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3 years after the “The Wake Up Report: Gentrification”

About 3 years ago I wrote, filmed, and edited a video about gentrification in SF. I wanted to raise awareness in my own community, nationwide and even internationally about what was going on. I never thought that the problem would have gotten this much worse by 2013. Sometimes I think about this and it almost bring me to tears. I live in Oakland now and I hate coming to SF, it’s expensive just to visit. I get crammed into a sardine can BART train, or pay $6 toll and sit in awful traffic on the Bay Bridge, and I look around and at all these faces and almost never see anyone familiar. 

San Francisco is now Babylon. The city culture used to be based on community, on diversity, on peace and happiness like the hippies preached when they came in the 1969 Summer of Love. Of course there was always the gap between the really rich and the really poor neighborhoods, but so many people were able to come together within that gap. They are the ones who helped make this city so wonderful that people from all over the world wanted to live here. But now SF culture is based on greed, selfishness, and hedonism. Whereas before you had hippies, artists and community-minded folks flocking to the Bay Area, now you have people who don’t have seem to have much interests besides following trends, making money, drinking, and running through SF like it’s their own personal playground. This is really symptomatic of the kind of sick American personalities based in ignorance, privilege and entitlement that seem to be predominant in most of the 50 states these days. I don’t want any part of it. 

One time another SF native and I were walking near the Embarcadero on a crowded Sunday morning. We looked around and realized that the only other black people in the area besides us were homeless. That’s probably quite proportionate to the general city population- the only neighborhood that hasn’t had a drop in its black population is the Tenderloin and 6th St./SoMa area, where most housing for homeless folks is located. This is all part of the plan: the war on drugs, the epidemic of street violence, the prison industrial complex, the constant cycle of poverty- all of that shit has been working like a charm. People always tell me it’s a class issue, not a race issue, but if you’re black or brown you’re born into those types of conflicts. We inherit them. Our ancestors were exterminated and enslaved and the same tactics used on them are more or less being used on us. If you read comments on news articles or social networks, people act like all the minorities just floated away and are now living on some magical island or something. Actually, I take that back, they don’t really seem to care where we’ve gone at all. They just praise how much safer and cleaner certain neighborhoods have become. Well if the city managed to clean up those neighborhoods, why couldn’t they have done so when they were mostly populated by people of color? 

Once I was on 4th and Mission, where graffiti used to be pretty common, and I noticed there wasn’t a single sticker posted or tag on the walls. The streets and gutters were spotless. Now, head on over to BVHP and tell me where you can find the same quality of street cleaning. It’s very obvious that the city government is deliberately ignoring the needs of certain peoples and communities while bending over backwards for others. Meanwhile, they will blame and criminalize the residents of those communities for responding to the unlivable conditions that the city itself established. 

Another time, I was walking in the actual Mission District, 15th and Mission, and I noticed huge condos being built and advertised. RIght away I thought, “Oh hell nah! We gotta do something to stop this!” Just then I realized that the developmental planning on those condos had probably started years ago; that all the permits were in place; that the time do something about it had long gone. This is consistent with all the other issues and actions related to gentrification. The more research I do, the  more I realize that this has plan has been in place for decades. It goes back to redevelopment of the Fillmore and the creation of the “Western Addition;” it goes back to government shutdown of the Hunter’s Point shipyard and the transformation of that area into a toxic waste dump; it goes back to the military internment of Japanese citizens during WWII; it goes back to the massacre of Native Americans by miners and mountain men during the gold rush; and all the way back to when conquistadors touched down from Spain and forced the Ohlone people into the Mission system. 

Almost every turn of events related to city politics in the last 50 years has led us to this. The closure of public schools, gang injunctions, metered parking on Sundays, tickets & citations no one can afford, sit-lie laws, the courtship of the America’s Cup, and the endless development of high-price housing- they are all part of this tangled web. 

Maybe this sounds extreme to some but now I relate to those Native Amercians. I relate to the Palestinians. I relate to anyone that’s had their homeland taken from them by people who look at you and everyone like you as inferior. These yuppies, hipsters and tech-types don’t care about struggles of poor, working class people. If anything they are disgusted by poverty; they look at homeless people as a nuisance, young black men as a fear, and outspoken Latina women as a threat. They are conveniently sheltered from us in nice Victorian homes we used to populate, and watch us from shaded outdoor patios at expensive trendy restaurants. To be an outsider in your own home is a terrible experience that I don’t wish on anyone.

Unfortunately this experience is not limited to San Francisco. What’s most disturbing is that this cycle of gentrification is common nationwide. My patna from New York laments about how whack Brooklyn has become. My homegirl from South Central LA is shocked to have white neighbors for the first time in her life. Even my folks in Asheville, North Carolina talks about how trendy hipsters have invaded the town. So, now I pose the question: what exactly can we do?

The sad answer is that, at this point, I simply don’t know. Honestly most of me has given up on San Francisco. I love living in Oakland, and these days that’s where I prefer to spend my time- something I never thought would be the case. But I know in my heart that I can’t just sit idle and start over here. Even if it was possible for me to fully abandon SF, I know that Oakland is experiencing the same type of change as we speak. I’m afraid that just as I get settled here, the Oakland natives that I know and love will be replaced with more of these modern-day colonizers. I’ve already seen it happen in just the short year and a half I’ve lived here. I don’t want to just lie down and accept it.

I want to be face-to-face with Mayor Ed Lee, look him in the eye and force him to address these truths I want to gather the displaced and soon-to-be-displaced residents of SF and force city politicians to give us a real answer. I want to call out some of the authors and publishers in the SF Chronicle on their biased articles. I want them to see, understand, and embrace how the true heart and soul of San Francisco is really living. I want to see some of these media and tech giants that have found success in our city use their massive revenue to help families and working-class people keep living here. I want people of privilege to empathize with our struggle instead of calling us lazy or accuse us of not working hard enough to keep up. More than anything, I want the same thing I wanted 3 years ago- I want the people who can really step up and do something about this to wake up- that means YOU.

Peace y’all, it’s been a minute since I shared some of my solo work so I wanted to upload this joint off “the STYLE tape.” As of right now, the only way to hear that mixtape in its entirety is to cop the CD, but I wanted folks to check out this track.

I wrote this song last year in 2012 a few months after I moved from San Francisco to Oakland. This song is basically about my new life across the Bay, but it also deals with the concept of getting older and how the world keeps on changing. In our lives we are always caught up thinking about time; worrying about the future, regretting the past, and trying to make use of the present. This song is about me letting go of all that, accepting everything that’s happened to me and everything that’s presently happening; and being open to wherever life takes me. I brought my raps to Hella Records, recorded them in just a few minutes with TD Camp, lit up a chop and dipped home on 580 with a PYT in the passenger seat and the new song on full blast. It has definitely been part of the soundtrack to my life, hope you enjoy. 

New video! No World Order (@Dregs_One @PabloFetti @Monkhardtostop) - Ft. @DaVinci415 - “Molotov” | Dir: @Kolepa38

Check the fly shit & get ready for the #NoWorldOrder album dropping soon…

Peep this very dope interview I did. I talk a lot about my music and my community work, and even kick a lil’ freestyle. Filmed and edited entirely on an iPhone by my folks at the Green Scene.

Dregs One featuring White Mic (Bored Stiff) - Revolutionaries

Here is the latest video from my mixtape “The Inspiration” (which you can download for free at http://dregs1.bandcamp.com). The theme of this video is that revolutions aren’t all about violence. There are millions of things you can do to impact society. Love is revolutionary, kindness is revolutionary, truth is revolutionary- because our current society is the antithesis of those things. 

So hopefully this video will inspire you to go out in the world and serve a purpose. Much love!

As a response to recent wave of violent deaths of black & brown children (as young as 1), folks are holding this event today in Oakland. I won’t be able to make it but I encourage those who can to show up!


In Oakland alone, since January 1st to July 12th there has been 65 killing compared to 51 last years for the same time period. The recent killing of children has exacerbated the gun violence in Oakland. August 2011, during a drive-by shooting on International Boulevard, Carlos Nava, a 3-year-old was killed. Early December, Hiram Lawrence, a 1-year-old child, was killed in West Oakland from a stray bullet. And finally, on December 31st 2011, Gabriel Martinez Jr. — 5 years old — was killed while with his father outside a taco truck on International Boulevard. The last time a young child was killed in Oakland was in 1997, when a 7-year-old child was shot and killed.  A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/race-wars-part-1-the-shocking-data-on-black-on-black-crime). This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally internalized racism fact, that other blacks in fact perpetrate 93% of these murders. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans. Approximately 22 Black men are killed per day. These killing are at the hands of another Black men. To put these numbers in perspective, recall that over 6,400 U.S. service men and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the course of a 10-year war fought in those nations. During the Vietnam War, which lasted nearly 13 years, some 58,000 Americans were killed — nearly 13 percent of who were African American. Malcolm X Grassroots Movement releases “Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People since January 1st, 2012”.  Every 40 hours in the United States one Black woman, man or child is killed by police, and by a smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes. These are the startling findings of a new Report on Extrajudicial Killings of Black People released July 9, 2012.  The combination of police killing and Black on Black killing has created a state of emergency in our community. If we fail to stand now for our children, what kind of daily reality will our children and children’s children have in our community. Our children are dying all over this country at the hands of gun violence. Will you join us by coming into the street showing your support to stop the violence? We as a community united can be the change that saves this country. Join the Oscar Grant Foundation in this vigil to call for Love not Blood. “We are all Oscar Grant, Carlos Nava, Hiram Lawrence, Gabriel Martinez Jr” ” Johntue Caldwell, Oscar Grant best friend, and so many others. Where: 98th & international ave  Speak out by family members who have lost love ones  Community members Spoken word Artist Poetry Most importantly a Vigil for our Love ones For more information: Contact: OGF Call 510-599-6357
As a response to recent wave of violent deaths of black & brown children (as young as 1), folks are holding this event today in Oakland. I won’t be able to make it but I encourage those who can to show up!
In Oakland alone, since January 1st to July 12th there has been 65 killing compared to 51 last years for the same time period. The recent killing of children has exacerbated the gun violence in Oakland. August 2011, during a drive-by shooting on International Boulevard, Carlos Nava, a 3-year-old was killed. Early December, Hiram Lawrence, a 1-year-old child, was killed in West Oakland from a stray bullet. And finally, on December 31st 2011, Gabriel Martinez Jr. — 5 years old — was killed while with his father outside a taco truck on International Boulevard. The last time a young child was killed in Oakland was in 1997, when a 7-year-old child was shot and killed.

A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. (http://www.theblaze.com/
stories/race-wars-part-1-the-shocking-data-on-black-on-black-crime). This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally internalized racism fact, that other blacks in fact perpetrate 93% of these murders. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans. Approximately 22 Black men are killed per day. These killing are at the hands of another Black men. To put these numbers in perspective, recall that over 6,400 U.S. service men and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the course of a 10-year war fought in those nations. During the Vietnam War, which lasted nearly 13 years, some 58,000 Americans were killed — nearly 13 percent of who were African American.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement releases “Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People since January 1st, 2012”.

Every 40 hours in the United States one Black woman, man or child is killed by police, and by a smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes. These are the startling findings of a new Report on Extrajudicial Killings of Black People released July 9, 2012.

The combination of police killing and Black on Black killing has created a state of emergency in our community. If we fail to stand now for our children, what kind of daily reality will our children and children’s children have in our community. Our children are dying all over this country at the hands of gun violence. Will you join us by coming into the street showing your support to stop the violence? We as a community united can be the change that saves this country. Join the Oscar Grant Foundation in this vigil to call for Love not Blood. “We are all Oscar Grant, Carlos Nava, Hiram Lawrence, Gabriel Martinez Jr” ” Johntue Caldwell, Oscar Grant best friend, and so many others.

Where: 98th & international ave
Speak out by family members who have lost love ones
Community members
Spoken word Artist
Poetry
Most importantly a Vigil for our Love ones




For more information:
Contact: OGF
Call 510-599-6357
This Sunday in Oakland I’m performing at an event in support of the sit-in at Lakeview Elementary school. If you haven’t heard about this, the sit-in was a reaction to hearing this school and several others would be shut down. Teachers, parents, students, and activists occupied the school and began running a summer school program and teaching classes. As a result, the Oakland Police Department eventually forced them out of the school.
To me, this is an example of the people expressing their needs and being shut down by the forces who really control our society. Our youth are having less and less access to quality education and the people have used their right to speak out against that. Keeping schools open and accessible is clearly what the people want. However, instead of working with the people and hearing them out, the local government sent in the police to attack them.
Under the current system we live under now, the police who are supposed to protect and serve the people are always going to protect and serve the corporate and politcal entities that control this country. Those same entities are directly opposed to us having quality education for our youth- they would rather send us on a path to either work for them (slavery) or jail (slavery).
So with that being said, I’m very excited about this event and I’m glad that the organizers reached out to me to perform alongside great artists like Boots Riley of The Coup, Digital Martyrs, and more. If you’re in the area, definitely make sure you come through. If you’re not in the area or you just can’t make it, please do what you can to spread the word.
One Love

This Sunday in Oakland I’m performing at an event in support of the sit-in at Lakeview Elementary school. If you haven’t heard about this, the sit-in was a reaction to hearing this school and several others would be shut down. Teachers, parents, students, and activists occupied the school and began running a summer school program and teaching classes. As a result, the Oakland Police Department eventually forced them out of the school.

To me, this is an example of the people expressing their needs and being shut down by the forces who really control our society. Our youth are having less and less access to quality education and the people have used their right to speak out against that. Keeping schools open and accessible is clearly what the people want. However, instead of working with the people and hearing them out, the local government sent in the police to attack them.

Under the current system we live under now, the police who are supposed to protect and serve the people are always going to protect and serve the corporate and politcal entities that control this country. Those same entities are directly opposed to us having quality education for our youth- they would rather send us on a path to either work for them (slavery) or jail (slavery).

So with that being said, I’m very excited about this event and I’m glad that the organizers reached out to me to perform alongside great artists like Boots Riley of The Coup, Digital Martyrs, and more. If you’re in the area, definitely make sure you come through. If you’re not in the area or you just can’t make it, please do what you can to spread the word.

One Love

Tonight. Oakland. Free. All ages. Outdoor. Hip-hop. Read the lineup. ‘Nuff said.

Tonight. Oakland. Free. All ages. Outdoor. Hip-hop. Read the lineup. ‘Nuff said.

The Legacy of Bay Area Hip-Hop History & Culture, by Dregs One - presented at Rock The School Bells 5, Skyline College, San Bruno 3/24/12

What up y’all. I had a blast presenting this workshop to youth at Rock The School Bells last Saturday and had the idea to share the outline. Being born and raised in San Francisco and a student, fan, and participant in the Bay’s hip-hop scene it was really important for me to do this workshop because I feel like we are slowly losing touch with our culture and I want to see it preserved! It’s a long read and lacks my commentary and the visuals, but I hope you still get something out of it. Peace.

  • Introduction of presenter
    • History as an artist/youth worker
    • Wanted to teach workshop to preserve Bay Area hip-hop culture
    • Qualified to teach the workshop from being a fan, growing up listening to Bay music, writing graffiti & inspired by the legends, learned most of the material from years of listening, barely any research was required

  • Workshop overview, topics to be covered
    • The overall history of the Bay Area hip-hop culture: graffiti, dance, DJing, MCing
    • What makes the Bay unique
    • Bay Area pioneers
    • Worldwide influence of Bay Area culture

  • The Bay Area before hip-hop
    • Always been an important area because of the Bay, access to Pacific Ocean, beautiful land, weather
    • Diverse population, melting pot of cultures
      • Native Americans were colonized by Spain, which eventually became Mexico. California was taken by the US but still maintains heavy Spanish influence
      • 1849 Gold Rush brought many people to San Francisco Bay Area
      • Heavy immigration from China & Japan in the 19th century, they faced extreme discrimination & performed hard labor
      • Black population came from the South in mid-20th century, better living conditions and more work opportunities (such as Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard, Oakland Port, etc.)
      • Bay Area has the 2nd biggest Filipino population outside of the Philippines
      • Consistent Latino immigration, close proximity to Mexico, Central & South America
    • Musical movements
      • Huge jazz boom, SF’s Fillmore district is known as the “Harlem of the West”
      • Summer of Love in the 1960s births hippie counterculture and huge Bay Area rock movement. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin hang out on Haight Street. Carlos Santana is from SF’s Mission, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead from the Excelsior.
      • Big funk scene, Sly and the Family Stone from Vallejo
    • Political protest and liberal politics
      • Black Panther Party started in Oakland, CA. Infiltrated and attacked by the FBI, regarded biggest enemy to political establishment
      • UC Berkeley is the site of civil rights, anti-Vietnam war protests, etc.
      • Social movements boom in the 60s and decline in the 70s as a result of assassinations, law enforcement crackdowns, drugs, economic recession

  • Hip-Hop hits the West Coast
    • Hip-hop starts as a counter-culture in New York City. DJing, graffiti, breaking, and MCing become forms of expression responding from poor conditions in inner-cities. Spreads like wildfire through word-of-mouth and music, the 1983 film “Style Wars” influences many people outside of NYC. Bay Area youth begin to emulate and eventually develop their own forms of hip-hop. Hip-Hop is one of the biggest youth movements ever seen
    • In 1984, conditions in inner-cities decline even further with crack epidemic. Addiction, crime, and violence tear apart communities nationwide- especially in Oakland, CA. http://youtu.be/IJg0RheWi-Y?t=4m17s
    • Crack epidemic also spawns this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3TnAwoBmTQ
      • Too $hort, born in LA raised in Oakland, begins rapping and recording tapes with friends. He went from neighborhood to neighborhood selling tapes. Eventually, his music spreads across the entire Bay Area, West Coast, US, and eventually the entire world.
      • Mostly known for X-rated raps, Too $hort has also released socially-conscious music that reflects on the state of the community. “Girl” is the first example.
    • Other artists begin to sell tapes
      • Most Bay Area hip-hop music in the 80s is “gangsta” rap, providing honest commentary on the state of Bay communities.
      • Early examples include Hugh EMC (Fillmore, SF), and 415 (Oakland CA) - which was Richie Rich’s rap group. Snoop Dogg cites them as the inspiration to create 213 with Nate Dogg & Warren G, crediting Richie Rich as a major influence to his rhyme delivery.
      • A non-gangsta rapper who came up in the 1980s was MC Hammer, who borrowed money from Oakland A’s players to start creating and selling his own tapes. He eventually blew up based off his dance skills and live perfromances.
    • Graffiti in the 80s - Bay Area writers begin developing their own styles and graffiti explodes in the Bay. http://youtu.be/6Qhjo5jjwVw

  • The 90s: The Rise of Bay Area Independence
    • Inspired by Too $hort and others, Bay Area artists begin starting their own labels and finding success. With most major labels based out of LA or NY, Bay artists build their own support within the underground
      • Sick-Wit-It: Started by E-40 out of Hillside, Vallejo. Artists include: The Click (E-40, his brother D-Shot, their sister Suga T, and their cousin B-Legit), Celly Cel, Little Bruce, & more.
      • Get Low Records: Producer/rapper JT The Bigga Figga of the Fillmore was the business brain behind this label which included the Get Low Playaz (JT, San Quinn, D-Moe & Seff The Gaffla)
      • Young Black Brotha: The producer Khayree created this powerhouse label which gave a start to artists such as Mac Dre, Mac Mall, Dubee (Crestside, Vallejo), Young Lay (North Vallejo), & Ray Luv (Santa Rosa).
      • In-A-Minute Records: Although this label was not started by artists, they put out records by San Francisco artists such as IMP, Dre Dog (aka Andre Nickatina), and  RBL Posse, and Totally Insane of East Palo Alto.
      • Master P moves to Richmond from New Orleans and starts No Limit Records. He later moved back and used much of what he learned to bring his independent label to the mainstream & achieve huge success. Many accuse him of stealing game & turning his back on the Bay.
    • With so many labels and artists, many collaborations were released on compilations which became a big part of the Bay Area scene. Some of the most successful include Herm’s “Trying To Survive In The Ghetto,” Master P’s “West Coast Bad Boyz” which went Gold, and Black-N-Brown’s “17 Reasons.”
    • The Bay Area becomes major innovators of DJing & turntablism http://youtu.be/Fmw1iIXjlFE?t=16m5s
      • Bomb Hip-Hop record label releases several compilations, including the first all-DJ compilation “Return of the DJ”
    • In addition to the gangsta rap scene, the Bay Area is home to many alternative artists
      • The Coup (Boots Riley & DJ Pam The Funkstress) of Oakland has heavy political message
      • Living Legends is founded in Oakland by Mystik Journeymen
      • Bored Stiff of San Francisco influences underground hip-hop worldwide
      • Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf come out of San Jose. After Charizma was murdered in East Palo Alto, PB Wolf starts one of the biggest independent labels, Stones Throw Records.
      • Paris comes out of San Francisco with a controversial political sound
      • Hieroglyphics is formed in Oakland by Del The Funky Homosapien (Ice Cube’s cousin), and includes Casual, Pep Luv, Souls Of Mischief. After the individual artists are dropped from major labels they start their own independent brand.
    • Production sound goes from heavy sampling to the trademark “mobb” sound. Producers such as Tone Capone, Mike Mosely, Khayree, TC, Ant Banks have a heavy influence
    • Oakland graffiti artist Mike Dream pioneered Bay Area style and put conscious messages in his art until his murder in 2000.

  • The Decline and Resurgence
    • The Bay Area scene is oversaturated with artists, compilations, and labels. The socially-conscious gangsta rap becomes glorified and marketed towards the mainstream.
    • Many artists are unable to escape street life
      • Incarceration affects the careers of several artists, such as Pooh Man who is currently serving time for armed robbery.
      • Many artists die, including Hitman & Mr. Cee of RBL Posse, leaving Black C as the only survivng member
      • The death of 2Pac (who was raised in Marin City/Oakland, worked with many Bay artists, and had a large influence from the Bay Area) sets off an overall decline in rap music.
      • At the height of his popularity and on the verge of mainstream success, Mac Dre is gunned dwown in Kansas City in 2004
    • After being discovered by Too $hort, Atlanta artist Lil Jon blows up and eventually signs E-40 to a deal with Universal.
    • The Hyphy Movement shows the world many aspects of Bay culture which sparks nationwide interest in the Bay. However, Hyphy becomes played out quick with many artists jumping on the bandwagon and very little of the Bay’s diversity gets exposure.
      • This brings many new artists to the spotlight, such as Mistah FAB, Big Rich, the Jacka, and the Pack

  • Present day
    • There are now a wide variety of Bay Area artists pushing different styles of music
    • E-40 and Too $hort are still relevant, releasing albums in 2012- however there is a lack of Bay Area artists in the mainstream
    • The independent tradition carries on, and many artists find success through the internet
    • Turf dancing is created and gets worldwide attention http://youtu.be/Fmw1iIXjlFE?t=16m5s
    • The Bay is still a center for large community and political movements, such as rallies around Oscar Grant and the Occupy Oakland movement

  • The Future…
    • …is up to US to create! Keep the culture of Bay Area hip-hop alive!