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What you need to know about hyphy

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What Is It?
Short for ”hyperactive,” hyphy is a booming hip-hop subculture in Northern California. ”It’s like a mixture of Miami bass and Atlanta crunk,” says Big Von Johnson of San Francisco’s KMEL. ”It’s real freak music,” adds Bay Area rapper E-40. ”It’s a sound that makes the youngsters go crazy. Controlled chaos!”

Where Does It Come From?
Sound and slang coalesced in the Federation’s 2004 single ”Hyphy,” which combined virtuosic rhyming with producer Rick Rock’s supersize synth wiggles and a stomping beat.

Key Players
Regional star E-40 is bringing hyphy nationwide with a new CD. Others to watch: Keak Da Sneak, Turf Talk, and Mista F.A.B.

Essential Albums
E-40’s and Keak Da Sneak’s CDs represent the style, but pick up one of these mixtapes for a proper lesson: DJs B. Cause & Ross Hogg’s Slump & Grind 2 (turntablelab.com) and Demolition Men’s 2005 Recap Pts. I and II (mixunit.com).

Necessary Accessory
First off, get a ”scraper” (a tricked-out car) and big sunglasses: ”Like grandma glasses — we call them stunners,” says KMEL’s Johnson. There’s a dance, too. ”It’s about shaking your dreads like crazy,” says E-40. ”Letting yourself go and acting a fool.”

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