Even the author of the press release for this CD seemed a bit confused. The first five words of the one-sheet from Audible Treats, written all in bold letters, read “What is a Beeda Weeda?” Well thank heavens I wasn’t the only one wondering. Thankfully Beeda Weeda turns out to be a human being, a 22 year-old native of Oakland Cal-ih-for-NYE-ay, and not the latest goofy TV show to debut on the Sci-Fi Channel. The rest of the story you’ve heard a million times before in one form or another – he grew up in a rough neighborhood, shit was real tryin’ to get a meal, but he overcame those obstacles to be a rap success. In fact Weeda has apparently hustled hard enough at his young age to already be the head of a collective named Pushing the Beat, or PTB for short. Incidentally even though the logo for the clique stamped on the CD spells the word “Pushing” with the G, every instance of it in the press release drops said G just for the purpose of looking more ebonic. It’s not that cute.

Moving on to “Turfology 101,” Beeda Weeds proclaims this album to be an extension of the hyphy movement sweeping the country, and apparently he’d know a thing or two about that having done the casting for E-40’s “Tell Me When to Go” video and providing all vehicles and extras used during the shoot. Yes, I quoted from the press release just now, but what the hell else are you going to do when presented with a fact like that about an artist you’d never heard until three days ago? In fact said P.R. goes on to spout the usual “I want to represent my experiences, my neighborhood, these are real stories that happened to me or my friends” type of ish. It’s like I always say – none of that matters unless you can use it to make good music. The intro to “Turfology 101” would not qualify. Beeda Weeda runs down the three rules of “Turfology” – the first is no snitchin (he says it’s like “pork to a Muslim”), the second is “no turf-hoppin” (represent your hood and not someone else’s) and the third is “don’t get high on your own supply.” Hmm, seems like I’ve heard all this shit before. Let’s move on to “Like Me.” Now considering the Hiero Imperium put their stamp of approval on this CD, I expected some beats with a lot of Oakland funk that also banged with a futuristic and innovative approach – lots of samples, layering and unexpected sounds blending into dopeness. Instead much like the intro “Like Me” consists of a very simple melody with very little variance, delivered at an excruciatingly slow pace and combined with an inane rap:

“I swear you’ll never meet a nigga like meeee
I’m so fresh and, I’m so clean
Sucker repellant sprayed from my head to my feet
I’m in my own world, you don’t breathe what I breathe
Ay – let the bass get to thumpin, let them hoes get to stuntin
Beeda Weeda in the buildin bruh, you better tuck your woman
See these suckers keep, frontin like they wanna do som’n
So I got that good thumper by the linin of my stomach”

It’s a pretty simplistic rap. How simplistic? It’s not quite giving D4L and Dem Franchize Boyz a run for their money, but that’s mostly because Beeda Weeda can spit a whole bar with more than 3 words in it. Otherwise it’s tired cliche. For so much hype about wanting to reflect his environment and his hometown this does nothing to paint a picture of Oakland whatsoever – it’s just Everyhood, USA. At least the beats start getting better as the album goes along as “A.O.B.” finally breaks out the hyper Oakland funk this album desperately needed. Too bad the only memorable thing about the song is the refrain that repeats “sell that pussy” four times and “get that money” four times after it. “Be Like Us” starts out with synthesized symphonics and plenty of thump but manages to contradict itself in under 40 seconds – the intro/chorus proclaims that everybody wants to live their lavish lifestyle and then the rap verse promptly throws that away:

“Niggaz hurtin out here (hurtin out here)
Drought season come, ain’t no stuntin out here
Now niggaz lose blood tryin to thug out here
So if you ain’t from, don’t come out here”

Wow, that’s exactly the incentive I needed to get down with Beeda Weeda. I now desire nothing greater in my life than to be like Beeda Weeda. Incidentally this just reminds me of what was so great about Biggie Smalls. The man was overweight like a muh’fucker, had a face that could stop a Mack truck, and yet he had so much charisma and personality that the second he opened his mouth and saidANYTHING¬†your reaction was “holy shit that’s one cool motherfucker.” Then you’d see him on TV wearing the most dapper suits and living the extravagant life and for some reason it never felt phony – he was just such a smooth talker he had talked his way up from nothing to something, from ashy to classy. Number one Beeda Weeda is not a smooth talker. He has slightly better diction than some other Bay Area rappers I’ve heard, but his vocal tone is a little high pitched, and not in a pleasant DJ Quik way. There’s nothing remarkable about his accent or delivery – no vocal quirks, no unexpected or interesting changes in rhyme patterns, nothing that suggests he was ever really that smooth. Going back to the whole Hiero thing, listen to a Casual record sometime. Beeda Weeda may just luck into being more famous or more recognized in Oakland, perhaps even nationally, but he will never be one-tenth the rapper. Even on a lackluster beat Casual has that Notorious B.I.G. style charm, where his voice has so much personality and the way he flows is so distinctive he could be ugly as hell and yet you think “I bet he’s got women rolling off him like water off a duck’s back.” Casual is fly, Beeda Weeda is not.

The album just drags on in a monotonous parade of contradiction and cliche. “Turf’s Up” wants to introduce us to the “stunna life” but quite frankly I’d rather hear it from Baby or Mannie Fresh. Songs named “Soldier” should have been banned the minute Tupac Shakur died but sadly they are still being made by rappers who aren’t 1/10th as good as him. Beeda Weeda is so “Wet,” meaning so proud of all the ice he wears, and again the irony is that he’s making every Dirty South rapper who talks about their diamonds too much sound ten-thousand times better by comparison. I’m trying so hard to find tracks to say something complimentary about, and the best I can come up with is that “We Ain’t Listenin'” is vaguely Lil Jon-esque in production and Juvenile-like in ending each line with the same phrase; while “Love Ones” was tolerable just because it clocked in at under three minutes and came across as the most honest track Beeda Weeda put on this whole album. They certainly don’t make up for the intolerable boredom of “Take Your Clothes Off” or “Back of the Club.” I’m not sure why the Hieroglyphics wanted to be down with this other than the fact Beeda Weeda is from their geographical area, because none of them are on it and it certainly doesn’t sound like any of them produced it. This album does nothing for them and I’m sorry to say Beeda Weeda does nothing for me. Perhaps he’s better than he showed here, but I doubt it.

Beeda Weeda :: Turfology 101