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2012 INTERVIEW WITH CRAYONE TWS

During the 2012 video shoot in Oakland for the song “Revolutionaries” with White Mic, we caught up with my ahki Crayone, one of the pioneers in the Bay Area graffiti scene. Crayone took a break from painting a fresh wall to speak on his style and history in the graff game. Writers and artists of any medium- take notes!

SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI, 2004-2005 (PART 3)

SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI, 2004-2005, CONT.

SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI, 2004-2005, PT. 2

More flicks from my decade-old graffiti time capsule. Check back next Wednesday for more pieces, throwies, and tags by SF legends.

SF GRAFF 2004-2005, Pt. 2, cont.

"FRISCO ORIGINAL" shirts and slaps available in the DREGSONE.COM store! Sizes are going fast in men’s and women’s, support your local community emcee and grab one now. Every dollar I make from my music or merchandise allows me to continue pushing my art and my community projects. To everyone who’s already supported- THANK YOU!

Underground Classics: Conceit “Wasted Talent”

Peace family, thanks for checking out the first segment of “Underground Classics,” a new series for my blog where I highlight OG albums, mixtapes, and compilations that are mostly unknown by the masses but had a big influence on ya boy. Most of what I highlight here will be Bay Area/NorCal rap tapes but I’ll include under joints from other regions and maybe even some other genres. Basically, this is music that deserves to be heard.

  1. Freestyle Olympics Intro
  2. Max Kane
  3. I Will Go
  4. Scissors & Glue
  5. Frisco City Nightlife ft. Daggawon, Hazard
  6. Cartoon Network
  7. Price of Dedication ft. Wordsmith
  8. Sleep Kids
  9. I Ain’t Bitter
  10. Apple Cobbler
  11. Lady
  12. Scrilla & Scratch
  13. Official Knock ft. Boac
  14. Old School ft. Memo (Mo Classics)
  15. It’s All Strange ft. Fantastik, Rush
  16. In A Minute ft. Topr
  17. Shakes
  18. Common Courtesy ft. Topr
  19. Tomorrow Never Dies ft. Spank Pops
  20. Flying High
  21. We Are @ War
  22. Not The 1ne
  23. California Daydream ft. Evolutionaries
  24. Crackalicious ft. Eddie K, Z-Man
  25. Wasted Freestyle

I couldn’t think of a better joint to pull out of archives then the Wasted Talent mixtape by my homie Conceit. Before I get into the actual music, let me give some background on this dude. In high school all I wanted to do was party, write graffiti, and freestyle. So when Telli Prego told me about this cat named Topr who was not only a dope MC but a graff writer who was down with LORDS crew, I was definitely interested. All my hobbies came together one night at this art gallery in the Mission District, where they let my underage ass drink 40s; some of the illest writers in Bay Area graff had art on display; and Topr rocked an unbelievable freestyle that pretty much made him legendary in my young mind. So you can imagine I was lightweight jealous when, a few weeks later, Telli had hit a house party that I wasn’t able to attend and ended up in a freestyle cypher with Conceit, who was supposedly down with Topr. Coincidentally, not too long after that I bought a Bay Area rap DVD with interviews, music videos, and a freestyle from Conceit and Eddie K. I was like, “Oh shit! Telli freestyled with that dude!” Not too long after that, I saw Conceit in person for the first time.

Hearing they were having another art show on 16th and Capp, I made it a priority to be there and not miss out on any graff, rap, or heavy drinking. Posted outside with my 40 and a stogie, I saw a group of older, hooded, Giants cap-wearing Frisconians, led by a dude I recognized as Conceit. He gave me a nod on his way in, and I eventually followed them upstairs and watched one of my first local hip-hop performances. I was loving what I heard, Frisco’d out rhymes with a little more boom-bap than you normally hear in the regular Bay mobb sound. But when Conceit performed his song “I Will Go,” which is about his own journey as a youth in love with rap to an adult still trying to make it in the game, it was like I was the only one there and he was speaking right to me.

Eventually me and Conceit would meet, party, freestyle, and kick it. His crowd was way older, and I remember some of his folks tripping on us lil’ kids still in high school that would somehow get into the bar and follow them to the house party. But Conceit was always cool when we were around. He always showed love and took an interest in my crew’s music. I could definitely tell he grew up as a city kid just like me; he was the type of cat that runs into people he knows everywhere he went. I guess we were similar like that, ‘cause I’d always run into him- on Haight, on the bus, in the Avenues. When Wasted Talent came out, I copped it from Tower Records and instantly fell in love with it. A few months later when we dropped the first Gas Mask Colony album, I bumped into Conceit and he instantly bought a copy off me. Eventually, we would record a few songs together, and I’ve ended up working with many of the other rappers, DJs, and producers that are on his mixtape.

Anyways, now to the actual music. Wasted Talent seems to be a perfect musical summary of who Conceit was as a person during that time. Not only do you hear his skills in writing and freestyling, but he picked a diverse selection of beats that I feel like any hip-hop head could vibe to. Plus Max Kane (of the legendary FourOneFunk DJ collective) really did his thing blending all the tracks together. Listening to that mixtape really helped give me a sense of how to honestly express myself through music. The subject matter touches on Conceit’s battles with alcoholism and sleep deprivation, golden age hip-hop nostalgia, politics and society, and of course kickin’ it and partying throughout the SFC. But it’s the topic of fake fame and frustration with the music industry that’s most true to the story of Conceit.

In 2006, Conceit’s song “Scissors and Glue” somehow won a G-Unit Youtube Video contest. I say somehow because I don’t think he expected to win and his style was way different than what you might expect from G-Unit. But he did his thing, and ended up winning a shopping spree at Guitar Center, a trip to NYC to open up for Talib Kweli, and a shot at dropping some music through G-Unit/Interscope Records. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well. From what I remember being told, his creative vision clashed with the cookie-cutter mainstream sound the folks at the record label were expecting, and Conceit returned to SF without the deal and a feeling of anger and bitterness towards the whole industry. I think that led to a lot of frustration for him, and he started to withdraw himself from the local scene up until the point where even his closest folks hadn’t heard from him and had no idea where he was. He would randomly drop a mixtape or 2 via MySpace, but nothing that really matched the impact of Wasted Talent. To this day, his highly-anticipated debut album still hasn’t been heard.

I can’t really blame Conceit for feeling so frustrated. I think I understand where he was coming from; he had been dedicated to hip-hop since a kid with the skills to back it up but never quite got the recognition he deserved. For his last shot at a big record deal to end on such a wack note must have been heartbreaking. I also think that he blamed himself and his struggle with drinking and the party scene for holding up his progress. Being in his 30s, he probably wanted to take some time to sort his life out. It just sucks that he completely disappeared and I lost that big homie/mentor figure that I would always see around the Sco. Last I heard he had left SF completely. Every now and then he would pop up on Facebook, but I think it’s been at least 2 years since he’s posted anything. I like to think that he’s still out there, living his life and taking care of his close family during the day, but every now and then gets drunk in the middle of the night and writes raps, makes beats, and checks up on the latest music from all his SF homies.

Maybe his ass will even read this, somehow. If so, we miss you, Conceit, I hope we’ve made you proud, and at 27 the song “I Will Go” resonates just as strong with me as it did when I was 17.

Peace

Today I’ve got some throwback footage of Big Rich, one of the rappers who made a big splash on the SF scene, along with his crew Fully Loaded. Now, Rich is semi-retired and focusing most of his time on his music school, Project Level. Me, the homie Jameel, and Patience caught up with Rich last year and here’s some of the conversation captured on camera.

This track is all about the other side of the World Cup. If you didn’t know, there have been protests and turmoil in Brazil because many of the country’s citizens are suffering in the middle of all these games. $16 billion was diverted from public funds by the Brazilian government and used to cover the costs of hosting the events. Over 250,000 people were displaced and their homes destroyed to build new soccer stadiums. Child prostitution is on the rise as youth in poverty are forced to sell themselves to tourists. The police have attacked and arrested peaceful, non-violent protestors. There’s definitely an ugly side to these games.

This has been on my mind lately, so I decided to write out and record my feelings about this issue. I don’t mean to be negative or stop anyone from enjoying the World Cup, but I feel like this stuff is just good for people to know about and consider when watching the games.

Lyrics:
Houses get destroyed, they knockin down walls
Let them eat cake feed the kids soccer balls
16 billion in a nation of millions
That care more about the World Cup then helping the children
What we need is education
We what we need is preservation
Of the culture & tradition carried on by the natives
The goal ain’t to score points for big corporations
The players just livestock on a big plantation
Fans throw bananas from the stands
That land at the feet of displaced Africans
Kings & queens turned to beggars and peasants
Fightin for survival in the dirty favelas
The situation need to be solved urgently
That requires real love beyond capital currency
It’s been more holocausts since Nazi Germany
Ask the Palestinians what they goin through currently
It’s kinda like my own hood where the cops profile
And pull pistols out on a teenage child
The kids run wild sniffin glue in the streets
Selling off their innocence, foreigners from overseas
Paying to abuse pedophiles and predators
Rooting for their team to beat competitors
Countries colonized gon break the chains
And fight the colonizers, beat em at they own game
Here at home the crowds chant U S A
They believe in Obama they don’t believe in Ghana
I believe in healing to ease the trauma
And refuse to give FIFA a single solitary dollar
For overpriced products made with slave labor
No World Cup fever just World Cup anger

Produced and recorded by Brycon

Mixed and mastered by D-Wiz