Bay Area MCs the Federation just re-launched their website, where you can watch the video for "18 Dummy" (2007 VMA nominee for Best Use of Wind Dancers) and download "Get Hyphy" IM icons, among other things. We're just waiting for the site to let us know when their new LP, It's Whateva is actually coming out, because it is MONSTROUS (and we can't put our press copy on ye olde iPod). The Feds were featured in the Gen F section of FADER 40, and you can read that whole article after the jump; also be sure to check the F40 audio podcast, featuring "18 Dummy" in all it's 120BPM glory.
The Federation’s planet rock
By Nick Barat
Talk to the members of Bay rap collective the Federation individually, and each one will drop a variation on the same cheesy metaphor about leaving Virgin Records to release their new album It’s Whateva on Warner Brothers. “Maaan, Virgin was like a Pinto…” with the current deal being a Bentley, Benz, etc. A much closer representation of the Federation’s supermassive approach is the gleaming white Cadillac SUV riding on the back of a gleaming white flatbed tow truck while 15 people hang off the sides and pop collars on the roofs of both vehicles in the video for their lead single “18 Dummy”—but even dudes riding a truck riding another truck is too earthbound a visual. The Federation make music to ghostride spaceships to.
“When I first heard ‘18 Dummy’, it sounded like rap meets rave,” says Doon Coon, one of the group’s three MCs alongside Goldie Gold and Stressmatic. In the song’s first minute, listeners are bombarded by CHOOM CHOOM CHOOM bass kicks, spastic blinks of melody, and a computer-voice chorus from Federation producer Rick Rock, all underneath a free-associating verse by Coon that references El Niño, various Northern California neighborhoods, serpents, baby powder, Red Lobster clam chowder, Remember The Titans, kites and the Triton synthesizer, before unexpectedly breaking into song: If you sleazy all you beezies say, We loooove you Cooooon… It’s some out-there shit, even in a regional rap scene where rainbow-tinted goggles and ecstasy grimaces are considered pretty normal.
Speaking between drinks at a WB barbecue (“Steven Spielberg just walked by, Seal…hella rock bands.”) Rick Rock is nonchalant about his group’s inventiveness. “That’s just the beauty of this group that I got—I don’t know if they’re the tightest rappers or if they’re not, but collectively it’s special with me and them,” he says. “I could go to Pluto, and they’ll be right there on Pluto, like, let’s get down. That’s exciting for me.” As a hired gun, Rock has crafted hit singles for the likes of Busta, Mariah, Jigga and their platinum ilk, but he uses Federation songs as his real pop playground. Perhaps more striking than “18 Dummy” is “Stunna Glasses At Night,” where Rock jacks Corey Hart’s ’80s nugget “Sunglasses At Night” (“I even got a white boy to sing the chorus,” he boasts) and flips it into a hyphy theme song. It’s unabashedly, shockingly catchy—and as such, it’s one of It’s Whateva’s most adventurous moments. “It’s not finna go pop, it is already!” says Doon Coon. “At first I was kind of scared people would think we were selling out, but…fuck these motherfuckers, man! This is gonna be big.”