meta-scriptLarry June On His 'Great Escape': How The Posi-Rapper's New Album With Alchemist Reflects His Healthy Hustle | GRAMMY.com
Larry June Q&A Great Escape
Larry June

Photo: Rpmiggs

interview

Larry June On His 'Great Escape': How The Posi-Rapper's New Album With Alchemist Reflects His Healthy Hustle

'The Great Escape,' Larry June's new album with the Alchemist, is a cinematic sojourn where all the B.S. is left behind. The rapper's immense positivity flows through, with reflections on opulence, doing things differently and, of course, healthy living.

GRAMMYs/Apr 5, 2023 - 08:04 pm

Larry June drinks about 35 oranges every morning. Pair that with 15 green juices and some chlorophyll, and you have the diet of a man who seeks the finer things in life. 

"Organic" isn’t just a buzzword for Larry. His countless projects outline the Orange Print to successful living: His clothing brand, Midnight Organic, tags his apparel with words like HEALTHY, ORGANIC, and GOOD JOB!; his song titles spark conversations about the trajectory of humanity; even his lyrics provide keen insight into the daily routines and investment opportunities that have allowed June to flourish as a self-made entrepreneur. 

Larry June’s persistent gratitude and optimism have guided him through the trials and tribulations within hip-hop, and his ‘hoods of Hunter’s Point, San Francisco and Vallejo. You might see him douse a crowd of fans at Rolling Loud with Uncle Larry’s Orange Juice, you might see him working at his SF boba shop, Honeybear, or you might even see him traveling through Mexico City, mesmerized by the architecture. An old-soul camouflaged as the spokesperson for Vitamin C, June has worked for over a decade to solidify his status as the suave gangster with no affinity for rap beef (unless it’s grass-fed and organic).

The Great Escape, Larry's latest album with GRAMMY-nominated producer Alchemist, is a step away from "all the bullsh—" and an invitation into the opulent grand-opening party for their cinematic The Great Escape Ski Resort. Alchemist’s beats score this groovier film-on-wax, adding touches of psychedelic-infused reggae and downtempo, as well as loops from ‘60s-era B-reels. Larry June builds his own world of gang lords and drug deals, referencing Mexican magnate Carlos Slim to discreet calls with his own invented cast of characters. With the fleeting third-person adlib of "Sing it, Larry," our world-rebound protagonist croons words of affirmation throughout the album.

Larry June's immensely positive brand of gangsta rap holds true on The Great Escape, and rappers from around the world lend verses on the opulence of life. Action Bronson appears on "Solid Plan" to discuss the banality of artificial intelligence and Tony Soprano’s sacrifices as a mob boss; Big Sean raps with Larry about their daily chlorophyll drinks and investments commercial real estate on "Palisades, CA"; and even Wiz Khalifa roll ups to relish on the empire June has created. 

But June is far from out of touch with the people. The opening track begins with the rapper battling San Francisco's inclement weather: "Bend a corner, I’m on Hayes Street copping a windbreaker" — a moment anyone visiting the foggy city can relate to. 

Although June spent part of his childhood in Atlanta, his heart has always been in the Bay — from its windswept hills to its hometown rap heroes. Larry June sat down with GRAMMY.com to discuss growing up, doing things differently, how he and the Alchemist concocted The Great Escape.

What was it like to live in Vallejo?

I loved it. It was so different. There were crazy house parties and shit. S— was tight as hell. Big Mac Dre culture. It’s a whole different energy.

Do you have any favorite Mac Dre songs or albums?

Man, I like "Not My Job." I could bust you a rap, I love all Mac Dre’s s—. It’s not even one particular album, his s— is just so different.

Other than Mac Dre, who are some of your favorite old-school Bay Area artists?

RBL Posse, RIP to Jack[a] — legendary, you know what I’m saying, can’t forget J. Stalin, can’t forget E-40, Too $hort, you know, all the classics. B-Legit, Cellski, everybody man, there’s so many I can’t even name all of them. It’s a whole different energy. The world still hasn’t even picked up everything that’s going on. Johnny Ca$h.

Because you mentioned Johnny Ca$h and J. Stalin, did you always have an affinity for artists who also sang a little bit?

That’s crazy you said that. For sure, I think so. J. Stalin’s really my boy, he was making music with me when I was like 16 years old. He’s a good dude, a real entrepreneur, made it out the ‘hood, started a business for himself, all kinds of s—. Legendary. 

Ever since I was a kid, I loved that singing aspect in rapping. You could switch it up, and it doesn't have to be the best singing. 

I saw a quote recently where someone said, "You don’t even have to be a Whitney Houston-level singer, sometimes there's beauty in using your own voice."

It’s an art. It’s natural and it’s coming from the heart. It’s how you sound, so you’re giving the people something that’s yours, versus you’re trying to sound like something and you’re trying to force it to sound perfect. Sometimes those imperfections make you 20x better. 

That’s how I feel about my music – a lot of s— I might want to redo, I might have said a word wrong, but that’s how I say it. I’m going to give it to you the way I would give it to you in real life. I just do it for the motherf—rs who rock with me, that live like me, that understand what I’m talking about. If you don’t understand, hey, it wasn’t for you. [Laughs] Numbers, baby.

**What inspired The Great Escape?**

Me and Al, we was in the studio vibing, and the album had a real luxurious feeling. From when "Turkish Cotton" comes, it feels like a movie scene. Al was like, "This is like some Robb Report s—." I didn’t know what the Robb Report was, so he showed me and it’s like a magazine with Lamborghinis and nice properties and expensive watches. 

Then, we saw something that said "The Great Escape," and it hit me. I escaped all the bulls—; I’m living very peacefully. I escaped the jealousy, the odds that were against us. What we were going for was more like a spy-feel. "Come to the spot, get your back rubbed, come to the Great Escape Ski Resort."

**How did moving to Malibu and getting the place that was shown in the album’s behind-the-scenes documentary build the world of The Great Escape?**

I pretty much recorded the majority of the songs at home. I’d come to [Al] and we’d escape from the world, get crazy cribs by the coast. We’d vibe, we’d hear some s— and I’d add little pieces in there. 

I’m inspired by seeing beautiful things, so I have to go to different places to get inspired while making the music. I went to Mexico City to film a portion of the "Spanish" video, and I’m seeing different architecture and eating all these different kinds of foods, seeing different s—. I started getting interested in Barragán lighting; it creates a different type of lighting in houses naturally. [Laughs] I was learning so much, and I was able to teach it to people who didn’t know it through the music. 

It was real natural; nothing was forced. I was just being me and it came out dope, man. I wanted to make sure that I was rapping good enough with the Alchemist on his beats because everybody who works with the Alchemist is amazing. Artists from Roc Marci to Boldy James, Jay Worthy, Curren$y, even go back to Mobb Deep. They set the bar high. Prodigy. 

[Alchemist] was like, "No, you got this s—. Stay in your bag. Don’t think about that, just do you." [Laughs

How do you approach a Cardo album (Into The Late Night), versus a Harry Fraud album (Keep Going) versus an Alchemist album?

I’ve built a relationship with these producers where we have our own bag. When Cardo sends me beats, he’s not sending me the beats he sends to Drake or whoever, I’m in our bag and I master that bag with each producer. 

It’s kind of like a superpower for me. I can cut off my Alchemist bag for two months, not even thinking about that bag at all because the Cardo bag was recharging, so I never run out of raps. I live by the motto: If you do the same s—, you get the same results. The key is never losing yourself. I did an album with Alchemist, but I’m not going to turn into Common. [Laughs

I was surprised to hear "60 Days" because you’re probably one of the only artists who could get Al to rap. What was that conversation like?

We were really just in the studio vibing. He was jotting down some notes, and I guess he likes to write raps  —  he doesn’t like to be doing nothing. I looked over and I’m like, "You got something for this?" and he was like, "F— it, I got something," and he jumped in there and did it. 

He didn’t want to use the record [on the album], but I love the record. I love the beat by itself. That’s why I didn’t want to rap too long – eight bars, slight hook, eight bars. The beat is so movie scene-ish. He got on there, it worked out, he didn’t want to drop it, we ended up dropping it first.

That’s the magic with this record. Every song is consistently great.

You want to give them variety, man, start soft. I drink 35 oranges as soon as I wake up in the morning.

Wait, 35?

Mhm. I might drink 15 green juices, some chlorophyll; you’ve got to stay healthy inside the body. I might take a jog. I’ll rock 35 miles, for no reason.

When did you realize that this is the lifestyle you’ve got to be chasing?

It made me feel better. I used to be going through some s—, so I use taking a walk or a jog to ease my mind and help me think clearer and see different things. I noticed when I started drinking the juices, it was making me feel better. It’s really those peaceful walks. I’ll walk in the rain 35 miles.

That’s something that’s always drawn me to your music. It’s music that you can listen to and aspire to be like.

It’s raw because I come from a completely different world. My grandma had the candy house in the hood – ICEEs, candy, sodas, making nachos for the 'hood. I’m preaching to my people that you don’t have to do the same thing. 

Go get you something healthy, take a walk. Everything ain’t about sitting in the ‘hood and doing the same s— that we come from, that people know us for. It’s cool to do different s—. I’m just an advocate for that. A lot of inspiration from my dad too because he was the first n— in the 'hood coming out healthy. You’ve got to be thankful for your parents.

On "Turkish Cotton," you even mention"I was just dead broke in 2017." What changed for you?

The cars got faster. My mindset got better. I started experiencing new things and looking at things from a bigger aspect. I always got that fight in me. I’m always hustling and working because I know it can get ugly; I lived it for the majority of my life. I’m new money. I didn’t come from millions of dollars, I didn’t have nothing passed down to me. I’m breaking a cycle for me and hopefully the next generation of kids that are coming up. 

That’s why I talk my s— like, "I bought the ‘Rarri," but I’m also going to let you know that, "N—, I was broke just like you." Anybody can do it if I did it. My mom had me at 15 years old. I wasn’t supposed to be doing what I’m doing now, man. 

That’s why being healthy is so important because if we’re not healthy, we’re not going to be able to do nothing. It first starts with how you feel and what you put in your body when you wake up, if you have negative people around you; you’ve got to be aware of everything if you want to be successful. 

**Now, it’s about legacy. You dropped your first project, Cali Grown, in 2010 and look at you now.**

[When I dropped] Cali Grown, I was hella into smooth, peaceful beats and started doing what I wanted to do and started developing my voice and creating. I had a vision: being a boss, healthy living, being a player — but it can’t get ugly. I was taking my equipment with me everywhere I was going and practicing. 

What’s dope is that I could have easily deleted all that stuff from the internet, easily, but I left it up there purposefully to show you I was trash. [Laughs] I do it to show my people that if you keep going, you can be great, you just need to believe in it. 

Sock it to 'em, Larry! Now, last but not least, what can happen in 60 days?

In 60 days, a lot can change. If you put time in and really dedicate yourself for 60 days – it can be a week, it can be 30 days, it can be 20 days – if you’re dedicating your time to doing something, it’s going to work. I’ve got a big thing about discipline. A lot can change, for real, you’ve just gotta keep rocking.

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Benny The Butcher Is Ready To Rise On 'Everybody Can’t Go'
Benny The Butcher

Photo: Prince Williams/WireImage

interview

Benny The Butcher Is Ready To Rise On 'Everybody Can’t Go'

Benny The Butcher is growing even further in the game. Ahead of his debut album with Def Jam Recordings, the rapper discusses the key to his confidence, working with Griselda producers, and future collaborations with the "Queens of R&B and hip-hop."

GRAMMYs/Jan 25, 2024 - 02:13 pm

Benny The Butcher is prepared to spar with the biggest names in rap music to prove he’s one of the most prolific MCs in the industry. 

"My confidence comes from my talent, and my talent comes from my preparation," Benny tells GRAMMY.com. 

For the uninitiated, the East Buffalo rapper's brash delivery and unshakeable confidence could be perceived as arrogance. But for Benny and long-time fans of the Montana Avenue vet, he’s more than earned the distinction. 

"If you see these dudes, they’re not confident because they’re not prepared to talk that talk. We stand behind this music, man," he continues. "I’m only on this interview with you because I rap good. I’m not on this interview with you because I’m dating an R&B chick, or because I have a Rihanna feature.”

Benny The Butcher is just days ahead of releasing Everybody Can’t Go, his debut album with Def Jam Recordings. Out Jan. 26, Everybody is Benny's major label launch but it's far from his first foray.

Off the heels of his critically acclaimed album Tana Talk 4 in 2022 — which boasted the viral hit "Johnny P’s Caddy" featuring J. ColeBenny has kept a steady hand on the pulse of the rap game. Since then, he’s been heard on DJ Drama’s "Forever," G Herbo’s "Real Rap" and memorialized a Buffalo legend on the BSF project Long Live DJ Shay.  

In that time, Benny, born Jeremie Pennick, has fashioned himself as the proprietor of "caviar drug rap," and he’s not afraid to remind you, either. He’s confident the release of Everybody Can’t Go will showcase his evolution as an artist.

"I’m on a higher level than I was. Everybody gets to watch my career elevate and it’s right in front of me," he says. "From the mixtapes, from the freestyles, featuring on Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine’s s–, and people share that journey with me. It’s high-level drug rap."

After switching his moniker from "Benny" to "Benny The Butcher," he veered away from rapping over other artists’ beats and started working with in-house Griselda producers like Daringer to round out his nostalgic, boom-bap sound that’s become synonymous with the Griselda imprint. 

If the album’s lead singles "Bron," "Big Dog," and the title track are any indication, Benny isn’t deviating from the sound that made him. Tales of his past exploits are coated in Hit-Boy and Alchemist beats, with features from Griselda and BSF collaborators Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, 38 Spesh, Lil Wayne, and others. But the method behind the music, Benny says, was all the same. 

"I didn’t take no new approach, I just wanted to deliver some dope music and make sure I sounded how I felt," the 39-year-old MC says. "I feel like my sound is more refined and I switched my flow up."

To casual connoisseurs, Benny is a burgeoning star who’s aiming for wider success and acclaim. But for fans of the "Trade It All" lyricist, who saw his rise as the younger cousin of Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine on Griselda, he’s earned the right to share his vivid tales and signature brand of mafioso rap on a larger scale. And he’s already made good use of the label’s platform.

He’s rubbed shoulders with artists like J. Cole, connected with legends like Snoop Dogg for his Def Jam signing, and now has his sights on more R&B-oriented records. Benny wants to work with the "Queens of R&B and hip-hop," naming legends including SZA, Teyana Taylor, Coco Jones, Summer Walker, and others at the top of his list.  

With his ascension, Benny is continuing to discover the perils of fame. He admits it’s challenging to deal with trolls and faceless critics on X (formerly known as Twitter). "You have to remind yourself it’s only a fraction of the people. Their voice is so loud on social media that it tricks the artist into thinking that’s the general population that feels like that, but it’s not," Benny says.

He’s also accepted the fact that not everyone is meant to be a part of his journey. The sentiment inspired the new album title and is reflective of his new attitude: Whether friend or family, hindering his growth is too hefty a price tag. As his career continues to take flight, others will be left at the terminal. 

"Everybody Can’t Go is me realizing, Wow, it’s not for everybody even though I got this far to help provide opportunities," he said. "You could make someone the president or an A&R at Def Jam, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for it. A lot of people don’t want to work, they just want what comes with the work —  the lifestyle, the fame, and the money."

After the project’s release, Benny intends to expand as a legitimate businessman and do more executive production, starting with his roster of BSF talent, which includes Rick Hyde, Heem B$F, ElCamino, LoveBoat Luciano, and other members. 

With Griselda, Benny already has his two cousins as counterparts, but Benny talked about having his daughter by his side during the album’s press run. He was impressed with her vocal ability and is open to exploring her musical side. "This is a family business," he says. "I encourage everybody to get into music because it’s therapeutic, it keeps you out of the way, and it’s lucrative if you do it right."

Of his growth as a solo artist, Benny says, "It feels like I’m on pace to keep doing great things." In the near-future, he's already making plans to dive into the film industry and drop another project to close out yet another big year in music. 

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A Guide To Bay Area Hip-Hop too short
Too $hort

Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images

feature

A Guide To Bay Area Hip-Hop: Definitive Releases, Artists & Subgenres From Northern California

Bay Area hip-hop has had a few moments to shine on the main stage, but has largely grinded independently for decades. On the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, learn how "the whole damn Yay" fits into this global culture — and how it stands out.

GRAMMYs/Aug 21, 2023 - 02:05 pm

The San Francisco Bay Area is a geographically and culturally diverse region of Northern California whose music scene has influenced the world. There is a lot more territory to Northern California, but the more than 7.5 million people who live in the Bay are crucial to the state's music scene.

While the Summer of Love and associated boom of rock and psychedelia in the 1960s might be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the sounds of San Francisco, the Bay has long been a source of creative, boundary-breaking hip-hop music and culture. The region's nine counties are where many definitive hip-hop acts were raised and became inspired to create.

Major labels largely ignored Bay Area artists at the beginning of hip-hop's golden age. However, that lack of attention allowed for wider creative freedom and a bevy of distinctly Bay Area sounds. 

As hip-hop celebrates half a century of soundtracking the world, it’s a good time to learn how this part of the West Coast fits into this global culture — and how it stands out. Listen to Spotify playlist below or visit Amazon Music, Pandora and Apple Music to learn more about the Bay Area's bountiful hip-hop culture.

A Brief History Of Bay Area Hip-Hop

The Bay Area's first local commercial rap release came in 1981 via Motorcycle Mike’s "Super Rat." But the world wouldn’t become seriously acquainted with Bay Area rappers until the early ‘90s, when MC Hammer told everyone what they couldn’t touch.

Some of the most notable releases tap into the region's educated and aware, activist-oriented, health-focused lifestyle. The Bay also knows how to party, and the funky musicality of the region — from Sly and the Family Stone to Con Funk Shun (whose member Felton Pilate produced some of MC Hammer’s early works) — have been a strong influence on hip-hop culture nationwide.

However, the Bay Area rap music scene is historically distinguished by reality-based work that sometimes alludes to criminal activity — including violence, murder, drug dealing and sex trafficking — and details rough times. 

The intermingling between the fictional world of music and criminal realities has led rap lyrics to be used against defendants in criminal cases around the country. In the '90s and early aughts, prominent rappers such as Sacramento’s C-Bo and Vallejo’s Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks were jailed for their lyrics, which detailed crimes and had anti-police and governor sentiment.  

New state legislation is setting a national example for such work to be inadmissible in court. In September, with the support of popular Bay Area rappers E-40 and Too $hort, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act to restrict the use of rap lyrics in criminal proceedings. (The Recording Academy is also involved in a federal effort to limit the use of lyrics in court.)

Several high-profile murders and deaths altered the trajectory of burgeoning careers, casting a question mark about the unrealized potential of some of the Bay Area’s brightest artists. This unfortunate list includes the 1996 Las Vegas murder of Tupac Shakur — who spent formative years being educated and recording in the Bay Area — and Mac Dre, the progenitor of the region’s hyphy culture who was shot to death in Kansas City in 2004 and still reigns as the Bay Area’s biggest posthumous figure. Pittsburg’s Dominick "The Jacka" Newton is another revered figure supported heavily by Northern California who was killed in Oakland in 2015. In 2021, Stephen "Zumbi" Gaines from Zion I died in an Oakland hospital; his death was ruled a homicide, yet no criminal charges have been filed and his family called to continue the investigation in 2022. 

Bay Area hip-hop has had a few moments to shine especially bright in the eyes of the world, but the local scene has kept grinding in and out of the mainstream spotlight. Sporadic attention and contracts from the major record labels throughout the years meant that the Bay Area rap scene generally needed to continue to be sustained independently. 

In the pre-streaming era, record stores such as Amoeba Music in San Francisco and Rasputin Music (which had several locations at its height) sold thousands of copies of albums and mixtapes from local artists on their own. Too $hort and E-40’s DIY business model would influence Southern rap moguls like Percy "Master P" Miller, who started his No Limit Records in Richmond, California, and Bryan "Baby" Williams of New Orleans’ Cash Money Records.

For decades, there was an absence of prolonged label and distribution support from the traditional music business centers of Los Angeles, New York City and, later, Atlanta. A significant shift began when EMPIRE Distribution opened in San Francisco in 2010, making the city a power player in the international music industry.

While the San Francisco Bay Area may not be the biggest name in the national hip-hop conversation, its underdog status is a point of pride and reason for continued creativity. In 2023, hip-hop artists, producers and businesspeople keep an eye on the Bay for lyrical, linguistic, music, dance and style trends.  

Definitive Artists In Bay Area Hip-Hop

MC Hammer: Stanley Burrell’s evolution from young bat boy for the Oakland Athletics and growing up connected to the streets, to becoming the GRAMMY-winning and Billboard-charting pop superhero MC Hammer is the Bay Area’s first international hip-hop success story. He’s the only rapper from Northern California who had his own Saturday morning cartoon (Hammerman) on ABC — an epic achievement in the early '90s, when weekend programming for kids was still a household phenomenon. 

He was the first to work with major brands like Taco Bell and Sprite in an era when hip-hop didn’t have the attention of corporate America, like it does now. VH1 aired a biopic in 2001 and A&E commissioned a family reality series in 2009. There’s even a Hammer doll made by the toy company Mattel.

Digital Underground: Helmed by Gregory "Shock G" Jacobs and Ronald "Money-B" Brooks, Oakland’s mischievous party rap crew Digital Underground flirted with various Billboard singles and albums charts throughout the '90s and released six albums until Jacobs' untimely passing in 2021. 

The self-described "Sons of the P" drew from the well of the Parliament-Funkadelic world, sampling and interpolating George Clinton’s best-known riffs, ad-libs and freewheeling thoughts. Digital Underground’s two top 40 hits include "Kiss You Back" and "The Humpty Dance," the latter nominated for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group at the 1991 GRAMMYs. "The Humpty Dance" introduced the character of Humpty Hump, which was another of Jacobs’ alter egos, but the group pretended like they were different people, sometimes enlisting Jacobs’ own brother to help further the prank on stage.

Tupac Shakur: Shock G and Money-B took a young Tupac Shakur under their wings, bringing him on tour as a roadie and dancer in 1990 and producing songs on his 1991 debut album 2Pacalypse Now. Shakur recorded half of his sophomore album in the East Bay, and later signed to Los Angeles labels Interscope and Death Row.

His mother, Afeni Shakur, reconnected with the Bay Area in the last years of her life and passed away on her houseboat in Sausalito, not far from Marin City, where Tupac lived in his high school years. History hasn’t viewed him as a strictly Bay Area artist, but the region is a crucial architect of his career.

Too $hort: Though he was born in Los Angeles and moved to the East Bay in his youth, Todd Shaw’s Too $hort character is synonymous with Oakland, its pimp culture and being the first to sell custom mixtapes on the streets. He turned his "out the trunk" ethos into a decades-long deal with Jive Records.

Despite threatening to retire in the mid-'90s, Too $hort continues to make music to add to his discography, which includes six platinum-selling albums, three gold albums and the enduring hyphy anthem "Blow The Whistle." He has collaborated with many rappers, including Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., and on "Bossy," a top 20 hit for Kelis. Shaw represented the Bay Area at the 2023 GRAMMYs' tribute to hip-hop, and told PEOPLE that he was "really glad to be a part of it." 

E-40: Like Too $hort, E-40 (Earl Stevens) parlayed his independent record hustle into a contract with Jive Records that yielded gold and platinum-selling singles and albums. Both essentially created a playbook that was cited and followed by Southern labels such as No Limit and Cash Money. E-40’s storytelling prowess and gift for slanguage is delivered with impressive speed, and continues to influence MCs all over the world. He’s as deft at crafting party-starters like his hyphy hit "Tell Me When to Go" as poignant tales like "Zoom," which describes how life handed him nothing, but he transcended his circumstances to become a leader.

A community-minded philanthropist, he recently donated $100,000 to Grambling University, which he attended, to create the Earl "E-40" Stevens Sound Recording Studio on campus and inspire the next generation of artists. In recent years, he has applied his independent strategies to the food, wine and spirits industries, and will release a cookbook in November.

E-40 and Too $hort have recorded two albums together, and have since formed the northern half of the rap supergroup Mount Westmore, with Los Angeles natives Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. Stevens will soon have a Bay Area street named after him called E-40 Way in Vallejo — just as Shaw received Too $hort Way in Oakland in December.

Mac Dre: Andre Hicks didn’t have a mainstream career like MC Hammer or Too $hort, but his influence on Bay Area music and culture as a progenitor and propeller of hyphy remains outsized. His music is rooted in the streets, but also party minded and musical, bridging a gap between the rough and serious and happy and intoxicated.

His mother Wanda Salvatto, who is nicknamed Mac Wanda, continued his Thizz Entertainment label after his still-unsolved 2004 murder in Kansas City, Missouri. She has built an extensive discography of posthumous and tribute albums and compilations.

Keak Da Sneak: After making noise in the mid-Nineties Oakland group 3X Krazy and later on his own, the rapper born Charles Kente Williams has earned his spot as a crucial Bay Area music and slang innovator. He’s credited with expressions like "fa sheezy," "yadidimean" and hyphy, the latter a contraction devised to describe his hyperactive tendencies. 

"I don’t think they know, that’s my word," he proclaims in the chorus of his quick-moving 2005 party hit "Super Hyphy." In 2017, Keak Da Sneak was shot eight times by an unknown assailant at a gas station in Richmond, California. Though he’s been using a wheelchair ever since, he remains active in the local scene, recently appearing at DJ and podcaster Dregs One’s History of Bay Area Hip-Hop day party in San Francisco.

Definitive Bay Area Hip-Hop Releases 

Too $hort - Life Is…Too $hort (1988)

As a rapper and character, Too $hort has transcended generations of Bay Area hip-hop fans, but the old-schoolers will still point to his fifth album, which broke him out of the region thanks to support in the form of a 1989 re-release from Jive Records. It delivers the bawdy, pimp boasting raps that he’s known for, but Life Is… also shows his less-known talents for keyboard and drum programming.

MC Hammer - Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990)

MC Hammer’s third album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em spent almost five months on top of the Billboard 200, and he is the only rap artist from Northern California to win GRAMMY Awards. With their hooky Rick James and Prince samples, respectively, the album’s hit singles "U Can’t Touch This" and "Pray" set a production standard that has been relied on pretty much ever since — whether in the most popular songs of P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Records catalog in the 1990s, or today’s social media hits by Latto and Coi Leray. 

In 1991, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em was nominated for Album Of The Year, and he took home three golden gramophones for Best Rhythm & Blues Song and Best Rap Solo Performance for "U Can’t Touch This" and Best Music Video - Long Form.

Digital Underground - Sex Packets (1990)

DU’s platinum-selling debut album may be the Bay Area’s greatest concept rap album, a lascivious romp assisted by imaginary sexual enhancement pills years before Viagra was invented. Songs like "Freaks of the Industry," "Doowutchyalike" and "The Humpty Dance" brought fun and levity to the streets and households across America. 

"The Humpty Dance" was not only a top 20 pop hit and a No. 1 rap single; its undulating groove formed the backbone of countless pop, rap, R&B and drum and bass songs that later sampled it. Even the Spice Girls couldn’t resist using it for their 1996 song "If U Can’t Dance."

2Pac - 2Pacalypse Now (1991)

The majority of Tupac Shakur’s first two albums were made in the Bay Area: He recorded all of 2Pacalypse Now and half of his sophomore album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z… at Starlight Sound in the East Bay city of Richmond. 2Pacalypse Now shows how a descendent of the Black Panther Party reflects his history for the '90s. 

He worked with local producers — including Digital Underground’s Shock G, Raw Fusion and Big D The Impossible — on early anthems like "Brenda’s Got a Baby," "Trapped" and "If My Homie Calls." Though his posthumous discography is long, he would go on to release just two more albums before his murder in 1996: Me Against the World and the GRAMMY-nominated All Eyez on Me.

Del the Funky Homosapien - "Mistadobalina" (1991)

When he was a little kid, Del the Funky Homosapien designed the three-eyed face that became the logo of his Hieroglyphics crew and a worldwide symbol of Bay Area rap. "Mistadobalina," which he produced with Boogiemen and his cousin Ice Cube, was his breakout song. His confident and fun flow drew people into the Hiero world — which now includes an annual festival in Oakland — and it still sounds timeless.

RBL Posse - "Don’t Give Me No Bammer Weed" (1992)

The biggest group to come from San Francisco’s tough Hunters Point neighborhood and score a major label record deal, RBL Posse is best remembered for this ode to smoking quality cannabis from their debut album A Lesson To Be Learned. Members Hitman and Mr. Cee were both victims of gun violence, but their sonic calling card remains a local anthem.

N2DEEP - "Back to the Hotel" (1992)

Vallejo is most often associated with Mac Dre and E-40, but the city also birthed N2DEEP, the Latinx group that brought the sax-heavy rap song "Back to the Hotel" to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song was everywhere in 1992, and has been due for a renaissance of appreciation.

Souls of Mischief - "93 ‘til Infinity" (1993)

Friends of Del the Funky Homosapien and fellow Hieroglyphics crew members, A-Plus, Opio, Phesto and Tajai are Souls of Mischief. "93 ‘til Infinity" remains their inspiring signature song, resonating sonically and lyrically across generations. The track has been sampled dozens of times by artists like J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T. and Tyga.

The Conscious Daughters - Ear to the Street (1993)

Released by Priority Records the Los Angeles label that introduced venerable acts such as Funkadelic, N.W.A. and EPMD to the world Ear to the Street gave a national platform to two smooth and streetwise rappers from Oakland who happened to be women: CMG (Carla Green) and the late Special One (Karryl Smith, who passed away in 2011). Their debut album, and especially its breakout single "Somethin’ to Ride to (Fonky Expedition)," are still requisite car listening in the Bay Area.

Spice 1 - 187 He Wrote (1993)

Though he collaborated with Shakur, Spice 1 is still one of the more underrated and under the radar of the old-school gangster rappers. This sophomore album features production by Too $hort and local legends Ant Banks and E-A-Ski, as well as guest spots by E-40 and Compton’s MC Eiht. 187 He Wrote topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Luniz - "I Got 5 On It (Bay Ballas Vocal Remix)" (1995)

Almost 30 years since its release, this ode to smoking weed by Oakland rappers Yukmouth and Numskull still makes frequent appearances at Bay Area events and clubs. The Bay Ballas Vocal Remix, which features E-40, Richie Rich, Spice 1, Dru Down, Shock G, hogged all the attention back in the day and is still the version to play.

DJ Shadow - Endtroducing (1996)

The mysterious DJ and producer mixed at the nucleus of the SoleSides crew, which later became the Quannum Projects label and includes vital Bay Area artists like Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef The Truthspeaker. Shadow’s debut album Endtroducing is a masterpiece of instrumental hip-hop.

Hieroglyphics - 3rd Eye Vision (1998)

Oakland’s Hieroglyphics is made up of solo MCs and groups who have created some of Bay Area rap’s most vaunted songs. The first of three crew albums, the stellar arrangement and song selection on the 22-track 3rd Eye Vision, which refers to their three-eyed logo and spotlights each individual’s talents, keeps it in the conversation 25 years since its release.

Blackalicious - "Alphabet Aerobics" (1999)

A stunning feat of linguistic excellence by the late rapper Gift of Gab (who tragically passed away in 2021 after receiving a kidney implant the year before), "Alphabet Aerobics" pushes rhymes of increasing complexity from A to Z. It’s a textbook of how to MC in one track.

Mystic - Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom (2001)

Mandolyn Wind Ludlum is best known as Mystic, a singer, rapper and educator from Oakland whose debut album sounds as fresh as when it was released in 2001. Cuts for Luck was re-released 10 years later in large part to the lead single "The Life" and "W," a duet featuring Fresno rapper Planet Asia that was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2002 GRAMMYs.

Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf - Big Shots (2003)

Murdered in 1993, South Bay rapper Charizma never got the chance to see where his talent would take him. Big Shots was not released until 2003, but his flows on songs like "Methods" and "Jack the Mack" are timeless. Peanut Butter Wolf —a San Jose native producer and close friend of Charizma — moved his record label Stones Throw to Los Angeles and keeps Charizma's legacy alive.

Mac Dre - Treal TV DVD and Soundtrack (2004)

Thanks to the continuation of his Thizz Entertainment record label after his 2004 murder, Mac Dre’s posthumous discography is extensive, but a DVD released when he was alive is perhaps the most coveted release in the collection. Treal TV has a cult following for its casual depiction of his everyday life, car collection and live footage of him performing songs such as "Thizzelle Dance," which also appears on Dre’s 2002 album Thizzelle Washington

There’s also a CD soundtrack version of Treal TV featuring various artists and associates; a second volume of Treal TV was released in 2006 and includes footage of Mac Dre on the road in Hawaii. 

Mistah F.A.B. - "Super Sic Wit It" (2005)

With his Dope Era clothing store and frequent community events, Oakland’s Mistah F.A.B. has been an entrepreneurial and philanthropic leader in the scene since he turned out hyphy club and radio hits like "Super Sic Wit It." The high energy song for car sideshows helped him score a major label contract.

E-40 - My Ghetto Report Card (2006)

E-40’s many albums have consistently good arrangement and a narrative arc of storytelling, and My Ghetto Report Card represents him at the crest of a second wind that floated him into greater international recognition. Produced by Lil Jon, the lead single "Tell Me When to Go" landed at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains one of the big hits of the hyphy era. 

Atlanta’s king of crunk produced seven additional songs on the album, including "White Gurl" featuring UGK and Juelz Santana and "U and Dat" featuring T-Pain and Kandi, while Bay Area standard-setter Rick Rock and E-40’s son Droop-E rounded out the production duties.

The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon (2006)

The Coup represented the revolutionary side of Oakland with razor-sharp intellect and furiously funky beats. Pick a Bigger Weapon was released by Epitaph Records, a label known more for rock than rap music, and includes collaborations with Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys and Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine. Frontman Boots Riley has made forays into film and streaming TV, most recently with the comedy series "I’m a Virgo." The Coup’s late DJ, Pam The Funkstress, was selected by Prince to open some of his final shows.

Zion I - "Tech $" (2017)

Oakland’s Zion I has long reflected on the changes and realities of the Bay Area in their music. Nowhere does this resonate the most as it does on "Tech $," which details displacement and gentrification as it was literally happening to the late MC Stephen Gaines, who was known as Zumbi and Baba Zumbi. The accompanying music video shows him moving his family out of their house and out of the area.

Stunnaman02 - "Big Steppin’" (2021)

Perhaps the biggest local rap song to come out of the pandemic, San Francisco rapper Jordan "Stunnaman02" Gomes even got the city’s mayor to do the song’s infectious associated dance, which KQED calls "a trend that rhythmically mimics the act of bench pressing."

Bay Area Hip-Hop Subgenres & Styles 

Bay Area rap can be educated, activist, party-starting and gangster — and sometimes all on the same track. There’s a distinct pride in the scope and the range of subject matter and sonic aesthetics in the region. Achieving uncategorizable moments is wonderful, but everyone seems to love big, trunk-rattling bass. 

There’s always been nuance within these major styles — for example, music that could blanketly be called gangster could also be subdivided into general topic styles such as pimping and drug dealing, and even small subgenres like mobb music — which was coined to describe a particular sinister and gritty sound characterized by even heavier basslines more than the lyrical content.

Turntablism: In the '90s Bay Area DJs with mobile party and technical battle circuit experience contributed significantly to the development of turntablism. With the help of the Return of the DJ compilation series from San Francisco’s Bomb Hip-Hop Records, turntablism became an international style of using and manipulating record players like musical instruments to record original works. With talents such as Shortkut, DJ Disk, DJ Apollo, DJ Flare, D-Styles, Qbert and Mix Master Mike, local crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz won world battle championships and inspired countless fans to become DJs. Mix Master Mike has toured extensively with Beastie Boys, Metallica and Cypress Hill.

Hyphy: The aughts ushered in the music, linguistic and car subculture called hyphy, bringing in quicker tempos ready for popping pills and "going dumb" on the dancefloor. Too $hort would criticize the abuse of MDMA in his 2006 hit "Blow the Whistle," but most of hyphy’s hits revel in ignorance — and Mac Dre certainly touted the benefits of ecstasy when he was alive. 

Almost 20 years since hyphy’s ascent and this is thought of as a sort of golden era of Bay Area hip-hop, a time when the world’s attention was facing west. Hyphy songs have been sampled in more contemporary contexts (as Saweetie used "Blow the Whistle" for 2020’s "Tap In"), and the subject is a common one used to evoke an uplifting nostalgia.

Based: Brandon "Lil B" McCartney formed the rap group the Pack while attending  Berkeley High School, and their 2006 cult hit "Vans" led to an album deal with Jive Records. After leaving the Pack, Lil B single-handedly propagated an unedited and free associative style he called based, dubbing himself the Based God. He was the first in the area to use social media sites and apps to become an early meme, which he supported with a large quantity of songs and videos.

Rising Bay Area Rap Artists

The next generation of artists leading the future of the Bay Area is tapping into the technological prowess of the region while furthering traditions of musical innovation and philanthropic goals. While Bay Area rap has long been male-dominated, the future may be more balanced.

Larry June: Ten albums deep, Larry June is not exactly new to this, but he’s the San Francisco artist who is currently breaking through to the world with his album Spaceships on the Blade. Northern California’s healthy, organic lifestyle is a popular topic for June, who eats well, owns a boba shop and is showing his fans the benefits of consistent, hard work.

P-Lo: After years producing for the Bay Area’s HBK Gang artists as well as national stars such as Wiz Khalifa and Yo Gotti, P-Lo’s status as a solo artist is on the rise with his 2022 album STUNNA. His 2022 collab with Larry June, "Doing Good," is a uplifting banger

Lil Kayla: Born and raised in San Francisco, 24-year-old Lil Kayla is signed to Atlantic and repping for the 415 on her freestyles, singles and 2022 album Young & Turnt. "I’m about to do it for my city," she said in a May interview with Lil Blood TV. "I’m gonna be the one to do it, 'cause everybody else, they get it and they leave and they don’t come back. I’m not going nowhere."

LARussell: Born LaRussell Thomas, Vallejo’s LARussell has harnessed social media to spread his sharp rhymes, as well as his social message. He donates money to allow his community to enjoy  restaurant meals they may not otherwise be able to afford. Freestyles for Sway and the Breakfast Club and his album I Hate When Life’s Going Great have solidified his name outside the region.

MacArthur Maze: Teamwork makes the dreamwork, and there’s hope that MacArthur Maze, the Oakland collective of MCs and producers led by Golden State Warriors DJ D Sharp, will help usher in a fresh era of working together for the creative good in the Bay Area, as evidenced on the new group album Blvck Saturday.

Su’Lan: This Richmond-based duo describe themselves as having "pretty girl swag with a hood twist" flip old crunk and hyphy hits into fresh new favorites on their debut album Forever Da Gang.

TotogangzMau: A female Samoan rapper from East Palo Alto, TotogangzMau is showing lyrical greatness and melodic hooks out the gate on autobiographical songs like "Grow Up."

Notable Northern California Neighbors

The Bay Area’s sky high rents and home prices have steadily driven residents to the Central Valley, which includes cities like Modesto, Stockton and California’s capital city of Sacramento, and effectively stretched the geographical and sociological boundaries of the region.

Sacramento produced a bounty of homegrown gangster rappers. The most notable are C-Bo, a 2Pac collaborator who was jailed in 1998 for his anti-police and governor lyrics; Marvaless, a woman who debuted with C-Bo and went on to release several solo albums and collaborations with Bay Area rappers Messy Marv, Husalah and The Jacka; and Mozzy, a contemporary star from the Empire Distribution crew. The region also claims Saweetie, the "Icy Girl" who has been endorsed by McDonald’s and is signed to Warner Records; she grew up in the East Bay city of Hayward before moving to Sacramento.

After a spate of violent incidents at major hip-hop concerts led Oakland to ban rap shows for a year in 1989, the Bay Area’s biggest cities developed a reputation for being averse to the genre. Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto have served as more consistent markets for a number of Bay Area rappers, especially those with more violent or drug-related content.

A Guide To Southern Hip-Hop: Definitive Releases, Artists & Subgenres From The Dirty South

Display inside GRAMMY Museum's New K-Pop Pop-Up
ATEEZ on display at the GRAMMY Museum

Photo: Rebecca Sapp

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Inside The GRAMMY Museum's ATEEZ & Xikers Pop-Up: 5 Things We Learned

Rookie K-pop group Xikers and label brothers ATEEZ are the subject of the GRAMMY museum’s first-ever K-pop pop-up exhibit. Go inside the exhibit, which runs through June 10, and learn about the clothes, videos and stories behind these K-pop boy groups.

GRAMMYs/Apr 12, 2024 - 11:32 pm

K-pop’s reach has expanded exponentially over the past decade, bringing some of Korea’s biggest pop stars to the West for sold-out tours, history-making performances, and a number of cross-cultural collabs.

K-pop touring acts accounted for a record high of 5.1 percent of the 100 highest-grossing tours globally in 2023 according to Billboard. K-pop’s reach has been palpable in regions outside of Asia — like the U.S., Europe and Latin America. According to the same study, BLACKPINK was the No. 1 grossing K-pop group in 2023, with their global tour netting $148.3 million over 29 shows; the group was the 10th most profitable touring act across any genre. 

The GRAMMY Museum is capturing this historic moment in time with a pop-up exhibition focused on two of the fastest-growing groups in the industry. On April 10 through June 10 at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, "KQ Ent.: ATEEZ & Xikers" is an inclusive environment for anyone — whether you’re a dedicated Xikers fan who knows the dances step-by-step or a casual listener wanting to learn more about K-pop. 

Read more: What's Next For K-Pop? A Roundtable Unpacks The Genre's Past, Present And Future

After passing through displays dedicated to King of Pop Michael Jackson, you’re transported to a new era of pop music through an exploration of both ATEEZ and Xikers’ careers. Right at the entrance is a bright blue wall containing a sweeping look at the history of Korean pop music, written in both English and Korean. The exhibit details terms exclusive to the world of K-pop, including the positions of various members in each group, and what key terms like "bias" and "trainee" mean. 

GRAMMY Museum's New K-Pop Pop-Up _ What Is K-Pop Wall

The second part of the exhibit displays outfits both groups have worn, as well as props from their music videos. Other items on display include abstract drawings Xikers’ members did themselves as concept art for their first mini-album HOUSE OF TRICKY: Doorbell Ringing.

The second and third walls of the exhibit focus on breaking down the basics on what to know about ATEEZ and Xikers. Visitors can then head to a wall of music videos from both groups, pop on the attached headphones, and enjoy the exhibit’s displays come to life in a glorious video. 

At the pop-up's opening event, there was palpable excitement from both groups' fan bases — also know as Xikers’ Roadys and ATINYs for fans of ATEEZ. Fans squealed and gasped, taking pictures of each other and the exhibit; some fans even brought photocards of their favorite members (protected in a pink, decorated case, of course) in order to snap a photo of the card next to a member’s outfit on display. 

This exhibit is a love letter to fans, as well as a succinct introduction into the world of the modern K-pop star. Read on for five things we learned from "KQ Entertainment: ATEEZ and Xikers" exhibit.

All photos by Rebecca Sapp.

For Xikers, It's All About Relating To Their Fans 

GRAMMY Museum's New K-Pop Pop-Up _ Xikers Outfits

*Xikers' outfits on display*

Xikers already had fans in their pre-debut days, and their journey was on full display at the GRAMMY Museum. Under the temporary moniker KQ Fellaz 2, the group released pre-debut documentary-style videos exploring how the members approached training in Los Angeles. 

The pop-up explains how the 10-member group came up with their name: The "X" was short for x-coordinates, while "IKERS" derives from the word hiker. Together, the name was supposed to represent the group on a journey to find their Roadys (the "Y" representing y-coordinates) as well as their own career trajectory. 

Xikers are fearless stylistic chameleons who pen their own tracks and experiment with genres like hyperpop and rap. With such innovation, it makes sense that they are the only group from K-pop’s fifth generation that has landed two albums on the BIllboard Global 200 chart within the year of their official debut (March 30, 2023). Their latest EP, HOUSE OF TRICKY: Trial And Error, arrived in early March 2024.

The props and outfits acquired from the sets of Xikers' music videos are often an homage to traditional Asian culture and intertwined with the bright, braggadocio of street style — all with a youthful spin. At the exhibit, large bubble guns and neon bandanas from the "We Don’t Stop" music video are a snapshot of these small moments of youthfulness. 

ATEEZ’s Focus On Freedom Has Always Important To Their Art 

GRAMMY Museum's New K-Pop Pop-Up _ ATEEZ skateboard

*ATEEZ's prop skateboard*

Throughout the pop-up ATEEZ, are described as having "everything the youth needs." It’s a tall order for any musical artist, but the exhibit solidifies ATEEZ’s growth into that role. 

Their sophisticated debut tracks were self-assured and encouraged fans to embrace the same attitude: "We can do anything, just follow us" they sing on their debut single, "Pirate King." Yet, becoming a symbol of youth meant digging into how powerless the young can find themselves. Reflected in the band's anarchy card props and graffitied skateboards on display,  ATEEZ's music has always included a rebellious streak. 

The group often revisit this theme throughout their career — particularly on 2020’s "Say My Name" and "Pirate King" — except with more of an exploration of figuring out how to liberate oneself from those in power. While some K-pop groups’ concepts and music video can be tedious or confusing, ATEEZ's focus on freedom is effortless.

K-Pop Stage Outfits Are Even More Magnificent IRL 

GRAMMY Museum's New K-Pop Pop-Up _ ATEEZ outfit

*An outfit worn by Jongho from ATEEZ*

High-energy choreography has been an essential facet of K-pop, and both ATEEZ and Xikers perform a youthful, powerful choreography (so much so that ATEEZ included a dance practice video for their display). 

Xikers’ emphasis on smooth, synchronized and intense choreography was proudly displayed on their wall of information and in the music video playing throughout their display. The group incorporated their outfits into their choreography, with dynamic zipping motions and confidently stomping out complicated footwork with their platform sneakers. 

Both Groups Performed Sold Out Debut Tours

GRAMMY Museum's New K-Pop Pop-Up _ xikers props

*Xikers props*

Xikers and ATEEZ stay booked and busy. On  both walls listing their accomplishments, there seemed to be an endless array of album titles and projects coming out —  ATEEZ have released nine EPs since their 2018 debut. It only highlighted the immense work ethic it takes to thrive in the industry.

ATEEZ's first tour came only four months after their debut and sold out in mere minutes. Xikers headed on a tour merely six months after their debut, performing in North America, Europe and Japan. Both bands' global popularity speaks to the depth with which K-pop groups (and Xikers and ATEEZ in particular) connect with their fans. On social media, under each tour’s hashtag, fans record their live performances, or write about how much a song meant to them.  

ATEEZ’s upcoming fourth world tour Towards the Light: Will to Power, is on the horizon, and Xikers just wrapped their tour this year in February. It’s clear that touring has become an essential part of their artistry, as well as a crucial way to connect with with listeners in a safe space. In fact, it’s something fans often look forward to — not only being able to relate to their favorite singer but also finding other fans. As this exhibit reveals, despite the glitz and glamor of the industry, at the core of it all is the group’s desire to find connection. You might carry a photocard of them, but they are just a bit like you, too. It makes this unique connection all the better for it. 

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(L-R) Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani, Adrian Young and Tom Dumont of No Doubt stand holding their GRAMMY Award for  Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
(L-R) Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani, Adrian Young and Tom Dumont of No Doubt

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch No Doubt Accept Their GRAMMY Award For “Underneath It All” In 2004

Ahead of No Doubt’s highly anticipated reunion at Coachella on April 13 and 20, revisit the last time the band was on stage at the GRAMMYs together — the moment they won Best Pop Performance By A Duo/Group at the 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

GRAMMYs/Apr 12, 2024 - 05:49 pm

Right before their hiatus in 2004, No Doubt had one last hurrah with a win for Best Pop Performance By A Pop Duo Or Group With Vocals for "Underneath It All" at the 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, travel back to when they took the stage to accept their award presented by Mathew Perry together.

Drummer Adrian Young began by praising their families, loved ones, and the citizens of Drapers, Jamaica, for "showing us how to have a good time and relax while recording music" Then, bassist Tony Kanal took a turn at the microphone thanking their team, management company, and label, Interscope Records.

Frontwoman Gwen Stefani closed out the speech by acknowledging "Underneath It All" co-writer, David Stewart of Eurythmics; her then-husband, Gavin Rossdale, who inspired the track; and, of course, the fans for "letting us stay alive as a band for all these years."

This Saturday, No Doubt will reunite again (they took a second hiatus in 2015) for a premiere performance on the Coachella stage. 

Press play on the video above to watch No Doubt's complete acceptance speech for their "Underneath It All" win in 2004, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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