Fresno Holiday Jam is billed as the last “big” concert of the year.
Obviously, that’s promotional hype.
It also happens to be true if you’re a fan of R&B, rap and hip-hop.
“It’s always crackin’ at Holiday Jam in Fresno,” says Bay Area rapper (and Mendota native) Baby Bash, one of the 10 artists performing at this year’s jam, set for Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Selland Arena.
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10 artists will perform at Fresno Holiday Jam this year.
The annual concert, sponsored by radio station B95, has become known for landing big names in hip-hop. Past performers include NWA rapper Ice Cube, E-40, Ty Dolla $ign and Tyga. Wiz Khalifa performed last year along with T-Pain (who was in the middle of a small comeback).
This year, the show is headlined by Def Jam recording artist (and Ariana Grande ex-boyfriend) Big Sean, whose single “One Man Can Change The World” was just nominated for a Grammy. He’s joined by West Coast rap legends Too Short and DJ Quick, as well as relative newcomers like Bash, Kid Ink, Omarion, Lil Dicky, Baeza, Snow tha Product and Dawin.
Bash is known in rap scenes in both California’s Bay Area and in Houston, Texas, where he got his first big break in the early 2000s. The rapper had several major label releases over the next decade, including 2003’s “Tha Smokin’ Nephew” and its follow-up, 2005’s “Super Saucy.” That album featured the top 10 single “Suga Suga.” It was his highest ranking single until 2007 and the T-Pain collaboration “Cyclone.”
Baby Bash has a long list of collaborators, including Frankie J, Akon, Keith Sweat, Flo Rida and Sean Kingston – with whom Bash played at the Big Fresno Fair in 2008. He now operates under his own label, Bashtown Music, releasing singles and grooming the next generation of artists like Marty Obey.
The central San Joaquin Valley has long been underappreciated, Bash says, but Valley fans love hip-hop, he says.
And they are loyal, he says. Fresno was the fourth market to pick up and play “Suga Suga.” Growing up in Mendota (he attended McCabe Elementary School), Bash feels a strong connection to Valley fans and plays here as often as he can.
The rapper sees value in returning to the Valley.
“These little farm towns, they don’t get much love,” Bash says.
Fresno Holiday Jam
- 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12
- Selland Arena, 700 M St.
- Tickets: $45-$117
- 323-546-8410, www.ticketmaster.com