Ep. 23 — Frisco (Part I of III)

The fans just want to know who the fuck the artist is.
— Andre "Herm" Lewis


For a place that proudly heralds slogans like #BlackLivesMatter, the homes of San Francisco house very few Black people.

What’s happened to the African-American community in San Francisco is a much more complex tale than just being pushed out by young and transient up-and-comers. Instead, it involves a deeply-rooted history spread across generations with a comet-sized impact that is still being felt today.

And for the sake of this three-part story, it begins with the very polarizing San Francisco nickname: Frisco.

In Part I, we explore why some view this term to be as offensive as the F-word and spend some time with those who simply don’t give a fuck.

Show Notes: 

1. [02:15] “Valantis” by The Blue Dot Sessions

2. [03:30] “Lights” by Journey

a. Lyrics via Genius

3. [04:30] “Frisco” by I.M.P.

4. [05:50] “Lakeside Path” by The Blue Dot Sessions

5. [05:45] “49 square miles surrounded by reality.” —Paul Kantner (San Francisco Magazine)

6. [05:50] Light reading on the square mileage of San Francisco (SF Gate)

7. [06:00] Light reading on the 1906 Earthquake

a. Related: Story on the historic Market Street film (60 Minutes)

8. [06:05] On San Francisco and Its Sourdough Bread (KQED)

9. [06:10] San Francisco and World War II (SF Gate)

10. [06:10] Archival footage of protests against the Vietnam War (KRON)

11. [06:15] The Full House house (Atlas Obscura)

a. ...was listed at $4.15 million in 2016 (NBC Bay Area)

b. ..and bought by the show’s creator (The Hollywood Reporter)

12. [06:15] The story behind Mrs. Doubtfire’s house (The Bold Italic)

a. ...and how it was owned by a plastic surgeon (NBC Bay Area)

b ...and then sold for $4.15 million (The Hollywood Reporter)

13. [06:20] Trailer for Vertigo

a. And tracking where the movie was shot in the city (SF Curbed)

14. [06:20] Trailer for The Rock, which has a 66 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes

15. [06:25] Light reading on San Francisco’s musical history (SF Gate)

16. [06:30] Light reading on Willie Mays

a. And that time he was denied housing in San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle)

17. [06:30] Light reading on Barry Bonds

18. [06:35] Light reading on:

a. Joe Montana

b. Terrell Owens

c. Colin Kaepernick (GQ Magazine)

19. [07:00] Light reading on:

a. ...the Beatniks (San Francisco Chronicle)

b. ...the Hippies (The Atlantic)

c. ...the Hells Angels (Hunter S. Thompson)

d. ...and on the early tech wave (WIRED)

20. [07:10] Light reading on San Francisco’s different neighborhoods

a. According to locals (SF Curbed)

b. In infographics (SF Curbed)

c. For transplants (The Bold Italic)

21. [07:30] Shout out to @karlthefog

22. [07:40] Unrelated San Francisco driving sequence depicting cars and hills from The Streets of San Francisco

a. And one more from the movie Bullitt

23. [07:45] Light reading on San Francisco and the Gay Rights movement (The New York Times)

a. Related: More on Harvey Milk (San Francisco Magazine)

24. [07:55] Light reading on past San Francisco Mayors like:

a. Willie Brown (San Francisco Magazine)

b. Dianne Feinstein (Mother Jones)

1. Sort of related: Her challenger Kevin de León won the California Democratic Party’s official endorsement (Los Angeles Times)

c. Gavin Newsom (The New Yorker)

25. [08:00] Light reading on Nancy Pelosi (Rolling Stone)

26. [08:45] More on Woody LaBounty

a. And his Western Neighborhoods Project

27. [08:55] “Shade Ways” by The Blue Dot Sessions

28. [10:20] Some more background on the use and popularity of the term Frisco

a. Via Mother Jones

b. Via BuzzFeed

c. And from old newspapers   

29. [10:30] When SF was called…

a. The Paris of the West (SFist)

b. And Baghdad By The Bay (San Francisco Chronicle)

30. [10:40] Light reading on the Ohlone tribe (Mother Jones)

a. Additional reading here (The Bold Italic)

31. [10:40] Light reading on the founding of San Francisco (SF Museum)

32. [10:45] Light reading on the formation of Spanish colony and Missions in California

33. [10:50] Light reading on Saint Francis of Assisi

34. [11:10] Light reading on Washington Bartlett (SFist)

35. [11:10] “Jog to the Water” by The Blue Dot Sessions

36. [12:00] San Francisco’s official name change (SF Museum)

37. [12:30] Light reading on Mexican migration to the States (National Parks Service)

a. Related: Treatment of Non-Whites during the Gold Rush

b. Light reading on the California Gold Rush

38. [12:45] Light reading on Peter Tamony

39. [13:00] On “frithsoken

40. [13:30] Light reading on Emperor Joshua Abraham Norton (KQED)

a. And tracking down the myth over his $25 fine on using the term “Frisco”

b. Thanks John Lumea!

41. [14:15] All the cool people who used the term Frisco (BuzzFeed)

42. [14:20] “The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

a. Genius lyrics

43. [14:40] Light reading on Herb Caen (San Francisco Chronicle)

a. His book, Don’t Call it Frisco

b. See point number 15 (BuzzFeed)

c. His about-face years later (San Francisco Chronicle)

44. [15:05] BuzzFeed’s push to call it Frisco

a. And as covered by a local blog (SFist)

45. [15:15] Again, a very thorough chronology of the term (Mother Jones)

46. [15:30] More on Joe Eskenazi (@EskSF)

47. [15:50] “Don’t Call It ‘Frisco’ If You’re Old and White” (SF Weekly)

48. [16:45] Light reading on San Quinn

49. [17:15] Charles Matthews aka Black C (@RBLPosse)

50. [18:05] Quick background on the RBL Posse (Passion of the Weiss)

51. [18:15] “Bammer” by RBL Posse

a. Genius lyrics

52. [18:30] Recommended Viewing: Hip-Hop Evolution

53. [18:50] Marvin Gayes’ 1977 Live at the London Palladium Intro

54. [19:30] On San Francisco and its connection to the gay rights movement

a. And a history on the Castro District (KQED)

55. [20:35] “Frisco” by I.M.P.

a. Light reading on Cougnut

b. Light reading on Ingleside a.k.a. Lakeview

c. History on Ingleside

d. A tour of Lakeview and some of the other San Francisco neighborhoods

56. [22:10] “Nigga Groove” by Hugh EMC

57. [23:25] “Alustrat” by The Blue Dot Sessions

58. [23:45] The lyrical odes to places like the…

a. The LBC

b. Compton

c. Southside

d. The Bronx

e. Marcy Projects

f. Queensbridge

g. 8 Mile

h. The Fifth Ward

i. The various zones over in the ATL

59. [24:20] More reading on Andre Herm Lewis (Amoeba)

60. [24:50] Too $hort on how he started out in his early days (Vlad TV)

61. [25:00] “I Ain’t Trippin’” by Too $hort

62. [26:50] Light reading on Kyle Matthews aka Mr. Cee (San Francisco Chronicle)

63. [26:55] “Bounce to This” by RBL Posse

64. [28:25] “Cicle Vascule” by The Blue Dot Sessions

65. [28:30] Old news footage on gang violence (CBS)

a. Old news footage on gang violence in Chicago (CBS)

b. Related: Old news footage of San Francisco back in the day

66. [29:00] Light reading on the 80s Crack Epidemic

67. [29:10] Light reading on Gary Webb (Esquire)

a. Dark Alliance Series (San Jose Mercury News)

b. Reports from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times

c. Mea culpa from a Los Angeles Times reporter  (LA Weekly)

d. A more recent take on the Webb investigation (The Intercept)

68. [29:30] Former CIA Director John Deutch’s speech in the Watts District of Los Angeles (CSPAN)

a. Report from the event (The New York Times)

69. [30:30] Measuring Crack Cocaine and Its Impact (Harvard University)

a. On the price of cocaine throughout the 80s (Business Insider)

b. On the drug’s alternative (The World Bank)

c. Background on the production side (Slate)

70. [31:00] What taking crack is like according to one New Republic writer back in 1989 (The New Republic)

a. Rough overview of crack

b. On pricing and size

c. Though sold at a cheaper street price, here is an argument that it roughly equates to the same price as powdered cocaine

71. [31:20] Mapping the spread of crack (The New York Times)

72. [31:30] Racial disparity in the ongoing opioid epidemic (NPR)

a. And the coverage comparison between the aforementioned crisis and the 1980s crack epidemic (Pacific Standard Magazine)

b. And on the treatment of African Americans during the crack epidemic

73. [31:40] Original 1989 COPS intro

a. The story of how the show got made (The Marshall Project)

74. [32:00] For more on how the media covered the crack epidemic, read Cracked Coverage: Television News, The Anti-Cocaine Crusade, and the Reagan Legacy (Duke University)

75. [32:00] Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” PSA

a. A look at the former First Lady’s anti-drug campaign (VICE)

76. [32:10] The death and drug overdose of Len Bias (ESPN)

77. [32:40] “Cicle Vascule” by The Blue Dot Sessions

78. [32:40] Light reading on the political climate around drugs following the death of Bias (The New York Times)

a. 1986 United States Senate Hearing on the Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1986 (CSPAN)

b. Audio heard from former U.S. Senator Howell Heflin, a Democrat from Alabama

c. The time Heflin voted against the nomination of present-day U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the same position back in 1986 (Vox)

79. [33:30] Light reading on the Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1986

80. [33:40] Break down of drug punishment, sentencing and incarceration rates from Cracks in the System (ACLU)

81. [34:00] President Obama’s signing of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act (CNN)

82. [34:35] “Cicle Deseratt” by The Blue Dot Sessions

83. [34:40] On the freakonomics of dealing crack (TED Talk)

84. [35:00] “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

84. [35:20] On the militarization of local law enforcement during the War on Drugs (Mother Jones)

a. Rap song on the Batter Ram

b. That time Nancy Reagan was part of a drug raid (Counter Punch)

85. [36:20] "Trying to Survive in the Ghetto" by Herm Lewis

86. [37:20] “Intro” from the album above

87. [37:50] On the vulnerability genre of recent rap stars like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Drake (Impose Magazine)

88. [38:05] Steve Fox’s 20/20 report on hip hop from the late 70s (ABC)

a. Recommended Viewing: Hip-Hop Evolution

b. Recommended Viewing: Planet Rock The Story Of Hip Hop And The Crack Generation (VH1)

89. [38:40] First verses of gangsta rap…

a. Via Schooly D — “PSK, What Does It Mean?”

b. Via Ice T — “6 'N The Mornin'”

90. [39:00] “Fuck the Police” by N.W.A.

91. [39:20] Bay Area artists include:

a. Too $hort

b. Mac Dre

c. Dre Dog aka Andre Nickatina

d. E-40

e. Souls of Mischief

f. Tupac

92. [39:35] Urban legend on the lack of Bloods and Crips in San Francisco (SF Weekly)

93. [41:50] “Cicle Deseratt” by The Blue Dot Sessions

94. [43:00] Light reading on Lonnie Green and Demons of the Mind

95. [43:15] Sort of, but not really, but kind of related: Sucka Free City by Spike Lee

96. [45:25] “Cicle Deseratt” by The Blue Dot Sessions

97. [46:00] RBL Posse’s discography and rankings

98. [46:30] On the death of Mr. Cee (San Francisco Chronicle)

a. As retold by Black C (Passion of the Weiss)

b. A deeper read from the local paper (San Francisco Chronicle)

99. [47:05] A tribute to Hitman

100. [47:30] The album cover in question

101. [49:20] On the violence in Hunters Point (San Francisco Chronicle)

a. Stunning photography by Alex Welsh

102. [56:55] Podcast recommendation: Dissect