the streets then believing in me!”

Whereas Son Of A Pimp was a proclamation that the “Prince of the Bay” had arrived, Pt. 2 is the proclamation that the prince has now grown into a king, not only embracing his role as a Hyphy forefather and one of the most lyrically respected MC’s, but as a surrogate uncle to the Bay Area’s next generation of artists, the same way that Too $hort, E-40, and Mac Dre did before him. It’s the sequel that made him who he is as a person, and is the album that is shaping him to be the man of the future.

When I listen to this album it takes me back to that summer of 2006, particularly to that moment where I started to form senses of respect, appreciation, and pride in regards to Bay Area music. It took me back to the moment where I gained respect for Mistah F.A.B. and appreciated the movement that he has helped push. When I interviewed him back in 2014, I asked him what he would like to be remembered as and he simply said:

I don’t want to be remembered as a “rapper.” I think a “rapper” would be the last thing I want to be spoken about in my eulogy. I want them to know Stanley as someone who always went against what was poplar at the time. He did what other people told him he couldn’t do. He never forgot what it was like at the bottom. Therefore he always came back to the front-line. He always gave more then himself to the people.He was always about charity, he was always about helping, he was always about building. He was always about progressing. He was always about connecting. He definitely utilized his connections and network skills to do more then just rap. The best stage show is not the performer that’s on stage, it’s the person that puts together the stage. So rather it was me utilizing what was inside my backpack. Or me showcasing what’s inside my briefcase, I was always able to utilize my tools. Maximizing my minimum. And last but not least, through out all the adversity, all the obstacles, through all the losses, and though all the defamation of my character. I remained me, and I was the best person that I could ever be. To me that is more important then somebody saying, ‘He’ll go down as one of the top Bay Area rappers of all time.