After reading debstar's last blog on bay area music, I was reminded of the connection between music and place and all the anthems artists put out to the cities where they came up. Sometimes I wish I could have grown up in a place like LA, Brooklyn, Chicago, or any of
the many cities that have songs dedicated to them. Unfortunately, growing up in somewhat obscure places like Steveston, British Columbia and Sacramento, I never got a chance to bump a tribute to my city (but I do remember in high school we all went batshit when Pac hollered "Sacramento where you at!?!" in "California Love").
Even though Steveston's biggest claim to fame was as a historic fishing town and the salmon capital of the world, it was still, in my mind, THE place to be. Nothing could beat riding on my bmx with my best friend Kevin to the dirt jumps at Steveston Park, getting so caught up in ping pong we forgot about Japanese class, or scrounging for cans to recycle so we could blow the refund on chips, a coke slurpee, and a day at the arcade. To this day I still remember --and sometimes long for-- that feeling of complete and utter freedom we had those endless summers where we would do everything but nothing.
No matter where you're from, most people have a deep attachment to the place where they grew up. From memories of the corners where they would spend their summers, to the 7-11s where they would endlessly loiter, and the distinct smells, sounds, and sights that defined their block, where we came up is a source of pride no matter where it is. Maybe more so than any other genre, hip hop is rooted in a sense of place, and just about every MC has a few verses, if not entire songs, dedicated to their corner. So until the Steveston or Sacramento hip hop scenes blow up, here are some of myfavorite tributes to everyone else's hoods.
[MP3] Murs :: LA
No doubt Tupac's "To Live and Die in LA" is the song of choice for most Angelenos, but I love how Murs’ tribute acknowledges LA in all it’s beautifully messed up glory. Plus, between Murs and Tupac, who’s REALLY from LA?
[MP3] Blue Scholars :: Inkwell (Remix)
If anyone’s going to put Seattle hip hop on the map, Blue Scholars will. What else can I say, this remix is straight bangin' and quite appropriately samples from fellow Seattleite Modest Mouse's "Float On".
[MP3] J-Live :: Travels
Ok, this one is more autobiographical than a tribute to his hometown of Brooklyn, but with that infectious bassline and easy flow, I just had to throw this one in.
damn my blogs are getting wordy.