OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Rapper Mistah F.A.B., an Oakland native and key figure in the “hyphy movement,” has a new book out that utilizes a unique display to convey a message of hope.
Since his success in hip hop, Mistah F.A.B has become a community activist and philanthropist, doing things like paying for school children to see movies – like Black Panther – donating turkeys for Thanksgiving, and mentoring young people.
KTVU sat down with Mistah F.A.B to talk about his new book called “Dope Era.” And as far as books go, it's not what you would think.
"With this book, I wanted it to be a guiding light to those that are lost in the darkness, because I come from that darkness,” the rapper said. “So I'm showing that you too can do it."
The book is a collection of advice narrowed down to one or two paragraphs at a time, so you can open up to any page and start there. Mistah F.A.B says he wrote it with the people of his neighborhood in mind.
“I wanted this book to be me addressing my little homies,” he said. That is, people who grew up like he did, in a tough Oakland neighborhood where many parents were absent and often those who stayed were addicted to drugs. "In Oakland, specifically, a lot of people's parents were on drugs."
Mistah F.A.B. says communities like his are missing many of the elder figures who could offer guidance.
“They removed the big homies in our communities, whether it be through jail, whether it was through drugs. And what we have is a community that’s plagued with people in competition with each other, people that don't communicate with each other anymore,” he said.
Mistah F.A.B. has enjoyed success in the music business. He has a new album and recently moved his store which carries his own line of clothing to 20th and Broadway in downtown Oakland.
Mistah F.A.B. says his career was inspired when his father died and his mother was addicted to drugs. To document his feelings, he turned to writing and eventually music. He recalls one incident in which his mother stole money from him to buy drugs that changed both their lives.
“I couldn't fathom the fact that not only she stole from me, but she stole to go get high man,” he said. “I probably called her every name is the book man, she was so hurt man she pulled herself together and took me to my grannny house and the next time I saw her she never used drugs again after that. Never."
Mistah F.A.B and his mother ended up having a close life-long relationship and her picture is prominently featured at the store. As to his success, the rapper says he isn't slowing down in a world where people always ask what's next.