Oakland, meet your new tourism ambassador: MC Hammer, famous rapper, man of Christ, former A's exec, and purveyor of some very goofy pantaloons. The man born Stanley Burrell was born and raised in East Oakland, so it's only natural that he'd by tapped by the city for a new campaign to counter its rather grim public image. "Oakland: To know it is to love it" is the slogan for Hammer's effort, and while we'd agree, fancy words aren't going to solve Oakland's image problem alone. (Hammer pants, on the other hand...) So: as an encouraging slap on the back to the man who first introduced us, indirectly, to "Super Freak" -- and who played the first concert we ever attended, in Oakland -- here are five fairly easy ways Hammer could help his native burg.
5. Teach Occupy to write a good song
Seriously, if people didn't think that the protesters were a bunch of tuneless hippies issuing dull platitudes over out-of-tune guitars -- which
many of the musically-inclined ones are -- the Occupy movement's West Coast capital might have a better rep. Stanley, write 'em a catchy pop-rap tune, and fast.
4. Stop believing that San Francisco is an island
In this Bloomberg Businessweek interview about his new gig, Hammer says he's optimistic that tech firms will eventually move from S.F. across the bay. But his geography is a bit off:
In the old model, it was always Oakland vs. San Francisco. But I think today, the two go hand in hand. When San Francisco is full and there's no more space because of the limited amount of land on the island, companies will expand over the bridge into Oakland.
In a lot of ways San Francisco is an island -- just not the way Hammer means here. Call us crazy, but we think that might affect the direction tech companies decide to move if S.F. ever gets, uh, full.
3. Stop the "Hammer Time" of BART shutting down early
Granted there are plenty of people in Oakland to fill the clubs and bars and galleries on their own. But we bet way more San Franciscans (and
island Peninsula residents, too) would travel for good times in the East Bay if the fun didn't have to end at 12:30.
2. Blast "2 Legit 2 Quit" on city loudspeakers every Day
Make it the goddamn city motto, play it everywhere all the time, and maybe the positive message will sink in:
My people we don't know defeat we crush the strong and
Percolate the weak daily, everyday we make our moves to
Improve our groove because we love to rule where we
Lay yo, work and play we started at the bottom and
Now we're leading the way...
1. Mandatory Hammer Pants
If all else fails, he should just issue three pairs of horrendously baggy, brightly colored pants with tapered cuffs to every man, woman, and child in Oakland, and watch as love, kindness, fame, and a gazillion tourist dollars rain down in the city.*
*We are strictly having fun here and do not mean to trivialize Oakland's problems, which are serious. But you have to admit that it'd be stupendously cool to see a whole city wearing Hammer pants.