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 "The same way the South gets crunk the Bay gets hyphy" ...



Page 2


 "The dreadlocks shaking, riding with all four doors open. It's how the kids are feeling these days" ...



Page 3


 "As soon as the song came on, people started jumping through the windows, swinging from the sprinkler systems" ...





Hood Check: Hyphy: California Crunk



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— by Shaheem Reid with additional reporting by Sway Calloway

A mob of young teenagers is going completely bonkers. You'd think these kids were watching Jay-Z at Madison Square Garden, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at the Staples Center or Eminem at the Detroit's Cobo Arena — their energy level is that heavy. But they're not in an arena. The place they've flooded doesn't even have a stage.

The kids today are at a record store: Rasputin Music in San Lorenzo, in California's San Francisco Bay.

  Federation in-store signing
The fans — dozens of them — are shaking like they've been possessed by the Holy Ghost. Their heads are shuddering violently, their arms are flailing like they're on fire, and the youngsters are yelling in unison like a bunch of unabashed shouting Johns vying for attention from the pastor and congregation.

But this is no act to revere some false prophet or profit-hungry evangelist. To paraphrase Humpty Hump from Bay Area legends Digital Underground, these kids are doing what they like, how they like; getting "dumb, stupid and retarded" — and the thing that's getting them so worked up is a jittery, sped-up, synth-powered strain of hip-hop they call "hyphy," and they're here to celebrate the release of a new album by ... the Federation.

(Don't worry, we hadn't heard of them either.)

The three brothas in the Federation (Doonie Baby, Goldie Gold and Mr. Stres) have the spot poppin' like fish grease over an open flame on the strength of their home-grown hits, "Hyphy" and "Go Dumb." And if 99 percent of the world's music fans have never heard of the Federation or hyphy, it doesn't matter: Right here, right now, this is What's Hot. Where'd it come from?

  "The same way the South gets crunk, the Bay Area gets hyphy."
"It's that Northern Cali crunk, as far as the music goes," producer Rick Rock (Jay-Z, Mystikal, E-40, Tupac) explains about the musical movement that is fueling a whole subculture in the "Yay Area." "It's that high, energetic music: It's the energy, but it's our demographic."

"The same way the South gets crunk, the Bay Area gets hyphy," Goldie adds.

Hyphy, however, is much more than just music. In fact, the sound factor was the last step in hyphy's evolution.

To use words to capture the hyphy phenomenon is a bit of an injustice — you have to retell stories and paint scenarios. One popular example of kids acting hyphy or "going dumb" is "gas-brake dippin'." In the Bay, they pile into their cars and, instead of driving normally, they'll hit the gas, then quickly hit the brake; hit the gas, hit the brake; hit the gas, hit the brake. And when they really want to get into it, they open all the doors on the vehicle, turn the music to its loudest possible volume and

  Kids getting hyphy
You guessed it: Hit the gas, hit the brake ...

Then there's the dancing we saw at Rasputin.

Shortly after the Feds finish their in-store performance, the party spills out onto the sidewalk around the corner from the store. With "Hyphy" playing Radio Raheem-style on a boom box, there's one male teen with his arms extended like a sleepwalker's, bouncing around with his head shaking like a chicken with a caffeine rush. There's his male friend walking around with his eyes rolled up in his head like a zombie, and another guy who looks to be doing a 2004 version of the Harlem Shake — in an earthquake.


Shyne may be gone, but he's not forgotten. Since he's been incarcerated, several of his peers have shouted him out in song.

Back in the '80s, when Hulkmania was at its peak, the WWF's then-champion Hulk Hogan had one unbelievable run, knocking down opponents like "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ugandan Headhunter Kamala. Hulk's key? The way he could rally from a whuppin' in every match. His famous "Hulking Up" move — where he would shake feverishly — signaled to everyone in the arena that the man with the 24-inch pythons was about to come back and administer his atomic leg drop not too long after. That's hyphy, brotha.


We all love Flavoooooor Flav! So let's give him his props. If wearing that giant clock around his neck for these years isn't hyphy enough for ya, just think about his patented Flavor dance: He spazzes out, gyrating his hips, kicking up his knees and holding his hands in front of his face, among other wild-child antics. That's hyphy, G.

"Hyphy is when you go dumb!" yells Keisha Lee of San Jose, while she and her friend Ashlee cut loose in the street. "You just don't give a care — when all your energy goes to your head and you just can't stop. It's just about going crazy."

Sho' nuff, the hyphy-ness is synergized, and during a break in the dancing, a Mustang pulls up and the driver decides to show love for the movement by doing donuts in the narrow street, just barely missing a minivan. Minutes later, a vintage Buick — or, as they call them in the Bay, a Scraper — pulls up and all four doors pop open. One teenage boy jumps on the door rest and the car starts to bounce up and down like it was on hydraulics.


NEXT: 'The dreadlocks shaking, riding with all four doors open. It's how the kids are feeling these days.' ...
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Photo: MTV News

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