I owe Ehustl an apology. I hated prematurely when I reviewed “Word Pimpin’ 2.” Tired of being burned countless times by shady record labels trying to make a buck I assumed Ehustl was nothing but a sham created to sell a few records off of name recognition. With “Welcome to Scokland” the label shows it is damn serious about this bay area rap music. For all the collabos between bay area rap stars, it has only been recently that they have been making true connections. Spice 1 and MC Eiht revitalized their careers with “The Pioneers.” Bullys With Fullys has become an institution known for hooking up heavy hitting vets. At least in the bay, if you put two tight rappers on an album together you usually get good results. Problem is that for every dream collabo created, there exists the illusion of a dream collabo that is nothing more than shady advertising. So when two bay area vets drop an album together and it isn’t a cut and paste job of old verses it is a noteworthy event. Such as the case here where Mr. Super Duper Hyphy and Mr. Quinn unite. Most people know Keak Da Sneak from 3X Krazy and E-40’s “Tell Me When You Go.” San Quinn on the other hand has been quietly building the reputation of the Bay’s best kept secret. Keak’s aggressive style complements San Quinn’s focused lyrical approach and the two put together one of the more enjoyable bay area rap albums in a while.

The album starts off slow with an intro from San Quinn’s little brother – he’s a rapper too and is dropping an album. After the commercial, we get the title track which is produced by none other than Chops. The former Mountain Brother has made a name for himself in the underground gangsta rap scene! Scokland is just short hand for the bay (San FranciSCO and OaKLAND) and the song represents the unity between the two cities. “Blue Dolphin” is a quirky track produced by none other than Baby S (who apparently has skills behind the board). While I’m not up on slang enough to tell you what a “Blue Dolphin” is, Keak Da Sneak drops a solid verse:

“This beat slap, got me spitting on it
All in the doe, no fronting while I’m shitting on it
I slide through in something seven-deuce-ish
Rolling with deuce deuce, sticking a rusty tooth pick in
Cooler than a motherfucker, let him through
Picking my afro like Undercover Brother do
I don’t love em, you can have the hoe and
Y’all already won, matter fact she look good going
Let me see your cus-cus, riding and dripping patron
Chick at the horse race jocking, want to get the phone
So I answered, said “What you got for me?”
Foot on her neck, I ain’t never been a bitch homie
Walk with a limp, you’d a swear I had a plastic nina
Benzes, stacks, in fact bring a mack a G
Still in the building feeling like “Yeeee!”
Better ask somebody bout me
Yeah that’s Keak Da Sneak”

For a man known mostly for his gravelly voice, Keak has better lyrics and punchlines than he’s given credit for. Even though Keak and Quinn deliver solid verses for the most part, your enjoyment of the album will depend on your like or dislike for certain music. “Hot N’ Cool” is a definite trunk banger, but the beat and screwed hook may be too southern and generic for some. “She Fine” is almost a straight T-Pain rip off track, but is surprisingly catching, though the line “might not be a super model, but damn you’re fine” might not rub all the ladies the right way! Basically, certain beats may or may not vibe with you. Unique Swag produces two tracks and they are bare, bass heavy hyphy. Chops on the other hand drops a little more soul into “Streets Don’t Lie” and mixes it with an 80s pop feel. San Quinn takes advantage of the beat to drop some heat:

“Trumped up charges, false accusations
Real black and white papers, life in the statements
I balls with that nigga Charles, Kelly, and Nick
Hid his face behind the gas, but his belly can rip
Fillmoe Cali, great grandpa was a reverend
In the 50s Uncle Frank, he ran with the lucky seven
In the 80s, Rove was a hopper, crashed house, went to catholic school
I took the rap route, do the bad and the good in the hood and never back out”

Baby S also provides the duo with more bangers to rap over. His style switches from time to time, but sounds best when he focuses on the gangsta boogie/g-funk influenced tracks. “Back To Life” interpolates a familiar song but gives it a nice gangster feel. Insane might contribute the best track in the somber and reflective “Comfortably Numb” where San Quinn and Keak take time out to be serious.

Overall, “Welcome to Scokland” is a worthy purchase for any bay area rap fan. Sure it is more hyphy than we usually expect from San Quinn or even Keak, but it has a nice balanced mix of production and styles. As a duo, Quinn and Keak blend very well and trade verses like long time group members. Ehustl has redeemed itself nicely and set itself up as one of the new bay area rap labels to look out for. I was already cautiously eyeing the upcoming Baby S album as his work on Ruthless and his previous solo album showed definite potential. If they can put as much effort into future projects there should be no reason to avoid the label. Hopefully, they can also keep hooking up dope bay area vets and continue the trend that Real Talk Entertainment started a few years back. Matter fact, I wouldn’t mind a “Welcome to Scokland II” if it maintains this quality.

Keak Da Sneak & San Quinn :: Welcome to Scokland
7Overall Score