San Francisco and Oakland gansta artists put their beefs aside for 19 tracks as rappers Quincy Brooks IV (aka San Quinn) and Charles Bowens (aka Keak Da Sneak) team up for Welcome to Scokland. Led by rapper Keak Da Sneak’s scruffy flow over a bouncing, synth-based hyphy sonic — the same one that gave Bay Area hip-hop a renaissance in the early 2000’s — the two stalwarts craft an album rooted in west coast rap and drenched in layers of g-funk rhythms and beats.
With a lot filler mixed in between solid tracks, the Scokland collaboration mashes chopped and screwed, southern crunk, dirty south, and hyphy click machines. The weaknesses show up when the catchy hooks fall flat and lack originality to stand alone amongst the silly pimp rhymes that tout the usual strippers, dealers, and dismissible street slang.
But the brighter moments stand out when Bowen and Brooks try their best to qualm the tensions between the rival Bay cities. On the heartfelt hometown R&B and soul anthem “Back to Life”, they both have their shining moments and flex their emotional vulnerability, showing their capability to tell compelling and honest street stories that manage to overpower the trite rhymes that came before it.
A classic Pink Floyd track gets an inner city re-skinning on ghetto ballad “Comfortably Numb”. Keak Da Sneak tells a sad street story full of struggles with race wars and poverty. He lets you feel the pain and see his tears flowing down, beautifully breaking down the wall of gangster posturing present elsewhere on an album that’s decent but unbalanced.