At the crossing of Coliseum and Crenshaw boulevard and at the ending of La Brea lies a village. Riddled with two story apartment buildings and winding pathways full of dead ends the “Village” is a labyrinth with seemingly no escape.
Coined “The Jungles” by the locals due to its alluring flora and its notorious reputation for gang violence the Black P Stone Bloods (an off shoot of Chief Malik aka Jeff Fort Peoples Nation) call this region of Los Angeles home. The area has gained world wide recognition for its premier in the blockbuster cult classic “Training Day” and its appearance in the hit 2010 rap video by Waka Flocka Flame “Hard In The Paint”.
In the nearby affluent neighborhood of Baldwin Hills the most prominent and arguably most successful gangster rapper Ice Cube emerged from South Central and rose to be one of the most critically acclaimed celebrities to stem from LA period. From the roots of the monumentous legacy established by their forefathers a new string of seeds have been sewn in a neighborhood with an equally legendary status. Despite the attempts to uproot the foundation of the Jungle these distinct few have managed to still bring water to the treacherous streets of LA. Names like Hot Sauce, Lotto, Infant, Yakahontas, Chucksta, Bloodhound, Mike Jones, and Brazy Boy are just a few notable up and coming artists who’ve garnered the attention of the city.
Ever since the untimely death of “TM” in 2014 the Village has taken a big hit in terms of quality music. The lively neighborhood needed a representative worthy of upholding their roots and so the streets have held out until now where standout tracks like “Really From the Village” off of his LP “Feature HNDRXX” display the rapper Hot Sauce’s knack for imagery and vividly capturing his depiction of life in the Jungle. With bars like “In the pen fading niggas for a cell phone all he own is what he got on. Saw his enemies slipping in traffic blam him and got on. The camera caught him it was spot on. Now he on the same yard with the same niggas he shot on”. It’s commendable how Sauce is able to weave together the situations and mentality of those tangled in the street life.
“High school he was ditchen poverty stricken, had him cooking up in the kitchen. He ain’t never have shit but thanks to the whips and the baking soda he had fits. Then he passed on a lick. Brand new jewelry and a foreign and he knew he was the shit”, are lines that ring true to so many the tale akin to that of the novel the Jungle book a story about a boy raised by wolves in a survival of the fittest environment. The remix is filled with remarkable lines like when Lotto attacks the beat rapping “From the home of the P Stone. United we stand, divided we fall gotta keep strong wit sauce on this song den started a buzz gotta keep on”. Or when Infant rhymed “I’m from the Village that’s the home of them Cardinal fitted domes. Big lead will pick his head what the f*ck is you trippin on. Infant be the kid that did you dig that”. But one of the coldest to grace the mic on the song has to be Yakahontas when she spits “You can catch the single. I’m from the nickel. Serving and dodging playin pickle F*ck around yea and have the Yak attack on yo back breakin dat.” Her lyrics prove that in a room full of gladiators she may be a woman but her sword is just as sharp. Despite solid performances from the group Brazy Boys style has to be the hardest out of all of them. His voice rides the beat like a 64 and his authentic LA accent cut through the beat like a knife through butter. His lyrics “Mr. Tarzan wit the drank in my hand the 2-11 can lookin for blood they call Superman” has to be the most memorable line in the whole song.
Unfortunately the Village took a major blow this year when they lost their infamous videographer Shaggy B to gun violence. Some thought the Village music scene wouldn’t be able to recover from the loss of one of the main pieces to the puzzle that made the machine work but without missing a beat they’ve continued to drop quality visuals since. With acknowledgement from, Redrum and Problem the future is looking bright for the Village and its lyrical inhabitants. Despite the obstacles Hot Sauce and his posse continue to run in full pursuit without sign of staggering or losing steam even amidst insurmountable odds they refuse to be denied. Why? Probably because the mentality in the Jungle seems to be Baldwin Village vs Everybody.