Art is imitating life in Bay Area rapper Zion I‘s latest video for his appropriately titled “Tech $.”
Silicon Valley is rapidly changing life in the Bay Area. So rapid to the point that people who have lived there for generations barely recognize their old neighborhoods. One, because landmarks are getting bulldozed and replaced. Two, because landlords are selling their properties, upping the rents and moving new neighbors in.
The latter is especially true for Baba Zumbi who also raps under the moniker Zion I.
In 2015 he wrote the song “Tech $” to reflect the changes that are going on in his hometown of Oakland. As more money and jobs come into the area, not all of the changes are helping out the people who were already living there. Instead, it’s changed many of their lives for the worst with rising rents and costs of living altogether. He compares the current tech gold rush to the “dot com” boom of the late-90s.
Fast forward to one year later, Zumbi is now the subject of his own rhymes. His landlord told him that he was selling the property and had to leave. When he went looking for a new place he saw that the price of rent had skyrocketed. Since he, his wife and two children [and one on the way] can’t afford to live in Oakland anymore they had to move to neighboring San Leandro, Calif.
To capture the feeling he filmed the day that he and his family out of their home and turned it into a music video for “Tech $.”
“In art, you take your hard times and make them good times,” says Zumbi to MarketWatch. “I wrote this song as a reaction to my experience of all of a sudden being introduced to this gentrification thing in the city I love.”
Check out the “Tech $” video below.