Senselessly gunned down and killed during a random street robbery on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland ten years ago this month, Bay Area graffiti legend Mike "DREAM" Francisco's legacy has grown exponentially in the decade since his tragic murder. And tomorrow, Friday, Feb 5th friends, family, fans, along with those who never even met the late artist but who were somehow touched by his life, his work, and/or his spirit, will congregate en masse for the big annual DREAM DAY.
The sure to be packed event, which takes place at the New Parish on 18th Street near San Pablo in Oakland, will feature graffiti artists, DJs, b-boys and emcees all celebrating, through their respective elements of hip-hop culture, the life and legacy of the man known to many as King DREAM.
As well as graffiti art by DREAM's graffiti collective, the TDK CREW, there will be music provided by a long list, including F.A.M.E., emcee Equipto, DJ Apollo, Shortkut, Fuze, Myke One, Sake One, The Bangerz, and DJ Platurn. Former Amoeba Music Berkeley employee DJ Platurn is among those who actually never met DREAM but whose life was impacted by DREAM's work. "The first time I heard of Mike Dream was through Saafir's Boxcar Sessions. Not only did his art grace the cover but his voice on the record resonated with community and a sense of pride in his craft," Platurn commented earlier today. "I never knew the man personally, being a recent L.A. transplant around that time, but he was always someone that I knew to be a hero and legend in the Bay Area hip-hop game and I'm proud to honor his legacy in any way that I can."
Meantime another DJ from the DREAM DAY event Myke One (aka MYK 1 TMC from the Almighty DJs) commented that, "I think what Mike DREAM 1 TDK means to me, and to a lot of folks in the Bay Area, is respect because he respected everybody. He always [would] say what's up to you everytime he saw you; you know always showing you that respect and love. it didn't matter where you were from; other parts of the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, the South or even other parts of the Bay Area, Wherever! If you knew him he would always show you that respect, and never look down on you because of what you looked like or what you did." Myke One summed up his take on DREAM best by sharing this. "His quote to me all the time was "It's all about the fame game!" which I think he meant was [that] whatever you do in the hip-hop game - DJ, graffiti, MC, or b-boy - do it to the fulliest so people know what you're about. And I think he sure damm well made sure he did that in graffiti cos his styles were untouchable! I'm forever gonna miss him. He"s gone but never forgotten."
Like Myke-One, as one of the many people blessed to have personally known Mike "DREAM" Francisco, I can honestly say that he was a very special human being; a sincere, kind, and generous person who always had time for others, and was always passionate about his art and his beliefs. Check out the 1993 interview with him at the No Justice No Peace exhibit contained in the Amoeblog posted last August 15th (the date that would have been his 40th birthday) to get a sense of DREAM as a person and his values.
At his funeral service ten years ago, when the church in Alameda was literally overflowing with mourners, the sense that someone very special and influential had passed from this earth was most evident. But what amazes me even more is the way DREAM's legacy has posthumously grown by leaps and bounds -- something that is eerily like two other Bay Area hip-hop generation icons, Mac Dre and Tupac Shakur, both of whom were also tragically gunned down and murdered in their prime.
DREAM DAY begins at 5pm on Friday Feb 5th and goes until 2am at The New Parish at 579 18th Street near San Pablo, Oakland, CA 94612. $10 admission. The event is a benefit for the artist's ten year old son Akil who was just an infant when his father was slain and who, reportedly, has recently taken up the art of graffiti. All ages are welcome at the event but kids must be accompanied by a parent. More info here. And if you cannot make it in person, according to Martin Aranaydo , the event will be streamed live on a webcast via Live Venu! ..
Above right is "Hip Hop" -- a DREAM piece done on canvas from 1992. And below is his art from around that same time on a wall by the railway tracks in Oakland featured on the cover of the 1993 12" single "I Can't Believe It" (MCA) by East Bay hip-hop act Capital Tax. For more on the artist go to DREAMTDK.com or click on the Art Crimes' post Remembering Dream.