Well, Mistah F.A.B. is the pioneer of yellow-bus riding himself (a hyphy term to be explained later). Sitting on the floor of a concrete stairwell, dim lights buzzing and the prolonged roar of his fans slowly fading outside the double doors, F.A.B. and I sit inches apart talking about family, music, skateboarding and why he refuses to leave after four hours of chatting with fans about his new album, Da Baydestrian.
Los Angeles likes to think of itself as the epicenter of California culture, staking claims to bands like Rage Against the Machine, as well as hip-hop gurus like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. But the Bay area is onto something huge, and it’s called Hyphy.
Although Hyphy is often compared to Atlanta’s Crunk, the energized community that Hyphy inherently creates and its natural appeal to the city’s youth take this movement above and beyond other musical trends.
Enter Mistah F.A.B., with two previous albums building momentum to Da Baydestrian, an intermediary snack before his major release on Atlantic Records in the near future. F.A.B.’s eloquence is overwhelming, and his socially conscious, soulfully rooted tunes are balanced by energetic and enjoyable party songs that deem F.A.B. exempt from the divisive line often drawn in hip-hop, separating pop entertainment from music with a message. Hip-hop today is often tried and formulaic, outputting catchy dance songs or romantic slow jams that take the nation by storm one day and are left behind the next in a discarded mound of pop culture.
F.A.B. is genuine, lacking the caricature appeal many musical artists capitalize on. His “image,” although complete with glinting yellow bus chain, spray painted shirt and deep rolling crew, are not constructed for consumer appeal, but enjoyed by F.A.B. and his friends, as they laugh and admire each other’s hand-crafted shirts and sweatshirts.
“I won’t be selfish and egotistical and claim responsibility for Hyphy myself,” F.A.B. states, as he shrugs off two previous albums and overwhelming responsibility for the Hyphy movement’s catapult to success. “I am just one artist playing a part.”
A self-proclaimed “Tupac baby,” F.A.B. points to Eminem, Jay-Z, and Ludacris as influences.
“I like artists who don’t shy away from being themselves,” F.A.B. states, “because they allow themselves to admit their imperfections and allow room for improvement.” Human balance is a trait inherent in F.A.B. Embodying this characteristic musically with his own hybrid genre of movement called “hip-hyphy,” FAB aims to combine the social weight and personal issues of hip-hop with the contemporary Bay Area sound of hyper party music that includes phrases like “doing the dummy retarded,” “ghost riding” and vocal exclamations or nonsensical words that form staccato contagious songs.
Mistah F.A.B.’s complete lack of ego is foreign to hip-hop culture. With a reputation of kids as young as four shaking their dreads at his shows, waiting in lines for his signings and even collaborating on songs with him like high schooler stars the Pack, F.A.B. appeals to youth without restrained language or pointed morality lectures.
“Parents could be telling the kids the same thing,” F.A.B. states in regards to his impact, “but they take heed to your words because of the position you’re in.”
F.A.B. appreciates hip-hop not just for the music, but for its capacity to merge into other factions of life. On this account, you might catch him at a local skate park scouting young skaters for his “Yellow Team” skateboarding team. F.A.B. doesn’t skate himself, but he’s a huge fan of the sport.
“For people to go out and execute some of those moves, I take my hat off to them,” F.A.B. says.
Well, Sha-boob-ala-boopie (peep Da Baydestrian, you’ll get it). Even his album reflects his community ties, with the first song called “Baydestrian,” dedicated to the everyday life of all walks of people living in the Bay. I can see why Mistah F.A.B. has earned the title “Prince of the Bay.”
Da Baydestrian is currently available.