When most people think of Hollywood, CA, they imagine sidewalks paved with stars and red carpets being rolled out. But not all is glamorous in this notorious city. Like most places in the world there is an underlying pocket of struggling citizens. Some of these individuals resort to a life of crime and drugs in order to survive. However, struggles build character and sometimes it leads to big things. This is the foundation for L.A.’s hottest hip-hop group, Shoreline Mafia, whose members include Ohgeesy, Fenix Flexin, Rob Vicious and Master Kato.
The group’s success was not instantaneous as it took the perfect formula to lead up to the conception. Unlike many other acts, Shoreline has deep roots in the streets. Most youths in So Cal. get exposed to real-world culture where activities, such as skating, tagging and even drugs are never that far away. For those that don’t have much, crime is rather tempting as it makes it easier to afford the latest and greatest. Ohgeesy took to the streets realizing he could get by better by hustling rather than struggling with academics in hopes of working at a fast food chain like the many others.
While tagging the town, Ohgessy became a part of a crew and soon met Fenix Flexin. The two hit it off and as a way to show respect to these crews, they soon started rapping and creating jams together. Though neither started doing it seriously, they soon built a following and dubbed themselves Shoreline Mafia. Living in the real world, the group would hang out with their crews, lay down some graffiti and performed at house parties. These dudes were making it happen at a young age, building the foundation for , building a foundation to become a notable act in the future.
Another talented youth in the So Cal. scene at the time was producer Ron-Ron, who started making a name for himself by posting up fresh beats online. Shoreline ended up stealing one of these tracks and laid vocals over them to create the song “Musty.” Eventually they all met up and ended up working together. According to Ron-Ron, he was glad they stole the track, as they sounded good over it. Usually when someone steals materials like this it gets ugly quick, but in an ironic twist, it brought these talents together to make for an unstoppable force.
Ron-Ron was also working with local management firm R. Baron, which is run by TK and Picaso (see page 42 for more details). This team is dedicated to finding the next up-and-coming acts. Since Ron-Ron always has his ear to the ground so to speak, he suggested that R. Baron check out Shoreline. At first, Ohgeesy blew them off but Ron-Ron ended up getting them to collaborate. After the meeting, R Baron went on a mission to sell their music to a label and landed a contract with Atlantic. Once the deal was done, Atlantic re-released Shoreline’s first album ShorelineDoThatShit as well as a bunch of other new material.
Shoreline’s results were quick as word spread and a solid fan base started to grow. When their first audio track “Musty” hit a million views on YouTube, they knew things were getting serious. This led to making videos for this song and “Bottle Service.” These videos are not overly produced short films, either; they are a real representation of the Shoreline’s life in the streets.
The videos soon caught the attention of Los Angeles Fox 11 News station, which did a special story on them. The segment was done in a negative light, warning parents about kids drinking “lean,” which is made from mixing Sprite with prescription cough medicine containing Codeine. Though it was done to look down at this group, it actually turned into a huge shout-out for Shoreline. They even took humor in it by adding clips of it to tracks and videos as well.
The numbers prove Shoreline’s popularity as they have skyrocketed to a collective billion streams on various platforms. Just recently, their single “Bands” became RIAA-certified Platinum, which is an industry standard for making it big! Though music streams don’t pay as much as record sales, Shoreline definitely cashes in with booking performances and merchandise sales. Although they’re shining in the limelight, they still keep it hood and haven’t lost love for the streets.
During the shoot, we got to hang out with the crew and learned how different their lives are now that they’re famous. For Ohgeesy, flashy cars like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan from Newport Beach Rolls-Royce are a must. “You can’t show up to a place in a beater and expect to get respect for what you do,” he confesses.
With newborn babies in hand, Fenix and Ohgeesy were showing more than love for the art of rap or cars. Life for these artists has definitely changed in many ways and having babies is another curveball in their lives. Travelling to 270 shows booked over the year is hard when you want to be at home with the family. “I try to make shows kind of like as separate as possible so I’m not on the road 24-7,” Ohgeesy says. “I don’t want to miss major moments.” Life hits everyone at one point or another but they make the best of it and Shoreline has a lot less to worry about these days. “I’m enjoying everything while it’s there and there are different things to enjoy about everything,” Fenix adds.
To some, Shoreline Mafia may just be a group of rowdy kids, but they are a real representation of what is going on in the streets. The music is still as raw as the day they first started given they know where they came from and stay true to their beginnings. Up next is an album that was partially recorded at Big Island Sound recording studio in Hawaii because the group told us they wanted to catch a “vibe.” Be on the lookout for them, as this group will be hitting even harder soon.