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The 100 Best L.A. Rap Songs

66. Kokane "Bakin' Soda Free" (1994)

Album: Funk Upon A Rhyme
Label: Ruthless
Producer: Cool 187um


Kokane was fearless and psychotic and of all the great records that came out under the stewardship of Ruthless Records, his Funk Upon A Rhyme was the only one to take G-funk to its inevitable conclusion: specifically, a place where pleasure turns into paranoia, a weekend turns into a week, and Thai stick turns into sherm. At a time when everyone was rapping about slinging drugs, Kokane was the only one who sounded like he ingested them.

The cracked croon heard on “Bakin Soda Free” is one of the quintessential vocal sounds in L.A. rap. Deranged and surreal and at times unbearable, there was always something about Kokane that stayed rooted in the street tradition, and his peers never lost respect for him (he remains a favored guest of both Dre and Snoop.)

If Nate Dogg is the definitive voice of L.A. rap, a rich baritone that contains the buttery light, the asphalt perfume, and the indo smoke, then Kokane is his evil twin, a vocal presence that uncorks all the fear and paranoia and vice of the Southland underbelly.

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