Contagious Rap

Yung Tage says he has a couple of ways to make sure his Saturday show goes off. First: only wear dressy white or cream-colored clothes.

"We got it from Puff Daddy. It's an elegant thing. Gangsters may come, but if you're wearing white, the chances of people fighting are less. If a troublemaker does come in and wears white, he'll look stupid if he causes problems.... I've already been told by a lot of people, 'Dude, I can't wear white.' 'Perfect. If you're too good to wear white, I don't need you. No, thank you.' We're trying to get an older, 25- to 35-year-old crowd. Grown folks don't want to go to a club where guys are wearing dickies and wife-beaters."

Another hook: he's mixing hip-hop with comedy.

"I don't think it's been done before. Get tired of dancing? Go laugh at the comedians."

Tage ("It's short for contagious") has a van and car (an '83 Chevy Caprice) wrapped with artwork that promotes himself, other rappers, and his sponsors.

"I have been pulled over five times by police. When I asked why I was pulled over, they always give the response like I was distracting the view.... The one time I got a ticket was because of an air-freshener tree on my rear-view mirror. [The case] was thrown out of court."

Born Derrell Harper 27 years ago, Tage says he has had to self-promote.

"Nine times out of ten, an artist has a manager. I'm my own manager. I've had to book my own shows.... I'm doing this show [Saturday in San Marcos] because there are no clubs in North County [that regularly host live hip-hop]."

Truth About Me, Tage's first CD, references street realities in his hometown.

"I sell Oceanside. It's automatically a problem when I sell my CD in San Diego. There are a lot of Bloods in San Diego; it's mostly Crips in Oceanside. But when they hear the music, I get a pass. I don't glorify the Crips or gang violence, period."

Yung Tage appears Saturday, November 5, at the Longshot Saloon in San Marcos with comedians Donavan Kuntry and Jahmaine.

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