“We’re real big on respecting our history. We want people to know it’s ok to do that. It’s ok to show love and congratulate people and not be a hater. You can still be a gangster without being on some bullshit.” – Deuce Mac
When it comes to carrying a legacy, one must know the job it takes to carry it. You need to know what that legacy is, what it has inspired and where it’s going from there. The Young Giantz are carrying their father’s legacy while creating their own, in a way that’s true and authentic.
West coast duo Young Giantz are the sons of rap pioneer Playa Hamm of the Penthouse Players Clique (who was signed by Easy E to Ruthless/Priority Records in 1992). Today, 25 years later, the South Central brothers Deuce Mac and Bigg Joe West have released their own Priority Records EP, 2000 Ninetiez, a respectful tribute to the classic G Funk era of West Coast hip-hop.
“When people hear us and come up to us they tell us like ‘man this reminds me of this’ or ‘we haven’t felt anything like this in a long time’,” – Bigg Joe West
Their 2000 Ninetiez project isn’t entirely a tribute to that legendary era of west coast hip-hop. The project is everything that the brothers are.”Everything about the project is us. We love the way we were able to do something and not jeopardize our integrity or demoralize ourselves,” says Deuce Mac. “We always happen to give off the aura that people feel like they’re missing as far as like what they call the golden era which is the 90s,” Bigg Joe West adds.
Bigg Joe West and Deuce Mac fully embody the West Coast aura. They have a passion for lowrider cars and their very big on family and unification. “When people hear us and come up to us they tell us like ‘man this reminds me of this’ or ‘we haven’t felt anything like this in a long time’,” says Bigg Joe West. Both brothers tell Chasing The Bag that they feel the 90s era of hip-hop was “a time that people were caring about what they were making.” It makes sense as to why the brothers love this era so much as they themselves take great care with their work.
“I don’t think we just dedicated it to the G-Funk era. But I think we embody that feel and that energy. Our energy comes from that. That’s our foundation.” – Deuce Mac
The reason for the title 2000 Ninetiez was a result of the brothers love for the golden age of hip-hop. The “ninetiez” term comes from the 1990s era of hip-hop the brothers love so much. The term “2000” as Bigg Joe West says, “it’s 2000 because we’re bringing something new to it. It’s not outdated but at the same time we’re getting where we come from and where we fell in love with the music so we just wanted to merge those two worlds together and create something great.”
As it was mentioned earlier the project isn’t entirely a tribute to the G-Funk era of hip-hop. “That’s just our sound. That’s just what we grew up and what our foundation is,” says Deuce Mac. “I don’t think we just dedicated it to the G-Funk era. But I think we embody that feel and that energy. Our energy comes from that. That’s our foundation.” The essence of the album would be nothing without the work done by the producers like DJ Battlecat and Jelly Roll.
“It’s kind of like working with our musical heroes because as kids we used to watch them and hear our pops do music with them,” says Bigg Joe West. Any chance they got the brothers always studied them and knew who they were. Even before the world knew who they were the Young Giantz were there, learning. “It was a dream come true. We had to put in the work to get their attention and respect.”
“We’re west coast, we’re LA, we’re South Central. Our sound is really just where we’re from.” – Deuce Mac
The brothers aren’t trying to relive the 90’s era, they really do live it. They’ve witnessed DJ Quik and Battlecat produce in their living room and have had numerous encounters with the legendary Eazy-E. With so much West Coast history in their blood, it’s only right that they represent that era and culture so heavily.
The two brothers, according to Bigg Joe West have been around music their entire lives. “We’re fathers. We love each other. We love ourselves and we chose to take this music and live it and create it.” Deuce Mac adds, “We’re west coast, we’re LA, we’re South Central. Our sound is really just where we’re from.” The brothers’ father, Playa Hamm, taught them valuable lessons as he was coming up through the golden era of hip-hop. “Our father taught us a lot. One of those things was to make songs, don’t just rap. Pick up your pen. Write a song that’s going to live, that will stand the test of time,” says Deuce Mac.
They also learned the importance of giving back to the people. “It’s a special thing to have a gift to be able to reach people on the level that you’re able to reach people on,” says Deuce. “Our father also taught us to make sure we give back with our music. Don’t just take from the people, give back to the people with our music.”
Playa Hamm has played such an important role in his sons’ lives. “I feel like our dad didn’t get the respect he deserves. I think people don’t understand how good and dope he was,” says Bigg Joe West. Not too many people know that Playa Hamm inspired a lot of people coming up at the time. “I don’t know if it’s filling his shoes or carrying on his legacy and letting his name live through us. But at the same time, we feel we’re going to take it to a place he wasn’t able to take it, through us” says Bigg Joe West.
It’s natural that brothers have some sort of rivalry or ongoing conflict with each other. For the Young Giantz, this doesn’t pertain to them. “There’s never a competition, it’s more of an inspiration,” says Deuce Mac. If one brother goes hard, the other will go even harder and vice versa. They’ve been with each other their entire lives so they know how to work around conflicts. “We never have time to argue on where verses should go or anything. Everything has been done together,” Deuce Mac added.
The West Coast rap scene has seen some sort of resurgence in the last few years with the likes of TDE and YG, just to name a few. The Young Giantz, however, are right next to those mentioned too. On the current state of hip-hop, Bigg Joe West says, “It’s growing, it’s booming, it’s glowing, it’s a beautiful thing. You’re starting to see more of us come together. You see a lot of unification.”
The west coast is always associated with gang culture so to see these different artists come together and make great music is a beautiful thing to see. “I’m not saying we like every song that comes out and I bump everything that’s from the West Coast. But just to see it grow and see people coming together and seeing the world accept it and loving us, I can’t say anything bad about it at all,” says Bigg Joe West.
It’s interesting to hear an album that focuses heavily on the G-Funk era in a hip-hop world dominated by mumble rap. Yet the brothers aren’t phased by their competition. “Honestly the way we came up, we love music period. With mumble rap, I don’t have a problem with anyone doing what they’re doing. I love hip-hop the way I love it. We’re going to represent it the way we represent it,” says Deuce Mac. “If that’s what you like then fuck with it. But me personally I don’t really have a problem with it, I’m not going to do it.”
The Young Giantz are looking to inspire people to be true to themselves. Therefore they are full supporters of being real and being ok with whoever you are. “We want to represent staying true to yourself. Not being scared to be yourself or original. Not being scared to stand up for what you believe in. You can be yourself and still make it,” says Deuce Mac. “You don’t have to fit in with everybody else to do what you have to do.”
They are also big on acknowledging their history, something the new generation has trouble doing. “We’re real big on respecting our history. We want people to know it’s ok to do that. It’s ok to show love and congratulate people and not be a hater. You can still be a gangster without being on some bullshit,” says Deuce Mac.
When it’s all said and done, the brother will have left a legacy of their own that anyone can feel inspired by. “I want our legacy to be about self-love. Love for everyone else,” says Bigg Joe West. “We’re not willing to compromise our integrity. When people say we’re too West Coast we’re not afraid to be ourselves at all. We’re going to always be us and show love. We’re not into promoting no type of hatred.”