Turf Talk (born Demar Bernstine in Vallejo, California), is a Bay Area rapper at the forefront of the hyphy movement. His unique style of delivery has earned both local and national acclaim. Turf Talk is the protégé and cousin of platinum-selling Bay Area pioneer and legend E-40, and is signed to his mentor's Sick Wid It/30/30 Records.
Turf Talk told UK-based rap periodical Hip Hop Connection that he "came from living in hotel rooms.. for four to five years". The rapper returned to Vallejo (in the Bay Area) in 1999 to pursue his career under cousin E-40.
Turf Talk quotes his influences as "E-40 and The Click, Too $hort, and then The Dangerous Crew, and Mac Mall."
Originally rapping under the name Killa Kane, Turf Talk would first appear alongside Mac Shawn, another younger cousin of E-40, on the compilation CD Worldwide Bosses & Playas in 2001. His breakthrough came in 2003 performing the hook for the MTV-aired E-40 track "Gasoline", B-side to the single "One Night Stand".
Turf Talk would go on to appear in three tracks on E-40's 2003 album Breakin News as well as cement his growing reputation in the Bay Area's new movement by guesting in style on the official remix to The Federation's seminal hit "Hyphy".
In 2004 Turf Talk released his highly anticipated debut album The Street Novelist featuring his mentor E-40, The Federation and a range of Sick Wid It Records' artists. The CD included the Rick Rock-produced smash "It's Ah Slumper" and one of the final guest appearances of Mac Dre.
In 2005 Turf Talk released Turf Talk Brings The Hood: Colabilation part album, part compilation of tracks recorded with both long-time and up-and-coming Sick Wid It Records collaborators. The CD included the popular local hit "Turf Talk Iz Back".
In the early hours of July 14, 2005, Turf Talk suffered several shots to the face from a small caliber pellet shotgun, after being apparently targeted leaving a recording studio in Vallejo. He was treated at the Sutter Solano Medical Center and made a quick and full recovery.
On July 30, 2005 at the San Francisco Masonic Center, Turf Talk was announced as New Artist (Rookie) of The Year 2005 in the inaugural Bay Area Rap Scene (B.A.R.S.) Awards. He beat strong competition from both Mistah F.A.B. and Ya Boy.
Boosted by the signing of mentor E-40 to Lil Jon's multi-platinum BME/Warner imprint, Turf Talk announced plans to release his new studio album West Coast Vaccine: The Cure in 2006, featuring almost exclusive production by rap heavyweights Rick Rock and Lil Jon. The CD was delayed to early 2007.
In 2006 Turf Talk secured further exposure by appearing on E-40's BME debut and Billboard 200 success story My Ghetto Report Card as well as MTV's Hyphy music insight My Block: The Bay. His influence on the Hyphy movement was featured in Hip Hop magazines The Source and XXL.
In the summer of 2006 Turf Talk extended his cross-genre, national and international reputation after being invited to feature on the DJ Shadow Hyphy-influenced new release 3 Freaks. This led to an MTV music video alongside Keak Da Sneak, as well as a supporting role in a tour of Europe and Japan.
The tour climaxed with a performance in front of over 25,000 at the Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park on June 23. Turf Talk appeared alongside Bay Area emcees Mistah F.A.B. and Nump, in a line-up which included Massive Attack, Pharrell, Gnarls Barkley and Damian Marley.
Turf Talk's unusual delivery is an important part of his act. The self-styled "devastating mouthpiece", he combines a distinctive drawl with fierce interjections using multi-track recording. The New York Times said "he has a high, pinched voice, less cartoonish than his cousin (E-40) and more ferocious".
The rapper himself ascribes his fast-changing flow to building a character for his listeners, complete with ad-libs, and to developing a range of marketable styles. "I'm always thinking about new ways to rap on different beats and new sounds, just something different to the human ear."