Gearing up for the release of our new album Dreams Don’t Sleep, we had to put together a Bay Area essentials playlist that inspired and influenced us growing up. Our new album is a fusion of dreamy yet raw production with the mission of speaking vision to transform this reality. While crafting it, we wanted to inspire the listener to reach their highest self within every moment, to harness the power of dreams and also raw energy and passion to be channeled into a unified, universal vibration.
The Whooligan: Gift had so much style on this track, so much flavor with his word play – it was impossible to not learn and memorize every single lyric, imaging yourself rapping in a 64 Impala with a grip of honeys and homies around. The track is fun and reminds us that hip-hop doesn't always have to be so serious. We want folks to relate to our daily lives, vibe to the music, all while keeping the world as a whole in mind, that we're all connected in mystical ways, and can share this amazing energy we all possess.
G-OFF: This is arguably the most epic hip-hop song of all time. Dan the Automator's drums and sample choice, Del's rhymes from another planet, and Kid Koala's cuts blend together in perfect harmony. A brilliant thesis statement for the rest of the album. One of the last great concept albums back when one of the most important tools in hip-hop was raw imagination.
Mikos: Mac Dre's manifesto. An amazing example of the game Andre Hicks was known to serve, and a very catchy one at that.
Miss Haze: This is the teaser for our song “Tiki Tiki”! This track, inspired by an ancient Chinese children’s story, is a testament to the raw Bay Area sound we grew up with, flipped with Mikos’s sample and Zumbi’s incredible verse. We were approached by Bassnectar when he heard this track, and actually sampled it on his Wildstyle EP.
Miss Haze: This is the perfect into to what I consider a classsssic Bay album, West Coast Vaccine. Hard ass beats, killin’ lyrics. Love.
The Whooligan: Plain and simple, “The Humpty Dance” always gets it crackin… No ifs, ands, or buts. Except for the butts on the dance floor. Dreams Don't Sleep is a deep album, intended to spark dialogue and conversation, but we want you to move your bodies in the process! Life is beautiful, let's dance.
Mikos: Not the most original concept in the world (the good ol' “if hip-hop were a lady” bit), but done with major class by Zumbi and Amp Live. Pure beauty!
The Whooligan: Imaginarium must have been the most important album of our formative hip-hop years, next to Hiero's 3rd Eye Vision. Every track on Imaginarium was so backpack at the time, so beautifully sample driven, along with L's writing techniques, nothing was touching it stylistically. I remember over 10 years ago, L personally giving this CD to me, one of the last couple he had on him, after a show at imusic cast in Oakland. And, to this day, the CD sits in our collection with only a chip off the original casing. “No Limitations” reminds us of our “infinite potentials,” that nothing can hold us back if truly believe in each other and ourselves.
Miss Haze: This is our summer track, about storming the competition, seizing potential, and taking action. Chase videos, Miami Vice, and Hawaii 5-0 inspired the video, directed by Nina Reyes Rosenberg. We loved being able to have fun with the humor and mystery of it.
Miss Haze: From the classic album Fear Itself, Casual’s raw lyricism has always inspired me. He’s underappreciated, a master of his craft from Oakland who to this day holds down freestyles and community events. He’s a role model.
G-OFF: The Grouch played the role of a wise older brother for thousands of Bay Area youth and me in the early 2000s. He was just the right blend of spiritual monk and asshole. “Simple Man” sums up the beauty of living in the Bay and how all you need is a great group of friends and a bowl of rice and beans to attain enlightenment.
Miss Haze: We worked with Jacka on our previous album, BANGERANG!, and he is a Bay Area legend constantly creating beautiful work. I will always vibe hard to this track.
Mikos: One of the staple tracks of the Hyphy movement (circa 2005-2006). Backed by a superb minimalist Traxamillion beat, Keak made sure the Bay knew he created the name of the movement that had my entire high school class doing drugs that they swore they would've never touched a year prior.
G-OFF: One of the most lyrical and technically advanced rap songs EVER! Back when I worked at Amoeba, my homie Tim Cohen of The Fresh and Onlys played this for me one time, and every verse made my jaw drop lower and lower. It's double-timing on another level. I mean, c'mon, he puts, “Next door neighbor hollerin' that shit about my beat too loud I walked up the motherfuckin' steps and I got ta tellin that bitch I'm flashin,” into ONE line! Nuff said.
Miss Haze: A classic.
Miss Haze: This is a good mission statement for our album, and it features the slept on genius Black Spade. It’s about taking the moment you are in, where you could be anywhere, and being “everywhere.” We have the power to expand into the universal consciousness; the cosmos is reflected in us. It’s also just about cruising across the Bay Bridge, smoking blunts, and rocking shows, the Bay Love lifestyle. (In case you missed it, it premiered on Okayplayer too!)