In May of 1995, at the tender age of seven, my mother uprooted my two sisters and I from the breezy, chill, beautiful city of San Diego, California to the gritty, fast-paced, diverse and equally beautiful city of West Oakland. It was a culture shock. I didn’t understand people in Oakland, nor did many of them understand me. Why did people say Hella, and My Bad? People asked why I talked and dressed like a nerd. I was confused, and felt unaccepted.
1990s fashion images that have inspired much of my personal style as well as this retro photoshoot
That same year, I heard this new sound I never heard before. The beat slapped in my ear and bumped in my chest, the lyrics were like poetry that I already related to at age seven, I felt it was grabbing a hold of me. The raw sounds, beats and street conscious words of San Quinn, Tupac, 3X Crazy, E-40 & the Click, Souls of Mischief, The Pharcyde, Notorious B.I.G, Bone Thugz-N-Harmony, D’Angelo, Jay-Z, the neo-soul movement ushered in a new style of streetwear that was reflective of the streets; urban angst, vibrant color blocking and prints, athletic outerwear, and oversized flashy and graphic pieces; Hip-Hop.
San Quinn’s Live-N-Direct 1995 introduced me to the rap scene in Oakland in 1995
Bone Thugz N Harmony’s 1995 album embodied an urban, gritty image that complimented their quick, melodic voices and tough Cleveland, OH upbringing.
Four young, ambitious, entrepeneurial spirited Oakland bred men are photographed in this Spring/Summer 2014 lookbook inspired by Oakland 1995; the year of Nostalgia that represents the juxtaposition of Southern California and Bay Area styles, the grit of the urban jungle and glamorization of hip hop all while looking to the future in the way we dress.
As a first generation American born and raised in Oakland, Ca to Trinidadian and Norwegian migrant parents. Nate played Football and graduated from UC Berekeley with a degree in urbanization and urban conflict renewal, and currently working as a researcher in the Public health field to fight against gentrification, while pursuing a graduate degree in Public Health at San Jose state University.
Enon “Phenom” Gaines:
Enon Gaines hails from Oakland, Ca. He is currently a Communications Major at Solano College and will be transferring to UCSB next year. He aspires to work for a global advertising agency and develop ad campaigns for companies. Enon also enjoys writing and recording music.
Motivational speaker, author hailing from Oakland, Ca. Sergio holds Open Poetry nights for people to express their words.
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