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It's Whateva

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Album Review

By the time Federation returned with their second album, It's Whateva, a long three years after the release of their debut, The Album (2004), the group's style of rap (i.e., hyphy) had become a full-fledged trend. Granted, hyphy was generally confined to the Bay Area of California, but the style had become popular, with such tastemakers as DJ Shadow championing it and such figureheads as E-40 taking it national. It's Whateva is consequently a celebration of hyphy and its newfound status; after all, Federation had been the ones who'd released a song titled "Hyphy" way back in 2003, and they work exclusively with producer Rick Rock, the style's chief architect. The album is long, clocking in at 21 tracks in 80 minutes, and it's a wild hyphy ride from beginning to end. Rock's productions are energetic, loud, and overpowering to such an extent that the Federation rappers (Doonie Baby, Goldie, Stressmatic) sometimes seem secondary on their own album. Standout tracks are interspersed throughout the album, tops among them "18 Dummy," "College Girl," "Happy I Met You" (which boasts a great Snoop Dogg verse), "Scraper 2 a Benz" (featuring E-40), and "New Baby Daddy." Many of the productions are truly phenomenal; in fact, they often seem deserving of better, more creative rappers — or at least a more varied cast of rappers, for Doonie Baby, Goldie, Stressmatic are put to the test here on this long, wild showcase for Rock's flamboyant array of hyphy productions. [A clean version of the CD was also released.]


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

After producing hits for the likes of 2Pac, Jay-Z, and E-40, the California-based Rick Rock recruited rappers Doonie Baby, Goldie Gold, and Mr. Stress and formed his own crew, Federation, in 2002. Their debut, simply titled The Album, appeared in 2004 on the Virgin label. Critics and the hip-hop faithful graced the hostile, hard album with praise, but Rock wasn't satisfied with Virgin's promotion, even if the album did eventually go gold. In 2005, Rock announced he was moving...
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