On the back patio of Anaheim's Revolution Studios, the crew of the hip-hop podcast Wake the Flok Up eagerly awaits the arrival of Medusa. Landing the Gangsta Goddess of West Coast rap herself is a pretty major get for a show that's just starting to make noise. Guided by Koncept, the show's host, Wake the Flok Up is banking that long-form interviews with underground legends and local rappers will help put Orange County on the map for the genre.
Koncept (born George Martinez) enthusiastically explains the mission of Wake the Flok Up as producer Fluent Rhythm works to transform the recording booth of the show's new home into something ready to receive the evening's special guest. "We started the podcast out of Fluent Rhythm's garage," he says. "There was one condenser mic in the middle, and I would interview the artists I knew."
A typical episode of Wake the Flok Up clocks in at an hour and a half, with songs from the featured guests, sound effects and special segments peppered between interview segments. "It did start with nobody listening but the people on the show, but I think it's something hip-hop needs," Koncept says. "Conversation is way more entertaining to us now than to the younger crowd." The show boasts an impressive and growing guest list that includes the Masta Ace, Rakaa from Dilated Peoples, Sage Francis, Planet Asia and DJ Revolution. Wake the Flok Up is also keen on shining some light on up-and-comers, including DrewID of Speach Impediments, Gremlin and Parallel. "The show's bread and butter is to give exposure to the local hip-hop scene," Koncept says.
OC's top femcee, Miss Char, a.k.a. Charlotte Williams, another featured local rhymer, recently transitioned into a co-host. "Since the first time I came here, I never missed a Wednesday taping. I requested that day off work just to come here," she says. "From the minute I walked in the door, I was like, 'What the fuck? This is crazy. I want to be a part of this.'"
Others did, too. Rapper Vally Vicious signed on as a field reporter, doing on-the-spot interviews at local shows. And Beirdoh tackles LA-area assignments. As its posse continues to grow less than a year into its official operations, Wake the Flok Up seeks to define rap outside narrow understandings. "My goal is to wake the flocks to the fact that hip-hop has more to offer than what they want you to see," Koncept says. "It's more than just partying, alcohol, bitches and ho's. It's young, smart, educated, ambitious artists who have goals, feelings, emotions, fears and happiness."
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After casual conversations, the host hits his guests with tailored segments to keep things interesting. Koncept quizzes rappers about their top five MCs, as well as which five whack-ass MCs they can't stand. The true test is the "12 Round Knock Out," with questions that get more personal and intense as it progresses. "We [go] from 'What's your favorite part about your craft?' to 'Do you believe in God?'" the host explains.
It's a different approach than what's offered on the radio dial these days, whether it's the trappings of Power 106's club rap or the perpetual nostalgia of KDAY. "Corporate radio has become a playlist of the shit--not what you requested, but what they want you to listen to," Koncept says. "Podcasting, to me, was the only way to do the show."
Listen to past episodes of Wake the Flok Up at www.waketheflokup.net.