This website is user-supported. Any donation is immensely appreciated: https://www.patreon.com/passionweiss
Will Hagle carries Cholula in his pocket.
If you didn’t already know, “The Village,” the titular subject in Hot Sauce’s viral hit, is Baldwin Village. It’s a neighborhood east of Culver City and west of Leimert Park that, as you may remember from Training Day, has long been colloquially referred to as “The Jungle(s).” What’s so great about regional rap is that it’s not merely about being from a city. It’s about being from a section, a project, a block. It’s so specific as to be universal. And in the case of “Really From the Village,” it’s insanely catchy too.
The premise is simple: in various shades of red, Hot Sauce and company dance in front of a 7/11, a Louisiana Fried Chicken, and the Crenshaw Mall’s Victoria’s Secret.The song seems to have been made with no expectations that anyone outside of Hot Sauce’s relatively limited sphere of influence might hear it. The recording quality is poor, and the YouTube comment section contains words of support from people who personally know performers involved. Yet there are also several comments from people claiming to be crips, but enjoying the music despite the artists’ blatant affiliations. There’s also, fittingly, one declaring “luv from West Oakland.” It’s a hyperlocal song but, as has been the case with other artists from lesser-tapped pockets of the city, it’s organically grown and spread far beyond its neighborhood borders after being posted online.
The original version of the song features Lotto, who either hasn’t seen 8 Mile or is named after it, because every diss B. Rabbit used against that movie’s character of the same name is applicable to him. At least real life Lotto is a little bit better at rapping. The remix features an updated, more cleanly-recorded verse from Lotto as well as another from Hot Sauce and six more from other local rappers, with names like “Bloodhound,” “Brazy Boy,” and, confusingly, “Mike Jones.”
Yakahontas, the lone female MC, has one of the best lines with “So many n****s wanna kiss, wanna do me/ I’m on my uchies / I just want the bag, they want the coochie.” Brazy Boy is the biggest character of the group, starting his verse by asking what time it is, commenting on the weather, exhaling some smoke, and declaring he almost missed the remix. No one falters, but those two stand out most.
The hook of the remix, which succinctly describes what it’s like to live in The Jungle(s) as a complement to the real daily life camera phone footage of robberies and arrests sprinkled throughout the visual, remains the same as the original: “All my n****s from the district, raised in the Village/ birthdays was a privilege.” At 7 minutes 52 seconds, the song itself is less succinct. Yet it still doesn’t feel long enough. It looks like everyone in the vicinity capable of stringing words together was invited to showcase themselves, and if the talent’s already that deep it seems like there could be more.
Hot Sauce is the reason the video exists in the first place, of course, as the success of his original “From The Village” gave these other local rappers a platform to perform on a more public scale. After putting himself alongside the best of the rest, though, Hot Sauce unintentionally may have shown that he’s not the clear standout of the crew, as is usually the case when a song from a solo artist with an extended network of collaborators breaks out in a similar situation.
That doesn’t mean anyone’s surpassed Hot Sauce, though, either. He’s just shown that there’s a ton of talent brewing in a specific place where not enough people have been looking, including artists who can rap with him on equal or near-equal footing. Everyone on the remix, including Hot Sauce himself, is still finding their respective unique voices and developing at their natural pace. However, it will be surprising if at least one of these seven doesn’t break out even further.