Crews have played a significant role in Hip-Hop culture from the very beginning. From the Zulu Nation to Wu Tang Clan, emcees have come together to mesh their talents with one another, ultimately creating unique sounds and styles. These groups come equipped with their own slang (Native Tongues), their own style of dress (N.W.A.), and their own specific agenda (Public Enemy). By offering listeners a chance to experience life in their inner circle, they unwittingly wield a large influence over their local scene, which can lead to worldwide fans. Collectives’ control is not limited to only their close peers, but many times they have sway over the sound of their region. Oftentimes, this can lead to the birth of a movement—a move from what was once considered “status quo.”
This trend does not seem to be slowing down or disappearing. Young emcees are still finding success by uniting—just look at the progression of Odd Future or TDE. If you are trying to look for what’s next in hip-hop, you would do well to look at the different crews that are making waves in their local scene—ushering in new movements.
It seems that almost weekly a new group springs up, which can get overwhelming quickly. Don’t worry; we at the Source have sifted through a lot of music to offer you a chance to look at some of the best crews that are the forerunners for these movements. This week, we travel to the Bay Area: where a young crew has been making a lot of noise, helping to revitalize one of the major creative hip hop hubs in America. This crew calls themselves The Heartbreak Kids Gang, and they are tearing up the Bay and have their sights on the rest of the game.
Those who know of their frontrunner and leader, IAMSU!, might be tempted to label them as hyphy revivers. However, to place them in this box would be a drastic oversight. They offer so much to willing listeners that one style cannot contain their sound. To put it really bluntly, they are not one dimensional.
The members of this collective are as versatile as any group one finds. Each rapper has their own unique sound, which when they come together—as they did in their latest compilation album: Gang Forever—creates a truly unique sound. However, what surprised me initially is the fact that a lot of the mainstay emcees also produce. Their in-house production team, The Invasion, is largely responsible for their style. Since it is comprised of the emcees themselves and close friends, it means the group has complete control of their direction–something that a lot of other rappers can’t admit to having.
So let’s take a look at some of the people responsible for this movement.