Local rapper Blest teams up with Sound Providers
A "A lot of times people have the perception that there's not any hip-hop going on here in San Diego, which is completely false. There's so many people out here that are putting it down, and I just want to be a part of changing people's perception."
So says the rapper who goes by the name Blest. He and his crew at local indie-hop label Sleeping Giant Music are making moves that should soon have national repercussions.
Hip-hop's "Golden Age" of the late '80s through the early '90s was lead by crews from the five burroughs of New York-Boogie Down Productions, Gang Starr, Wu Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest. Since then, Virginia Beach has taken some of the spotlight with Timbaland, Missy Elliot and the Neptunes. Cincinnati got its shine when Reflection Eternal, Five Deez and Mood made waves in the late '90s. The Dirty South continues to run the nation's radio waves, and the St. Lunatics have a lock on MTV.
San Diego hip-hop heads have made brief appearances on the national radar-Jayo Felony, LPSD and DJ Jam (Snoop Dogg's DJ) all hail from our sunny city. But perhaps the crew with the longest running influence on the national scene is one you've never heard of-the Sound Providers.
Consisting of the production team of J-skills, Soulo and, at one time, MC Profile, the San Diego trio was signed in 1998 to the Bay Area's ABB Records, the label that launched the careers of Dilated Peoples, Little Brother, Defari and Frank-N-Dank. A string of hit 12-inch singles and their first full-length, An Evening with the Sound Providers, demonstrated that the boys from San Diego are a perfect match for the internationally respected label.
Through MC Profile, Blest hooked up with the Sound Providers for a bangin' new single.
"I just respected the track record, just respected all they've done," Blest says. "Consecutive tracks, tracks, vinyl, vinyl. It was good to be in a loop with cats that have been putting it down, in my eyes, correctly for so long." Putting it down correctly is important to Blest, who, at 28, is family man with a 4-year-old daughter and another due in a few weeks.
Blest sees himself as part of that next step for San Diego hip-hop: "I want to be a part of the evolution and growth of S.D. hip-hop, and I want to be a part of exposing the talent here."
This evolution includes the first 12-inch collab with Sound Providers, "The Blessin'" b/w "Who Said What," which was just released on ABB/Quarter Note in association with Sleeping Giant. A mix of conscious rhymes, layered string samples and knocking beats, the single will take you back to that time when rappers sought the keys to society, and not just the keys to the Lex.
Blest says, "For me, I listen to other rappers with the mind set of "What can you teach me?' I need to be concentrating on what I can do to feed my daughters mentally."
Check for The Sound Providers Presents Blest "The Blessin'/Who Said What" in vinyl outlets everywhere.