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When you think about West Coast hip-hop over the last 10 years you simply cannot gloss over IAMSU! and the HBK gang. The 2010s saw a renaissance in West Coast Hip-Hop with many rappers, groups, and producers emerging into the public eye such as Kendrick Lamar (TDE/Black Hippy), Odd Future, YG, DJ Mustard, Vince Staples, Nipsey Hussle, Lil B, Kamaiyah, SOB, Dom Kennedy, Kid Ink, Tyga, and in addition to all of these acts, IAMSU! and the HBK Gang. Historically, the Bay Area has been neglected in the mainstream and has not been the benefactor of national hits outside of a few Too $hort and E-40 songs. During the 2000s, the attention of the mainstream was primarily directed toward New York and the South, with the overwhelming majority of hit songs and acclaimed albums coming from these parts of the country. The West Coast’s national presence was largely overlooked outside of artists such as: The Game, Snoop Dogg, E-40, and Too $hort. This was a stark contrast to the level of success the region had obtained in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. However, the tide completely turned in the early 2010s, as something was brewing throughout the West Coast in the years leading up, with many groups and dope solo acts beginning what would be the start of a crazy run.

Amidst all this, the Bay was gradually elevating its status in the mainstream with the formation of HBK Gang in 2008. It all started when P-Lo, Chief, and IAMSU! linked up while they were attending Pinole Valley High together. HBK grew over the years quite organically through different friendships. Much of the group’s growth came in 2010 and beyond. 2010 is also when IAMSU! released his first two mixtapes, Su The Right Thing and Young California. Other members began releasing their music and doing performances around 2011, and this was also when they began to gain widespread attention. Loverance dropped his biggest single “UP” which featured IAMSU! and elevated the recognition of HBK.

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Photo Credit: KQED

In 2012, Su was becoming a force to be reckoned with, as he dropped the first of three Kilt mixtapes, as well as laying down a stellar verse on E-40’s “function” which also featured YG and Problem. The song went gold, peaked at 69 on the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B charts, 22 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart, and can still be heard at functions (see what I did there), house parties, cookouts, and all sorts of gatherings throughout California. Members of the HBK gang would continue to put out hits such as “Gas Pedal,” “Famous,” “Red Nose,” “I Love My Squad,” “By My Side,” “Goin’ Up” “Only That Real,” and “Never Going Broke” amongst many other dope tracks. HBK has had one of the most prolific runs in the history of Bay Area hip-hop and has brought the scene to a level of notoriety that has never been witnessed before for the region. IAMSU! has had a vital role in HBK’s success, and has played a huge role in the Bay’s rise into the limelight in the last decade. As a founding member of HBK, his role in the formation of this collective was crucial. From the get-go, there was a lot of buzz around Su’s name, and rightfully so. Su has a plethora of skills and has shown a lot of versatility throughout his career. His flows often seem quite effortless, and he can also get more technical in his delivery and cadence. At the same time, it is not uncharacteristic for Su to have a more melodic delivery, and to incorporate sung hooks. This set of skills has set him apart from his peers and has played into his success nationally, and leaves him etched into history as a Bay legend.

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With all this being said, I am super excited to announce IAMSU!’s 9th annual IAMSUMMER Concert! August 5th, 2023 at California’s Great America! Headlined by Multi-Platinum Artist/ Producer IAMSU! Plus Many More Special Guests and Surprises! IAMSU! is best known for his Hit Songs: Famous, By My Side, and I Love My Squad! IAMSUMMER is an all-age, family-friendly event that celebrates Bay Area Music, Culture, Fashion, and Food! All tickets include admission to the IAMSU! & Friends Concert, California’s Great America, South Bay Shores Water Park, and a Fireworks Show at the end of the night!

For more information on tickets, visit

It’s only one way! Pure Love!