Husalah is a Bay Area legend. From the Mob Figaz days in 1997 to the true “hustler” he is today, the OG Mobster is back with the same heat that brought him to the forefront of the Bay Area rap. Being raised in the Projects of Pittsburgh, CA, rapping and trapping is all he knew. For real name James Ratliff, hip-hop was an outlet to tell the endless stories of the trials and tribulations that came with being from the hood. Read more…
Now, 11 years later, he returns with a brand new album self-titled, H, which sees the spitter in his rawest form. With tracks like “M.O.B.” and “Protect Your Soul,” and my personal favorite, “Pray 4 You,” Hus continues to deliver vivid storytelling in the form of Bay Area slaps. Husalah is also here to make sure the legacies of The Jacka and Mac Dre live on forever. RIP
For those who don’t know, who is Husalah?
First of all, rest in peace to Jacka. And then it goes, once again, don’t forget the “funky fresh, in your face, tell your mama to feel the bass. Young Hus coast, Shocka the place, pulling up in old school mob with stupid bass.” They know what it is. [laughs]
I was literally listening to “Blind World” by The Jacka this morning. Talk about being a Bay Area legend.
I don’t really put too much thought into nothing but what I got going. As far as labels and being constricted and bind to a label, I’m just doing what I do.
You came up around the same time as the Hyphy movement. How has your sound evolved since then?
The Hyphy movement? I don’t really even know what that is to be honest with you. I don’t know what the perception of it is. Maybe I was in the area. I was around… I don’t know. I don’t even know what that is as far as the people. We was just doing what we do. You know what I mean? It’s like asking a Hells Angel, “How’s the biker life?” He’s just living his life. Maybe you guys romanticize it and turn into something else. We stay mobbing. I been mobbing all the way through.
That was actually one of my questions. Talk about the MOB movement and how it came to be.
It’s always been. That’s just protocol. That’s just the format. That’s heritage. It’s like LA, just Loc’d out. That’s just what it is. That’s what we been doing. That’s what our pops doing. We born into this shit. Like when they “movement” and all that, I don’t really know too much about that because I guess that’s on the other side of perception and how people perceive things. When you’re a part of something, you’re on the inside looking out. But I guess it was cool. You mean as far as knowing Mac Dre and all ‘em? Oh it was great. It was fun.
When was the Hyphy era? What year was that?
I don’t know. I feel like my high school. I’m 27. The Hyphy era, I don’t really know when it was. I’ve been to jail for a couple years. I did five years. So a lot of that shit you gotta realize, I wasn’t there for. So my music was there, but I wasn’t.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
I don’t know to be honest with you. You gotta fuck with everybody everywhere, in my opinion. Touch the regions, hit the ground, and make your rounds. LA is LA. It’s the city. It’s the money. LA gives you an idea of what you can inspire to be, to acquire as far as success. I realize LA is what I feel like is detrimental success. As far as if you make it in this town, you can make it in any other place, like they say.
I guess that’s somewhere to gauge where you’re at as far success wise. ‘Cause it’s so many people that’s hot and coming up. There’s so much money and success around there. You kind of know where you stand when you get to LA. Like, “Okay, there’s big dogs around there.” It’s cool.
What do you want your legacy to be?
My legacy is more about just protocol. Preserving heritage. A lot of niggas talk about that real nigga shit, that gangsta shit, that mob shit. Mines is just beyond human comprehension to be honest with you. I’m trying to push something forward that might not make sense until a hundred years from now. Something divine, something that’s far beyond what we can imagine. Because if not, you’re doing what somebody else just did. So my legacy would be that, and enlightening. Putting people on. Adding some unique insight that only comes from me. Bringing in an element or existence that’s beneficial to many people for generations on.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Right now, I’m doing this music stuff. I have a clothing line, Maniac FC. Paint shop with my brother B-Luv, Wet Xamples. We got music, Golden Mean. We got multimedia, films and shit like that. Art. I do a lot of different things I’m into. I’m into graffiti. I’m my man of many acts. And I love the ladies.
What did you do with your first advance?
You mean first rap advance? Clothes, of course. C’mon man. A teenager with a couple bands? C’mon man. You know what you gonna do with that. I went shopping. FUBU velours! Louis Vuitton sneakers and FUBU velours. I had money before rap.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
All of those things I just mentioned. I’m a convicted felon, federal felon, as far as drugs sells and all that. I’m done with all of that. I don’t glorify all that. Unlike a lot of people, I rarely talk about that kind of stuff. Because if you in that kind of shit, it’s nothing to talk about. Ain’t no statements to be given when it comes to that. If I wasn’t doing music, I’d be doing something like I said, multimedia, film, car restoration, clothing line, designing — just being the ill nigga that I am.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
They’re all great. I appreciate all of them. From a simple head nod from a person to “Oh my god,” and they fall out faint. I appreciate everybody, and it’s a mutual feeling. I feel the same way. I feel elation. I appreciate everybody. I fuck with people that fuck with me and that’s just what it is. I’m a regular dude. I’m very handsome, ultra intelligent, all these different things, but as far as trying to be — I’m not better than nobody. I won’t consider myself “big me, little you.” I don’t do that.
What’s your favorite song to perform during a set?
Jack songs, rest in peace my brother. Keep it lit.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
It would probably be Vybz Kartel at this moment. Freddie Gibbs, he got some dope shit that I heard. One of my favorites. That’s my boy. He got some dope shit I heard. I was in the studio with him last night. Super dope.
Jesus. Me and Jesus. Me and Muhammad Ali or something. Muhammad Ali did music. People didn’t know that. [laughs]
Anything else you want to let Young California know?
Young California, y’all keep doing y’all thing man. Y’all keep doing keep it lit man. Y’ll keep pushing. And I’m proud of y’all. That’s DJ Amen. That’s my boy. Me and Amen go all the way back. Like you call it the Hyphy movement, he was the man. DJ Amen was also in a group called New Kidz On The Block. Legendary group.