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Artist Spotlight: Wake Self

Peace family, here is the first edition of my Artist Spotlight, where I put my folks on to certain musicians that I feel deserve to be heard. In these days of watered-down media, it’s important that we take spreading good music iin our own hands and support underground cats on the come-up!

For me, how technically skilled an artist is less important than how much substance and depth is in their content. But when an artist has skills and substance, that’s a perfect combo. The homie Wake Self is one of those artists. Along with his partner Def-I, he’s been one of the main artists holding it down in the underrepresented New Mexico hip-hop scene. I met him in 2012 through L*Roneous when we toured through Albuquerque and Santa Fe and not only is he a dope MC but he’s a cool cat all around- it shows through his music. Drawing on his Native American ancestry, his Albuquerque community, and his own life experience, he covers many complex subjects in his raps over beats and rhyme patterns that are just as complex.

Check out his latest album, Good Things Come to Those Who Wake, which is available on iTunes. His previous release, The Healing Process, is up for free download.

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

New video by White Mic of the legendary SF group Bored Stiff - “Pat U On the Head” - Directed by Equipto & Dregs One. Yep, I get down behind the camera every now and then- what you think?!

NEW VIDEO: Style Exercise #1 - Crowd Control

Basically just doin’ me in my natural habitat. Filmed in about 1 hour on about 3 blocks. If ya like it, comment and share. If ya don’t like it, hey, that’s ok.

Parental advisory: This music video contains explicit raps, graffiti, pigeons, and Korean food.

Peace y’all, it’s been a minute since I shared some of my solo work so I wanted to upload this joint off “the STYLE tape.” As of right now, the only way to hear that mixtape in its entirety is to cop the CD, but I wanted folks to check out this track.

I wrote this song last year in 2012 a few months after I moved from San Francisco to Oakland. This song is basically about my new life across the Bay, but it also deals with the concept of getting older and how the world keeps on changing. In our lives we are always caught up thinking about time; worrying about the future, regretting the past, and trying to make use of the present. This song is about me letting go of all that, accepting everything that’s happened to me and everything that’s presently happening; and being open to wherever life takes me. I brought my raps to Hella Records, recorded them in just a few minutes with TD Camp, lit up a chop and dipped home on 580 with a PYT in the passenger seat and the new song on full blast. It has definitely been part of the soundtrack to my life, hope you enjoy. 

New video! No World Order (@Dregs_One @PabloFetti @Monkhardtostop) - Ft. @DaVinci415 - “Molotov” | Dir: @Kolepa38

Check the fly shit & get ready for the #NoWorldOrder album dropping soon…

Tonight at the Elbo Room in SF, catch me rocking with some of the West Coast’s finest. I’ll be performing new joints off #theSTYLEtape and have $1 copies of the mixtape on deck. Slide through!

Tonight at the Elbo Room in SF, catch me rocking with some of the West Coast’s finest. I’ll be performing new joints off #theSTYLEtape and have $1 copies of the mixtape on deck. Slide through!

What up folks! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve just released the first single from my next project, an EP called Mood Swings. All the beats on the album were made by my good friend BIG Shawn of the underground group Bored Stiff. The album’s got a jazzy feel and is somewhat of a hip-hop tribute to the old jazz musicians. It will be released on vinyl, cassette, and digital formats, with a short theatrical film to go along with it. Please listen to, download, and share the new song here: http://soundcloud.com/dregsone/sets/easy-rider-single/ I’ve also included the instrumental and accapella for anyone who wants to remix the song in any way.

Check it out, spread the word, and let me know your thoughts! Much love.

Dregs One | the Inspiration ft. Patience and Telli Prego Official Video (by leftlane415)

Fresh off my new mixtape! Hope y’all enjoy.

Dregs One & Equipto ft. FDOG - “Everyday” (2010)

One of my favorite songs I’ve ever done… this song and the way we put the video together is hip-hop at its purest.

Download the Generation Gap mixtape: http://generationgap.bandcamp.com