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"Son of the Hood" Shady Nate Talks About His West Oakland Neighborhood, LiveWire, etc.

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2011 07:01pm | Post a Comment
A founding member of LiveWire Records West Oakland's Shady Nate is a local rap hero and long a popular artist with both Bay Area rap fans and fans nationwide of the mobb street style of rap that he and his LiveWire potnas (including J Stalin, Philthy Rich, and Stevie Joe) all deliver. He grew up in West Oakland's notoriously violent Acorn housing projects on 7th Street not far from the West Oakland BART station - an area that has gone through much changes over the past decade - and, while a gifted hip-hop artist who has enjoyed moderate success from his art, has gotten caught up in the street life and spent a good deal of the past decade either incarcerated or under house arrest. However thanks to his ever optimistic, upbeat outlook Shady Nate has managed to write and/or record music and boasts an impressive discography that includes  - much of it with his fellow rap artists in the tight knit LiveWire collective - the label he launched in 2004 along with J Stalin and Jay Jonah.  I recently caught up with Shady Nate to talk about rap music, West Oakland, and how he got the name Shady Nate?

"I got my name from my hood: the notorious Acorn Projects - the only projects in Oakland period. They say everybody in my hood is Shady. I'm from a shady hood and Acorn niggas ain't cool and all that. So I named myself Shady Nate just to let people know what it is," Nate told me. Known for caring about his West Oakland neighborhood and giving back to his community (Nate has been responsible for throwing BBQ's in his neighborhood for the kids coming up over the past two summers) I was curious to know what Nate thought of West Oakland today versus ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago. Is it better or worse than when he was a kid coming up? "That's a tough one," he answered, pausing for a second and considering all of the so-called "development" that taken place in West Oakland in the past decade. "Yes they're putting money into the city; they're rebuilding but they're not putting money back into the right places. They're not putting money into the schools so while they're rebuilding the structures, the buildings, they're not rebuilding the community, the people. So the people is getting worse. It's a lot worse from when I was a youngster. People might have thought I was crazy but now the people that is coming up under me they is even more sick. I can't say it's getting better. I really think it's getting worse."

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