I was enjoying a happy hour cocktail at an unnamed Downtown Oakland bar when, faintly in the background, I heard the signature heavy bass beats and sneering raps of Mac Dre. It was subtle at first, as I looked at my colleagues who were demurely drinking their $13 cocktails. Clearly, they had not picked up on the turned down hyphy music which is a signature style that emanated from the Bay Area in the aughts. In fact, as I scanned the room, which was full of professional types who were mostly all white people, I realized: no one can hear this music. Which was strange to me, because the beautiful ballads of Mac Dre usually send me into a thizzy tizzy and make me want to throw my ass in a circle. But, no. Here we were, 6pm sipping, and Mac Dre was almost imperceptible in the background.
At first, I thought, ‘Is my music taste so dated that my slappers are just overlooked happy hour fare?’ But then I realized that, sure, the hyphy era did end ten fucking years ago, but it’s not that. Rather, it’s this new way that people have learned to feign authenticity in the increasingly tense culture wars of us versus them. Which I guess is ironic – listening to Mac Dre is now a badge of belonging and wanting to adapt to the “Oakland Culture.” I find it to be particularly not cute, but, hey, people want to wave around cultural benchmarks as a way to act like they’re down with some shit that, let’s be honest, y’all ain’t down with that shit.
But that’s cool. I guess Mac Dre is now a favorite of post-suburban tech elites, which makes me kinda sad (because you know damn straight the people listening to this are the same ones bitching about the sideshows and graffiti, but they listen to Mac Dre as a way to differentiate themselves from all those other Permit Patties and BBQ Beckies), but, then again, we’re all still off doing some other grimey bullshit that they probably won’t catch up to for another decade.