Back in 2011 True went up in flames. The two-alarm fire claimed the shop itself, a lot of merchandise, as well as a lot of memories. Out of the ash and rubble, a few of those memories survived.

His facial expression kind of says it all. Kanye was a new artist. The College Dropout had yet to drop and he wasn’t quite Kanye West just yet. The folks that did know him knew him for his mixtapes. But he carried himself like a superstar regardless, asking if he could have True closed down while he shopped. It didn’t quite work out. This wasn’t long after his fabled car crash: just before the streetwear scene was in full bloom and those that had a love for it outside of the hype were keyed in. It feels weird talking about the man as of recent but from what I gathered, there are still things about him that remained in tact.

Since it opened in ’96, the shop and Hip Hop have had a close and thorough relationship with one another. This is a beacon of small business in SF and somehow someway it survived a lot, including both a gutting of everything we know and associate with the city as well as the literal elements. In dedication to this idea of small business, perseverance, and lasting memories, I’ve got 42 polaroids in the chamber and 42 stories attached to them. Stay tuned for more surprises.

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