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Welcome to the 5&A Dime soap box. 

Bam Circa '86 - iLLFORNIA (Talking Shit)

Jason Huggins

          What is there to say about Bam Circa 86 that hasn’t been said before? There are people out there who love his music for its youthful exuberance, turn up inspiring beats, and witty raps. Then there are people like me who hate everything about Bam’s music, but I won’t get into that. I’m just going to tell you how cool Bam’s new project is. Makes sense, right? Of course.

Who's house? Bam's house.

Who's house? Bam's house.

          Bam recently released iLLAFORNIA, another free to download project put together almost entirely by himself. Bam produced the bulk of the music, came up with most of the raps, and did the post-production work himself also. Besides the guest verses and the album cover, Bam Biggity basically did this thing all by his lonesome and in that fact is where you’ll find the strength of the project. 

          Seeing how he handled a majority of the production, Bam gave himself the advantage of having immediate chemistry with the beats. He sounds at home on every track ‘cos he made almost all of them, and he probably did so while at home. It works. The bulk of the production is laid back, relaxed, sample driven tunes that Bam attacks with versatility. You get chill Bam, “turnt” Bam, aggressive Bam, street Bam, smoked out Bam, etc. The variety of the music allows BC86 to show off his variety as an emcee. His personal relationship with the production benefits him from start to finish.

          And this solo outing also allows Bam some room for experimentation. There’s a song that has two verses where Bam’s vocals are screwed Houston cough syrup style. There’s a song with no drums. There’s a song where Bam goes all Kid Cudi and sings over an upbeat, happy-go-lucky Indy Rock instrumental. It’s different, but it’s not bad. It’s not all great either, but the experimental effort is admirable in a San Diego scene where dudes are mostly just trying to be like whatever is cool at the moment. There’s a handful of dudes around here that want to either be “Party Rap” types along the lines of Cool Kids, Pac Div or Mac Miller and then there’s the wannabe “Weird/Alt Rap” kids who are doing their best Earl Sweatshirt or Flatbush Zombies impression while claiming their favorite rapper is MF DOOM (whoever that is). Bam knows where his lane is, but he occasionally drives outside the lines.

My favorite tracks are “DRMFLWR”, “The Birds of Harmony”, “BYECYCLE” and “TRILLVFORNIV (Screwed Up). Those are standouts in my opinion, again, showing off Bam’s ability to tackle tracks of different types.

          Overall, iLLAFORNIA is a fun project. It’s not an album, but it’s not a mixtape either. It’s Bam doing what he loves to do : make music. With a diverse range of tunes, different content throughout and guest verses from some promising young talent; iLLAFORNIA is pretty dope. All that, AND it’s free. You have no excuse to miss out on it minus having a lack of memory on your CPU. If that’s the case, delete some of those Brazzers vids and enjoy some good tunes from 8th & G’s resident Hip Hop head honcho.

Download iLLAFORNIA here.

- Zach