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“Eyes on first class from Cleveland to San Diego/ Will I return or stay, though my enemies don’t want me to go/ From snow to sunshine, it never rains, they lied/ But I rather move on with pride, and no reason to apologize” (M-Double-A-L, “No Apologies”)

“Hip-hop is the bastard child of the San Diego music scene,” says Cleveland transplant M-Double-A-L. “In some cases, it’s viewed with fear and apprehensiveness; it’s similar to Cleveland in that both cities aren’t known for hip-hop, but both in fact have a lot going on underground.”

After moving to San Diego in 2002, he says, “I saw a heavy indie-rock presence, but I was trying to find hip-hop culture in SD. I stumbled across the Hot Monkey Love Café, [where] they had open-mike nights, emcee battles, break dancing, and deejaying. After involving myself, I found out about groups such as the Icons, Deep Rooted, and others who’ve had success in and outside San Diego.…

“Every weekend, I would go to Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. Armed with a CD player and headphones, I let anyone who wanted to listen to the music, and some would even buy the album [from me].” That 2005 album, Mackalactick Musick, was also carried on consignment at Access Music in Pacific Beach.

Now, three years later, M-Double-A-L’s new record, Table Manners, is nominated for Best Hip-Hop Album at next month’s San Diego Music Awards, while the artist is nominated for Best Hip-Hop. His next album will be released in October. He appears September 24 at RT’s Longboard Bar and Grill in P.B.

– Jay Allen Sanford

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