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Along with Too-Short and E-40 to Mac Dre and Keak-Da-Sneak, Mistah FAB (born Stanley Cox) has played a role in the Bay Area music scene.
A proud native of North Oakland, Mistah FAB talks about the good, bad, and ugly he encountered growing up. But unlike many of today’s youth, he made it out. The senseless killings, the lack of hope, and the need of leadership, has forced the self-proclaimed “real mayor of Oakland” to speak out.
“When there is a lack of opportunity, violence is highly indulged in. The mind state of the average adolescent [in Oakland] is I’m 12, but I have the stress of a 30 year old,” said Mistah FAB.
He says the statistics support the crime and violence in Oakland today. Murder rates soaring, incarceration at an all time high, and with kids dropping out of school, the perception of success isn’t evident in the community.
“All things that are woes in our community are rising,” he added. “People don’t appreciate life.”
At a young age, Mistah FAB learned to appreciate life because of his mom. She showered him with love, and like many single mothers, she worked 3-4 jobs to make sure she could provide for him. She was his hero.
His mother passed away a few years ago after battling cancer, but he still credits his ambition and success to the foundation his mother put in place.
According to Mistah FAB, that foundation made him stay focused. He moved away from street life and made the decision to seek individuality and do things his own way.
He’s from the hood and his music talks about “hood things” but he says that doesn’t define him as a man.
“My job is to go out, make music, about things I have lived. That’s all my music is about,” said Mistah FAB. He wants his philanthropic actions to speak for him.
Last weekend, he held his 8th Annual Backpack Giveaway in Oakland providing 2,000 backpacks to kids. He also holds a toy drive each year during the holiday season to bring a sense of hope to the community that he holds close to his heart…. something he isn’t sure Mayor Jean Quan is doing.
“I can say she got in position, and she took care of her people, and she did a good job doing it. She made sure Chinatown was taking care of,” he said. “I don’t think the Black and Latino community are her biggest concerns. “
District 1 councilman Dan Kalb isn’t showing any interest as well, according to Mistah FAB. He says he has reached out numerous occasions to meet with him but has not gotten a return phone call.
Even with the lack of leadership, Mistah FAB says it isn’t an excuse for the violence in the streets. As a father – with the recent string of children caught in the crossfire –he feels it is time or the community must become to take more responsibility, to speak out to bring about the needed change.
“You complain about the liquor store but what you drinking for? You complain about the legal system but why isn’t anybody going to school to be lawyers or judges?” He asked. “We spend more time complaining than campaigning.”
Mistah FAB will also co-host the 2nd Annual “Hiero Day” – Oakland’s biggest Hip Hop Festival – on Sept. 2nd at Linden Street Brewery. For more info, visit the event’s Facebook page.
The “FREESTYLE” column will feature popular artists as they voice their opinion on national and/or community based issues in the Bay Area.