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Mistah F.A.B.

Moving the Movement

With the fate of the hyphy movement resting on his shoulders, Mistah F.A.B. is working to keep a subgenre alive that he says people still donít fully understand. The Oakland rapper independently released Da Baydestrian (Thizz/SMC Recordings) in May to maintain visibility while waiting for Atlantic Records to set a released date for his major label debut Da Yellow Bus Rydah (F.A.B. says he expects the album to be out around the end of the year or early 2008). Mistah F.A.B. spoke with SF Station from a studio in Los Angeles where he was putting finishing touches on his freestyle mixtape The Realist Shit I Never Wrote.

SF Station (SFS): Is hip hop dead?

Mistah F.A.B. (MF): Naw, man. Hip hop is just switching. Itís no longer the hip hop that people originally had love for. It has evolved and changed shape and size, but it is actually all the same thing. Itís all hip hop at the end of the day, whether you are rapping about leaning and poppiní, getting hyphy, or underground backpack hip hop.

SFS: Is the hyphy movement dead, or dying?

MF: Of course not. You havenít even had a chance to see what the hyphy movement really is. People automatically think they know what it is, but they donít even really know. They just speak on it and we havenít had a chance to really show it.

SFS: In your words, what is the hyphy movement?

MF: My words are only one division of it. I live within my movement and what we have going on. Being a voice for my city and people around me, the hyphy movement is collectively what we created because there were no other opportunities. We had to create our own fun and our own entertainment. We created our own Hollywood.

There are many different elements to it, and it is bigger than music. That is the reason it is not dead. Itís about life; music is just one element.

SFS: What are some of the other elements?

MF: There is the street side of it, with people that are involved with the streets. There is the drug side of it, the suburban side, thereís dance culture, fashion and style. There are a lot of different combinations.

SFS: And, you have the Yellow Bus Movement, which is kind of a subgenre.

MF: Yeah, itís just a subgenre. Itís the hyphy movement. I just coined it the Yellow Bus Movement so I could have my own identity within the movement, instead of being buried in the shadows of others. At the end of the day I rep for the Bay and the entire movement.

SFS: Your album Son of a Pimp was a reference to your father who was a pimp that died of AIDS. What are your thoughts about the pimp lifestyle that is promoted in hip hop? Is it cool to be a pimp?

MF: That is to each his own. People grow up in certain situations in life that force them to do things that they wouldnít necessarily agree with. My father was a product of his environment. He didnít have anything when he was growing up, and he had to do what he had to do. Unfortunately, you deal with the good in that lifestyle -- the money, cars and clothes -- but there are also repercussions, which can sometimes be tragic, as it was with my fatherís life.

Iíve never been one to say what is right and what is wrong, because sometimes we have to pick the right in the wrong to make our situation better. I wouldnít encourage anyone to be a pimp, but at the same time if that is something that they have to do as a means to get out of their situation, I take my hat off to them. Life is all about survival and it is what you make it.

SFS: What about kids in the suburbs that really have no idea about what pimpiní is, but are throwing that word around?

MF: Pimpiní has been commercialized over the last few years. The power, relevance and substance that word carries is actually so vain now, as far as what it means in its true essence. Those who honestly know what it is keep it concealed because itís illegal and itís a hidden moral tactic that you use to get to the next step.

With people that are influenced by what they see on TV and what they hear on the radio, you just have to humble yourself and realize they donít mean any harm. They know not what they do.

SFS: Whatís the most rewarding part of your job?

MF: When somebody comes up and asks for an autograph, or when they tell me that one of my songs helped them get through something. Or, if someone tells me that one of my songs changed their outlook on life. That is the best feeling for me because it shows that Iíve touched people, and that is why I do this.