Welcome to Scokland, Keak da Sneak’s fourth release of 2008, finds the forever-grinding Oakland MC in collaboration with San Francisco-based rapper San Quinn. Over 19 skit-free, subwoofer-certified tracks, the Bay Area veterans rep the hyphy movement to the fullest.
While the vocal element isn’t anything outstanding—Keak sounds like McGruff the Crime Dog’s coked-out nephew and San Quinn possesses a versatile flow, but has no business “singing” the hook on “Da Hood in Me”—Scokland works because the MCs don’t try to square off with the album’s ferocious beats. Instead, they leave room for the 808s to resonate.
Rapid-fire hi-hats and machine-gun snares abound on “C.A.S.H.,” an ode to hustlin’ the Bay way. “Wanna See,” with its menacing synth strings and dark-side-of-dancehall vocal hook, is the album’s most sinister and evocative track. The bouncy “Blue Dolphin,” another standout, has summer jam written all over it, thanks to its Caribbean-influenced percussion, handclaps, and collar-poppin’ verses.
Lyrically, the spirit of Scokland can be found on a San Quinn verse from “Hollarin”:
“Ain’t pickin’ no cotton, pickin’ no roses
Pimp picture poses, the Bay need exposing
Hyphy is the movement, more than a slogan
Bitches ain’t shit, get head wear a Trojan”
Hyphy is to the Bay as crunk is to the South, both meaning to get wild and, more or less, act a damn fool.
Fittingly, the music associated with both verbs has many similarities despite the vast differences in the regions of origin. The thunderous kicks, grimy synth parts, and thick-as-molasses bass lines found on Scokland could easily have come from a Dirty South release by Slim Thug, Bun B or Paul Wall. That being said hyphy music, like crunk, isn’t as much about a particular message as it is about the sound. Welcome to Scokland, whose title comes from the idea of a unified San Francisco and Oakland, is perfect speaker box candy, best suited for riding tough in the whip or accompanying Mercedes as she makes her way to the stage.