“Rest in peace, Mac Dre, I’m-a do it for the Bay,” the iconic line from Drake’s 2011 smash, “The Motto,” had everybody putting on for the Bay Area, no matter what their origin. From this region of Northern California comes a legend by the name of Mac Dre, responsible for the “Thizzle Dance” movement. Since his passing, not many rappers have been able to live to his legacy.
HipHopDX had the pleasure of catching up with Iamsu at his headlining show at El Rey in Los Angeles in late April, to discuss all things Bay Area. From the culture to the lingo, this is a community of individuals that use music to spread nothing but positivity and love to all.
Hailing from Richmond, CA, the HBK Gang leader openly admitted his affinity for his home base stating, “I just love the culture. And I like the fact that it’s so many different people, but we all connect over music.”
Mac Dre may have died over a decade ago but his impact still shines brightly in every artist who has followed the path he trailblazed. Suzy cops to “Since ‘84” in being his favorite track from the Thizz Entertainment founder and also likened his success to the aspirations of his own legacy.
“I want my legacy to be of someone that was extremely talented in music and brought a new wave to Bay Area music. And introduced a sound that carried on for generations. And just somebody that was really positive. That’s what I want to be known for.”
In 2015, the Bay lost another legend by the name of The Jacka, who was murdered in Oakland. At the time of the shooting, nobody wanted to believe its reality, including Su.
“I didn’t really believe it when I first heard it,” he explains. “And it was really sad. I saw him just right before then. Rest in peace to him. I sent some money to his family as soon as I found out. It was a deep wound. He played a big part in the culture- him and all The Mob Figaz. Just to lose somebody of that stature, so out of the blue, it really hurt.”
New Su: Stream Boss Life 2 right here.
On a more positive note, the conversation turned to one of Sudan’s favorites. Comprised of Lil B, Lil Uno, Stunnaman, and Young L, The Pack was the face of the hyphy movement. This also influenced the formation of his HBK Gang, who was “on the Pack wave, heavy and Su credits the former collective for blessing him with swag.
“They gave us a lot of swag- from how they dressed, to the beats. And then we slowly evolved into our own thing. But, I definitely want to credit them as one of my influences for sure.”
Speaking on the formation of HBK Gang, one artist that played an integral part is Kehlani. Although she’s went on to great solo success in her own right, her origins can be traced back to the house Su built.
“She’s doing her own thing,” he admits. “That’s always going to be the sis. But she played a big part. She wanted to use HBK Gang, basically, as a platform to catapult her Tsunami brand, and I think she accomplished that greatly. Shouts out to her, that’s always family.”
When asked what Iamsu hopes to accomplish in the end, he answered with confidence.
“My goal is to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Ahead of that, I’m not in competition with nobody. I’m in competition with myself. I want to be the best me that I can me. Just staying positive, just trying to be a good example for the people in my city.”
Although he’s Bay Area down to the socks, Su surprisingly lists Snoop Dogg as his favorite rapper, who represents all things southern California. The two West Coast staples recently collaborated on a record titled “Addy,” featured on Su’s recent project Boss Up 2.