I love rap music. I do. And being born in Seattle and a resident of San Francisco, you’d think that West Coast rap, particularly Bay Area rap would be my thing. That I’d have a poster of Tupac on my wall, and every E-40 vinyl signed and framed next to a hardbound copy of his Dictionary of Slang, Vol. 1. Turns out, for a handful of clearly fascinating reasons, I love East Coast rap. Love boom-bap, and Bad Boy and everything Notorious B.I.G. ever released, to the point where West Coast rap, particularly Bay Area rap, just sort of fell to the wayside.
A-1, and his sing-songy Mission rap is starting to help change that. The rapper, born and bred in the Bay Area, from what I can tell just a few short blocks from where I live, A-1′s Good People is an ode, albeit a dark and political one, to the city of San Francisco – all its good, all its bad. It’s a beautiful song, with a dramatic and varying structure, from the simple beep-borp of the moody electronica that starts the song, to the crashing discordance of the middle, to the almost church-like final third. Over all of it, is the smooth, decidedly West Coast voice of A-1 tying the disparate parts into one giant tapestry of San Francisco. Might be time I started taking a peek at who’s rapping in my backyard.