|Cultural origins||Late 1990s, San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States|
|Look up hyphy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
The word hyphy (// HY-fee) is Oakland slang meaning "hyperactive." More specifically it is an adjective that describes the music and the urban culture associated with that area. It was created by Oakland-based rapper Keak da Sneak when he used the term on an album he recorded in 1994.
The hyphy culture began to emerge in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a response from Bay Area rappers against commercial hip hop for not acknowledging their region for setting trends in the hip hop industry. It is distinguished by gritty, pounding rhythms, and in this sense can be associated with San Francisco Bay as crunk music is to the Southern United States. An individual is said to "get hyphy" when they dance in an overstated, fast-paced and ridiculous manner, or if they get overloud with other people. The phrase "to get hyphy" is similar to the southern phrase "to get crunk". Those who consider themselves part of the hyphy movement strive for this behavior.
Although the "hyphy movement" briefly saw light in mainstream America, it has been a long-standing and ever evolving culture in the Bay Area since the early 1990s. Throughout the Bay Area (particularly in East Oakland), there are regularly events called "sideshows", where different people come together and partake in or watch illegal automobile performances. This is where drivers do things such as donuts, ghost-riding and street race while others dance and "go dumb" around them. These events can be very dangerous. From a USA Today article: "Every record label was getting at us at that time, but we fumbled the ball," says E-40, whose My Ghetto Report Card entered the Billboard album chart at No. 3 in March. "I hung on like a hubcap in the fast lane along with a few other rappers, and now it's time again. We had a 10-year drought and they went to other regions and were bypassing us like the sand out here. But we're trendsetters, and the rap game without the Bay Area is like old folks without bingo."
Resurgence in the 2010s
In the early to mid-2010s, the genre of hyphy music saw a resurgence in the mainstream, as a part of a transition to an up tempo and club oriented type of mainstream hip hop popularized by Los Angeles producer DJ Mustard. The production style of DJ Mustard is influenced by hyphy music and played a role in bringing West Coast hip hop back to national attention. Mustard's been attached in producing for popular artists singles which include Tyga's, "Rack City", 2 Chainz's "I'm Different", Young Jeezy's "R.I.P.", B.o.B's "HeadBand", YG's "My Nigga" and "Who Do You Love?", Ty Dolla Sign's "Paranoid", Kid Ink's "Show Me", and Trey Songz's "Na Na," among others.
Other more peripheral acts that achieved relatively moderate (and rather short-lived) success in the mainstream include Lil B - who built a strong fan base via social media outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, and Myspace has recorded both solo and with The Pack - and the Richmond, CA-based hip hop collective HBK Gang, founded by Iamsu!.
Influence in Trap/EDM music
As a result of the recognizably and commonality between many of DJ Mustard's chart-topping singles, a number of artists who employ production similar to his have been criticized for unoriginality and plagiarism, with one of the biggest offenders of this style rip-off being the 2014 chart-topping Iggy Azalea single, "Fancy."
However, the popularity of Mustard's style started to gain influence outside of hip hop. In 2012, electronic dance music (EDM), which incorporated elements of southern trap music, began gaining popularity and brought wider attention to the derivative forms of trap, including hyphy. This so-called "EDM Trap" genre saw the use of techno, dub, and house sounds combined with the Roland TR-808 drum samples and vocal samples typical of trap.
In December 2013, French producer DJ Snake and American rapper Lil Jon released the single "Turn Down For What", which became both a commercial hit charting in several countries and a critical hit throughout 2014. The composition of the song borrows elements from crunk and especially hyphy songs, and Rolling Stone voted "Turn Down For What" as the second best song of 2014, saying that, "The year's nutsiest party jam was also the perfect protest banger for a generation fed up with everything. DJ Snake brings the synapse-rattling EDM and Southern trap music; Lil Jon brings the dragon-fire holler for a hilarious, glorious, glowstick-punk fuck you." The success of "Turn Down for What" set the standard for Trap EDM music in the mid-2010s, and inadvertently keeping the influence of hyphy alive.
Rappers and groups associated with hyphy movement
- Beeda Weeda
- Clyde Carson
- DJ King Assassin
- The Federation
- HBK Gang
- The Jacka
- Kaz Kyzah
- Keak da Sneak
- MC Lars
- Lil B
- Mac Dre
- Mayne Mannish
- Mistah F.A.B.
- Messy Marv
- The Pack
- San Quinn
- Sage the Gemini
- Sick wid It Records
- The Team
- Thizz Entertainment
- Too Short
- Turf Talk
- Young L
- Zion I
Notes and references
- Collins, Hattie (2006-10-21). "Ghostridin' the whip". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
Known as Hyphy and hailing from Oakland's Bay Area, the synth-led staccato beats represent a culture that encompasses cars, clothing, slanguage, graffiti and dances like 'going dumb' and 'ghostridin' the whip'... Deriving from the word 'hyperactive,' or referring to the act of 'getting hyped,' getting excited and rowdy, Hyphy may be most syonymous with Mac Dre but the style and phrase was first coined on record by Bay legend Keak da Sneak. While it may be far from fledgling, it's new to mainstream music ears and thanks to artists like The Pack, Mistah Fab, E-40, and the late Mac Dre, it's about the most exciting offshoot seen in rap since crunk.
- Rosen, Jody (2007-02-13). "Why hyphy is the best hip-hop right now.". Slate. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
... the Bay Area biggest hip-hop genre known as hyphy (pronounced "hi-fee"), in which stewiness, maininess, dumbness are everything: the means and ends, the sun and moon and stars...
- Bennet, Dustin (March 3, 2008). "Livin' the Life, Hyphy Style". Synthesis.net. Synthesis Network. Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Burke, Garance (2006-12-29). "Hip-Hop Car Stunt Leaves 2 Dead". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
Hyphy was born in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, and Vallejo in the late 1990s... The movement started in the '90s and gained momentum in the early 2000s as a response from Bay Area rappers to commercial hip-hop's ignoring of the Bay's influence.
- According to his comments in the July 2006 issue of Vibe magazine, Keak Da Sneak was the first to use the word "haipy" on record on 3X Crazy's "Stacking Chips" in 1997. On MTV's "My Block: The Bay" he explains how the word evolved from hyper, to super hyper, to hyfee. If someone was hyphy, they were reacting spontaneously to the music. Alternately, it is based heavily around partying and having as much of a good time as possible. In an interview on the Bay Area hip hop station KMEL, the definition of hyphy in the early days meant that something wild was going to go down such as a fight or some other form of violence.
- "DJ Mustard talks Ratchet Movement". Sway's Universe.
- "DJ Mustard". Complex. Nov 5, 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Andrew Noz. "Beat Construction: DJ Mustard". Fader. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- William E. Ketchum III (July 19, 2012). "Producer's Corner: DJ Mustard Explains The Ratchet Movement, The Weirdest Place He's Heard "Rack City"". HiphopDX. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- "What is Trap Music? Trap Music Explained". Run The Trap. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Turn Down For What". Rolling Stone.