Let’s face it. Year 2006’s fate has been decided long before it reaches most ears. The goofy guy on the cover with the googly-eyed sunglasses, DJ Fresh and whomever Traxamillion is pasted on said artwork, and wait, this thing is 80 minutes long?

Most bystanders have probably checked out at this point. Truthfully, however much of a shame it is, most folk (beyond the loyal converted) likely don’t know who Mistah F.A.B. is to begin with. Well, he's had a busy 2018, releasing the strong, underheard Thug Tears, dedicated to, and largely inspired by, his recently passed mother. Apparently, in the months since, he’s already released a sequel which even this writer hadn’t a clue about until working on this piece: that’s just how quickly he works.

Long before F.A.B. was grounded by loss, he’d already established himself a local Bay legend. Battle rapper, party-vibe supplier, sought after producer (for that local flavor), you name it: F.A.B. has played that position. Year 2006, then, serves as something of a return to character, with F.A.B. reveling in his Hyphy roots more firmly than in some time.

It also, length be damned, presents an interesting view of what might even be described as an alternate hip hop history, or, at the least, an unexplored chapter.

Reveling in years gone by is certainly nothing new for rappers, with nearly anyone who is everyone all too happy to remind their fan bases of their cities’ proud histories. However, needless to say, the focus tends to be on accomplishments: we’re bigger, we're better.

Year 2006, instead, imagines what could have been: the year Hyphy came so close to breaking through.

The scene has long been sequestered in an unenviable position. While nearby Compton saw its signature sound boost local rappers to nationwide dominance, meanwhile, the Bay’s most prominent artist switched teams, with 2Pac (famously, to say the least) largely adopting Death Row’s G-Funk. More recently, while young Bay superstar G-Eazy does dabble in Hyphy, his pop rap excursions can hardly been seen as representative of any genuine Bay sound.

Rather, Hyphy’s two most visible proponents, E-40 and Too $hort, in spite of a handful of relative hits between them (and 40's 'Tell Me When to Go' standing as arguably the Hyphy crossover success. When did it arrive, you might ask? 2006.), never quite reached sensation status. The year 2006 enjoys particular significance for F.A.B. as well, his biggest success story, 'Ghost Ride It', arriving within the same bubble. With this omnipresent in his mind, he begins this ceremony of remembrance vividly on ‘Hyphy Story’, an opener so strong that it both sets the scene and props up everything that follows across an admittedly bloated extravaganza. Beat by beat, across near victories and dashed dreams, F.A.B. recalls Hyphy’s shortened journey towards the top with wistful pride.

To call Year 2006 overlong is like accusing a buffet spread of being over-catered. It’s a damn celebration, generosity is the point. Hyphy has claimed an adoring home in the Bay, and Mistah F.A.B. has seen enough battles. No longer grasping for nationwide ears, the local veteran is playfully content. A joyous sense of peace pervades Year 2006. Come on in, stay a while, take what you will; the show never stops. 2006. What could have been, what should have been, and what remains. Mistah F.A.B. has chosen to reside there, comfortable in the memory. Welcoming us in, it is indeed roomy. 2006 forever.