Bay Area rapper Mistah FAB talks about creating a youth, fashion and music development center
“It’s humbling because it was all just a dream,” Mistah FAB said.
Born Stanley Cox, Mistah FAB was raised by a single mother in North Oakland after losing his father to AIDS. “He was a heroin addict who used needles and things like that and tried his best to survive,” Mistah told FAB. “He succumbed to that lifestyle. At the very beginning of my writing, I started writing about my life and my father, and what it was like growing up as a young black man with a mother. who was recovering from drugs herself.”
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Mistah FAB’s mother passed away about 12 years ago. He told ABC7 News that she encouraged him to write as a child. She bought notepads, dictionaries and books for her son. Over time, Mistah FAB started writing raps and managed to sell CDs from his car. He used this same business model when launching the Dope Era clothing line with his brother and friends.
“We pressed about 25 shirts and just went to the neighborhood and they bought them,” Mistah FAB continued. “The next thing you know was 100 shirts, the next order went to 200 shirts, and now I’m driving and I can’t even see the rental because I have all these shirts and sweaters in the back seats I can’t even turn around!”
The brand has exploded and is frequently sported by stars like Snoop Dogg, Stephen Curry and TI Dope Era has a bright storefront along Broadway in the heart of downtown Oakland.
“It’s not just a clothing store,” Mistah FAB explained. It is an energy pole. It revitalizes the community. When people experience things, they come here and talk.”
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“Dope” in Dope Era means Developing opportunities for people to evolve.
“It’s imperative that we have spaces where people can come and reboot and talk to some people about what they’re going through and see a family unit,” Mistah FAB said.
Family is everywhere in the store, from the employees who work there to the pictures on the walls. Many photos feature the hero of Mistah FAB, his late mother.
“I just wish she was physically here to see — to see all the work she’s put in to pay off,” Mistah told FAB.
There’s no doubt that Mistah FAB’s mother would be proud of her next adventure. He starts a youth development center called Dope Era Academy.
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“Marcus Garvey, Martin, Malcolm, human rights, civil rights, liberation,” Mistah FAB said when discussing the program. “We’re creating a space, a safe space where our kids can go and feel left out. One of the biggest reasons kids join gangs is because they’re not accepted.”
Mistah FAB is looking for financial support and a building to get these plans off the ground, but he has no problem doing it alone.
“I’m going to ruin myself doing this,” Mistah FAB said.
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Mistah FAB bought the building across from Dope Era. It’s a new nightclub called Dezi’s. He is named after his late mother who herself ran a club.
“She said, ‘When I get my club, I’m going to do it like this and it’s going to look like this,’ he explained. “Before, I was like, ‘Mom, I’m going to buy you a watch club’ and she was like, ‘I know baby’ and that was her thing. She said, ‘I know. That’s why I’m telling you how I want it. “”
Mistah FAB continues to create jobs and return to the community that made it. Just when you think he can’t have any more projects, Mistah FAB releases a new album on Friday. He’s 40 now and a dad, so the sound is a bit different.
“No swear words,” he continued. “No profanity because I don’t want to give anyone a reason not to listen to him.”
The album is called Black Designer. The title is a nod to the creators of culture. The song titles feature names like WEB Du Bois, Duke Ellington and George Washington Carver. The album is available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.
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