Hella hyphy in the Yay Area

Illustration+by+Brittany+England%2FThe+Pioneer

Illustration by Brittany England/The Pioneer

Wendy Medina,
Copy Editor

The New York Times lists the East Bay as a top place to visit in 2016 and rightly so because living here is the bee’s knees. I first moved to the Bay when I started my freshman year at Cal State East Bay and having lived in the Los Angeles and Orange County area my whole life, the distinction between the culture, the lifestyle and the people was very clear.

The Bay is filled with an atmosphere of community and expression unlike any other — unlike New York City, unlike Atlanta, unlike Los Angeles — it is unique. The artsy, unconventional air of Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and surrounding cities entices me; adventure always calling.

 …the true beat of the Bay lies within the nightlife of seemingly random events, each filled with more grandeur than the next.”

While the Times article suggests hotspots of a more conventional taste, the true beat of the Bay lies within the nightlife of seemingly random events, each filled with more grandeur than the next. On any given night, weekday or not, one can stumble upon something like an ecstasy-fueled dance party that’s moving through the streets or down alleyways where anyone can enjoy not only local murals but live bands whose music and energy reverberates in the night.

Many know about Oakland First Fridays, but I don’t think enough people take the time to explore the surrounding areas as thoroughly. Telegraph Avenue in Oakland and Berkeley always offers surprises if you stay long enough.

While staying after hours for a First Friday, I ended up becoming part of a mob of demonstrators protesting a curfew in effect and next thing I knew, I was alongside them yelling “F–k the police” as a cavalry of Oakland’s finest, helicopters and riot squads sealed off further movement down Telegraph Ave. Needless to say, it was great experiencing the art and culture of Oakland, that concluded with cursing at cops then figuring out an escape route and rendezvous point if tear gas was busted out.

Dance parties, block parties, mob parties explode around the East Bay all the time, the secret to finding them simply lies with being in the right place at the right time, or having a homie in the crowd, informing you of the route. A lot of these random get-togethers include someone in the crowd acting as DJ because they were the ones who came up on the busted speakers blasting trap music, trying to get everyone hyphy. Fireworks, streakers and being tailed by cops can become part of the plan, sometimes.[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#a5a5a5″]”I was alongside them yelling ‘F–k the police’”[/mks_pullquote]

Another annual event that happens the first week of May is Hip Hop in the Park at the People’s Park right behind Berkeley’s Amoeba. Good vibes, music, breakdancing and graffiti coupled with the heavy smell of weed create a soulfully relaxed atmosphere.

Empowerment of women, minorities, art, music, social justice were just a few of the topics discussed on the mic in between performers; you’d never find anything like this in the crevices of Orange County. Souls of Mischief, Blue Scholars, Macklemore and even Blu & Exile have performed at this event.

The Bay is like getting into the moshpit of a punk rock show: you’ll get roughed up, but once you hit the ground, the community will always be there to help you up so you don’t get trampled on. Besides the art scene, it’s the people that make the Yay Area. With that being said, pre-gaming is always encouraged to kick off a night of wandering for adventure.

Illustration by Brittany England/The Pioneer

Illustration by Brittany England