TOPH ONE'S TOP 10
MEMORIES OF BAY AREA HIP-HOP
1) PSYCHO CITY... The legendary three story wall around a parking lot system stretching over 5 City blocks. Covered with countless layers of Bay Area graffiti history, from the very first pieces by Dug One from TMF crew and Deco in 1986 on up until it's destruction by Mayor Frank Jordan during the 1995 mayorial campaign. The place to be for weekend painting sessions and any late night hook-ups. RIP: Midas, Fate, Plan B, Kermit, Skape, Zac, Tie, etc...
2) E.M.B... Arguably the most famous skate spot on the globe. Also the home of most SF skate-taggers and bus hoppers of the day. The place to meet after racking Spraycan Art or scoring the latest 2 Short tape.
3) I-BEAM... This classic Haight Street nightclub is well on it's way to becomming yet another yuppie nest with a Starbucks on the ground level and "luxury lofts" up above. But back in the day, you could catch shows like Gangstarr, Doug E. Fresh and Supernatural or MCM and the Monster, Beastie Boys, and an unknown Cypress Hill rocking that stage.
4) MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION... Mike B's fabled party set the tone for much of San Francisco's hip-hop club scene. From it's underground origins to the huge bash's at the Kennel Club, this is the joint that brought the Fillmore together with CBS skaters. Kids from the Mission together with East Bay hotties and everyone and anyone in between. The true essence of the Funk. Also the birthplace and wellspring for the Pirate Djs, Mr. 5ive's loft parties, 330 Ritch Street and True.
5) CLUB DECO... Another jigsaw piece in the convoluted puzzle of the Bay's hip-hop scene. A tiny, 3 story club in the Tenderloin run by the bad-ass young Cleo Fishman with a devoted love of hip-hop and reggae music and a legacy that continues to this day. Skratch Piklz, DJ Pause, the Pirates, FunkSide, JahYzer & Coop D'Ville, Polo Mo'xquuz of KPOO, Toks & Dedan, Beatsauce crew, Zebra Records... too many to name up in there.
6) TOO SHORT... What the hell would hip-hop be without the 2 S-H, O-R-T? I was in physics class at Galileo High in 1987 when I heard my first "beeeotch!" and I swear to God I've never been the same since. Don't ever stop rappin', Todd Shaw.
7) LA RAZA PARK... Sundays in the sun, beers, girls in their Summer best, kids and dogs, OG's at the picnic tables, some nervous cops around the perimiter, and the very best in hip-hop soul from the Behind the Post Office crew, Four Fingers and a Thumb, Massive Brings/ Mr. 5's, and more of the true school. Was that Billy Jam dancing on a garbage can?
8) COUG NUT & I.M.P... For probably the hardest damn rap song of all time. "Scanless- 45 pointed, dead at cho head, that's SKANLESS!" Representing OceanView all the way, out of jail and on the comeback trail, the great and powerful Coug-Nut passed away in a car wreck in 2001. RIP.
9) FT. MILEY... Another legendary skate spot in the abandoned WWII gun emplacements above Land's End and the Pacific Ocean. Sessioned heavily by Tommy G, CBS, Jak's Team and countless others... also a hot grafitti yard favored by the CBS, DD, and INS crews circa 1988.
FUNSTON PARK... Something funny about SF hip-hop
heads. There's always been a strong contingent of OG dirtbags who would only
wear Ben Davis pants and blue Derby jackets, drink kegs in local parks, drive
powerful muscle cars, and listen to homemade pause-button tapes on ghetto boom-boxes.
This was one of those spots- Italians and Irish kids from the Marina and North
Beach, together with some dealers and writers from the Fillmore, some heads
from the Mission, a few Filipinos from the Sunset, together with some McAteer
girls and EMB skater chicks = one hell of a great night. Everything from Megadeath
to Public Enemy to Black Sabbath to NWA would get played. A few fights would
go down. The Masonic yards would get hit, and a few of us would end up in jail.