PLAYING CINCY: TRIIIBE’s Siri Imani Talks Gentrification on “513” She-mix

Photo by Taylor Hughes.

TRIIIBE‘s Siri Imani called out Cincinnati gentrification in her new “513” she-mix of Drake and BlocBoy JB’s 2018 hit, “Look Alive.” The addictive beat of the track puts it on instant replay as Siri brings light to the inequality and displacement currently affecting those in Cincinnati’s downtown Over-The-Rhine area.

TRIIIBE is no stranger to spotlighting – and helping to fix – societal challenges in their city.

“I haven’t lived in OTR my whole life; however, I’ve always went to school there and have countless friends and family,” says Imani. “Gentrification has shaped a lot of the community that was once inhabited by generations of families that grew up there.”

In the past decade, herds of new businesses have moved into the downtown area, providing retail and local eateries, but skyrocketing rental prices and chipping away at long-grown culture. Imani and her two TRIIIBE counterparts often dedicate their art to opening an honest dialogue within their community, and Imani doesn’t plan to stop with “513.”

“Music is universal and to me. It’s a more efficient way of getting my messages out,” she says. “We listen to, and memorize, songs better than we do the words actually spoken to us. Music resonates and evokes feelings on a level that can be hard to match verbally.”

As for remixing such a repeatable hit, Imani did that deliberately, too.

“All of the she-mixes use well known, male-dominated songs,” she says. “‘Look Alive’ was big last year and I needed something people could easily compare lyrics to.”

The Cincinnati songstress is currently working on her debut solo EP, Therapy, set to drop July 19. She, along with TRIIIBE, will also be performing at Bunbury Music Festival on Sunday, June 2.

PLAYING THE BAY: Ivy Jeanne Is Not For Sale

Ivy Jeanne wears many hats. Political femme activist, lead singer of Black Rainbow, muralist, and longtime San Francisco resident, are just a few ways to describe her momentum and dedication to our local community. We chat on Clarion Alley, in front of her very own mural (influenced by the controversial Dropbox soccer field incident in 2014).

Jeanne talks about her experiences touring and organizing activist work around a central ideal that “THIS CITY IS NOT FOR SALE.” Much like the message of her mural, Ivy Jeanne’s art fights for folks who stand up against gentrification. In recent years, Jeanne has also participated as an artist and coordinator in collaboration with Rebecca Solnit, Erick Lyle, Sarah Schulman and more to release Streetopia, an anthology detailing a vision for the future of San Francisco.

Check out our interview with her below to hear more about her.

PLAYING DETROIT: Mic Write “blak/joi”


Emcee, poet, educator, and Detroit visionary, Chace “Mic Write” Morris is unstoppable. Mic Write’s reputation as a renaissance man pales in comparison to the weight of his message and unconstrained fervor. As a slam poetry champion, Kresge literary arts recipient and a main player in the progressive hip-hop collaboration Cold Man Young, Write has tapped into the collective social conscious, delivering striking commentary on race, community, and injustice with an impervious directness by means of jaw-dropping scholarly rhyme schemes paired with beats suitable for both grinding or marching, respectively.

Even when shining a light on systematic oppression and gentrification, Write never waivers in making it a point to remind of us of joy, hope, and gratitude. “It’s been a hell of a year/but if you hear this then you still hear us,” Write proclaims in his latest track, “blak/joi,” a song balanced with care, but not with caution. “Blak/joi” is as much of a story as it is a rap and just as much of a call to arms as it is a love-lorn sonnet to the past and future. One of the most impactful aspects of Write’s performance is that it doesn’t feel like a performance. It isn’t a callused memorization of lyrics or idle notations on cadence or emphasis, rather an in-the-moment, impassioned retelling of a dream/nightmare turned reality where words are both spilling and fighting their way through clenched teeth.

“Oh can you feel it?/ocean couldn’t drown it/chains couldn’t slave it/bullets couldn’t kill it/cops couldn’t beat it/death couldn’t tame it/government couldn’t steal it,” Write professes in what is one of the most hard hitting rhymes on the track, again, dancing the line between hope lost and hope found. The most unassumingly heartbreaking line, though, is the disjointed chorus. The song trails off to Write admitting “Sometimes I trip on how happy we could be/sometimes I trip on how happy we could be” as if he reached for the clouds knowing he would only bring down dust.

Feel the power with Mic Write’s latest, “blak/joi” below: