Hand Ova Fist


sOuL & Woodstock

Gil Scott-Heron Tribute






Maytha Alhassen: The Liquor Store Wars

Maytha Alhassen: The Liquor Store Wars

i came across this article that talks about cultural dynamics between black folks in oakland and the arab muslim liquor store owners that proliferate the inner city neighborhoods in the O. besides the author's ability to interview arab store owners in a candid fashion because of her shared ethnic background, the article also impressed me with some unknown stats about my city "The sheer over saturation of liquor stores, an illegal presence that in Oakland totals 326, which is 54 over the number permitted by the law" Combining poverty and access to alcohol while missing the presence of grocery stores poses a real problem, let alone the inner-racial tensions that are created along the way - has been on the minds of many in the social justice movements, let alone in the fabric of  hip-hop (ice cube's "black korea" comes to mind) this article continues the conversation.


Rakim Allah Freestyle

This is the kind of shit I grew up on from the Bay to NY. Classic Rakim!!


Kwik Way: an Oakland Original

There's no telling my story without mentioning the Oakland classic burger joint Kwik Way. The beginning of the sOuL tale says that when moms was pregnant with me she had tremendous cravings for their burgers and corn dogs- that was the late 70's. In the 80's, as a kid pops and I would go here and while waiting for the order to go I would climb on the stair step brick pillars. Known for their greasy fries which sometimes were better ate with a fork and thin hamburgers with some special red sauce this was the taste of my youth!

As much of an Oakland iconic symbol I feel Kwik Way is, its also a good example of what's happened in the town. The pic above is the Kwik Way by Lake Merritt and Grand Lake theater, sometime a while back. I know the pic is old because it's now an empty shell, closed down. No longer serving that greasy goodness and has been this way for at least 5 years. Word has it the original owners are selling the location to Giant Burger (wtf??!!) and that for over a decade the city of Oakland had always wanted to get rid of the spot (rumored to have desired a McDonalds franchise as a replacement!) . As the demographics of the city has changed (many of the black residents have been pushed out for various reasons gentrification being one of them) so have the tastes. The newer yuppie crowd have brought with them cute boutiques where the owners often look and stare at me as if I don't belong, to free range chicken wraps (that I ironically love) , these new neighbors did not take to my childhood favorite eatery. I've seen this happen to all sorts of places in North, West & East Oakland, MB mall demolished to build bigger Kaiser facilities, The Serenader is now a tattoo bar going from an OG hangout spot where the older dudes would call you "young blood" and they wasn't talking about gang bangin - to a place that plays obnoxious rock music as if to highlight the shift. I feel like something has been lost, all except for this picture and the memories of a rich past that I still cherish...