Hyphy Kids Got Trauma

January 18, 2024
A handful of kids are rocking out to hyphy music. They are smiling and dancing.

Hyphy, the legendary youth culture movement from the Bay. Uptempo music, oversized airbrushed T-shirts, stunna shades and candy painted cars doing donuts in intersections. It was an unbridled, livewire, communal celebration. The people fueled the music, and the music moved the people. But beneath it all? That’s where it gets real.

Plus, a big story from a little boxer.


Hyphy Kids Got Trauma from KQED

This week on Snap, we have a special story to share from our friends at KQED’s Rightnowish podcast– it’s from host Pendarvis Harshaw’s series, Hyphy Kids Got Trauma.

In 2006, Pen was 18 going on 19, and he had a front row seat to one of the most notable times in Bay Area hip-hop history– a period often referred to as “the hyphy movement”.

It was an era of uptempo-bass-heavy music, oversized airbrushed white t-shirts, candy painted cars and stunna shades. There was exuberant dancing, extravagant slang, and goofy party antics. While there was a lot of partying and celebration, there was also a lot of pain. That year Oakland saw its second highest annual homicide total ever.

Pen experienced all the highs and lows back then, but feels like the full story of the culture didn’t get told, until now when he brings us into the real meaning of “hyphy.”

This story contains explicit language, mention of drug use, and violence. Sensitive listeners please be advised.

Listen to the Hyphy Kids Got Trauma four part series now – wherever you get your podcasts!

Hosted by Pendarvis Harshaw, produced by Maya Cueva, edited by Chris Hambrick, sound designed and mixed by Trackademics.

With support from Eric Arnold, Jen Chien, Holly Kernan, Victoria Mauleon, Marisol Medina-Cadena, Gabe Meline, Xorje Olivares, Delency Parham, Cesar Saldaña, Sayre Quevedo, Katie Sprenger, Nastia Voynovskaya, and Ryce Stoughtenborough.

The Little Boxer

It’s the 1950s in San Francisco. After getting beat one time too many, little Gus Lee decides to fight back.

A big thanks to Gus Lee. This story comes from his novel, “China Boy,” based on his childhood. Lee is a courage-based leadership trainer and consultant. He’s now completing his eighth book, “Courage Is a Verb.”

Produced by Liz Mak, original score by Renzo Gorrio

Engineering by Pat Mesiti-Miller, illustration by Teo Ducot

Season 15 – Episode 3

Producer Credit:
Original Score: 

Teo Ducot

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