What do you get when you combine 27 rival gangs, a handful of semiautomatic guns, and a million dollars in overseas financing? Rep Yo Set, an L.A.-based hip-hop compilation and documentary that has one of the strangest behind-the-scenes sagas we’ve heard in a long time. From Sunday’s L.A. Times:
In place of a casting call, Stanton trawled Los Angeles’ meanest streets and gang-active neighborhoods — Watts, Inglewood and Compton — auditioning real-life street soldiers who are living the shoot-’em-up lifestyle glorified in rap songs…
Robert W. Lewis III, president of Reputable Records and one of “Rep Yo Set’s” chief organizers, was filming a segment of the documentary in one gang-infested Los Angeles neighborhood when [a] confrontation occurred. “Six guys came out of the trees with machine guns,” Lewis said. “Every single camera got taken; footage, wallets, watches — everybody was handing things over.”
The next time Thom Yorke complains about not being able to get “in the proper headspace when he’s recording,” just tell him that little anecdote. Anyway, one of the stranger twists in the story is that the million-dollar funding came from a British businessman named Jon Nokes, who apparently earned his fortune by marketing such must-own inventions as the Smart Mop and a cat-litter system called Quicksand. Dude’s got cred!
You can hear one of the compilation’s tracks, “Westside Piru,” over at the label’s MySpace page; we’re holding back comment for obvious reasons.
Trading Bullets for Beats [L.A. Times]
Reputable Records [MySpace]