What does it take to be an MC from OC? A lot of determination, skill and undying belief in the cause. Where punk rock and ska have launched legendary groups nationwide, Juice County is still waiting for its movement and moment. There's plenty of hustlers on the scene trying to make it happen. We take a look the five types of OC rappers putting in work in the lab and onstage. As for the sixth? That's easy! The “Hey I Read Your Article Here's My Mixtape” Rapper!
5. The OG Veteran
The OG Veteran can't kick down with Lil' Wayne's whinny, obnoxious flow nor his skinny ass jeans. It's representative of his overall difficulties adapting to the changing times, ever resisting by maintaining a love for the gritty East Coast boom bap beats and West Coast Gangsta Funk he grew up on in the early '90s. No one can really throw shade; that was the Golden Age of hip-hop after all. The nostalgia doesn't just extend for preferred beats, but to the closet as well. Oversized baggy pants are still in style, just not like MC Hammer's. Gangster beanies are a must. Unlaced Timberland boots? Still cool. Saddled with a couple of kids, the OG Veteran is now a family man and can only get some studio time or catch a show at the Observatory on the rarest of weekends. Don't fuck with him, tho! Rhyming is like learning to ride a bike and he'll still kill you on the mic!
See also: The Five Types of OC Punks
4. The Activist Rapper Who Can't Really Rap
If it ain't political rap, the Activist Rapper Who Can't Really Rap ain't having that. His playlists are the exclusive domain of The Coup, Immortal Technique, and an occasional Lupe Fiasco song, but even that is stretching it. Ask the Activist Rapper Who Can't Really Rap about if he ever liked Big L and a perplexed look will come over his face. Strutting a Guerrilla Republik shirt and army camo pants, he's ready to illuminate the world with his music. The only problem is he's spent more time studying Noam Chomsky than the art of emceeing. Confined to performing at protest rallies and fundraising events, the Activist Rapper Who Can't Really Rap never faces a tough crowd. Some of his fellow comrades may wince but never boo. There's too much solidarity for that, plus he's performing for free!
3. The Backpacker
The voice of a new generation, the Backpacker indie emcee brings boundless energy into the underground scene. Well versed in the classics of hip-hop, the youngster still finds a way to be innovative with his music. And the backpacker is all about the music. Sporting a snapback embroidered with his stage name, he rocks the mic at backyard parties and venues opening up for big names. After the show, the backpacker unzips his Jansport, takes out copies of his latest demos and converses with new fans. The saddest shit is that the Backpacker won't ever get the name recognition he deserves, but that never stops him from writing new rhymes and dreaming big dreams.
2. The Femcee
From the underground to the mainstream, hip-hop is a man's world. The Femcee exists to challenge that notion with all her might. Part MC Lyte, part Snow Tha Product, she muscles her way into battles, shows and cyphers. She's flawless in looks and in talent but only flaunts the latter because the former comes natural. The Femcee has mad shoe game sporting the latest Jordans to go with her stylish letterman's jacket and shades. She doesn't just want to spit bars, she wants to sing her own hooks, too! But promoters ain't trying to put her on save for a ladies only gimmick night. The femcee demands respect and should get it since she's better than most, if not all, her male counterparts.
1. The Swagster
What's good about making it big, if your style's not on fleek? The Swagster sports a taper with swag lines and never lets his hair grow out more than two weeks at a time. He's got future magazine covers to grace after all. At parties, he's sporting a flat brim with the gold sticker still on top letting everybody know how big his head is. The Swagster's album rattles neighborhoods with its thunderous trap beats. He doesn't want to open for big names at OC's music venues, he wants to be the main attraction even if it means smaller venues…for now. Outsized rhymes compliment his outsized ambition. The Swagster's lyrical tales of bagging models, parking numerous Bugattis in the garage of his mansion, and tossing money like confetti are all premonitions of the life to come once he blows up. Until then, he sports a 14-carat white gold chain, has 14 pairs of kicks and hangs out in Downtown Santa Ana hollering at women from Irvine. Swaaaaag!
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!