The Making of RBL Posse’s “Don’t Give Me No Bammer” and “Blue Bird”

David Ma speaks to the Bay Area group's last surviving member about their weed and anti-cop anthems.
By    June 4, 2020

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David Ma don’t fuck with swine.

1993 gave us Organix, Doggystyle, mischievous souls and Shaolin acronyms. What a year for regional rap; everyone brought wildly diverse styles and new slang that erupted and seemingly splintered all at once. What came from San Francisco’s street rap scene, specifically Hunters Point, was RBL Posse, the trio of Mr. Cee, Hitman, and Black C — neighborhood kids who would achieve national fame before enduring local tragedy. In 2003, Hitman was shot in the head while driving in the Bayview. Black C, the group’s founding member, remembers: “I was with Hitman right before it happened. We were in Antioch and he wanted to go back to the hood to do god knows what and got caught up and was shot while he was in a car.” 

Bayview-Hunters Point in San Francisco is often sadly described as being intensely isolated. Located in the city’s old meatpacking district, the mostly black, economically disadvantaged neighborhood saw murder rates soar in the ‘90s when steel-willed street gangs became more brazen by the day. The area with a rich yet largely under-celebrated history of the creative arts, but “Don’t Give Me No Bammer,” released in 1993, ended up on Billboard and became an enormous Bay anthem— a radio staple you might still catch on April 20ths.

RBL’s follow-up, Ruthless By Law, resulted in huge singles: “Bounce To This” and “Blue Bird.” The beats were hard, pounding gangster shit but also snuck in samples by Roy Ayers or Steve Miller Band. Says C: “I made all those on an SP-1200 and both of those first albums are made mostly off Rolands.” As success came, so did Atlantic Records, who would sign RBL to their subsidiary as well as a distribution deal. With the Atlantic agreement, C began looking for a home to purchase as their major label project was to be underway.

Before much of anything was made, Mr. Cee was also murdered. “With that situation, we had a falling out with some dudes who are actually on the cover of the first album,” says C. “Some of what those guys did led to Cee’s murder. The guy that killed him? We knew him. We knew everyone because we were all from the same hood. It was some jealously when we were getting our deal.”

RBL Posse would go on to release, Eye For An Eye, in 1997 and Hostile Takeover, in 2001. As the group’s only remaining member, Black C continued to release material either as RBL Posse Presents… which were comps of friends and local talent, or just solo albums, the last one coming in 2014. Calling from the house he ended up buying after Cee passed, in Antioch, a city 30 minutes away from Hunters Point, Black C remembers RBL’s big classics. 

Tell us what went into making “Don’t Give Me No Bammer.”

Black C: As soon as I heard the sample and looped it, all those flutes and saxophones, I knew it was going to be a weed song. I originally called it “Don’t Give Me No Bammer Joint.” The hook was, “Don’t give me no bammer joint, we don’t smoke that shit in Hunters Point.” I had three verses and I put that version on my demo that I passed around Hunters Point. A couple weeks after I wanted to go to the studio to finish the tape and make sure it would be good and not flop. This was right when I met Mr. Cee actually.

How did you guys end up working together?

Black C: I was more of a producer than a rapper then. I wanted to get my friend, who was also a rapper and had an album out, to come in the studio with me and help out with my solo project. He didn’t want to do it but was like, “My girlfriend’s brother raps. All he does is sit home all day and write raps. You need to hook up with him.” So I gave Mr. Cee some demos and we ended up hitting the studio together. “Bammer Weed” was the first one we pulled up to redo, and I told Cee that we should take out the Hunters Point part out and put in “…no bammer weed, we don’t smoke that shit in the SFC…”  instead.

Why the change?

Black C: Gang wars were going on and were crazy and I was a banger. It was Fillmore versus Hunters Point at the time. Everyone was always at each other. So in order for everyone to be down with the song, we made it about the whole city, and not just Hunters Point. I think it got everyone got involved. There wasn’t too much change after that though. I already had that sped up Marvin Gaye sample so Cee just added verses to fill out the chorus.

Walk us through the making of “Blue Bird,” its meaning, and what went into it.

Black C: With “Blue Bird” we wanted to turn it into our version “Fuck The Police,” a track about the boys in blue. For years people thought it was a Blood and Crip thing but it has nothing to do with that. Literally, it means if police is fucking with you, you’re gonna need to do something about it. That bass line came from Wu-Tang’s “Can It All Be So Simple.”


Black C: Yeah so I played took the bass and reversed the bass sound. To this day most people cannot tell. Maybe if you listened closely, side-by-side. Either way Mr. Cee didn’t even want to be on it until he heard my verses and saw me do the hook, he wrote his verse right then and there. Originally it was supposed to be three verses by me and be another solo joint. So instead of me doing three sixteens, we both did two-twelves.


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