Happy Birthday to Mistah Fab (and me)!

23 Jan

I promised a little while ago I was going to write a post about Mistah Fab, and while I still plan to do something lengthier in the future, I thought I should write something today to celebrate his birthday and mine. Yep, I share not only a birthday but a birth date with my favorite hyphy artist.

Lucky for me, the Bay Guardian featured an excellent piece on Mistah Fab last May. Here are a few gems from the article:

“People who have influence,” FAB continues, “have an obligation to tell people, ‘Preserve life. Save lives. Help lives.’ But it’s hard to reach people if you’re not giving them something they relate to. The hyphy movement is something they relate to. Hyphy gets you in the door, to open their ears to what I’m saying. It’s up to them to digest it.”…

What makes Da Baydestrian one of the most extraordinary albums since hyphy’s inception, however, is its social consciousness. “Deepest Thoughts,” for example, hits out at President George W. Bush, but even more pointedly at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for expanding the prison system instead of aiding the poor. The Sean T–produced “Crack Baby Anthem” addresses teen dope dealers, seeking to uplift without castigating or glorifying their activities — for the nonghetto audience, the song connects the dots between poverty, crime, and the present political climate. FAB describes his approach as “hip-hyphy,” presenting an alternative to hip-hop fans who consider hyphy juvenile or incomprehensible. Granted, the disc’s school bus and helmet imagery — referring to the hyphy concept of acting “retarded” — is hardly p.c. Nonetheless, FAB’s lunchbox-wielding Baydestrian is a welcome change from the exaltation of guns and dope adorning your average rap album.

“In no way am I trying to say I’m like Martin Luther King or Malcolm X,” FAB explains. “But I realized I could create nonsense and seem to support ignorance, or I can get people to start looking at the reality of it, and the reality of it is that young blacks are dying, not only in the Bay; they’re dying everywhere. We’ve been raised in a warlike civilization. We’ve been brainwashed to accept war as the proper thing to do when things don’t go right.”

“Tupac [Shakur] said it himself,” FAB concludes. “He said, ‘I’m not going to be the one to change the world. But I guarantee I’ll plant a seed in the mind of someone who does.’ We’re all the Tupac generation. Pac was hyphy.”

Go read the full article (it’s not too long and it’s very insightful) in celebration of Mistah Fab’s birthday. And if you like what you read, go out and buy Son of a Pimp or Da Baydestrian.

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