Originally from Santa Barbara, CA, El Jefe were an intriguing blip on the California hip hop scene. When they signed with Zip Records, they had all migrated to the Bay Area, playing some memorable shows and gaining a sizeable audience.
El Jefe blended elements of rock, reggae and punk (think Living Legends meets Sublime). Their one and only album "Amorphous Phormula" came out in 2004. All members of the band were fresh out of college (UCSB) so it was fitting that their lyrics were topically about dating, partying and the insecurities of the young.
The bands' leader and bassist Peter Lazarus described the songs as about "realising who we really are underneath what we present to the world". Heavy stuff done up with a heavy beat.
The El Jefe album was inspired by artists they discovered in the Bay Area. When listening to the album it is also clear that their influences were The Roots, KRS-One, Bad Brains and DJ Shadow. The critics were wowed by their ability to create something new and exciting with a low budget.
One of the high points was the 2004 VAN WARPED tour - this coincided with their Zip Records release and was the summer they peaked.
El Jefe broke up in 2006 and left behind one great album which stands the test of time.