I come from the East Coast. Bay Area rap does not reach us much, and when it does, it comes in the form of E-40, Top 40, or entertaining hyphy YouTube videos. Thus, I came to Friday night’s Hilltop festival expecting to hear the Bay Area represent through the voice of Andre Nickatina, supposedly one of its favorite rappers. Instead, I heard a lot about weed, booty calls, and getting drunk, little of it particular to San Francisco, and I left feeling a bit confused by Dre Dog’s heavy reliance on Mac Dre‘s repertoire and his decision to wear a Yankees hat for the occasion.
Let’s examine the latter for a second. The SF Giants won their first World Series ever last year, and Nickatina decides to wear a Yankees hat?? Who does he think he is, Jay-Z? Sure, a hat is principally a fashion accessory, and I am probably reading into it way more than I should. But for me, this one little act summed up the overall lack of authenticity and substance of the entire experience.
Furthermore, though Mac Dre and Nickatina once collaborated closely together, Nickatina has a career that spans almost 20 years. He had the entire audience chanting “Mac Dre, Mac Dre!” with cheesy hand waves, and at times it seemed he was trying to embody his counterpart instead of channeling his own vision. His reverence for Mac Dre may be well deserved, but it came off as more theatrical than genuine.
Granted, Nickatina managed to put on a pretty dynamic performance. People who like him left satisfied, though I have yet to find a girl who truly enjoyed his performance. I appreciated the way he provided a break from the typical Stanford concert scene, which is virtually nonexistent thanks to Stanford’s sclerotic bureaucracy and lack of funding for concerts. However, for all the hype, he did not deliver much about which to write home. At least NYC rappers mean it when they wear Yankees hats.