Words by Michael Mahon
A few years ago it was like you couldn’t get away from the Bay Area no matter what part of the country you were in. The hyphy movement was in full swing and people all over were giggin to songs from E-40 to The Pack. The movement was a great thing for Northern California music and finally gave some well deserving artists their shine, but there were some negatives. Fast forward to the present and the hype behind the hyphy movement has slowed to a crawl. It seems as if every artist that makes their home in the Bay is automatically labeled as just another hyphy rapper leftover. Two guys who have a problem with those assumptions are Band-Aid and Scoop. Together they form the rap duo, The Hoodstarz, and with their latest album, Controversy, they plan to change the way of thinking regarding Bay Area rappers.
The first question I have for you is if you could tell me how the group got together?
We like to pride ourselves on not being a put together group. I’ve been knowing Band-Aid all my life we was a group in junior high school and was we grew older we did our things in different groups and sh*t, running around in the streets or whatever, but a few years back in around 2005 we decided to come together and make the group Hoodstarz and in 2006 we put out our debut album, band-aid and scoop.
Would you guys say your rap styles have changed at all since you first began?
The style has changed maturity wise like at first with scoop he had a real raspy flow, one of the illest flows period in the bay, but he slowed it down a little bit so people could understand it a little better because a lot of people was loving him, but a lot of people probably couldn’t adapt because they probably thought he was going to fast. So, he just slowed it down so motherfuckers could understand what he was saying a little better. As far as me, I started using punchlines more in my music to try and stay relevant, but we have definitely improved.
Would you say its harder reaching mainstream success coming out of the Bay due to the common misconception that everyone is a hyphy rapper?
Definitely. I think it’s kind of hard to really get on to the mainstream, but at the same time it kind of works that way in the Bay Area because we’re used to being independent anyway. It’s like we came up knowing this independent hustle, so we know how to press up everything ourselves with the picture and the barcode and doing everything for ourselves, so it hasn’t been as much of a hindrance and I can’t really say it’s a bad thing. And, as far the hyphy movement, we support that 1000%, but we aren’t hyphy rappers. That’s one thing we pride ourselves on, not being able to be put in a box. They can’t just say we’re hyphy rappers or old school rappers or gangster rappers or commercial rappers because we go through all that and you can’t just put us in a box like that.
Do you have your eyes on a major deal or are you content with staying independent artists?
I mean the Bay Area is known for being independent. Not only independent rap, but independent movements, period and we’re always in the independent game. Don’t get it twisted, we want a taste of the good life and get backed by a big machine, but at the same time we would rather have the money than the fame and we know once you go with the big machine there’s a cost that comes with that and once you get in the hole you’re going to forever be in the hole. Right now, we’re doing alright with this independent money and if the big wigs want to holler at us they need to holler at us on our terms.
How would you describe the new album, Controversy?
Controversy is just what it is. We’ve been going through a lot of things in the last two years. I caught a federal indictment and I was a way for 14 months fighting the case, so during that time it became a whole lot of controversy and there was a lot of stuff put out on the table. So, that’s what’s this album is about, the last two years of our lives and what we’ve been through.
What are the expectations for this album?
We’ve been pushing big for this to be our street album and the buzz is crazy about the album. There’s been nothing, but good talk from everybody that has the album. Our point of interest is to set up for the next album. It’s like sales in all hip hop albums is down, I don’t care who you is, so our main goal is to push what we pressed up and then go and press up again, and the go to the mainstream with our real album because this was more of a street album that was given to the fans for us being away so long.