New Bay Area Talent     

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10/24/2003 6:25:45 AM
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THE Bay Area can talk trash with the best of them when it comes to hip-hop history. Through the years, it has produced a long list of rap superstars.

Think Hammer, Tupac Shakur, E-40, Digital Underground, Too Short, Del tha Funkee Homosapien. Even Master P spent some time out here.

But things have been pretty quiet lately. It's been a long time since any major new talent has risen out of Oakland, San Francisco, Fremont or any other local city to take the nation by storm. Record companies and talent scouts have seemingly turned their backs on the Bay Area, focusing their attention on places like St. Louis, Atlanta and Detroit to find the next Eminem or Outkast.

The folks at Oakland's

RubbaBoogie Entertainment hope to change all that.

"The goal of this company is to put Oakland back on the map with Oakland-based and Bay Area-based talent," says Marcus Osborne, CEO and executive producer for RubbaBoogie.

The company, formed last year by five longtime friends, is off to a good start with PPC, which stands for "Platinum Plus Clique." The band of four young Oakland rappers has recently put out their first single, "Bounce."

Although three of the four members are still teenagers, PPC is definitely a veteran group. The group -- Ace (Jerry Allen, 21), Platinum (Eric Carbin, 17), Slikk (Ricky Pringle, 14) and A.K. (Antoine King, 13) -- has been performing together for more than three years.

Along the way, they've won a number of talent shows, recorded an album (never released) and honed their performance skills. Now, with "Bounce," they are ready to take it to the next level.

"It's hip-hop. It's not hardcore rap. It's not gangsta rap. It's people music," Ace says of the band's sound.

Unlike some hip-hop artists, PPC is equally concerned about having "Bounce" translate in concert.

"A lot of hip-hop artists don't put on a very good show," Osborne says. "But these guys are very charismatic (on the stage)."

PPC has another quality that is somewhat rare in the music business: They are committed to the group as a whole.

"Groups in the industry don't stay together but we are family," says Slikk. "We are almost like brothers. We grew

up together."

PPC is truly a family affair -- in fact, they're cousins. The four young rappers are cousins. Ace's aunt Haneefa does backing vocals for PPC. She has been around the music scene for years and believes the group has what it takes to make it.

"I think these boys have pizzazz," she says. "They have a way of capturing (people's attention) and getting them out of that (down) mood and getting them into that productive mood."

Another thing that separates PPC from many hip-hop acts is that these rappers don't rely on profanity to sell their work. However, don't take that to mean that PPC is offering up bubblegum.

"There isn't a lot of profanity in the music," Osborne says. "You could take one of their songs and put it right next to Jay-Z and, even without the profanity, people would still enjoy the record."

That lack of profanity is even more amazing given the hardships in these young rappers' lives. Each has stories about growing up in the'hood. But their stories go beyond the streets.....

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