Today's vibrant, predominantly independent and self-supported Bay Area rap scene was born in Oakland almost three full decades ago. The very first Oakland rap release, which was also the very first known Bay Area rap release, was Motorcycle Mike's Gerald Robinson produced 12" single "Super Rat" on Hodisk Records -- the label run by Nicky Moore that also released the Numonics.
Born Phil Lewis and influenced by Bootsy Collins as much as the Sugarhill Gang, Lewis also went by the full rap tag of Motorcycle Mike Dappa and was, not surprisingly, a motorbike fanatic. The song "Super Rat" was pro-black in its message, with Mike drawing an analogy between the then much talked about Norwegian "super rats," who could not be killed by poison but instead got stronger, and the underdog black man in Oakland and other American urban areas who could not be kept down.
Motorcycle Mike's original Oakland rap record was followed up later that same year by the single “Tally Ho” on Walker Star Records from Steve Walker, who re-emerged some years later to record under the name Biscuit. Around this same time a foul-mouthed young teen, Todd Shaw, who went by the moniker of Too $hort and later went on to become acknowledged as "the Godfather of Oakland rap" was making primitive tape to tape recordings in his East Oakland bedroom with partner Freddy B. They would hawk them on street corners and on AC Transit buses, pioneering a whole new movement. "Too $hort paved the way for me and everyone out there today with the way he recorded and marketed his tapes himself," E40 told me years ago. In his early years, the Vallejo rapper successfully adapted Too $hort's DIY approach to street level rap distribution.