SF Rapper DaVinci Lists His Five Favorite Fillmore District Memories
Ken Taylor DaVinci, in unmistakably San Francisco fog.
DaVinci represents the Fillmore passionately. The rapper claims roots in the area going back to his grandmother's time, and has traced the changes in the blocks he grew up on through songs like "What You Finna Do." So before he lights up the stage at 330 Ritch with Freddie Gibbs this Wednesday evening (Nov. 16) -- supporting his great new EP, Feast or Famine -- we got him to reminisce about five fond memories of growing up in the Fillmore.
"I was one of those kids who would hang out all over the place. I had a little Mongoose bike that I rode around on. A good friend got it for me for Christmas. I'd ride that everywhere -- to the beach, to hang out in front of the BBQ pits... And I was the king of wheelies! I could do them for days! I could also jump my bike in the air and spin my back tire around to knock a garbage can over. But then someone stole my bike and I had to get like a $50 bike from Toys R Us to replace it."
Show Time Record Store
"There were a lot of record stores back then in the Fillmore; Show Time was the place I'd hang out at. You'd see Rappin' 4-Tay and RBL Posse come through there, leaving the big cars outside. It was inspiring. I'd be in there just looking at the tapes and reading the back of them and learning about the studios and the labels and the producers -- I was big on that.
"I remember the first tape I got was Snoop. It had 'Who Am I? (What's My Name)' on one side and this instrumental of it on the other. I'd freestyle over that, but doing my token San Francisco style at the time -- so like 4-Tay but with a little bit of Kriss Kross mixed in, like all, 'Miggedy-miggedy mack!'"
Riding Muni For Free
"You know the Muni, the San Francisco public transport? At the back of the cars they had this box with the electrical wires that connected it and that's where we'd run behind and jump on it when we didn't have money. That's how we'd get around. Did I ever fall off? Yeah, I actually fell off once and broke my ankle. I never did that again."
San Quinn The 'Hood Superstar
"San Quinn grew up two blocks away from me in the Fillmore. He hustled with my pops. We'd see him around; 4-Tay, too, was with my uncle. Quinn was like the 'hood superstar and he knew it. But he was real humble and always had time for people, too. He's still like that. He really looked out for me when my pops went to jail. That's how it was -- he'd do that for a lot of people."
The Oak Street Studio
"There was this open studio, like a rec room, on Oak Street that we'd go and hang out at. The guy who ran it would even put out these tapes of the kids who'd record there, just like 500 copies of them that you'd see in local record stores. He was showing us that it wasn't that hard to do.
"I was in a group at the time and we had a song that started to get a little local attention. It was a posse cut; we got to perform the song at the studio. That was my first ever performance where people knew me in the Fillmore. The song was called 'Ready to Floss.'"
DaVinci performs with Freddie Gibbs Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 330 Ritch.