Destined to take the rap world by storm, the Federation's self-titled debut album (Montbello/Virgin) is an instantly addictive collection whose distinctive sound is fueled by Rick Rock's gumbo Dirty South Soul meets West Coast funk style.
Featuring the lead single “Hyphy” (featuring E-40), as well as supercharged rap masterpieces "So Crazy," “Donkey” and "It Don't Stop," The Federation is a collection of lyrically rich and brilliant stream-of-consciousness raps that keep the listener on lock. Lines such as "Ain't nuthin funny/I'm lookin like Hammer before he lost his money" (from "You Might See Me") typify the group’s lyrical punch and comedic bent.
Backed by Rick Rock’s multi-platinum touch and sporting their self-confident gangsta swagger and quick wit, the Bay Area-based Federation are the closest thing the rap world has ever witnessed to its own version of a hardcore punk rock group. And, like some of the most angry punk rockers, the Federation are unabashedly tough, rough and ugly -- and proud of it: "Ya'll can't fuck with we. 'Why Not?' First of all, we too ugly" (from "Aw Shit"). The Federation makes their unapologetic vocal assault work by cleverly balancing things out with their quick sense of humor. Witty putdowns such as "They'll have you parking with a blue handicapped sticker" (from "Aw Shit") meld seamlessly with their street-savvy tongues as they tell vivid rap tales of hollow tips, A-1 (yola) and surviving in the ghetto.
If The Federation sounds like top-tier MCs with next level production, it is no coincidence. Rick Rock spent the past few years hand-picking Doonie Baby, Goldie Gold, Mr. Stres and Big Bootz. The Mississippi-born, Alabama-raised Doonie Baby (AKA Doon Coon) is considered the "lead general" of the Federation. He moved to the Bay Area five years ago and made a name for himself as a skilled rapper. Rick Rock took heed.
Soon thereafter Rick Rock crossed paths with the Nevada-born, Vallejo-Fairfield raised rapper Goldie Gold at the Funky Chicken hip hop shop in Solano Mall, Fairfield. The wheelchair bound Goldie Gold (who nearly lost his life after being shot four times a few months earlier) wheeled up to Rick Rock at the mall and persuaded him to give him an opportunity to show his mic skills. Rock was blown away. Despite the group’s increasingly potency, both Rick Rock and Doonie Baby felt that the Federation needed one more powerful rap character. They found him in Fairfield, California native Mr. Stres (AKA Frumpz), who had been rapping for years and had a history of shared ciphers with Doonie Baby. "He was even at the park as an innocent bystander when Goldie Gold was shot,” Rick Rock says, “so the connection between the three almost seemed predestined." In late 2002, Rick Rock brought the emcees into the studio to record. In addition to complimenting the emcees’ style with his trademark funk-fueled production, Rick Rock also pays close attention to small production detail, inserting for effect the eerie sound of a plane crashing into a building to match the line "I crash into ‘em like a 9/11 airplane" (from "Aw Shit"). Elsewhere, he conjures up a dark cinematic sounding backdrop for "If I Had A Gun," a song punctuated by the heavy panting, giving the immediacy of someone on the run.
As if to further prove their punk/hard rock correlation, the Federation make references to themselves as "The Black Metallica" and "the Black Kurt Cobain” on their album. In the all-out rock/rap attack of "Mayhem," they rhyme about mosh pits, Bon Jovi and crowd surfing while dropping vivid imagery with lines like "I'm standing on the stage in a gangsta pose/like the Rev. Jesse Jackson meets Axl Rose." If you haven’t figured it out, The Federation are an explosive, new hip-hop voice. So sit up and listen.