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The Frontline

The Frontline, commonly known as

Frontline, is a rap duo from Richmond,
California consisting of Left and
Locksmith, also known as Lock.[1] The
group is associated with West Coast hip
hop music.

The two rappers were both born in
Richmond and met while at Richmond
Junior High School, and formed The
Frontline in 1997.[1] Group member
Locksmith first got national exposure
appearing on MTV's Freestyle Battle in
2003.[2][3] He reached the final round, but
lost to a rapper named Reign Man. They
initially recorded mixtapes and released
their debut album, Who R You, in 2004,
selling it themselves from the van in which
they travelled to performances.[1][4] After
gaining popularity through airplay on local
radio stations, the album was reissued
with additional tracks in 2005 by Ryko as
Now U Know.[1]
Despite gaining popularity around the time
of the Bay Area hyphy movement, The
Frontline are not associated as hyphy
artists. Their lyrics are more socially
conscious than most Bay Area rappers.
One of the issues that has been brought
up in multiple songs is being positive role
models for youths. While they are not
opposed to gangster rap and rapping
about previous transgressions, Lock and
Left don't consistently make records about
violence and do not romanticize it.[1] Their
hometown, Richmond, CA has one of the
top homicide rates not only in CA, but in
the United States. Neither rapper smokes
or drinks alcohol, nor glorifies it in their
songs. While promoting their second
album, Lock & Left, on Bay Area radio
station 106.1 KMEL, they discussed the
downside to drugs and alcohol abuse.
Much of their work has been produced by
E-A-SKI.[1] Lock and Left are both UC
Berkeley Graduates (LEFT is currently
earning a PhD in African Diaspora
Studies).[1] Their dedication to youth and
education is also reflected in their after-
school mentoring and tutoring programs
they have set up in the city of Richmond
California.[1] There are also two as-yet
unreleased tracks named "I'm Still Livin'" &
"Loco", which were released in
underground and Bay Area Complication
Disc. Locksmith has recently re-entered
the battle arena and has emerged
victorious in all of his recent battles (all of
said battles are on

Locksmith said if the duo's approach:

"We're trying to let them know that there's
an alternative to the alcohol and drugs and
violence that's going on. We don't down
anybody for what they do, but at the same
time we will show them that there's
another route."[1]

In 2009, Locksmith was working on his

own solo album, Frank the Rabbit,
produced by E-A-Ski.[3][5]

The Bootleg Album

Bootleg 2.1
Who R You (May 10, 2005) - Billboard
Independent Albums #48[6]
Now U Know (2005), Ryko - Billboard
Independent Albums #46[7]
Lock & Left (September 25, 2007). The
single, "It's Goin Down," is a hidden track
on this album.


"What Is It" (2004)

"Uh Huhh" (2004)
"Bang It" (2005)
"Take That" (2006)
"When You Want It" (2006)
"It's Goin' Down" (2007)
"R.I.P." (2007)

The group has had three videos on MTV:

"Bang It"
"When U Want It" / "The Truth"

"When U Want It" / "The Truth" was MTV

Jam of the week on MTV Jams and MTV U
1. Hildebrand, Lee (2005) "RICHMOND
Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 2005,
retrieved 2010-07-06
2. "The Front Line "Bang It!" ", The Wire,
2005, retrieved 2010-07-06
3. Bernard, Adam (2009) "Locksmith
interview ",, June 9, 2009,
retrieved 2010-07-06
4. Liu, Marian (2005) "HOMEGROWN HIP-
Mercury News, March 28, 2005, retrieved
5. Paine, Jake (2009) "E-A-Ski Comments
On Protege Locksmith, Album ", HipHopDX,
April 1, 2009, retrieved 2010-07-06
6. "Who R You - Frontline (2004) ",, retrieved 2010-07-06
7. "Now U Know - Frontline(2005) ",, retrieved 2010-07-06

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