Oakland, have I told you lately how much I love you? The vibrancy, the art, the people (wearin’ their voice.) If I was asked to narrow down what I love most about The Town, I’d have to say the districts (which is kind of a cheat since collectively, they are what make Oakland, Oakland.) I mean the topography here is bomb. If you want to feel emerged in the jungle concrete, head downtown. A few blocks away, sun bathe at Lake Merritt, our de-facto Nile. When I really want to get away from my downtown apartment and take in some breathtaking views, I head to Oakland Redwoods. For my nerdy side, Chabot Space Center’s got my back– there I can ponder the significance of my spec amongst the cosmos with like minded folk. On a summer day, I like to head up with my friends and enjoy a Modelo at one of the many taquerias in Fruitvale (where my momma, and my momma’s momma grew up), or head to Montclair for the best date ever.
Everyone has a favorite hood, or place they feel most at home at here. And when it comes to city pride, I don’t know any other place that reps as hard. People move out here, and in about a week, they become Oakland converts. You’ll see them draped in Oaklandish gear posted up at some cafe, sharing links on Facebook why Oakland is 10x better than SF.
Now reppin’ hard doesn’t necessarily make you a novice, however. Like, did you know, about West Oakland’s historical jazz presence? Or that the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back are inspired by the cranes at the Port? Did you know that Bruce Lee honed on his badassery skills in none other than the streets of Oakland? Or that the “happiest place in the world” is inspired by our very own Fairyland?
Now, trivia aside, if you’re going to rep, know how to pronounce what you’re reppin’. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard people mispronounce Dimond District. Like actual people who lived in Dimond tell me they lived in “the Diamond District.”
Take a seat sir, and allow me to school you. It’s pronounced DE•MOND. No, it’s not named after a shiny rock (although it should be), it’s named after some guy, like most streets, in America. And for those who do pronounce it correctly, but refer to it as ‘The Dimond District’ it’s actually just Dimond District, sans the ‘the’. Like how Bey is just Bey. Okay pupils, run along and tell your friends (after reading the article, that is).
While it’s not named after a gem, Dimond sure is one. Lately, my favorite thing to surface out of here that’s got me obsessed is musical genius, Dimond Saints. A collaborative effort comprised of Oakland based duo An-Ten-Ae and Re|eece, it’s crazy to think the group came into being just a little over eight months ago. Since the February debut of their album The Rising, Dimond Saints has etched out a niche for themselves in the electro music community. A fusion of An-Ten-Nae’s Acid Crunk paired with Re|eece’s impeccable beat skillz, what these guys bring to the production table is sheer mastery.
Living down the street from one another in Dimond (thus the name), An-Ten-Nae and Re|eece frequented similar events and parties, occasionally dabbling in their trade with one another. Nothing ever came about their impromptu studio sessions, until late 2013 when they realized they were onto something. Their sounds complimented one another, leading to the creation of Dimond Saints.
I can foresee 2014 being dubbed as “year of the Dimond Saints.” They’ve put this East Oakland district on a global map in unprecedented ways almost overnight; something akin to Heiroglyphics, or Digital Underground. Already a trailblazer in the electronic music world over a decade, seeing many of his solo projects reach number one in their respected genera, Creator of Acid Crunk, An-Ten-Nae, brought with him a large following to his latest endeavor. Adding more to their growing fan list, they spent the summer performing at various music venues, notably LIB, Burning Man and Coachella. They’ve already been featured in Billboards Code five times since March of this year and will be performers at next year’s popular Envision Festival in Costa Rica.
This looks like the beginning of a promising future for Dimond Saints. If you’ve been following this duo already, you may have noticed a recurring trend with their projects.
They just released their latest album, Hunter’s Moon, the second installment of their three chapter album, Shingetsu on the full moon, their first recorded track also occurred on a full moon, and they played their first show on a new moon. And, for those not fluent in Kansai, Shingetsu is the Japanese translation for new moon.
If you’ve been searching for new music to check out, and you’re attracted to ear piercing bass emitted at low frequencies, with notes of jazz, electro chill and crunk, #followthesigns and keep up with Dimond Saints.