As the vendors and art galleries on Telegraph were closing up shop after a recent Art Murmur, Chioke Jelani (aka Chi) and K.nightshift — better known as local hip-hop duo The Dime — were watching the sun set over Lake Merritt as they waited for a table at the Lake Chalet. Accompanying them were manager Christopher Ford and fellow rapper Binks Winston, who plays an important part in the group's biography — he's basically a hip-hop Phil Spector. Considering the lush, laid-back delivery and style of the Richmond-representing rap group, a posh eatery that makes its own amber ale was an apt setting. Deeply rooted in the Bay Area's do-it-yourself ethos, The Dime has found its niche in the Oakland scene based entirely on live shows, YouTsube videos, and word-of-mouth.
The Dime has a sound that is unique to the Bay Area. It does not adhere to elements that many have come to expect from West Coast hip-hop. There is no connection to hyphy, for example. Rather, this group creates narcotic neck-snappers of a bygone time, full of word play. Even discussing their music, Chioki (Chi), a baritone in the truest sense of the word, is balanced by the tenor of K. nightshift (Shift) and the alto of Binks, making it easy to see how these men have worked, lived, and survived together to create their first LP, Brickyard Cove, due out May 31.