Before old folks get all shook about rappers in boring old Norfolk, take a trip to Club Reign tonight to be in Fam-Lay's video for the "Beeper Record." Pharrell will be there too, in some shit you can't afford. Check that flyer after the jump as well as our Gen F on Fam-Lay from Issue 44.
Fam-Lay is gonna bite rap’s leg off
By Peter Macia
Somehow, despite the fact that Virginia has thoroughly dominated commercial rap and R&B since Teddy Riley relocated to Va Beach over 15 years ago, the current kings of the Tidewater, the Neptunes can’t get anybody to put their friends’ records out. Clipse finally got their due, but now it’s Norfolk’s Fam-Lay sitting in the chamber, one shelved Def Jam album already fully shrouded in dust and another album, Dat Missile, floating somewhere on Interscope’s Spring/Summer ’07 schedule. If nothing else, Hell Hath No Fury should have snapped some execs out of their slumber and solidified a date for Fam’s album, which is already leaking nuclear material like a Russian submarine. Label antics are frustrating, but a Gangsta Grillz session with Atlanta mixtape impresario DJ Drama will plug the holes for the time being. Fam, meanwhile, has already been through it once and trusts it won’t happen the same way twice. Referring to his new label, Fam says, “They know what we trying to do, the direction we going. So I ain’t mad at all. [The Def Jam shelving] was a blessing in disguise because we ready now.”
When Fam talks like this, like he’s about to prey on the rap status quo, it’s hard not to notice the full-sleeve tattoo on his right arm. “Yeah, I got an armful of sharks,” he says. “Sharks don’t got no type of expressions on them, so people get in the water with them thinking they ain’t doing nothing. Go fuck around, and they bite your damn leg off.” He says it with the same dry humor and nautical drawl that coats his raps in the salty Norfolk air. It’s what distinguishes him from the almost region-less sound of his friends, Pusha T and Malice, and what makes him such an appealing spokesman for the area. In fact, as he sits in front of the local barbershop/music-talk shop, Furious Styles, Fam is frequently approached by random kids and neighborhood acquaintances as if he were an elected official. “Even though Clipse are just 20 minutes up the road,” he says, “we got a completely different thing going on over here in Norfolk from Virginia Beach.”
On the Neptunes-produced “Head Bust,” it’s readily apparent Fam has no intention of masking his Southern accent—his tumbling intonation oozes charm over what he describes as “mean monster shit.” It’s true, Pharrell and Chad save some of their ugliest for Fam, but he’s going sub-Dixie for the rest of his album, racking up beats from David Banner, Three 6 Mafia, DJ Toomp and Shawty Redd. The all-star production might turn heads to the bottom of the map, but Fam-Lay will bring them right back to Norfolk.