Keak Da Sneak Proves Why He's the Founder Hyphy Forgot, Last Night at the Nectar Lounge

Keak Da Sneak don't love them hoes.
"Stop sayin' "town biz" / You ain't from the Bay bruh bruh / How is "yadadamean" a part of my scene, you geek? / Get the Bay's nut hair from between your teeth." So sayeth Seattle fixture Vitamin D on his Bornday EP, calling out the many--including, notably, this guy--who hijacked what was originally Oakland's nickname (vs. San Francisco's "The City") and turned it into a Northwest thing.

So, in a manner of speaking, the Town met the Town last night. While Mac Dre and E-40 may well be the best-known faces of the Bay Area's hyphy rap movement, few have been around as long as Keak Da Sneak--credited with shortening "hyperactive" to "hyphy" in the first place. He topped charts with his mid-'90s group 3XKrazy and has dropped 16 solo albums since 1999, but vet status can only get you so far. And, during his 25-minute set at The Nectar, Keak was more akin to a prince than the "king of the supa dupa hyphy."

It's a bird, it's a plane--it's Spac3man.
After a handful of easily forgettable openers, it took a spirited showing from the always-entertaining Spac3man to revive the half-full club. This Sportn' Life representer is quickly becoming one of my favorite performers in the local scene--whether or not you intially latch onto the songs, his onstage energy and antics will undoubtedly sell them.

But no matter how good the energy is--and Keak capitalized both on Spac3's warm-up and the hyphy-loving die-hards who came to see him--one surefire way to turn off a crowd is spitting over your own vocal track. Luckily he avoided a full-on lip-synch or otherwise artist-ruining fiasco (see: most shows The Pack played), but it's hard to imagine his signature gravelly growl would've been anything other than more exciting if it'd stood alone.

Ultimately, that seems to be the same reaction that's plagued Keak Da Sneak throughout his entire career--and limited his commercial success. The show wasn't bad, and the fans who came out to see him seemed to have a great time, but it was hard to avoid the feeling that hyphy has been done better. And for that reason the listeners looking for a taste will continue to hear E-40 and Mac Dre, and Keak will have to resign himself to watching the sydeshow from the curb.

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