Now that California has voted in a Hollywood celebrity as governor, maybe it's time for Oakland to elect a ghetto celebrity as its mayor in 2006. The race is still a ways off, but it's not too early to consider the possibilities of the ultimate dark-horse candidate.
Think about it: Who better to represent the will of the people than someone who has sold a shitload of underground hip-hop CDs to those people? Who better to spearhead Oakland's artistic and cultural growth than someone intimately familiar with independent entrepreneurship and the local music scene? Instead of a career politico aiming for a civic notch in his belt before moving on to higher office, why not a lifelong Oakland resident and self-made man, one who isn't beholden to any special-interest groups, but does bear a particular fondness for the turfs, the streets, the boulevards, the avenues?
With Jerry Brown on the way out, it's time for dynamic leadership. We need personality, people. Oakland isn't dull. So why should its top elected official be?
With that, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Keak da Sneak, the Oakland rap sensation whose phenomenal popularity makes him basically the unofficial mayor of Oakland, feel me? So why not make it official? The guy who made it fashionable to sport white T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers even has another ready-made slogan and theme song: his current hit "Town Business." Guess which town he's talking about. Oakland voters can count on Keak to promote our burg as a resurgent economic force in the post-dot-com Bay Area, as well as uphold the outlaw image symbolized so well by the Raiders. (And with a winning record, even.)
Ever the multitasker, Keak has no problem doing two or more things simultaneously. For instance, he conducted our interview while riding through Oakland and being filmed for an upcoming movie. And even over a scratchy cell-phone connection, Keak's genuine concern for Oakland shines through.
C2tE: If you were elected mayor of Oakland, how would you conduct Town Business?
KdS: I'd make it like a civil rights movement, feel me? The whole town. I don't know, we don't get our exposure the way we should. Especially the way we be doing shit, our video things, they won't let us show Oakland like that. Feel me? We can't get permits to film our hood, feel me? I'd make it so you could see Oakland, you know what I mean? People would buy music just to know what Oakland is about, you know what I mean? That's the only way of seeing it. Town shit, it's a business out here.
C2tE: So you would alter the permit process to make it a little bit easier for artists?
KdS: I mean, I'm just saying, you feel me? Music is all we got right now.
C2tE: Let's get your position on sideshows.
KdS: [Talking to another motorist] Get out my face! You gon' feel me! [To me] Hello. [To other passengers in his car] I'll run my Tupac game on this little motherfucker. You ain't got to run the light. That's a throwaway. That's one you can throw.
C2tE: So, the issue of sideshows. Would you legalize them?
KdS: Yeah, I would legalize them, know what I mean? I would put a track, a straight track. Somewhere to where, you had to pay to get in, but a straight track, for people who know how to drive cars, know what I mean? That should be an annual thing or something. Like how LA got switches, hydraulics and all that, you feel me? They have car shows. We could have a sideshow show. You get to show what you could do with that, you feel me? Because that's all we want to do. Building cars, painting them. Interior, music, getting the car to look beautiful, you feel me? Doing the motor something proper. Getting high-performance parts on there. I mean, damn! I wanna see what that shit do. I mean, I know what it do, but I want to show off. Look what I got.
C2tE: Now, what about the dope game? Would you legalize cocaine? How about heroin?
KdS: I mean, I wouldn't speak on that. That's kinda something that's uncontrollable, you know what I mean? That shit was here before I was even born. I'm 27. Rapping saved me from the dope game. If I didn't have music, that's probably what I'd be doing right now. That shit, that's really out of my hands right there.
C2tE: Okay, what about jobs? How would you create jobs in East Oakland?
KdS: I would make it to where people have jobs, know what I mean? Nowadays, you get a job and they do a background check on you, and all of a sudden, they found out you had an arrest for lying to a police officer or some bunk shit like that. People who are qualified for jobs, they only can go to temp agencies and shit. They're really qualified for something better than that, know what I mean? I'd make it like, you'd get to prove yourself, know what I mean?
C2tE: How about a new stadium for the A's? Would that be a priority for you as mayor?
KdS: That same stadium been there ever since I was a young kid. Probably before I even came. They changed the name, but the Coliseum is nice, man. It's a stadium. I would probably modify it, at least. Rebuild it, you know what I mean? Put a millennium twist on it or whatever, you feel me?
Yes, we do. Ask yourself: If a former child star can run for governor (you're welcome), and a former bodybuilder and movie star can actually win, then why can't Oaktown have a ballin'-ass rapper as its leader? This coming election, write in Keak for mayor, and make our town proud to be the "O."