Today is Dream Day-Remembering Graf King Mike Dream

Dream DayFebruary 5th, 2010 at The New Parish, Oakland, California. Celebrating the life and legacy of Mike “Dream” Francisco.

Art exhibition by TDK crew + more

Music by DJs: Apollo, ShortKut, Sake One, Fuze, Myke One, Platurn, Namane, and Willie Maze. Live drums by Big G of the 808 Band!

Performances by Equipto, F.A.M.E. and The Bangers.

The Bay Area’s best DJs and Artists have assembled to pay tribute to life and legacy of Oakland’s beloved Graffiti King and Bay Area legend, Mike “DREAM” Francisco. Recognized worldwide as a style master, Dream’s graffiti established the visual aesthetic of Oakland’s Hip Hop culture, and put The Town on the map in what is now the fastest growing art movement in human history.

This event marks ten years since Dream was tragically murdered, and all proceeds from the event will benefit Akil Francisco, Dream’s only son, now 10 years old. The TDK crew is also proud to announce the forthcoming book on Dream’s art and life: “The Title of My Book Reads: Advanced Vandalism.”

All proceeds benefit the Dream Book Fund and the Dream Legacy Fund for his son Akil, 10, who recently lost his mother to breast cancer.

If you are unable to attend and want to support, please make checks out to The Dream Trust Fund, or Akil Francisco.

Art Show 6pm-9pm, All Ages, Free
Showtime 9pm-2am, $10 (dontations accepted) All Ages (with parent)

Here’s the original story of when Dream was taken from us…
RIP Dream…
One of Hip Hop’s best is Gone!
by – Billy Jam
2/22/00 9:39:57 AM
The Bay Area hip hop community was in mourning over the weekend with the tragic news of the murder of Mike “Dream” Francisco who was shot and killed on Thursday night, Feb. 17th, in a robbery in West Oakland. Dream was 30 years old and is survived by his family, his girlfriend Nikki and their infant child. Dream, a prominent and prolific graffiti artist since the late eighties, was best known for his association with the TDK [Those Damn Kids] graffiti crew and the Hobo Junction hip hop collective. (Note: a photo of a bombed Amtrak train by Dream graced the cover of Saafir’s 1994 album “Boxcar Sessions”). The ever prolific Dream had done literally thousands of pieces over the years from throw ups all around Oakland and the Bay to works on canvas or paper for such entities as the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, 11/5, Hip Hop Slam, KMEL and Dogday Records. In recent years he had earned a reputation as an equally talented tattoo artist operating out of East Oakland tattoo studio Built To Last with partner Done Carlo. “I’m just in shock. I can’t believe it,” said Done outside La Pena cultural center on Saturday night where a last minute benefit/tribute to Dream was held with such friends/performers as Naru, Company of Prophets and Boots from the Coup all paying their respects.

 “Dream was a very humble and charismatic writer,” said Refa 1; Dream’s close friend and graffiti partner with whom Dream had scheduled a new show at Oakland’s Asian Resource Center (310 8th Street @ Harrison) this week. “He put so much love and dedication into a form that many of us had taken for granted and he had taken it to new heights,” said Refa 1. “He excelled in that and he gave the world so many beautiful pieces coz he himself was a beautiful person. And he always loved the culture!” The one day art show, scheduled for Thurs 2/24 5PM to 8PM, will now become a memorial and its pieces, no doubt, will take on profound new meaning. “In the new exhibit there’s a piece dedicated to 2Pac and Plan B and now I’m gonna have to do a piece dedicated to him,” said Refa 1 shaking his head.

 Sunday (2/20) at the Future Primitive Sound Session at the Fillmore in San Francisco friend and fellow graffiti artist Doze titled his live onstage graffiti installment “DREAM” in his honor. “He wasn’t just a great artist. He was also a great person,” said Doze. Later that night onstage DJ Disk, another longtime friend of Dream’s, paid homage to the slain artist by stopping the music and leading the soldout crowd in a moment of silence. In fact all weekend, all over the Bay people, touched by Dream’s art and ever warm personality, were shocked as news of his sudden death reached them. Many pointed to the sad irony of how Dream always made mention in his art to Plan B who was also slain.

 Emcee/graffiti artist & fellow Hobo Junction member Plan B (real name Jesse Hall), who was murdered in 1992, was a close friend of Dream’s and often the topic of his art. The PBS documentary “Jesse’s Gone” from a few years ago about the death of Plan B, which features interviews with Dream, will rebroadcast on KQED San Francisco on Tuesday Feb 22nd. In an interview broadcast on Hip Hop Slam in 1993 from at the anti-police brutality art exhibit “No Justice No Peace” Dream noted that for many of the attendees at the downtown Oakland art gallery that this was their first exposure to graffiti as art and a dose of “reality” for them. “But to brothers like us reality is watching people die on the streets everyday, everyday,” he said. Billy Jam (2/21/00)

 (NOTE: for updates on Dream’s memorial service and other info related to the artist call the Hip Hop Slam offices at (510) 658-4293, ext 2 or e-mail


Too Many Funerals, Too Many Early Deaths-No Time to Grieve



The passing of Baatin is sadly one of many high profile deaths we had to deal with this year.

The passing of Baatin is sadly one of many high profile deaths we had to deal with this year.

With the recent passing of Baatin of Slum Village, many of us have found this to be a bit too much. For fans of the group and Hip Hop in general, one is left wondering how in the world two mainstays from a group could be gone before 40?  It’s been two years and I am still going to parties where DJs are doing tribute sets for producer and Slum Village co-founder Jay Dee aka J-Dilla. Some people say these tribute sets are done because dude was so dope and he was.. but I think deep inside we play Dilla’s music to reconnect. It’s a way for us to consciously and unconsciously mourn and heal although we don’t all openly admit it.  With Baatin passing there is no doubt tribute sets will intensify.I can only imagine what Baatin’s passing means to a city like Detroit which is still mourning the deaths of J-Dilla and Proofwho was the unofficial mayor of the Motorcity. How has it effected people’s psyche?

I know in the Bay Area where there was a rash of high profile deaths within including the passing of 2Pac, Mac Dre, Cougnut, Mike Dream, Hitman and Mr. Cee to name a few, people are still trying to make sense of things. Same thing in Los Angles where folks within a 2 month period were faced with the loss of three icons DJ Dusk, Michael Mixxin’ Moore and Skeeter Rabbit of the Electric Boogaloos.  In Houston people saw the quick passings of DJ Screw, Big Hawk, Big Moe and of course Pimp C. You can’t say this doesn’t have an effect on people’s outlooks considering so many of us live vicariously through these iconic figures. They become soundtracks and important backdrops to our world.

The sudden passing of Pimp C left many in his native Texas as well as throughout the Hip Hop world mourning

The sudden passing of Pimp C left many in his native Texas as well as throughout the Hip Hop world mourning

The death of Baatin is troubling because it was unexpected and it comes on the heals of the death of Michael Jackson. There’s been little time to even began processing. We had to deal with the shock of his death and then reconcile ourselves with the media onslaught that followed where one too many pundits  were gleeful in taking an adversarial point of view. In short we could not grieve in peace. Many of us were reeling from Michael while simultaneously still struggling to put our heads around the deaths of  other high profile figures  ranging from comedian Bernie Mac to singer Isaac Hayes and James Brown to entertainer Eartha Kitt to Civil Rights icon Coretta ScottKing all of these folks and many more have left us within the past two years.

Adding to our angst are what sometimes appears to be the routine passings that occur everyday in our communities.  I was just in Omaha, Nebraska for their big event and came to find out that a whooping 15 people had been killed within a 10 day period.  Sadly this is not all that unsual when you state this to people. We’ve gotten used to early deaths to the point that we have concluded that death is part of life and we keep it moving. We’ve become hardened to it. For some they say there is no time to grieve. But if we adapt that sort of attitude- then we best be prepared for the unintended consequences which is ‘No time to grieve-No time to live and No time to care’.  I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

The hostile treatment levied on public figures and icons we hold dear has made it difficult for us to fully grieve and heal

The hostile treatment levied on public figures and icons we hold dear has made it difficult for us to fully grieve and heal

When death becomes such a matter of fact occurance in our lives, then we behave callously in other areas. We stop looking for ways to uplift ourselves and our communities. Life offers little or no hope and our full participation in things ranging from community  activities to even parenting  is next to impossible. It simply doesn’t happen. We’re so busy trying to escape the pain that sudden and early losses bring that we create a cycle that eventually brings more death.  To not properly mourn and to constantly seek escape  means we behave recklessly.

From this day foward lets promise ourselves to take time to reflect on those who have gone before us. Cherish their good parts. Learn from their mistakes and lets take some crucial first steps to love one anotther and live fully. The video we put together is dedicated to those who left too early. Its taken from the song ‘Too Many’  from spoken Word artist D-Knowledge. Its off his album ‘All that and a Bag of Words’.  Check for it and  lets stop that trend of early deaths.

Something to Ponder

-Davey D-

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