Hyphy fear cancels concert

TURLOCK -- California State University, Stanislaus, officials canceled a concert Saturday featuring Vallejo hyphy rapper E-40 and Sacramento hard-rock band Papa Roach after hearing safety concerns expressed by law enforcement.

Stanislaus State officials said the event was called off because of what they said was potential violence associated with the hyphy movement. The Warriors Welcome Back Concert was scheduled for 6 p.m. at the university's amphitheater.

"Heavy concern expressed by the law enforcement officers was the key factor in the decision to cancel," said Stanislaus State President Hamid Shirvani.

Those concerns centered on the show's co-headliner, rapper E-40. The artist is part of the growing hyphy scene -an up-tempo youth-oriented rap style with its own dance, slang, fashion and car culture.

The hyphy movement has been criticized by the Modesto Police Department and its chief, Roy Wasden, who attributed it to a melee downtown between officers and youths Sept. 3.

Police said large groups of youths assaulted and robbed young women. They also smashed car windows and vandalized vehicles.

No serious injuries were reported. Police arrested or cited 17 people.

The concert, scheduled for Saturday and sponsored by the Stanislaus Associated Students Inc., was billed as a celebration for returning students. The first 800 students would have been let in free. The all-ages,

alcohol-free event would have been open to the public. About 2,500 to 3,000 people were expected to attend.

University officials said they will schedule a new Welcome Back Warriors show, but no date or artists were set. All tickets will be refunded.

Associated Students President Chelsea Minor said her decision boiled down to safety.

"We were not ready or willing to cancel the concert, but pressure came from the law enforcement officials and vice president for student affairs (to cancel the show)," she said.

Law enforcement officials from across Stanislaus County contacted Associated Students and university administration on Friday to express concern. Meetings were held Saturday and Monday with representatives from the California State University police, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol, Turlock Police Department and Modesto police.

"Every single one of them told me to cancel the concert," Minor said.

Stanislaus State Police Chief Steve Jaureguy said his department's concerns focused on the potential for an unsafe incident spilling into the streets of Turlock or Modesto.

"We believe the risk was too great to move forward," he said. "This was an issue beyond the university."

He said there was a "collaborative voice" from Stanislaus County law enforcement agencies that there was a potential for harm to the students and the outside communities.

"We were watching very closely the events that took place in Modesto. We took it very seri-ously," he said.

Jaureguy said university police were going ahead with plans to provide security for the show until he was notified of the cancellation Tuesday afternoon.

Wasden said he believes canceling the show was the right move. His department had offered about 14 to 16 officers from its traffic enforcement division to help staff the Turlock concert.

"I applaud (the students') willingness to look at and evaluate all of the factors and make what I think is a very good decision," he said.

Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton also commended the students for making a tough decision and putting the safety of the community first.

"I have no problems with a welcome back concert for the students, but this was being mark-eted as an event outside our immediate community," Hampton said.


The concert was expecting to sell out at 5,000 people, he said, but about 2,000 more people, some from the Bay Area and Stockton, were expected to show up without tickets.

"They would have to be turned away at the door," Hampton said. "Those folks would end up on the streets of Turlock."

To handle the crowds at Saturday's show, Hampton said he would have to activate most of Turlock's police force, placing

30 officers on the perimeter of the campus to handle any spillover incidents from the show.

He said Oakland and Stockton police provided his department with information, claiming E-40 fans participated in hyphy activities.

"I didn't want to be caught off guard by 2,000 unruly people conducting their hyphy behavior," Hampton said.

Highway Patrol Capt. Lenley Duncan agreed with Hampton's assessment.

"The concern is what happens after the concert in neighboring communities," he said. "We're concerned about (people's) safety and well-being. We're bringing in an element from outside our community, and we don't know what to expect."

Vice President of Student Affairs Stacey Morgan-Foster said she also recommended that the students cancel the show.

"It was very difficult and certainly very disappointing," she said. "That's one of the fun things about college when things like this are planned."

The abrupt cancellation was a reversal from the university's previous excitement about the event, which also would have featured the groups My Former Self and Soldiers of Fortune featuring Mr. Kee.

A Sept. 1 university news release announcing the show called E-40 "one of the Bay Area's finest groups."

But in the release canceling the show Tuesday, the rapper was named as a potential problem.

"E-40 is an artist accused of inciting erratic and violent behavior as part of a growing 'hyphy' movement," it read.


E-40 is no stranger to the area. The Vallejo native's longtime manager, Chaz Hayes, is a Modesto resident, and E-40 has performed in Stockton and Modesto within the past year. His latest appearance was the annual Summer Splash show sponsored by KWIN 98.3 FM.

The rapper headlined the

multiartist hip-hop event June 18 at the Stockton Arena. More than 5,100 people attended.

Lark Ohta, vice president of sales and marketing at the Stockton Arena, said the show went smoothly.

"We didn't have anything bad that happened here," she said. "It was without incident and was a successful event."

Minor said artists for the Welcome Back Warriors Concert are selected by student survey. E-40 was the student body's No. 1 choice, with hard rockers Papa Roach coming in second.

E-40, born Earl Stevens, has been dubbed "Ambassador of the Bay" for his 15-year presence in the Bay Area rap scene. In March, the rapper's career gained mainstream momentum when his latest album, "My

Ghetto Report Card," stormed to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop album charts. His hits include "U and Dat" and "Tell Me When To Go."

Hayes said the characterization of E-40 is untrue. In August, the rapper completed a 26-city national tour that included a stop in Madison Square Garden and an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

"It is totally unfair; we haven't done anything wrong. We did 26 cities with not one incident, and now in our hometown, they want to do this," he said. "They're acting like no amount of police is enough. Like he is Osama bin Laden himself. It is crazy."

The Associated Students and university will lose about $25,000 on the show.

"I know there will be backlash, but I want to make sure that our students and campus will be safe," Minor said.