THE FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP
HIP HOP EVOLUTION Pass the Mic
I absolutely love old school hip hop and i've been obsessed with the netflix series Hip- Hop Evolution, now in its 3rd season. Episode 1 and 2 explores the whole West vs. East Coast hip hop wars, and then the over the top "'Jiggy' and Roc-a-fella mogul era, but the third episode for me had a little something special and different. Th focus on a new subculture of hip hop which stemmed from a tiny little health store in South Central L.A called the Good Life Café. Here young M.C.’S claimed their own sovereignty and flew a flag of their own design. ( The only time and place Fat Joe ever jokes about getting boooo’d off stage).
Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude, Chali2na, and Medusa are some of these MC’s who challenge that the West was won because of gangsta rap. They became messengers proving that Hip-Hop is a result and creation from love and not another by-product of commercialization, corporate greed and manipulation.
The group was described by LA Weekly as "the astral jazz-cracked geniuses of sherm-strafed South Central, rapping with caged bird cadences about sleeping on park benches, biblical books, and gangsta rap carpetbaggers."
Everyone from a young Ice Cube, to Snoop Dogg were known to pop up at The Good Life, and Fellowship were rumored to have influenced every fast rapper from Busta Rhymes to Bone Thugs and their clear influences on their peers and 'spiritual descendents': The Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, Busdriver, and all the art rappers and funky beat producers.
Fellowship may have been tabbed to be the West Coast Tribe Called Quest, but their career arc is as erratic as The Five Heartbeats. Despite recording the 1993 oracular jazz-rap classic, Innercity Griots, their label Island/4th & B'way failed to break them on radio. Then Self Jupiter got locked up. Acey and Myka got six figure solo deals from Capitol, but the label shuttered its urban department almost immediately, leaving a pair of Myka solo albums in permanent purgatory. P.E.A.C.E. nearly got a deal with Death Row, but the story goes that Suge Knight thought he was too wild even for him.
Rather than slow down for popular appeal, they sped up on songs like 1999's “Can You Find the Level of Difficulty in This.” Mirroring their rise was the Death Row regency, the post-Chronic era when gangsta rap became the local hip-hop world's chief export. Big Boy might have bought a tape from Aceyalone, but he wasn't about to play him on the Power 106 Morning Show.