Posts Tagged ‘Kayla McIntosh’


Scrapped Up



Melissa Tan works on a dress for her brand “With Love” in her victorian home in the Mission District on Wednesday April 3, 2013.


By Kayla McIntosh
Photos by Gabriella Gamboa

The name SCRAP says it all.

Tucked away in SF’s Bayview neighborhood, a junkyard/teacher’s donation center/starving artist’s paradise is waiting to be sifted through. Melissa Tan is completely at home. Carrying two frumpy shopping bags, she rushes past the metal gate and scurries up the mini-flight of stairs into her personal nirvana.

“It’s a good thing I’m not alone otherwise I could spend hours here,” she says nonchalantly.

Her cat-lined eyes are set on the fabric section placed dead center of the cluttered store.

Tan glides past the store’s “free” section, which is stuffed with retro CDs and tattered binders, and walks straight to the recycled fabrics. Most would be immediately overwhelmed. SCRAP is filled with thousands upon thousands of art-related knick knacks.

A plethora of bright and dull fabrics are rolled up and tucked away in dozens of shelves along the aisle. From brown leather to fuchsia jersey to neon lycra, myriad textures are present. Some textiles are new and shiny while others are pungent and dowdy.

Tan starts grabbing.

Dressed in all black, her half shaved red hair makes her stand out. She is rambunctious, humorous and a self-proclaimed hippie who adores designing sustainable clothing. She relentlessly picks up and puts down fabrics that she finds interesting, random or just plain ugly.

It’s a game of the senses.

She unrolls many of the fabrics and chuckles to herself when amused.

“Look! It’s elastic bands for guy’s underwear,” she says with a huge grin as she dangles dozens of the grey and black bands.

Barrels of worn leather are positioned in the middle of the cramped aisle. Grass green velvet is carefully spun around a metal contraption.

Tan sifts through the boxes on the other side of the aisle and finds a small bag of black fringe. She quickly shoves it in her bag. She may feel like using it for her next Burning Man costume.

SCRAP is a non-profit reusable art center but most importantly, it is where Tan purchases most of the fabrics for her recyclable clothing line, With Love. Her label consists of whimsical circle skirts in mesh, velour and jersey. She also has draped tees made of two separate tops. A standout piece is  her black mini skirt made of mesh and fringe. Perfect to wear as a swimsuit cover up.

Every fabric used was either salvaged from SCRAP or from an piece of clothing that was never going to be worn again.

“The most sustainable thing to do is to not buy anything new,” Tan proclaims. Her ideology is that sustainable fashion is only sustainable when in fact, no new material is being used.

The green movement in fashion has been around for decades. This movement refers to the notion of not using fabrics that have been sprayed with harsh pesticides and synthetic fertilizers for the sake of growing cotton. Repurposed and recycled fashion shows off a softer side to an industry notorious for consumerism and self-indulgence. Eco-conscious designers are popping up and creating successful names for themselves in the Bay Area community.

Designers like Tan are producing garments that are either from organic textiles or recycled materials. In pursuit of protecting the environment, designers are putting Mother Earth before the apparel.

Another brand following the eco-conscious trend is Clary Sage.

Environmental lover Patti Cozzato founded the line in 2008. Her store is located on the upscale Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights.

Out front, a small sign with the words “Clary Sage Organics” hangs above the door of the store.

Inside, the interior reflects the aesthetic of the brand. Repurposed pieces furnish the space. The countertops are weathered pieces of wood sanded down to give off a rustic vibe to an otherwise cold space. The concrete floors are polished with grey scraps floating throughout. The walls are covered in metal beams and reach high into the ceiling.


Melissa Tan sews a dress seam at her victorian house in the Mission District on Wednesday April 3, 2013.

“It’s all her vision,” Catherine Kwei, head of the Clary Sage stores, says about the modern interior design of the comfortably sized storefront. The “her” being Cazzato, who has manifested a yoga and lifestyle label featuring textiles like organic cotton and bamboo.

Clary Sage initially launched as a yoga brand that sold leggings and tanks but has since expanded to fashion pieces like tees, tunics and wraps. Like the label, With Love, designers of this eco-friendly brand use repurposed materials as well.

Their most famous duds include a pair of knee-hitting yoga pants that come in both organic cotton and recycled water bottle fabric. That’s right. Water bottles can also be used to create chic workout gear.

Designed, manufactured and sold exclusively in San Francisco, Clary Sage has been a staple in the community for the past five years.

Their main clients are eco-conscious shoppers and small business supporters.

Kwei wants consumers to know that living an organic life does not stop at what you put into your body but what you put on the outside as well.

To her, Clary Sage centers on “teaching a lifestyle about living well [and] being well, including what you wear.”

Protecting the environment is the focus of all designers that aim to create eco-friendly articles of clothing.

It’s not just local designers either. Back in 1988, the out-of-the-box, Parisian based Maison Martin Margiela sent models down the runway in a gown constructed of repurposed leather from a butcher’s apron. More recently, fashion model Elettra Wiedemann wore a Prabal Gurung dress made of recyclable materials to the annual fashion prom known as the Metropolitan Gala held in New York City in 2011.

People in the industry have begun to embrace the concepts of sustainable wear. Labels are beginning to let it be known that organic garments don’t have to be dowdy.

The brand, Mina+Olya for example.

Designers and founders, Mina Yazdi and Olya Dzilikhova, teamed up and eventually founded their luxury label in 2011. For the past few years, they produced three collections for the fall and spring seasons.

Some of their favorite fabrics include sustainable wools, organic cottons, silk charmeuse, and hemp.

Their design aesthetics are classic and crisp. Their fall 2013 collection consists of conservatively tailored wool dresses and structured outerwear in muted palettes of grey, camel and plum.

Their collection is sold exclusively at the boutique Curve in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Myriad fashion brands have sprouted up throughout the years yet most are difficult to find. Sites like Eco Fashion World serve as guides to all things related to style and sustainability.

Founder and nature enthusiast, Magaly Fuentes-Sagan, finds herself now juggling her newborn and her site.

“The issue of sustainability as a whole is important to me,” Fuentes-Sagan expresses.

Her love for the outdoors, her personal health and animals catapulted her and three others to create the informative site. A variety of designer brands, articles and guides are available to eco-friendly followers.

After graduating from San Francisco’s Art Institute, Fuentes-Sagan immersed herself in the fashion industry for several years until she burnt herself out. Globe trotting was her next move and it was then she discovered the harsh realities of textile manufacturing.

“While traveling, I realized that I did not want to leave the fashion industry but wanted to travel a different road within it,” she explains.


Melissa Tan searches through aisles of recycled fabrics at Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Art Parts (SCRAP) on Wednesday April 3, 2013.

She eventually asked herself what about the fashion industry troubled her so much and came to a solid conclusion.

“The answer came easily and had a lot to do with overconsumption and any abuse to workers and the environment,” she admits.

Back in the Mission, Tan is working away at an intricate fabric on her ironing board. Using fabric wax, she precisely marks up the areas she wants to chop off.

After a recently taking a belly dancing class, Tan’s been playing Turkish music while she sews to keep herself entertained. She stands still for a few seconds, peering at the ornate material and deciding on which steps to take next.

“I got this fabric for free off of Craigslist,” she says gleefully. Some “crazy lady” posted that she needed some materials to be taken off her hands and Tan just couldn’t resist.

Tan’s traditional home was transformed into her in-house studio after she was booted out by her prior landlords.

“They raised the prices so more startup companies could start coming in,” Tan sighs.

All around her home is a touch of Tan’s creativity. On her mannequin rests a black velvet and gold cotton gown. Half the bustier is velvet. If Vivienne Westwood created a dress for a gypsy ball, this would be it.

“I like to look at it and come up with ideas,” she says of her creative process.

In the back of her kitchen rests all of her other recycled fabrics. Some from the Garment District in Los Angeles but the bulk from SCRAP. Three tall black shelves are stacked with numerous textiles. Zippers and buttons are tucked away in boxes for Tan to rifle through if needed.

Tan stands and peers at her wall of reusable textiles and tries to decide her next move.

No matter which direction she chooses, the result will be a stylish garb with a repurposed edge.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The original article incorrectly identified the surname of Eco Fashion World’s owner. Her name is Fuentes-Sagan, not Fuentes-Saga.

Vintage Stores for Charities


High-end labels like Oscar de la Renta and Chanel are in abundance at the Helpers store near Golden Gate Park.

High-end labels like Oscar de la Renta and Chanel are in abundance at the Helpers store near Golden Gate Park.


Words and Photos: Kayla McIntosh

It’s a crisp winter afternoon in the Inner Richmond neighborhood and a small house on the corner of Fulton Street is reaching full capacity. The doorbell rings and the door is opened to a tall gentleman wearing black-rimmed frames and a warm smile.

His greeting is just as genuine as his grin, and he ushers guests into the main hallway. Three gorgeous gowns are draped on mannequins directly in front of the door. Each one is from a different designer. A backless, beaded John Galiano is the stand out garment amongst the three. Once inside, guests are offered water or white wine and told to dilly-dally into whatever they so choose. A small party is in full swing and several high profile clients are wandering around the apartment looking for anything that catches their eyes. Volunteers, some standing behind the glass classes that house one of a kind jewels and others wandering around the other rooms, engage in small talk with clients. Many of the exchanges express complete disbelief that a place like this exists.

At first glance, the place is shocking. Shoppers are immersed in a world of well-kept vintage and designer pieces. Several rooms in the home are sectioned off to particular areas: one for items priced $10-99; another for accessories and impressive jewelry; one for menswear; one for home goods; and finally, one full of high-end designers.

Joy Bianchi, a savvy lady, runs the whole joint. Wearing a metallic gold Chanel jacket with a matching head wrap, she walks around the place and encourages clients to buy whatever they love. Clients are spillng into each room fawning over the rare jewels and garments.

Helpers House of Couture is just one of the charity-based vintage stores in San Francisco. Bianchi, a veteran volunteer, has been with the charity since she was 14 years old. Now, 74, she is still finding ways to give her all to a charity so dear to her heart. Through donations from “grand dames” she has been able to create an exclusive boutique that is appointment-only for shoppers who love high-end vintage clothing. From Oscar de la Renta embellished boots, to floor length red gowns by Monique Lhuillier, all sales from each item sold goes directly back to the Helpers of the Mentally Retarded Charity.


Bianchi converted a spacious home into an impressive vintage boutique with numerous rooms overflowing with vintage duds in impeccable condition.

These fabulously dressed women usually donate their clothes because they have bigger and better options in their closets. “These are ladies who shop for lunch,” Bianchi says.

Helpers also has a sister store located at Ghirardelli Square that sells items with smaller price tags. Juicy Couture and Polo by Ralph Lauren are just a couple of the labels that can be found.

Charity-driven vintage stores are a hot commodity in the San Francisco area. Another store, Seconds to Go, operates the same. Tucked away in Pacific Heights rests this do-good boutique. Labels like American Eagle and Banana Republic line the racks of the store. The general manager, Laura Lorton, says the stores sales all go to the Schools of the Sacred Heart.

“Every dollar that we take in goes directly to financial aid at all four schools,” Lorton mentions. “So they’re able to offer a wide variety of financial aid options.”

The store opened in 1974 and has been serving the Sacred Heart schools which include four different private Catholic schools. The store’s location is based on the fact that the school is located just up the street on Broadway.

Located on Fillmore’s charming street, Seconds to Go is surrounded by high-end stores like Marc by Marc Jacobs and Alice + Olivia. Once inside, variety of designer garments can compete with the likes of Helpers. Her store is full of threads with labels like Prada, Manolo Blahnik and Dior Homme.

“People are willing to buy something that’s been gently used if it’s quality merchandise,” she explains.

Which is quite true. The beauty of shopping at high-end vintage boutiques is that a shopper will stumble upon a rare piece of clothing at a decent price and in impeccable condition.

“There’s obviously a lot of options for second hand shopping in San Francisco,” Lorton goes on to say, but she wants to make sure that her store is held to certain standards in comparison to other stores like ThriftTown in the Mission or Held Over on Haight.

Price points are a huge thing for stores like these. Making sure that the pieces are priced at appropriate levels is critical to attracting the right buyers.

What makes these stores so great is that they are both volunteer run. At Bianchi’s brownstone-turned-boutique, each volunteer has joined on board because they saw how impactful of an organization that Helpers was and continues to be. Each have their own unique story with Bianchi and how they became affiliated. One met her while he was working at Saks Fifth Avenue and was asked to do her makeup for an event. While another was working at his vintage shop in Union Square and sold her a one of a kind haute couture Carden dress.

Volunteering and fashion are two unlikely pairings. Many can argue that fashion screams superficiality while volunteer work is the complete opposite. Either way both stores are promoting heartwarming agendas that seek to better the word one garment at a time.

Transforming into a Drag Queen


Edgar Lepe’s transformation.

Words: Kayla McIntosh & Hassina Obaidy
Photos: Deborah Svoboda

Edgar Lepe takes a tube of red lipstick and begins to dab the bottom half of his freshly shaven face. Using a white cosmetic sponge, he blends in the red marks to cover up his subtle dark chin hair. Like an artist, Edgar paints his face as if it were a canvas. After blending concealer and both cream and powder foundation on his face and neck, he waves a black, floral-printed Chinese plastic fan to air dry the makeup after each application. This is just the beginning of a long transformation from man to drag.

The makeup process alone takes Edgar about an hour and fifteen minutes, with the whole process lasting a total three to four hours to transform into full drag mode. This includes showering, shaving nearly his entire body, styling his hair, applying makeup, and putting on his often elaborate outfits.

Edgar transforms from a tall, Hispanic man with a five-o’clock shadow wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and black Converse tennis sneakers to a classy, feminine drag queen with fake red and black roses clipped in his dark black hair, chandelier earrings, and an extravagant dress for a performance. He’s not like the stereotype with his more understated take on drag.

Then, there are the over the top, va-va voom, super glamorous drag queens that take it to the next level with big hair, crazy vibrant makeup and bedazzled dresses.

The epicenter of the city’s drag scene is arguably the infamous Divas in the Tenderloin District. On a Saturday afternoon just as the bar opens, an outcry of drag queens erupts inside the small, dimly lit bar. The patrons outside pay the quarrel no mind as if this is something they are far too used to.
About five women, some in drag, gather around the bar’s counter as one drag queen screams at the bartender. Cursing and continuously barking, the drag queen’s attitude is cutting and harsh.

A unidentified and highly intoxicated young woman claims that there’s a “tranny fight” going on and it isn’t a good time for anyone to talk to them.

“They’re feminine, but not really,” she says as she begins to laugh.

To equate all folks dressed in drag with all those who identify as “trans” is to show a lack of understanding toward the two radically different communities. Drag queens and transgender people have two different identities. A drag queen is one who changes their physical appearance, usually for a performance, and is often characterized by an over the top costume and makeup. As this young woman alludes, many think that being a transwoman means to be unclassy and involved in lurid activities like prostitution. However, to be transgender simply means to have chosen to live your life as a different sex than the one you were biologically assigned. This can occur simply through dress or more drastic approaches like hormone therapy or surgery.

The classic drag queens like Donna Sachet are the opposite of what one may experience at Divas bar. Tall, blonde, and elegant Donna, dressed in a long, sequined red gown is well aware of her celebratory fame. As mentioned in the Winter 2011 issue of Xpress Magazine, Donna is the lead performer at Sunday’s A Drag show at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. After a decadent brunch and a magnificent show with four talented drag queen performers, Donna and the girls happily take photos with the guests. Once that is over, she is seated to the couch near the bar by Michael Pagan, the producer, and presented with a glass of champagne before the next performance.

“I don’t put drag on, I let it out,” she says.

Donna says her drag queen identity is a character she created and maintained for 20 years. During the day when she’s running errands, no one recognizes her.

“There’s this female character inside me and I always knew it was there,” she says. “I’d put a towel on my hair and lip sync to a hair brush.”

Similar to Donna, Edgar is unrecognizable to those who know his drag identity. A UCSF cancer researcher by day, Edgar also dances for the Peninsula Ballet Theatre on the side. Although his physical appearance drastically changes, his personality remains the same.

“I don’t feel like anybody else, I feel like myself,” he says. “I don’t go out faking my voice. I really don’t even try to fake it. The more you try to fake it, the more fake you look. I like to just keep it as natural as possible.”

Confident, humble, and sociable, Lepe began his drag queen life at the age of 18 with the help of his “drag mom”, Bianca Cruz.

According to Lepe, a “drag mom” is someone who helps an individual transform into a drag queen and they must take her last name.

“It’s like they’re giving birth to you,” he says.

Lepe goes by Paloma Cruz when he performs. He believes that one can’t be a drag queen if they can’t make people laugh.

“Out of many categories of drag queens, I think the successful ones are the pretty ones, but the pretty ones that don’t open their mouth,” he says. “And the ugly ones they can actually make people laugh because you’re either ugly and funny, or pretty and stupid.”

Lepe recounts a time when he was supposed to be a part of his his friend’s wedding in Sacramento, his hometown. When he went to get ready for the event at his aunt’s house, he walked in the door only to find his 91-year-old grandmother there as well. She had no idea that her grandson had two separate identities, and he had no intention of letting her find out.

“I said ‘Tia, why didn’t you tell me grandma was here?’” He eventually had to explain to his grandmother why he came back home from San Francisco with a bag full of makeup and an assortment of ladies’ clothing.

And to his surprise, she did not judge him. She even helped iron his dress for the event.

Before he erupted with the news to his grandmother his cousin took him to the side and asked him, “How do you want everybody else to accept you..if you’re not ready to show your face to the people who care for you?”

And from that moment on, he’s never let anyone stop him from being exactly who he wanted to be.


Side profile of DJ

Caught in the Trap


Words: Kayla McIntosh
Photos: John Ornelas

A small club in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood is buzzing this Thursday evening. The air is crisp. The temperatures are low. And the music is blaring. It’s 10 p.m. and Temple nightclub is in full swing. This is ground zero of the newest and trendiest electronic music genre. This is Trap.

Intertwined with the city’s well-established dubstep scene, Trap music DJs share Thursday nights with its bass-heavy sister genre. It’s still early, but a crowd has already begun pouring in. The music is so low, the walls vibrate while the DJ spins on his tables behind the small glass booth set at the back of the room. It’s dark and so is the music. The sound of dubstep saturates the dimly lit nightclub. Girls with furry teddy bear backpacks are scattered throughout the club, bobbing their heads to the slow, yet unrelenting throbbing of the music.

Inside a small room known to regulars as the Destiny’s Lounge, off-white walls are lit up by bright red lights. Crowds of guys and girls with tatted-up arms and funky haircuts line up in the psychedelic white room and take seats on the plush leather couches anticipating the next DJ’s set. A small gathering of no more than 20 people stand around patiently waiting for the beats to kick in.

A dark haired, lanky fellow walks behind the booth, sets up his gear and begins to mix beats. Within seconds, the crowd begins to sway back in forth in approval. It’s decidedly hip-hop, but there’s something a little different. The beats start off with a bass-heavy build-up like many other electronic sounding tempos but when it drops it sounds nothing like the dubstep that was playing earlier. Sharp 808s, hip-hop sounding melodies and fast-paced snares fill the ears of listeners.

At first, many linger along the outskirts of the DJ booth trying to get a real feel of this music. Minutes later, girls and guys alike begin flocking towards the front of the elevated DJ booth shaking and shimmying to the sounds in their own individual way. Here, it’s not about how great a girl dances, how attractive a dude looks in his jeans and tee combo, or how drunk someone can get by raiding the bar a few times. Instead, the main focus is the music.

This isn’t dubstep and this isn’t hip-hop. So then what is it? What are these unique new beats that have began to take the electronic dance music (EDM) scene by storm? The latest wave of gangsta rhythms to hit the EDM scene has been labeled Trap music.

In 2003, Atlanta-bred rapper, T.I., emerged on the scene with his second studio album titled, “Trap Muzik.” It skyrocketed to the number four position on the Billboard 200 chart. A hip-hop artist by the name of Yung Joc began to make himself recognized in 2006 with his bass-filled jam called “It’s Going Down.” Catchy lyrics like “meet me in the trap/it’s going down” and an unforgettable beat catapulted the song to the number three position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts. This song, along with other Dirty South hip-hop, is at the heart of what is now known as Trap. Artists like T.I., Gucci Mane, UGK and OJ da Juiceman have emerged as some of the most prominent stars of the new genre. But what the Bay Area and many other EDM fans calls “trap” isn’t necessarily what everybody thinks of.

In spite of its newfound popularity, trap has a long history in hip-hop culture. “Trapping” refers to drug dealing. Chippy Nonstop, a Dubai-born, Bay Area-residing musician who has a modern sounding style of music fusing together sounds from around the world, says “trapping” is “just gutter-ass music made by goons in the literal trap, drug dealing, slanging, stealing cars, slapping bitches.”

This new form of music is taking the Bay Area and the world at large by storm. According to Urban Dictionary, trap music can be defined as being “based on use of the 808 Roland drum machine, pitched and re-sampled hip-hop/rap vocals, pipe flutes, gangsta synth leads, and various FX.” Nonstop is a bit of a fixture in the Bay Area music scene. Her music video, “Kicked Out Da Club” was directed by the notorious white girl rapper, Kreayshawn. The song is predominantly rap but the beat fuses together the two worlds of electro and hip-hop. However, a new form of Trap has emerged that sounds a lot more electronica than it does hip hop. Rapid synths, relatively unheard of in Hip-Hop, are used liberally in Trap.

Chicago-born DJ John “J5” Hirsch has noticed that the trap scene has really taken off since the beginning of this year. In a small and cramped space with roundtables and laptops set on top of a sturdy table, Hirsch and Hauler are working their magic. A huge glass wall facing the bustling Howard street stands as the focal point of this tiny space. It’s Monday night which means that their weekly dubstep show is taking place. A white Mac computer is posted in the right corner with a tiny green light lit up at the top of the screen indicating that the video camera is on. Their set is being live streamed for through their Ustream account (which has had over 3,000 views no less) for their entire hour long set.

As the two DJs switch off, they continuously cheer each other on whenever they hear a dope beat. Hirsch (better known to his followers as J5) is not would you expect from a trap enthusiast. He’s a slender guy and has piercing blue eyes. His long brown hairs grazes just past his shoulders and is covered with a fitted cap. He’s sporting a black tee with the “The Town” plastered across the front and it matches perfectly with his dark, saggy jeans. J5’s demeanor is cool. He’s extremely focused on his music and takes a mere two or three seconds to choose which song he wants to drop next. A sign of a someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.

After the hour-long set is complete, Hirsch, Hauler and a new addition, David Young are all sitting in side room catching up. They’re discussing the music scene and the relevancy of this new style of Trap music.

“When I first heard it, I was like ‘This is basically hip-hop’,” Hirsch says. He and fellow dubstep enthusiast known to many on the EDM scene as Nebakaneza collaborate on Ritual dubstep which runs at Temple nightclub on Thursday nights. Hirsch has an hour-long set in which he mixes some of dubstep’s most popular sounds.

Hirsch’s feelings on trap are more optimistic and look at the good in what trap is all about. “It’s basically Southern trap re-energized,” he says. Not all would agree with him.

“The genre is limited,” Young groans. Young, better known as DJ Rastatronics, has been in this business for more than fourteen years. Since moving to the city a couple of years back from Davis, California, he’s been making his way into the San Francisco DJ scene. He currently holds it down at Shine lounge in the SoMa neighborhood and spins every Wednesday night. A reggae devotee, (hence the “rasta” in his name) his feelings about Trap are rather mixed.

“I can listen for like an hour and then I’m over it,” he says. He claims that artists have been performing this style of music for years and he’s not quite sure why they’re getting all this recognition now. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that southern hip-hop has been making a huge impact on the music scene in the past couple of years. Going to a club nowadays and not hearing one Waka Flocka or Gucci Mane song is nearly impossible. Lounges like Otis have been hosting regular trap nights where they play club bangers like “Hard in da Paint” and “Trap or Die 2.” Once songs like that come on, the crowd goes crazy. The most bizarre part about it is the throng of people are predominantly hipster kids walking around with glasses without lens and tanks tops and skinny jeans. The complete opposite of the black artists that live this trap life and rap about it in their catchy songs.

Some of the most popular Trap artists that follow this hip-hop electro style of music include Flosstradamus, Trill Murray and RL Grime and Salva. Their heavy usage of bass and laid back rhythms have caused for a frenzy of Trap nights to sprout up at venues throughout the city.

Trill Murray (“trill” meaning true + real) has can be considered a Trap music pioneer. Just recently dropping his EP “Lust” in late October, his sounds are an interesting take on this new genre. His confusion on why the two worlds of EDM and hip-hop can’t collide leaves him at a loss.

“To be honest, no one owns music,” he says.“You can do whatever you want. Its not a big deal just have fun and don’t care as much. It’s not the end of the world.”

Trap musicians and enthusiasts are caught between two different opinions- one that says is Trap music is the future of music and one that says it’s ripping off what hip-hop producers like Zaytoven and Lex Luger have been doing for years.

Back in the “It’s basically just hip-hop instrumentals,” he explains.

DJ UltraViolet runs Trap City, a party organization dedicated to promoting Trap themed parties, got up and running just this past summer. “I’ve know about Trap music for years but started throwing it into my sets at the beginning of this year,” she mentions. Trap City is a monthly event ran by DJ UltraViolet and claims to be “SF”s first all trap music monthly,” and their first event was this past summer in July. Some of the artists that have landed on the ticket have been Trill Murray, Chippy Non Stop, Lil Debbie, and Heroes x Villians.

How are all of these artists able to make such unique sounding music and have such a huge effect on the EDM scene today? Some would argue online music sharing makes a huge difference.

“It’s all Internet based,” says Erin Bates, a lifelong hip-hop and EDM music lover. Bates who has been following the Trap scene for a while now sees the web as being the reason why some of the artists have taken off and this style of music has gained such popularity amongst today’s youth. Bates is standing outside of San Francisco State University’s Mary Ward dorm and holding on to a barely lit cigarette. Her hair is blonde and long and she wears a long and flowing skirt that just barely grazes the ground. Her hoop nose piercing hints at the inner badass of her personality. Bates sees trap as a mere intermixture of hip-hop and EDM at its best.

“If it wasn’t for the Internet, they wouldn’t be exposed to each other,” explains. Be that as it may, the Internet is responsible for catapulting many people in to fame these days. There’s always new talent, like two little youngsters, Sophia Grace and Rosie, who covered Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” hit and collected over 39 million views on YouTube and an appearance on Ellen Degeneres performing with the animated rapstress herself. Fame can be strucken quite easily- only thing necessary is an Internet connection and a little pizzaz. Nowadays, 15 minutes of fame isn’t hard to achieve.

The Internet is everything when it comes to this generation. People check their phones more frequently than they check their actual mailboxes at this point. At any given moment, navigating down the street can be like navigating through a herd of visually impaired zombies. People are constantly updating their status or tweeting out some hilarious 140 or less anecdote to their hundreds of followers. It is no surprise that the Internet is paving the way for Trap music and its artists alike to make their beats be heard.

Soundcloud, a music and social networking site, is the future. The site is allows anyone with an account to upload music to share it with the world. Followers of accounts have their timeline flooded with a myriad of new songs a day. As their website describes, it “takes just a click to share sounds to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Foursquare.” Trap music is thriving in parts to the successes of this innovative site. Flosstradamus alone has nearly 42,000 followers while up and coming artists like Trill Murray and RL Grime have around 1,776 and 11,633 respectively. The significance of it all is that there are people who are willing and able to listen to this music from a variety of regions in the world. Trap’s recognition is becoming much more apparent than it was over a year ago. These familiar sounding beats are no longer just exclusively for those interested in trap music. EDM artists have modified it in such a way that is versatile and relatable to all people and not just to people sitting in a trap house in East Atlanta.

Compared to the composers of the original Trap movement, which are usually Southern-based rappers who pride themselves on having money, cars and more women than one man can handle, the followers of this new style of music seem to be anything other than that. Predominantly college kids who are rocking out to dubstep and house music dig on Trap more than anyone else.

Nonstop says that many of the Trap producers have done an excellent job at making the music “more relatable, crazy and insane for even college bros to ‘turn up’ to.” She may be onto something. Hamilton Augustine works for Swing House Studios, a music studio that rents out studios and equipment to musicians, and is still unsure of where this movement stand and will stand in the future. Augustine, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of music, isn’t sure if he can get into it yet.

“I think for fans of digital music, it’s great,” he notes. Augustine who went to the Eagle Rock Music Festival in Southern California this past October and saw that many of the EDM musicians’ sets included some Trap.

“I saw Daedalus spin a predominantly trap set this year which I wasn’t expecting but the crowd was very young and into it,” he says. Be that as it may, do any of these youngsters know where the history of this music really lies? It’s not from the soundboard of the latest producer but in the tough streets of the South where the drug cartel resides. Still it is gaining popularity and spreading all up and down California’s club scenes. Trill Murray performed a show in Los Angeles this past Halloween and Flosstradamus held it down at 1015 Folsom within the same week.

There is no denying that Trap is here and not going anywhere for a while. Music is omnipresent. “ I’m all about change and moving forward,” Murray admits. “I love it when people push the envelope and come up with something new.” And that is exactly what Trap is all about.

Get Me Out of Here: Why Students Aren’t Graduating in Four Years


Words: Kayla McIntosh

As Laura Flores sits quietly at her white desk and stares plaintively at her MacBook, she realizes that each class she needs to take for the approaching fall semester at San Francisco State University is at full capacity. Her long curly brown hair is thrown up in a bun and she buries her circular face in her hands.

“Not again,” she thinks.

Eventually she gazes back at the screen and faces her cruel reality. Wearing a vintage crew neck sweater with Spike Lee’s face arranged colorfully on the front, Flores is skimming the school’s class list desperately hoping that there is an open seat in Principles of Human Physiology Laboratory, only to be defeated when she discovers that all five of the classes offered are already full. Flores is frustrated. This seems to be a recurring theme each semester for her.

Like clockwork, she pulls out her notebook and begins to brainstorm her next move. Before she even puts her pen to paper, she knows what to do because she has already done it before. Jotting down the slots for each of these labs on a piece of college-ruled paper, Flores hopes that one of these notoriously unforgiving college professors will give her a break and allow her to squeeze herself into one of their already crammed classes. This will be Flores’ fourth year at SF State but like many, this will not be her last.

From the moment she stepped foot on campus, walking across a stage wearing the school’s vibrantly hued cap and gown was and still is the quintessential dream.

Flores, a first-generation college student, dreams of being a nurse. Helping people is an undertaking that comes quite naturally for the 21-year-old Los Angeles native. Her childhood home was full of youngsters running and jumping and she was always the one to make sure that everything stayed copacetic.

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