Like YG and DJ Mustard, and other LA artists accused of borrowing the Bay Area’s sound, Ralfy The Plug wouldn’t call himself hyphy. But whether you want to call it post-ratchet, the new LA sound, Gurb rap or nervous music, it’s clear that Ralfy The Plug and his fellow Angelenos have been inspired by their neighbors to the north.
Ralfy’s latest single, “Pimp, Pimp, Pimp,” even uses the same beat as Dru Down’s “Mack of the Year.” Ralfy flows in a spastic style around the beat, utilizing an atypical vocal pattern only a few steps removed from the likes of Keak Da Sneak, who was himself only a step removed from E-40 and Pomona’s Suga Free. If the Mustardization of LA hip-hop paved the way for South Central to put their own of the East Bay, this is the best possible outcome.
Ralfy performs live, as he did at the POW Echo residency last week, with his crew dancing and playing hypemen onstage. That group, The Stinc Team, includes Drakeo The Ruler, who happens to be Ralfy’s brother. It also includes Ketchy the Great, whose song “If I Go Broke,” like many of his songs, is what the latter half of his name suggests. Drakeo, the Stinc Team member most steadily accumulating buzz before being arrested earlier this year, is currently incarcerated. That’s sad for an infinite number of reasons, and only worsened by the fact that police raided the place where he and the rest of the Stinc Team shot their videos.
In Drakeo’s absence, Ralfy’s talent has become more noticeable. Ralfy doesn’t have the same technical command of his voice, or as immediately captivating of a tone as his brother—but he’s nearly as good and that’s saying something.
As YG shifts his sound toward more polished form of G-Funk, The Stinc Team has filled the void. They not only embody the logical continuation of the DJ Mustard sound, but they push it closer to the hyphy style that Mustard himself wanted to distance himself from. They have the energy of the East Bay in the ‘early 00s, the same synth bass beats, weird flows, and camaraderie, but it’s clearly the LA of the purple and dystopian summer.
Ralfy The Plug isn’t the group’s most famous representative, but he clearly offers his individualized take on nervous music. In the end, it’s not hyphy, it’s the Stinc Team, and he’s not Drakeo, he’s Ralfy. You should listen to him. If you don’t like the music, you should at least like Ralfy for his Twitter handle, which is @votebenfranklin. That’s just good advice.