You have to be a certain kind of rapper to be part of West Coast Fest: legendary.
"Everyone on this bill will be in the hall one day," says Mack 10, the influential Los Angeles-area rapper who is one of seven acts at West Coast Fest, which comes to Fresno's Warnors Theatre on Friday, June 28.
"Every one of us has a place in West Coast history. Period. Who wouldn't feel privileged to be on a bill with these guys?" he says.
The festival, by design, was made to feel like a walk through West Coast rap history. The scene has left its mark on hip-hop. For Mack 10, the whole of the gangsta rap genre was invented here. The tour, which features icons like E-40, DJ Quick, Dogg Pound, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, Suga Free and Baby Bash grew out of a show the groups did at Los Angeles' Club Nokia in March.
The response was so overwhelming, five more shows were quickly announced, including the tour kick-off in Fresno.
That, too, was by design, says Layzie Bone, a member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, who campaigned to start the tour in Fresno. While all five members of the group have never played together in town, several have played Fresno as solo acts and have always had great support from fans.
If Bone Thugs seems to be the odd group out, being as the crew is from Cleveland, Ohio, they've always had a sense of California, Layzie Bone says. "California has always been our second home."
They grew up on West Coast rap and were influenced by the genre and the style. "I used to idolize DJ Quick when I was in high school," Layzie Bone says.
Plus, the group was discovered and originally signed to Eazy E's Ruthless Records. There are plenty of fans who think the group is from the West Coast. Even rapper Kendrick Lamar (who toured with the Thugs recently) admitted he thought the group was from Compton.
West Coast Fest was something the group knew it wanted to be a part of from the second their manager mentioned the idea, Layzie Bone says: "It always felt like something that Eazy E had envisioned."
Music for a cause
7:30 p.m. Friday, June 28 / Star Palace, 1420 Fulton St., Fresno / $12, $8 in advance / all ages / (559) 264-2848, www.warnors.org
Community Food Bank, with its network of partner organizations, can feed a family of four for one week on just $10. So the $12 cover for The Misirlou Show will be put to good use.
The show is a benefit for the Community Food Bank, and all talent, equipment and production have been donated, so all ticket sales go directly to those in need. Surf rock band the Neptunes will headline the show.
Machine Head returns
9 p.m. Friday, June 28 / Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St., Fresno / $20 / fulton55.com, (559) 412-7400
In the 1990s, Machine Head was one of the pioneering bands in the new waves of American heavy metal. The band is working on a new album and back on the road. It will bring its thrash-inspired groove metal to Fulton 55 on Friday. This is the band's first show in Fresno since the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2008. They will be joined by Fresno's own HateFX, which was hugely influenced by the band.
See it, believe it
9 p.m. Tuesday, July 2 / Howie & Son's Pizza, 2430 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia / $7 / All ages / snvfoundation.org, ticketweb.com
Bob Long III has to be seen to be believed. The one-man band dresses in a disco-gold space suit, complete with darkened-glass race helmet with an old telephone receiver rigged as a microphone. Musically, he does an amped-up blues/American boogie — lightning-fast guitar and drum machine beats along with a bass drum and cymbals.
Bob Long III plays an all-ages show Tuesday at Howie & Son's Pizza in Visalia.
Fresno duo Strange Vine open.
West Coast Fest, featuring hip-hop icons E-40, DJ Quick, Mack 10, Dogg Pound, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, Suga Free and Baby Bash. 7 p.m. Friday, June 28, at Warnors Theatre, 1400 Fulton St. Fresno. Tickets: $45-$75. (559) 264-2848, warnors.org
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, firstname.lastname@example.org or @joshuatehee on Twitter. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com.