The 30 artists on 'Frisco Daze,' a new rap compilation, came together to make a statement about unity across neighborhoods and cultures. (Zeus Cano (@zeustheprestigious))
At a recent Friday night function just blocks from the Salesforce Tower, there isn’t a Patagonia vest in sight. The evening’s unofficial dress code is orange and black: Giants gear, Jordans, hoops and long lashes. Bass frequencies pump through the speakers, camera phones light up and braids start flying as the room erupts in dance — not the typical vibe of a bar nestled between corporate offices in San Francisco’s Financial District.
“With gentrification, there are a lot of things that don’t feel like they’re for us,” says Antonio Murcia, a.k.a. DeLaCity, between greeting groups of smiling attendees. “We wanted to create something for the San Francisco natives.”
That something is the new album Frisco Daze, a rap compilation featuring 30 up-and-coming artists all born and raised in the City. DeLaCity, who runs a clothing brand of the same name, executive-produced Frisco Daze with rapper-turned-engineer Mix (Martin Encinas Leon) and DJSay (Von Parker). The three are longtime friends and collaborators: DeLaCity and DJSay co-founded the party crew Sauce Fam Collective with Chase Collins, and DJSay is also a member of Family Not a Group (FNG), a squad of San Francisco DJs and rappers, 17 members deep.
Thanks to this type of teamwork, San Francisco natives have been making their presence known in a transplant-heavy city where tech is king. Their efforts are clearly resonating: Family Not a Group regularly packs out venues like El Rio and Curio Bar. SOMArts’ acclaimed, recent Muni Raised Me exhibition — which included art by several FNG and Sauce Fam affiliates — uplifted the stories of working-class, Black, Brown and immigrant San Francisco. And Larry June’s national success is putting a spotlight back on Frisco rap.
Frisco Daze is just the latest development in this cresting wave of creative momentum. City kids are tired of their voices being drowned out, and they have something to say.
“It’s my big mission to highlight the art and culture scene in San Francisco because we were very deprived of that, like before COVID and during COVID,” says DJSay. “And that was the push to be collaborative because — knowing what you’re up against, especially in San Francisco, given the price of rent.”
Produced entirely by Adeyemi, Frisco Daze is pure windows-down party music with a signature, Bay Area slap. DJSay, Mix and DeLaCity conceived its 14 tracks as a journey through a perfect San Francisco day. “Rollin’ Up at Bernal,” which samples Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On (The Dock of the Bay),” shows Professa Gabel, DinaRo, Serg2x, Ozer, Monk HTS and Made.by.Harry trading bars at a smoke spot with a view. “High Speeds N Heem” by OBN Emony and Allmothug is a perfect soundtrack for the corner store run before the house party. “Azul (DemSco)” pays homage to Dominican dembow and San Francisco’s Latin party scene, with verses from JaaayStayTru, Lirico en la Casa and Frisco Baby, whose double-time, bilingual bars sound like they could catch fire.
Frisco Daze’s three executive producers are all in their late 20s and early 30s, and the featured artists range from 18–44 years old. And with samples from San Francisco 1970s Latin soul legends Malo, and the city’s ’90s underground icons like Cold World Hustlers and Paris, “the Black Panther of hip-hop,” the project has an intergenerational appeal.
Frisco Daze might not be conscious rap in terms of lyrical content, but it embodies an activist mission. The album’s three executive producers and many of its artists devote themselves to community work. By day, DeLaCity is a services coordinator at Roadmap to Peace, a Mission-based Latinx violence prevention initiative. DJSay volunteers with Us4Us, an organization with similar goals in Bayview/Hunters Point. And Mix — proudly the first member of his family to go to college — mentors youth at two educational initiatives, the SMART Program and Dev/Mission.
In other words, DeLaCity, DJSay and Mix don’t just make music about their love for their city — they live it. One of their goals is to inspire San Francisco unity across neighborhoods and cultures. After all, that hasn’t always been the case in the Sucka Free City. In the late ’80s, a neighborhood beef between Sunnydale and the Fillmore resulted in violence. A peaceful period followed when Frisco rap rose to national prominence in the early ’90s, following the success of RBL Posse, I.M.P., Messy Marv and JT the Bigga Figga. But too often, tragedy and incarceration derailed the careers of San Francisco’s biggest stars, and Oakland and Vallejo emerged as more prominent powerhouses of Bay Area rap.
“San Francisco’s biggest problem was that we were always competing against each other, competing for the same space,” says Mix. “And, basically, we were our own worst enemy. And I think what we’re seeing today — and not just with us, but different collectives, different artists, different organizations — we are seeing the result of the mindset changing in the City, and different neighborhoods having peace.”
With the guidance of mentors like beloved Us4Us founder and activist Uncle Damien, who blesses Frisco Daze on the intro, the next generation is growing up with a different message. “When we were in high school, we had the gang injunction stuff going on in the City, and the harsh sentencing that was happening with the D.A. [Kamala Harris] at the time — all of these things impacted a generation,” says Mix. “And now that people are coming out of jail, and people have suffered through so much, they don’t want to repeat that cycle. And it’s being expressed through the music.”
That grassroots push for Frisco unity is picking up momentum just in time for 415 Day on April 15. The Frisco Daze crew is getting ready to celebrate the album with 415 Daze Fest, with live performances and vendors at Monarch Gardens, and 415 Nights at ArenaSF, the official release party with a headlining performance from Young Bari.
And, already, the project is resonating. “Me and Antonio go out on random nights and just have a big ol’ speaker playing the music to see the feedback. People bobbing their heads, asking, ‘What song is that?’ is such a great feeling,” says DJSay.
“Some O.G. that rides a chopper came up,” DeLaCity says, “this gangster-ass dude, was like, ‘What’s that song right there?”
415 Daze Fest takes place on April 15, 1-7 p.m., at Monarch Gardens, with food, vendors and performances by Stunnaman02, Allmothug, OBN Emony, Frisco Baby, In tha Moment and more.
Family Not a Group presents It’s a 415 Day Function at El Rio on April 15, 3-8 p.m. with performances by Stunnaman02, Alien Mac Kitty, Grand-O, Sutro, Afterthought and Professa Gabel.
And 415 Nights, the Frisco Daze release party, takes place April 15 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. at ArenaSF, with music by Young Bari, Zo Rosales, Sean G, DJSay, West Carolina and TheCityKid.
Care about what’s happening in Bay Area arts? Stay informed with one email every other week—right to your inbox.