As veteran DJ Cinnamon Garcia cuts up the sounds of Sidney Toler’s last performance as Charlie Chan in 1943’s “The Trap,” one can’t help but feel the atmosphere of intergalactic time travel. Uninitiated youth looking for the auto-tuned, high tempo sounds of pop radio in 2014 will be forced to take a trip to another dimension, as the crafty Hip Hopstress weaves through outer space before eventually parking back in the mid-90’s.
This isn’t just another project for the 37 year old native of San Francisco’s Sunset District. It’s the opportunity she’s been waiting for since that fateful day in 1993 when her older brother showed her how to scratch. “He was trying to teach my boyfriend,” she recalls, “but I was better at it.”
Fast forward 20 years later and despite her love of the culture, one thing was missing from her Hip Hop experience. “Hadn’t made it on a real album. We made some joints I thought was dope, but we wasn’t on the shelf in the store.”
It had been almost a decade since she last scratched a record. Like many, the weight of the wait can prove too much, and in the same fashion as thousands before her, she decided it was a staple of her teens and early 20’s, but not something she could keep up with as the years passed by. “I hate it,” she candidly offers when asked about the Hip Hop music of today, “but I still got my old cassettes.”
Content with the life of a Great Highway resident, she had moved on. The smell of the ocean air, the morning mist weaving through the avenues, and the laid back lifestyle of a self-proclaimed beach bum had proven more than satisfactory. A trip to the Ortega Library in late 2013 would peak her interests once again however. Upon checking her mail that morning, she had been found by that same boyfriend that would sit there and make music with her 20 years ago. “I never had a Facebook. Never had a Myspace. I guess he’d been looking for me,” she says with a laugh.
Indeed he had. There was a job opening of sorts. Northern California rap duo Veteran Gun had just finished a layout for a 2014 LP. One thing was missing though: The album needed some scratches. Enter the Sunset’s original bad girl of Hip Hop, Cinnamon Garcia. The reunion was complete, for the first time in over a decade. Ironically, they caught a 48 Quintara to the 66 Quintara, got off at Taraval and had an early dinner at Marcello’s on 31st, just like old times.
Six months later, the seemingly unattainable had finally been achieved. As CDs hit stores and the new Veteran Gun album hits shelves in record stores, Garcia can now take her place in West Coast Hip Hop history books.