Last Friday night, NorCal rap group The Federation brought its unique brand of hyped-up hyphy music straight to UCSB’s Storke Plaza. Before the show, Artsweek talked with Doonie Baby, Goldy and Stresmatic about performing, partying and pretty much everything in between.

When asked about performing to a SoCal audience, the decidedly Northern California-based group said that recently, audiences in Southern California have actually been responding better to their shows. Goldy summed it up by saying “it’s all about getting down and getting the audience dancing” and added that “they [SoCal audiences] get it.” All three members of the band said that they enjoy doing the college tours and especially like partying with their fans afterward. When I asked if they had heard about I.V.’s reputation they voiced doubt that we would party harder than San Diego State University. The entire group seemed to have changed their mind a few hours later when they pulled around thirty of our student body’s finest to shake their “donkey” to The Federation’s song of the same name.

On a more serious note, The Federation did discuss the way illegal downloading is affecting the industry, and they all agreed with Goldy when he said “if you have good quality music and a good stage show it shouldn’t affect you. Now it’s all about ring tones and downloads.” Doonie Baby drove this point home when he noted 50 Cent’s first album sold 6 million units and now 50 is having a hard time going platinum. Stresmatic prophesied that album sales will continue to stay low saying “it’s not a question of making a great album, it’s getting it sold… going platinum… I don’t know… CD’s are fading out.” Doonie Baby expects the industry will have to return to more of the grassroots era with a lot of independent record labels “to really bring it back to the music.”
When asked about the current level of political and social commentary in mainstream rap Stresmatic said, “kids don’t wanna hear that, they don’t wanna hear about all the bad stuff, and the war, I don’t wanna hear about that, we are already goin’ through that. We are usin’ it [our music] more like an escape, it’s good to touch on all that stuff but not focus on it.” Their confidence in their stage show foreshadowed their high-energy performance later that night.
The Federation showed themselves to be rappers after our own school’s collective heart, striving to combine hard work and getting drunk. I was curious to know what the best thing about working with Rick Rock was because of his success with artists like Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, E-40, and Busta Rhymes. They all took a second, and after each mumbled something about how everything was good they all unanimously declared “Well, gettin’ drunk.” Their stage show certainly reflected this sentiment as in between nearly every song Goldy would mention, in his Busta Rhymes-like growl, how high he was from smoking joints over by the lagoon or when Stresmatic took time to stress how drunk he was and how he wanted to go out to I.V. and party it up.

Their set was brief, only about fifty minutes, but during those fifty minutes The Federation rocked hard, got the entire crowd dancing and gave an excellent high-energy show. After “18 Dummy” and the crowd pleasing “Git Naked” Stresmatic asked the crowd if they knew why The Federation came before breaking a heavy cover of E-40’s “White Gurl” and their own “College Girl.” By the time The Federation started singing “Donkey” they had brought about thirty admirably drunk girls to dance on stage and had to struggle to keep more girls from climbing up. The Federation ended with a rendition of “I Wear My Stunna Glasses at Night” before leaving the stage to sign autographs and possibly even party on DP.