They even got scraper bikes into videos for the Federation's "18 Dummy" and Kafani's "Fast (Like NASCAR)." None other than Too $hort called Champ the day of the Kafani shoot, urging the scraper bike crew to roll through and bring some local flavor. They continue to glean game from the legendary rapper through their involvement with East Oakland nonprofit Youth UpRising, where Too $hort volunteers.
Inspired by such mentors, the Trunk Boiz have become more civic minded than one might expect of a group that raps about going "SSI" ("Socially Stupid Insane") a track off their sophomore album, due out this summer. Not only are they involved with Youth UpRising and Silence the Violence but also with the "Ban the Box" reentry-reform efforts in Oakland as well as Bikes for Life, an antiviolence campaign launching July 13 with a ride around Lake Merritt. In August, they'll attend the National Hip-Hop Political Convention in Las Vegas, where they'll roll down the Strip on their scraper bikes.
Fortunately, when it comes to homegrown innovation, what happens in Oakland doesn't always stay in Oakland. *
For more on Bikes for Life, call (510) 238-8080, ext. 310.