The birth of rap started with block parties held in the hoods in the Bronx, New York City as far back as the 1970s leading to the likes of The Sugarhill Gang’s Rappers Delights and Kurtis Blow’s The Breaks. For years different rappers have emerged from different deep-rooted cities all over the world and used their rap to tell the stories of their childhood growing up as well as events that surrounded their cities.
Bay Area rappers from California, U.S. have decided to take it a step further by coming together to create an album titled “Tales of The Town.” The rappers include G-Eazy, Guapdad 4000, ALLBLACK, La Russell, Rexx Life Raj, Elujay, and 22nd Jim amongst others. The 11-track album is part of a multimedia project co-created by Abbas Muntaqim and Delency Parham, cofounders of People’s Programs and the Hella Black Podcast to explore nearly 100 years of black history as well as the rich culture of Oakland through various black natives.
On the Tales of The Town album, the different San Francisco Bay Area rappers come together with their different cumulative and distinct sounds and delivery staying through to the purpose of the album which is to bring to the limelight the Oakland indigenous music scene and community they can all relate to.
Songs like F*CK 12 Freestyle featuring Guapdad 4000 & La Russell tackle local issues that affect Oakland’s black community while Party With The Gang featuring G-Eazy, P-Lo, & FREDOBAGZ and Get Dangerous featuring 22nd Jim & Lil Bean show how the rappers express their feelings through rap.
The project is also able to show off the genre diversity of the town’s music scene by offering meditative R&B in the form of Risen featuring Elujay & Jane Handcock which stresses the issue of redevelopment in the East bay and mob music on Black Jobbins featuring J Stalin & Koran Street reminiscent of the shimmering production style that defines Bay Area street music.
The new album arrives alongside the latest episode of the Tales of The Town podcast. Episode 5 of Tales of The Town is the second of a two-part installment about the history of Black music in Oakland, examining some of the biggest stars to ever spring from Oakland, the likes of Tajai of The Mighty Souls of Mischief crew and the acclaimed singer, Goapele.