Release Date: Potluck "Harvest Time" September 21st, 2004
Although Humboldt County, California is best known for its world famous marijuana, the duo of 1 Ton and UnderRated-together known as Potluck- are well on their way to changing things.
Indeed, for the last decade Potluck has built a well-deserved reputation as the premiere rap group in Humboldt and the surrounding areas and also one of the more promising talents to emerge from Northern California's legendary and organic independent hip-hop scene.
Combining an 'average joe' sensibility along with a penchant for syrupy west coast beats, clever samples, and witty rhymes--which run the gamut from life and love's tribulations to neck-snapping battle raps--Potluck is more than just emcees, they're producers and djs too.
Back in 1995, while the two were students at Humboldt State University 1 Ton, who originally hails from San Diego, and UnderRated, who was born and raised in Humboldt, met at a dj trial at a local club. "We were the two tightest djs there, so it was natural we hooked up," remembers UnderRated about the first encounter.
Despite the fact that they were from different backgrounds-1 Ton is African-American and UnderRated is Jewish-the two formed a musical chemistry as djs which translated into some of the best college and club parties Humboldt had ever seen.
Shortly thereafter, UnderRated was involved in a terrible car accident and used the money he received from the subsequent insurance settlement to buy an SP 1200. From there, the young dj quickly morphed into an aspiring producer and began concocting beats and buying more and more equipment.
In addition to spinning and producing, by the time the two graduated, Potluck had their own fully stocked studio and were working behind the mic. "We needed somebody to rap on our beats, so we figured we could do it," laughs Underrated.
In 2000, the group released their debut album Humboldt County High. They distributed the record themselves up and down the West Coast through a label they formed, called Lost Koast Productions. The group quickly became local celebrities and began signing a select roster of local talent to their label-snagging emcees and R&B crooners-in an effort to put Humboldt County on the hip-hop map.
"In Humboldt, we became so popular, we were selling more albums than Brittany Spears," smiles 1-Ton, about the group's early days.
All jokes aside, songs like the weed inspired "Humboldt County High" and the more serious "What's Your Purpose" catapulted Potluck into the mix of up and coming West Coast rappers.
"It was on some getting high and life experience shit," comments 1-Ton.
With the album making waves in Humboldt and beyond, the group began touring throughout the Western US. As a result, Potluck was invited to participate on the world famous Warped Tour, which they've been rocking for the past four years, sharing stages with the likes of Jurassic Five, Non-Phixion, and Atmosphere.
Now, with a burgeoning reputation and an album's worth of new cuts, Potluck is poised to release their sophomore joint, "Harvest Time" to be distributed by City Hall. It's an impressive collection of melodic beats and provocative rhymes, featuring the likes of Tech n9ne, Living Legends, E-40, and Bosko. What's most striking, perhaps, is the sheer versatility in subject matter Potluck presents through their music-rapping about everyday experiences, which are sure to move anyone who listens.
"You Ain't That Fine," featuring E-Fizzle himself, is a light-hearted ode to all the club girls who may look fine but act stuck up--backed by a heavy, funk-drenched beat complements of Bosko.
"We'd see all these girls in the club when we'd be on tour and we'd just watch them acting all stuck up and dissing guys," says UnderRated.
"Sports Junkies," on the other hand, is one of the first hip-hop songs to unabashedly discuss the group's intense love for sports.
"Besides making music, we're such sports junkies," remarks 1-Ton. "We watch sports, play sports, play sports video games, whatever. Whether it's college basketball, football, or boxing, it doesn't matter."
"Track 20 (Just Like You?)" showcases the group's more serious side as UnderRated-sporting a Twista inspired flow-expounds on the loneliness of balancing women, music and life's hardships. 1-Ton follows suit, ripping an impassioned stanza of rhymes about trying to earn respect in the face of being labeled a castaway.
"We can rap about everything and anything because really we're just two average guys making music. We're not out there bling-blingin' all the time. We're going through everyday average shit just like the next man," says 1-Ton.
Indeed, it's that 'everyman' aura which Potluck so readily embraces-heartfelt and sincere-coupled with their obvious lyrical and production skills, which makes the group's music interesting, appealing and perhaps most importantly, good old fashioned hip-hop.
Listen for yourself... and understand.