We Were Hyphy is a 2022 documentary about the Hyphy Movement in the Bay Area that was Screened in Chabot College’s Event Center (700 bldg.) on Feb 2. The screening was presented by RISE, EOPS, and UMOJA. The event was hosted by E.O.P.S Counselor Charlie Moraliez. We Were Hyphy is directed by Laurence Madrigal, a Bay Area Native who spoke in a zoom call meeting for the viewers before the viewing. The term hyphy is a slang that is used in The Bay Area which means hyperactive.
We Were Hyphy was the Official Selection of the San Francisco Black Film Festival, San Francisco Documentary Festival and Cinequest Film Festival of 2022. The film had interviews with great Bay Area producers and hip hop artists like G-Eazy, Mistah Fab, Keak Da Sneak, and more.
The music documentary trails and examines the influence on the hyphy culture which involves; the dances, the music, the cars, the fashion, and the slangs that they use. The film takes the viewers on a special time when the Hyphy culture was big.
Host Charlie Moraliez talking to Director Laurence Madrigal before the viewing via zoom.
The Hyphy Movement started with rapper Mac Dre and Thizz nation in 1999. Mac Dre has hits like Thizzle Dance and Feeling Myself. Dre was the influential figure that started the Hyphy Movement. He brought his own dance styles, bass line, fashion and his style of rhyming was different thus came the Hyphy Movement. Dre was murdered in 2004. Yet still the Hyphy Movement continues only making it bigger.
The height of the culture was in 2006 When Bay Area artists like E-40, Keak Da Sneak, and Too $hort videos were played as the regular rotation on MTV and BET’S 106 & Park, a top 20 countdown of the latest and hottest R&B and Hip Hop Music.
E40 Feat Keak Da Sneak Tell me when to go and Too Short’s Blow the Whistle is both produced by Atlanta, GA rapper and producer Lil Jon.
“I grew up in Antioch, then went to SF State to study film making. It was intentionally going to be a short passion film project, but we got in contact with a lot more people to interview.” Says director Madrigal during his zoom meeting.
Madrigal grew up during the Hyphy Movement and fell in love with the music. The director went into making this documentary not knowing the full hyphy culture other than music but soon learned, “Making this film I learned beyond the music I learned what Turfin (hyphy dancing) and Ghost riding the whip (hyphy car culture) because I was never into it, but I learned more of it. It was like writing an amazing essay.” Says Madrigal.
“We choose this film to kick off Black History Month by sharing the influence that hip hop has, especially the sub-genre which captures the region. We want to show something that can uplift people and this film shows that.” Says Moraliez.
There were many people who lived through the movement that came to the viewing, and watching the film was very nostalgic. “I’m from Oakland, CA and watching this brings back good memories. I remember that the word Hyphy first came out. It was Keak Da Sneak who said it first. I’m here to support the event and I’m excited that we showed it.” Says UMOJA counselor coordinator Tommy Reed.
Many viewers who are not from Chabot came to show love for the movement. “What I love about this a lot of people don’t know what impact the movement had on the Bay Area. The movement is something I grew up on. It was important that they highlighted that.” Says Nate Nevado, founder of Rock the School Bell Hip Hop Conference, an academy located in San Bruno where they use Hip Hop as a platform to serve and educate youth in the community.
We were hyphy is not available on any streaming services. The film is Only on KQED or the PBS website https://www.pbs.org/video/we-were-hyphy-yp1fui/