The Bay Beat vol. 2: Super Bowl 50, J. Lately, J Stalin & Philthy Rich, HipHopForChange


Back with Volume 2 of #TheBayBeat!

Before I get started, I HAVE to take a moment to honor, remember and extol The Jacka. The Oakland Native was tragically gunned down one year ago, yesterday, February 2nd. Mob Figaz, the solo work, collaborative projects with Andre Nickatina, Freeway, Berner, Dubble-OO, Lil Keke, Messy Marv and so many more. He gave us a ton of music, was an influential member of the Bay Area’s scene and was taken far too soon.

As most of the United States knows, Super Bowl 50 will be played in Santa Clara this Sunday, February 7th. What does that mean for the Bay Area hip-hop scene? Well Miguel, DJ Khaled, Fabolous, Travis Scott, Eric Bellinger, Diddy, Ne-Yo, August Alsina, Pharrell, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, French Montana, T.I., 50 Cent, Alicia Keys and I’m sure many many more will be joining some of our biggest names from Keak Da Sneak and E-40 to star-in-the-making Kehlani on stages across the Bay. I can’t tell you how many hip-hop artists will be out here performing, hosting events or just partying at your favorite club. Keep your eyes open; you don’t want to miss these chances!

Next up I got a new video from J.Lately. The well-composed video features J.Lately reflecting back on someone that plays a much larger role in his mind than they do in his life. Director Andrew Elsayid’s rain and low-lit video backdrop builds on the foundation that Oops darker production’ built. “How many mother#$%in songs can I write?” J.Lately and Della ask, admitting both regret and fault about things past, asking for a potential shot in the future. “All About You” can be found on the recently released album Let’s Just Be Friends. J. Lately was also recently named one of 2016’s Top 15 to Watch For by Da-What+Friends.

J. Stalin and Philthy Rich stopped by Sway’s Universe while out in New York for an in-depth interview. I hope I don’t have to remind y’all about Sway’s hometown or that this is an all Bay affair. In addition to the standard radio interview discussion about the respective artists’ background, their upcoming projects and what the world has going on, J. Stalin and Sway dug a bit into the Bay’s history. These guys give us a very long list of talented artists from all around the Bay; Stalin admits that for the first time, he thinks, the movement is working together. Sway even confirmed that one of the main reasons he left the Bay Are in the 90s, after creating the Wake Up Show, was a lack of unity and backlash. If you have 45 minutes or need something to throw on while you work, here you go.

You can catch J Stalin live at Slim's on Sat. March 15, 2016.

Lastly, I’ll conclude with a Bay Area shoutout to another hip-hop educational group: HipHopForChange. This Oakland based organization uses hip-hop music and the surrounding culture to help combat socio-economic injustice. Their grassroots activism includes speaking engagements, educational discussions and workshops to engage in important discussion; HipHopForChange even raises money for efforts that help alleviate these problems too. To accomplish these goals hip hop concerts are produced, they broadcast on KPOO, and even release mixtapes with progressive messages. If you are looking for ways to get involved in using hip hop for good, this is a great place to start.

Tune in next Wednesday for Volume 3 of the Bay Beat. If you want something considered for a future issue – reach out on Twitter with the hashtag #TheBayBeat!

-Benjamin Cohn, @DaWhatBenja

The Bay Beat vol. 1: The Jacka, Kamaiyah, Mozzy, Caleborate, Locksmith, Zion I

The first installment of “The Bay Beat” a new weekly column covering Bay Area Hip Hop brought to you by Slim’s Presents and Da-What.  Although I have been out of the City much of the last 7 years, I was born and raised here in San Francisco.  An avid hip-hop fan for much of my life, I’ve been running, bringing what's new to the public. Now that I am back in The Bay, I am working with our local venues to promote our local music. Slim’s believes in this as well and is providing a platform for the latest in Bay Area Hip Hop news.  Moving forward “The Bay Beat” will appear every Wednesday at  My coverage of the week will include newly released music, event info, cultural discussions and typical rap debates.  We want you to have a voice as well! If you have some ideas for upcoming editions, hit me up on twitter @DaWhatBenja and make sure to use the hashtag #TheBayBeat.

Having introduced myself and the column, starting next week I will begin to cover new events. In the meantime, we have videos from some of my favorite Bay Area emcees – Kamaiyah, Mozzy, Caleborate, Locksmith, Zion I, The Jacka - and a few shout outs below.

Q102 – The Throwback Station
Since 2014, Q102 has been blasting old school hip hop through the Bay Area’s speakers at a consistently quality rate.   It is nice to have a radio station that is playing anything different than the popular rotation, no shots fired!, let alone 80s, 90s and 2000s hip hop/R&B.  If you don’t know about the Bay Area’s role in hip hop radio history, please go check into KMEL/Sway & King Tech and that era!

The Thizzler
I’m sure there are other hip hop blogs dedicated to Bay Area hip hop but The Thizzler is the first one I knew of and one that has done a great job of promoting our music.  What started as Matt Werner’s personal blog now reports shows, introduces Bay Area Freshmen, releases mixtapes and more.  If a Bay artist releases a new track, I will bet that The Thizzler will let you know about it.

Today’s Future Sound
These are the guys creating the next generation of Bay Area musicians. And the one after that. The Oakland based organization teaches music production, beat making and DJing to youth around the Bay Area. In fact they have put on workshops all over the country and executive director Dr. Elliot Gann recently traveled to Senegal for a program on conflict resolution and diplomacy in partnership with the State Department and the University of North Carolina. TFS hopes to further their mission based in the belief in “the power of music to transform and inspire youth to create positive change in their lives and communities.”