The 831 area code has shown a diverse amount of talent for decades, and has always been a hub for music lovers of all genres. Many people have seen their favorite groups perform at venues like The Catalyst, Fox Theater or Planet Gemini. These are the same places that the legends of the Central coast pay their dues, and pursue their dreams.
In this special article we look back at some of the most notable albums released from Central Coast this year. To meet the criteria for relevancy each album had to be at least 8 songs, available on CD and/or digital and released sometime in 2016.
Here is the list in no particular order:
Conspiracy – Real B4 Rap 2
Marina rapper Conspiracy is officially out with a new project titled ‘Real B4 Rap 2’. It dropped on August 31st available by download or CD. The album is made of 16 tracks featuring familiar names like B-Dawg, Shadow, Hollow Tip, A-Wax, Doc-9, Yung Puppz, Rydah J Klyde, Sandman and more. This time the CD is presented by Menace 2 Society from Pittsburg.
Conspiracy has built up quite a bit of popularity over the past years, and Homeboy rap fans will be particularly interested in this album because it doesn’t stray away from the popular topics. Conspiracy is always representing with tales of street life and fast money over funky mob type beats. You can grab ‘Real B4 Rap 2’ online at RapBay, and iTunes.
Velly Rock – Guap Boys 2
Seaside rap artist Velly Rock was busy in 2016, dropping mixtapes, albums and rocking several shows. Originally known as K.O. Pavel, he has been putting it down for the central coast for a number of years. His latest endeavor ‘Guap Boys 2’ is more heat to add to his collection of quality music.
Velly Rock has been making noise in the 831 since the mid 2000’s, when he was originally known as K.O. Pavel. ‘The Guap Boys’ sequel is just another part of his grind, as he networks with other prominent artists often. Recently he hosted a show in Seaside with Da UndaDogg, Dru Down and Keak Da Sneak at the popular night club Planet Gemini. ‘Guap Boyz 2’ is available now on iTunes, Look out for Velly in 2017.
Lee Earl- Tha Elephant In Tha Room
Lee Earl has been dropping back to back projects and in 2016 he released ‘Tha Elephant In Tha Room’. In a world where everyone raps, Lee Earl uses this concept album to shed light on the infiltration of Corporate America in today’s music. This record is a cohesive body of work with great subject matter and audio quality not expected from an Underground Artist.
The lead single and video ‘Keep Watchin’ which can be seen here, is Lee’s unfiltered political stance on the shenanigans going on with the government. The whole idea behind this album, including the cover art is well thought-out. ‘Tha Elephant In Tha Room’ is a must have for listeners that appreciate wordplay and subject matter. For more Lee Earl music and news, follow him on his official website.
Happy – F*ck The Other Side
Although Watsonville rapper Happy is Relatively new to the scene, his sophomore solo release has a steady buzz. “Fuck The Other Side” is the name of the album, and it’s blatant title is suggesting every thing you think it does. Released on September 30th, Gang-banging and hustling are common themes of this project by Happy. The music has been spreading through the streets fast.
The T.I.N. (Time Is Now Ent) artist has been embraced by gangsta rap fans, and performs at different venues around the state. Happy has been busy shooting videos and recording new material. This album is kind of long with a staggering 24 tracks, but well worth the money. Guest appearances include Hitta 650, Mumz, Dusty, Tokztero, Lil Milo, Cheats, Gunner, Chuckz, Triggaboy Dee, Sonny Boy, Lil Sneaks, Keezie Keyz, G.Derty and S.L.. To stay updated Follow Happy on Instagram.
Superior 1 – American Luxury
Xd Out Muzick presented its 6th (yes 6th) solo album from Superior 1 in July. Featuring Ace Flo, Chew Gums, The Crawlla, & Thurman. The Album shows a maturing side of Superior 1 and boasts production by Dj Legacy, Dj Flav, and RNG. This is one of Sup’s best works to date.
Superior 1 was one of the very first artists actually making noise in the area code. From rocking shows at the first night festival in Monterey to performing in high school auditoriums all across the Central Coast, he is a true pioneer. All photography, design, and mastering was done by M.A.G. for R.U. Down Entertainment. Support Superior 1 and underground hip-hop by purchasing a copy of “American Luxury” now.
Nitty Figeroa – Smash Bros.
Dre Nitty and Fury Figeroa are veterans to the 831 area, consistently releasing notable projects for the better part of a decade. The pair often perform together, appear on each others songs, and have a musical chemistry that allows them to keep cranking out hits. so it’s no surprise that they ended up collaborating on a full length album.
Most of the tracks are gritty style hip hop, with extreme wordplay and hardcore beats. A change of pace will be heard on ‘Thirsty Hoe’ a strip club anthem, and ‘Options’ which has a dubstep groove to it. The project is definitely worth hearing, and die hard rap fans will be happy to dissect all the clever lyrics it has. Stream “Smash Bros.” on Spotify or download this album to your collection.
Scorpz the Venom – Palm Trees In The Sunset
Scorpz The Venom is coming outta Watsonville, CA. He made a name for himself within his group The Warlordz back in the late 90’s. Whether it was battling, freestyling, or just having fun making music, Scorpz has been reppin’ 831 since it was 408. He doesn’t makes bubble gum rap, just raw authentic street corner hip hop.
He’s worked with bay area legends like Opio of Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics, San Quinn, Celly Cel, and more. Since 2010 he has released solo, group and compilation albums. His latest 2016 release “Palm Trees in the Sunset” features extra smooth production from Chris Banks and is available through Urban Life distribution, Rapbay, and iTunes.
C-Smoke – Dedication Ta Da Souljas
Fresh faces in the industry continue to come and go, but that’s not always the case. C-Smoke is an emerging artist making waves in his own right, and it appears he is here to stay. He has created a lane or sub-genre with his type of “Soldier Rap”. The military has a raspy hip hop voice now with his album ‘Dedication Ta Da Souljas’. Since the market is virtually untapped, he continues to serve his veteran fan base with real hip hop, modern day topics and unique life perspectives.
From the marine cadence intro to his rapid fire outro, this album comes from the heart and pulls no punches. The ‘wade in the water’ interlude features a fresh rendition of the negro spiritual while C-Smoke raps acappella. His epic lead single and video ‘Until The Day That I Die’ is very political and as honest as it gets. Every beat is top notch and his voice is so crunk and energetic, that the listener has to get hype while hearing the music. Other great tracks include ‘Rep that Mida’, ‘I Don’t Know About You’ and ‘Thug Thang’. When it comes to creative song writing he masterfully blends the church, the streets, and the battlefield all at once. Download the album from Amazon here.
DeeBoi – From The Circles
DeeBoi has many titles under his belt, The Cleveland-Salinas transplant has created a steady stream of projects throughout the past few years. 2016 was the year he presented ‘From The Circles’, a reflection on his old neighborhood experiences. The cover is very eye catching with its GTA style cartoon art, while the Audio is laid back and smooth. Groovy sample-based production by DJ Flav sets the mood for the short but sweet album.
Stand out tracks on this album are “Smoke One”, a super stoner anthem featuring Samsin and Superior 1. The song is melancholy and complete with half-baked references and metaphors. Another great track is “Hurry Up Lets Go”, with its feel-good sample and double time beat. DeeBoi makes the intricate flow seem effortless with a simple but catchy hook. The 3rd verse is handled by Dre Nitty to complete this fun blend of rap styles and production. Grab Deeboi “From The Circles” on iTunes.
Skool Of Lost Soulz – Substance Abuse
Salinas-Sacramento connection Skool Of Lost Soulz, consisting of Lil Evil, J-Fuse and Acoldamac are no strangers to this industry. Earlier this year they dropped ‘Substance Abuse’ which is their third mixtape in recent times. The project has an all around gangsta vibe with clever lyrics involved.
Acoldamac paces himself and has a commanding voice on the tracks, while Lil Evil spits a faster style most often. A few of the beats are mixtape style but most of the material is original. The album also features Cizzle, Bigg Spank, Mougabi, Y-Dresta and MANY more. The entire “Substance Abuse” project can be downloaded for free at Datpiff.
This list was compiled with artists who are making enough noise in area code 831 that we notice them, and anyone else who submitted their project under the requirements. Did we miss anyone? Hit the comments below and let us know what other 831 acts you would like to see more coverage on. It Doesn’t have to be hip hop, we support R&B, reggae, rock and more.