Like I said, so much music in Oakland.

The Oakland Drops Beats music crawl: 27 performances, 14 venues, 11 hours. It was a melange of parties, music, vintage, silk-screening, artwork, art making, record swapping, and community building. Here are just a few of the performances.

Local rap collective Oakland Mind in front of Mary Weather.

Local matchbook cover magnets, made by Craig Baxter who is also working on a book of historical Oakland pictures

Oakland matchbook-art magnets made by Craig Baxter, who is also working on a book of historical Oakland drawings

The lyricists at Oakland Mind, Najee Amaranth, Taharka, Jelal, Ale-Jhay, Rico G and Zaire turned the volume up on their regular freestyle cypher at Mary Weather and took it outside, where Judy, the owner of Mary Weather, was silk-screening new shirts in the street.

A music crawl is not like most concerts.  You’re wandering around a gritty circus, sampling the music, the neighborhood, the vibe. 15th Street may have been the mothership, packed with venues, artists, pranksters and parties, but 2 blocks up VAMP Records was having its own thing. Jazz bands were playing just inside the shop door, while the painters, swapers, knick-knack collectors and drinkers were congregating on the sidewalk outside.

One of the bands at Vamp Records was the Oakland Future Trio.

Their jazz was, in its own way, just as freestyle as the rap, with the OFT’s keyboardist Caleb Sankofa, drummer Mikhi Woodley and bassist Ari Carpenter clearly grooving on improvisations from many different flavors of jazz history.

Le Qui Vive

Rock out at Le Qui Vive

The sounds of punk and funk were echoing out from the recesses of Le Qui Vive on Webster Street, and at Oomiroo Gallery, Githinji had “our” new cafe making coffee for the crowds.

At the Joyce Gordon Gallery  there was an enlightening discussion about the sharing of visual and musical culture among global protests movements.  Emory Douglass, the former  Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers, talked about his time with the Sandinistas of Nicaragua, Jennifer Johns talked about the importance of art in social justice, and D’arby Rose talked about her documentary film project, Oaktivism.

At Side Quest Gallery, local band the Parmesans were going folksy on a cover of the Ramones’ “I wanna be sedated.” Their new album, Flat Baroque, is coming out in October.

Oakland Drops Beats was exactly what you want on a hot August afternoon. There was an “anything goes” feel to the event, with kids and adults, dogs and skateboards, music and art. Vendors set up tables, artists set up easels, vintage collectors set up racks, musicians set up speakers, and everyone got freaky.

Someone brought pit bull puppies

Art Nikels, Odd Nosdam, and Jel of Anticon were the headliners for the afterparty thrown by Oaktown Indie Mayhem at the Babeland Gallery. Oakland Local’s own Katie Schwarz reviewed that show for y’all.

third eye

Hip hop all day at Burnt Oak Gallery

There’s more video of the event–check out this playlist!

About The Author

Eric is a freelance writer who covers Oakland's thriving New Economy movement, as well as local culture, community projects, and letters. As graduate of UC Santa Cruz he is essentially a socialist, but what does that even mean anymore, really? As a proud Oakland transplant from the PNW, Eric sees his work at Oakland Local as a small part of Oakland's battle to keep its identity, support all its peoples, and be prospering without plundering.

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