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Roach Gigz Brings New Life to Bay Rap Scene

In Clubs, Music

For a genre of music whose orbit still remains around New York, above all else Roach would need to woo that city’s famously discriminating audience.

“I’d heard all this stuff about the crowds out there. And I was nervous, especially since no one knew who I was, but it went down great,” he says of his first New York City show in 2010. Though surprised by this, he noted there’s something about the Bay that “entrances people,” despite it not being mainstream. The thing is: he wants it to be.

His first real album Bugged Out, slated for release this summer, will frame that dream in more absolute terms. The lead-off single “Wasabi,” a devil-may-care party anthem, trades a bit of Roach’s scrappiness for something more radio-friendly. The agenda is two-fold.

“There’s a heavy Bay influence on that it,” Gigz says. “I mean—just look at the songs that are popular right now, like Tyga’s “Rack City” or Drake’s “Motto”—those are Bay Area songs. We just wanted someone from the Bay to do it. This is our music, and this is for us.”

The track is an ode to an ode about a culture, one that lifts the opening salvo of Mac Dre’s “Thizzle Dance”—itself a deranged, nihilistic song about being on drugs and dancing and living in the moment. It’s a noble endeavor when you consider that rap music is born and bred in difficult situations, and so the ability to circumvent the intensity of that predicament should be cherished. While other rappers held a pissing contest, Mac Dre advised us to avoid the scent.

So maybe there was a point to hyphy’s “going dumb,” a glib way of prepackaging rebelliousness into something that teenagers across the country would find entertaining. It was embraced, imitated, then quickly mocked, and, with a certain amount of admiration for its lifelong status as the underdog, the Bay Area went back to its own party.

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