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



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



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 "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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The story varies depending on whom you ask, but most seem to agree that hyphy started off as a slang word in the 'hood to describe people who were up to no good.

" 'Hyphy' is short for 'hyperactive,' " Doonie says later that night at the Ambassador's Lounge in San Jose, a couple dozen miles south of San Lorenzo. The club, which is owned by E-40, is hosting the Federation's album-release party.

If somebody was going around the 'hood picking fights and knocking people out Deebo-style, he was hyphy. If, even worse, someone was going around shooting up the block, he was hyphy.

As goes the history of many slang terms ("wildin' out," "blackin' out"), the negative was quickly switched up to also include positivity.

If you see a girl going into a club and her shape makes you do a double take, she's hyphy. During the summer, when 2,000 fans decided to show love by getting up out of their seats and rushing onto the floor of the Oakland Coliseum during the Federation's halftime performance at the And 1 basketball tour, they were getting hyphy.

  "I'm analyzing the Yay, I'm seeing how we're getting stupid, getting dumb. 'Let's make a song called 'Hyphy.' " — E-40
So after years of using the term to describe people's actions, it was now time to come up with a soundtrack to fit the lifestyle.

"It's like back in the day with the breakdancing, it's evolved into a culture," says Rick Rock, who is credited as being the king of hyphy like Lil Jon is the king of crunk. "It's like the new generation, the crack-baby era: the dreadlocks shaking, riding with all four doors open. It's how the kids are feeling these days. There was a time when northern California [music] was more mild and slow and laid-back. I came and brought this super-fast hyphy sound. I put the music to the culture."

It's a sound that has developed largely in isolation: An out-of-towner really feels like an out-of-towner when peeping out the Yay Area music scene. You can't hear this music hardly anywhere else.

"You have to be here," Rock adds. "That's been the thing with [record] labels and radio stations, they don't really understand it. It's hard to get it."

Although E-40 credits Oakland MC Keak Da Sneak from the group 3X Krazy as being the first person to say the word hyphy on wax back in 1998 (on "Cool," from his LP Sneakacidle), it never dawned on anyone to actually make a record named "Hyphy" until last year.

  "Hyphy is when you go dumb."
"If people can take 'oh boy' and 'fa shizzle' from the Bay, why can't we capitalize on hyphy?" Goldie asks. "We was like, 'Let's make an anthem for the Bay. The South got crunk. Northern Cali — we need our own shine."

"I'm analyzing the Yay, I'm seeing how we're getting stupid, getting dumb. 'Let's make a song called 'Hyphy,' " 40 further expands. "I'm telling my folks, 'Dude, this is where it's at.' It came together like Siamese twins. Just like [the Luniz's 1995 hit] 'I Got 5 on It' was an anthem, this is an anthem."


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Photo: MTV News

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