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 If you're not from Oakland, then what we're seeing is like nothing you've ever experienced ...



Page 2


 "It's the music that makes these youngsters flambost to the highest degree." ...



Page 3


 "You're not going to catch me doing none of that." ...



Page 4


 "We about to sleep in the end zone. Ya smell me?" ...


My Block: The Bay
Keyshia Cole literally takes MTV back to her block and talks about why she had to leave the Bay, only to come back a star.






 Miami: High & Low



 Welcome To The "A"



 The Hustle & Flow Of Memphis



 Why Houston?





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— by Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway and Joseph Patel

If you're from Oakland, then what we're seeing today is just as natural as going to the mall.

Keyshia Cole literally takes MTV back to her block and talks about why she had to leave the Bay, only to come back a star.

But if you haven't had the pleasure of hanging around these parts, then this is like nothing you've ever experienced. It honestly doesn't seem real. It feels like you should pull a Ferris Bueller and turn to the camera of life with a look that says, "Can you believe this insanity?"

The scene in question looks half like a ghetto version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, half like a Funkmaster Flex car show. It's exciting, it's rowdy and it's extremely dangerous. The first car in a cavalcade of six vehicles rolling down the street is a brand-new Dodge Magnum, but that's not what's attracting stares ...

Everyone who should be in the vehicle — including the driver — is actually outside the car as it rolls down the street.

Yes. The Dodge is in drive, moving down the street at a slow speed. The driver has his door open and his right hand on the steering wheel, skipping along like a carefree oompa loompa, left hand waving to the crowd of onlookers who blanket the sidewalk. He then takes his hand off of the wheel and begins dancing as he continues running alongside the car. Two passengers who, under normal circumstances, would be sitting in the back seat, are actually on the car's roof, dancing. And the passenger who would ordinarily be riding shotgun is skipping alongside the car — until he decides to jump on the hood. All this while the car is still rolling down the two-way street with oncoming traffic approaching.

Welcome to the next level of hyphy ...

"They're 'ghost-riding their whip,' " says self-proclaimed freestyle king MC Mistah (i.e. Money Is Something to Always Have) F.A.B. (Faeva After Bread, i.e. "forever chasing money"). He's standing around the corner from the housing development he grew up in, explaining the scene to a fellow "Yay Area" native, MTV News' own Sway. "They're walking their joint. Everybody that's outside the car is actually supposed to be inside the car. They're going dumb, they're ignorant. That's how you ghost-ride a car. Then you hop back in and ride out."

Check out photos from My Block: The Bay

F.A.B. is one of the MCs keeping all eyes on the Bay Area's hip-hop music and culture: Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, San Jose, Vallejo. Since the masses caught wind of the hyphy subculture, its history and some of its artists like Keak Da Sneak and the Federation last year (we told you all about it in '04 with "Hyphy: Crunk, Northern California-Style"), the local music community has been keeping the momentum going with a string of MCs who have maintained strong buzzes in the streets with mixtapes and independent albums and DVDs.

The city hasn't been this alive since the early '90s, when E-40 and Too Short were at the "Rapper's Ball," the Luniz rapped about chipping in to buy stimulants, Tupac was yelling "Holla if you hear me," En Vogue were harmonizing for millions and the three Tonys — Tony! Toni! Toné! — had women swooning with the big fat lie that it never rains in Southern California.

After a decade-long cold spell, the Bay is buzzing louder — and crazier — than ever.

F.A.B., who has been winning over fans with his humorous punch lines and whimsical stage performances (he's been known to do the Running Man to MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," and mockingly sing the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" during his concerts), is the new leader of the "Thizz" movement, or what some call "The Nation of Thizzlam."

"Hyphy came from Thizz ... Thizz is a party pill. We're not promoting no drugs or nothing, we're just making feel-good music." - Mistah F.A.B.

"Hyphy came from Thizz ..." F.A.B, who's nicknamed himself "Fabby Davis Jr.," begins to explain before all present are distracted by a brand-new Mercedes Benz passing by with all of its doors open: One guy in the back is holding onto the driver's seat, his torso hanging out of the car and his head barely two inches from the ground. The Benz is followed by a van with its doors open and some of F.A.B.'s friends dancing on the roof, much like the character Stiles did in "Teen Wolf."

"The root of [the word] Thizz," he continues once the cars pass, "Thizz is [the drug] ecstasy, a party pill. We're not promoting no drugs or nothing, we're just making feel-good music. So when a person says 'I'm thizzin,' ' it means he's feeling good. He's having fun."

Fun, for hyphy disciples, all starts with losing control — or as they call it, "going dumb," "getting stupid," "18 dummy" or, when things get really out of hand, "riding the short yellow bus." They've been doing this for years in the Bay: It's a subculture that's gotten its name and sound from the music. At any given time you could be walking down the street and catch a random person shaking their dreads, turf dancing (imagine a combination of pop-locking, breakdancing, the Harlem Shake and the Robot), ghost-riding or jumping on a car like it's a trampoline — whether it's theirs or someone else's.

Hyphy also comes with accessories — preferably a "scraper" to ride in (an old-school Buick LeSabre), "stunna" shades (large, flamboyant sunglasses like the ones Elton John used to wear in the '70s) and grills. And let's not forget slang like "Yadadarrramean" ("You know what I mean") and "Shaboobalaboopie" (signifying that you don't know what's going on, or simply can't call it).


NEXT: 'It's the music that makes these youngsters flambost to the highest degree.' ...
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Photo: MTV News

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