Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Lootpack mixes talent
with a little bit of luck

The rap group hopes its new album
will raise their profile in the market

By Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

Oxnard is just an hour's drive west from Los Angeles, but the way Lootpack's Jack "Wildchild" Brown describes his hometown, you may as well head northeast, straight into the Mojave Desert. "You ain't missing much," he sighs, in a long-distance call from the 805. "It's a small, kinda rural area with not much of a big city scene. Function-wise, it's not like an L.A. or even Santa Barbara. It's just a place to be passing through."

The truth is, Brown sells his area code a little short. After all, he lives just five minutes from the nearest beach and the region's hip-hop scene, though smaller than what one might find nearby is definitely on the rise. In the past decade or so, the beachside locales of Oxnard and Ventura have been something of a breeding ground for some of hip-hop's most exciting and original producers, DJs and MCs.

Names like Kan Kick or DJ Babu of the World Famous Beat Junkies may come to mind, not to mention Brown's own up-and-coming crew, Lootpack. Although its members still hold down steady jobs, Lootpack is hoping its follow-up to 1999's "Soundpieces: Da Antidote," due in a few months, will break them through to rap's masses. Without support from radio and heavy competition in a dumbed-down market, however, Brown knows they may have to be luckier than good.

"It used to be that cats could do any sound they wanted to without being ridiculed," he explains. "But in the past five, six, seven years, the type of stuff kids are hearing is less pure, even around here. So many cats got talent, but because of what they've been exposed to, it's more about the gimmick to them. They've got no inspiration."

Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in the song "Frenz vs. Endz," which places Lootpack at odds with cash-flashing, playa-wannabe counterparts on the radio and in their back yard:

Hey yo, it's about sex, lies, money, murder, jewels, cars
Clothes, hos, hats, blunts and gats
These are the things when you think of raps
Nowadays if you ain't G'in'
You ain't seein' like a normal human bein'
I've got to go for self nowadays by myself
'Cause it's bad for my health to collect mad wealth
Brothers playin' the role like we friends to the end
But in the end it's just Frenz vs. Endz

Patience and determination are key for aspiring hip-hop acts, Brown says. Despite well-received collaborative jams with the likes of Peanut Butter Wolf and the Liks (née the Alkaholiks) and the hearty endorsement of their peers in the rap game, Lootpack's first full-length album came after nearly a decade of being together. There were times when it seemed their dreams would never materialize. But as the '90s came to a close, Lootpack finally began to see support during national and European tours. Now their audience is truly worldwide.

"It's funny how you can be outcasts and have little support in your own area until your name gets out," Brown says. "Then it flips around and everyone wants a piece of you. That's kinda wack but it happens."


Where: Wave Waikiki, 1877 Kalakaua Ave.
When: 9 p.m. to 4 p.m. today
Admission: $10 and $15 for 18 and over
Call: 941-0424

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin