A lot has happened in Ilyich Yasuchi Sato's world since he galvanized the Frisco 5 hunger strike against police brutality in 2016.
The San Francisco rapper, better known as Equipto, has continued his relentless fight for social justice—and not just on wax, but in the streets. In October 2017, he led a 14-day, 95-mile march from San Francisco to Sacramento to pressure California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to prosecute the officers who shot and killed civilians Alex Nieto, Mario Woods, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Luis Gongora-Pat, Jessica Williams, Kenneth Harding Jr. and Derrick Gaines. Again and again, Equipto has demonstrated his willingness to put his comfort and safety on the line for his beliefs.
In the midst of his activism, Equipto also took the time to record new music. This time around, the veteran rapper got together with other San Francisco artists to form a new group called The Watershed. The Watershed features Baghead, Professa Gabel, Mcstravick, Brycon, MC Pauze and Monk HTS—rappers and producers with deep roots in San Francisco's underground hip-hop scene. Their self-titled May album is "an open letter about our love and hate with the city, and a way to honor hip-hop culture,” Equipto says.
“Hella San Francisco" is a perfect example of that love-hate relationship. It shines a light on how gentrification has altered the city's demographics, displacing many lower-income people of color. "Take a walk past Valencia, even up Guerrero / Anymore you can’t even recognize Divisadero / So the people and the city are supposed to sit back and tolerate it? / They build a system where they got us all dollar chasin'," rhymes Equipto over a smooth, tambourine-driven break beat laced with funky guitar.