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  • Interview: Federation

    Fri, 20 Jul 2007 13:36:51

    Interview: Federation - Leaders on the hyphy scene, the Bay Area rap group talk on stunna glasses, DJ Shadow and going dumb

    Federation unites Bay Area rappers Doonie Baby, Goldie, and Stressmatic with producer Rick Rock. Hailing from Fairfield, CA, the group has been neck-deep in Bay Area hip-hop since they first stunned it with their 2003 single "Hyphy." The track helped cement the scene of the same name, and boosted the group from a local radio and mixtape smash into MTV rotation.

    They followed up with the bass-heavy stompers "Donkey" and "Only Wear My White Tees Once," which were huge regional hits. They attracted attention from a broader, mashup-crazed audience with "I Wear My Stunna Glasses at Night," a track that flipped a campy Corey Hart song into a tribute to the bug-like eyewear that Mac Dre popularized.

    The Federation have finally emerged from the label drama that has prevented them (and many other Bay Area acts) from capitalizing on the hyphy hype. Their second album, It's Whateva, is due in early October—and is entirely produced by Rock. Its heavyweight singles shout-out the staples, including college-girls, rims and, of course, going dumb. The record features some So-Cal assistance from Snoop Dogg and even Travis Barker of Blink-182.

    Federation members Doonie and Stressmatic told ARTISTdirect about reworking Corey Hart, recording with DJ Shadow and what's next for (or after?) hyphy.

    The new album, It's Whateva, is finally coming out after a three year wait. What new directions can we expect?

    Doonie Baby: All different things. New sounds.

    Stressmatic: It's a roller coaster. The last one was like a roller coaster too but this one is a bigger roller coaster.

    Doonie Baby: You gotta be really, really tall to ride this one.

    How did you decide to rework Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" for "Stunna Glasses At Night"? Was that something (producer) Rick Rock just hit on, or was it a group decision?

    Doonie: We were in the studio with Rick, just playing around. We were like let's redo that '80s track: "na-na-na-na." And it just took.

    You teamed up with DJ shadow for the track "Turf Dancing." What was it like working with him?

    Doonie: I forgot about that track. That was cool.

    Stress: When we did that track we didn't know the dude was famous. We really didn't know who he was.

    Doonie: He just got to us through our people. He was like, "I really like your music." So we basically just heard that beat and just figured out how to kill it. We was surprised when we started seeing him on magazines, and the track ended up on that album.

    Your song "Hyphy" was huge, about as influential as Keak's "Super Hyphie" or E-40's "Tell Me When to Go." Tell us about recording that.

    Stress: The album [Federation: The Album] was missing something and we wanted to do something for our backyard, you know? "Hyphy," that's the street song.

    Doonie: I actually didn't want to go with it as the single, I was like "Nah, nah." But it ended up being huge. We dropped that and it just blew.

    You guys have bounced from Virgin to Warner Bros—do you think the majors are ready for the Federation?

    Doonie: I think so. Before, Virigin was like, "what the fuck is this shit?" They really didn't know what to do with us. Now the major labels are hearing about hyphy they want to get in on it. They heard about the culture we got going on in the Bay. Now Warner Bros is with us.

    What has the media got right or wrong about hyphy?

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