by People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey
One of the City’s hometown heroes who does not get a enough credit for his contribution to Bay Area Hip Hop is the always recording, and performing, Hunters Point lyrical terrorist and Livewire Records artist Footz da Beast. While the City is holding the Northern California Hip Hop title, it is only right for the San Francisco Bay View to cover one of the members of the elite team of wordsmiths that is holding the San Francisco flag in Hip Hop. For those that don’t know about bruh, he is very articulate and insightful about his life in this exclusive interview.
JR Valrey: How has the neighborhood of Hunters Point contributed to the way in which you see yourself as an artist?
Footz da Beast: Good question. I would say it contributes to everything I do, because I come from the bottom, so it resonates. It also contributes to how I look at the things that’s going on in my community – from the homelessness to gentrification. I see less and less programs for the youth, so if we’re not giving them an opportunity, they will eventually take it.
The community of Bayview Hunters Point has always nurtured and took care of me and also prepared me for everything we’re seeing in this world. My mom used to tell me if you can survive a year in Hunters Point, you can probably make it anywhere.
I’m also connected to the community’s nonprofits, so I give back every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year we gave out a couple hundred turkeys and a truckload of toys, thanks to our District 10 supervisor. We give the toys to the kids when Christmas comes and have Turkey giveaways during Thanksgiving, so I would say it has always taught me to be mindful of giving back.
My mom, my dad and my grandma taught me how to give back as a child. My dad used to be the president of the Alemany housing projects and always gave back to the community, from turkey drives to summer jobs, so I come from a family that’s giving lol.
JR Valrey: Who are some of the San Francisco artists that inspired you?
Footz da Beast: Man, big shoutout to each and every San Francisco artist! A lot of Bay Area rappers currently inspire and influence me, but if we’re talking strictly San Francisco artists, I would have to say I listen to a lot of Larry June, Berner, Lil Bean and Zaybang, you know. I also have been slapping Lil Yee, Lott and a few others ‘cause I like the way they can tell a story.
But never underestimate me, ‘cause I still will go way back and take notes while listening to Cougnut, Bnt or Herm Lewis and who can forget about Jt The Bigga Figga, Guce, and Messy Marv? So yea, I still slap Seff The Gaffla, 11/5 or Rbl and so on, ‘cause I have to pay homage to the ones who paved the way for me, plus some of that music is truly timeless.
JR Valrey: What have you been working on lately?
Footz da Beast: I just finished “The King Footz Tour,” but as of today, me and J Stalin are working on Covid41510 part 2, and that should be ready by the first quarter of 2023. I’m also working on a movie called “Trying To Make It Out” with HookerBoy Films and my brother Lv Tha Don. I have a new EP called “High School Dropout” that’s done and dropping at the end of October.
Me and Lv tha Don also have a project that’s dropping December 2022. I’m just trying to stay busy, and I have a few more projects and films in the works, but I’m not allowed to discuss them publicly yet. It’s obviously something with a few big names attached, so I really can’t go into details.
JR Valrey: It is rare for a Frisco rapper to be on the label of an Oakland rapper, although we are all from the Bay. What is the story behind how you and Livewire CEO J. Stalin hooked up?
Footz da Beast: Nah, it’s not rare when it’s your family. It’s bigger than a record deal or a contract with me and J, and Livewire is home, period; that’s all I know. Me and Stalin linked years ago when I opened up for Philthy Rich on “The Nerl2 Tour,” but I was already locked in with a few Livewire artists like Petey, Mac Vellione and Stevie Joe so it was only right.
JR Valrey: Where did the name “Footz” come from?
Footz da Beast: My neighborhood gave me that name years ago, so I would say the streets gave me that. My mom didn’t really like the name Footz when she first heard someone call me it. Moms don’t play fair! She was like, “That ain’t what I named that boy.” Plus when I was younger, they used to call me “Kool Aid” in the house, and that name stuck all through elementary school, but once I got to middle school and my feet didn’t stop growing, my name changed real fast.
JR Valrey: With San Francisco rappers being some of the biggest representatives of the Bay on a regional and national level currently, how does it make you feel to see the City wear the crown of Bay Area Hip Hop?
Footz da Beast: I’m happy for the City and every artist pushing their craft, and that’s dope to finally see people giving San Francisco artists their recognition. Larry June is selling out arenas and is a mainstream artist along with 24kGoldn, and I just seen Stunnaman02 “Big Steppin” with the San Francisco 49ers, so that’s gigantic. Plus I heard Mobetta and Showbanga got the commercial for the theme song, so I’m proud of The City right now. It’s big for artists from The City right now and the Bay Area as a whole, and I love to see the rappers from the 415 prosper.
Happy Birthday to Dr. Ratcliff – he’s a huge pillar, voice and pioneer in our community and we need to give him his flowers while he can cherish them.
JR Valrey: You are known for being a solo artist as well as hanging with a crew of rappers from the City, including Marley and the rest of the crew. What is the difference in your creative process when you are recording solo and when you are with a group?
Footz da Beast: Yea, I’m a solo artist, but when my group gets together, the creative process is simple: We find beats that slap and go hard. Sometimes I write before I get to the studio, and there’s times where I find myself free-styling in the booth.
There’s really no difference though, because I can vibe out in any situation, but it’s a little more animated when everyone is around, because I can feed off of their energy. I also love to create when no one’s around in isolation, so I have a studio in my house, and I’m always on the microphone.
I love listening to oldies like the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and so on. You can never go wrong listening to good music, so I would also add that the creative process always involves good music.
JR Valrey: What have been some of your biggest milestones as an artist?
Footz da Beast: So far my biggest milestones have been performing in front of huge crowds at SxSW in Austin, Texas, because that was huge, and I can’t forget about rocking Hiero Day with J Stalin, Lil Blood and Keisha Cole, because that was at home. I also just performed with Trina and T Grizzly, so I can knock that off my bucket list.
Shoe Palace is playing my new single “Say Yes” in every store nationwide, and all my fans are tagging me when they’re grabbing some new kicks and hear me in the background.
Giving back is also another big milestone that I’m proud that I have achieved, and just me being in position to be able to help younger artists develop their craft. It’s also big to be in position to give back to my community.
JR Valrey: When we met, you told me how you knew me from the newspaper. Can you tell that story in the newspaper?
Footz da Beast: Yea, I know you as being an activist and writing columns in the San Francisco Bay View. Shout out to you, the Black Panther Party, and Happy Birthday to Dr. Ratcliff. He’s a huge pillar, voice and pioneer in our community and we need to give him his flowers while he can cherish them.
JR Valrey: How can people hear and purchase your music? Where can they find you on social media?
Footz da Beast: They can find my music streaming on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play or wherever music is sold, and you can also find hard copies of my music in Amoeba and a few other stores that still sell cds. You can follow me on Instagram: footz_livewire.
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. Visit www.BlackNewWorldMedia.com to read more.