It’s hot out.

I mean that less in the sense of this October heat our Indian summers provide us and more in the sense of the general spirit felt. They found gold here. And from then on it’s as if this was a place one could always find gold in. “Staying true to yourself,” I told a customer when she asked what True means. I was only a couple of days into the job and unsure if that was actually the right answer. But, given the shop’s 21 year-run in a city being gutted of everything true to it, whether or not that was the intended meaning,

it is a meaning so rightfully earned.

The city not being what it was is a song we all sing in tandem. For those that used to be young and those that currently are, the shop retains a rare familiar feeling. There was gold out here and the natives could tell you just how dug up and excavated the city feels as a result. I could tell you where to find some if I wanted to, though. When I say it’s hot out, I mean in the sense that there’s a fire under so many of us. I believe every action we take echoes through time and there’s a certain do-it-yourself spirit out here that hums through every body. It’s damn near a prerequisite to have a hustle not unlike those pans in the river sifting through rocks, is all I’m saying. And the city is scattered with creatives: all with the common goal of making something out of nothing.

Gold doesn’t rust nor does it tarnish. And there are certain characteristics of where we live that, even among this rapid change, just can’t be shaken. I think about the ground we walk on and who populated it. It was Too $hort selling cassettes out of his trunk in the 80’s because he wanted to do it himself. It was Allen Ginsberg howling from his typewriter in the 50’s, daring to think for himself. It was Harvey Milk daring to be himself in the 70’s and Tupac Shakur daring to risk himself, just him against the world, in the 90’s. It was James Baldwin touching down to meet with Huey Newton in the 60’s, daring to free themselves while just a few neighborhoods over, artists like Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia dared to express themselves. Why so much gold here of all places? That I don’t know. But I do know I see a certain glow in the generation walking that same ground today.

True birthed a culture in 1996.

Streetwear didn’t exist in the Haight until then. We just took matters into our own hands, per tradition I guess. Making something where there was nothing, today the neighborhood is home to a prominent streetwear scene and a handful of shops both national and international that got their start on True shelves. As any young knucklehead that wants to make something for himself and of himself would feel, I am honored to play a role in this. While navigating, documenting, and taking part in the creative scene, I often find myself searching for gold. And the shop is proof that there’s still some scattered about if you’re looking for it. Stay true to yourself.

That’s an idea that just won’t tarnish.

My name’s T and I’ll be blogging for True from now on, stay tuned!


State your stage name and profession, for the record.

Teeko – producer / dj / musician / innovator

How long have you been DJing, and do you remember your first DJ gig?

Somewhere around 1997-98 I started rolling with bay area mobile dj crew “Divide & Conquer”. After being introduced to the crew by some members I was friends with in high school, I started rolling with them on the weekends setting up speakers and lighting systems. It wasnt until late 98 or 99 that they started letting me open up the events as a dj. I think the very first time was a small family party at a restaurant in top of the hill Daly City. I was terrified! Shoutout to my OG crew for giving me a shot and letting me get my feet wet!

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

Of the past – 1997-2003 – the battle scene was at its peak and the music of the time was still hype – digital djing hadn’t come into play yet so the scene was relatively untapped. You had to really want it and put that work in, there were no shortcuts (only Shortkut)

But really Im looking forward to the next era!!! I see some emerging djss that integrate the tech with their own styles and its starting to come together in the ways I had envisioned. And of course, I plan on coming out with some ideas I’ve been working on myself with the hopes to inspire.

“I don’t really feel like what I do is DJing anymore and as an artist I reserve the right to change my name for stylistic purposes.”

You dropped DJ from your nom de plume a while back — break down why you are known as Teeko these days instead of DJ Teeko?

Yea I decided to drop “Dj” for two main reasons – one is that I started feeling the over-saturation of the dj culture and felt like it was becoming less respected. Secondly, for me personally I started feeling like I wanted to be known as more than just a DJ; as a producer and musician. So it made sense to me to just use my nickname and set myself apart. I don’t really feel like what I do is DJing anymore and as an artist I reserve the right to change my name for stylistic purposes.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 5 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

Fortunately, I’ve had a little chunk of my own music pressed on wax – so I’d grab all that shit and representa! Lately I’m really in the direction of pushing myself as a producer/musician so when I do my performance sets its mostly all my own productions and exclusives.

You are a constant innovative creator and put out groundbreaking content on a regular basis. Talk about some of your current and upcoming projects, and maybe even touch upon some past experiences in the last couple of years that have gotten you to where you are today.

First off thank you for the respecognition. Currently I’ve been working on the new T3 (Slum Village) album along with my bro Ruckazoid. It’s such an honor and Im extremely grateful to have been recognized by someone who I’ve been a fan of for so long. He discovered me during last years Playlist Sessions at Jazzy Jeff’s when we were recording the “Chasing Goosebumps” album. There was a night in the “Wave Cave” (aka Jeff’s movie theatre) where I had set up a studio and I was IG snapping a bunch of clips of beats I had been making there. I guess T3 had started following me via Jeff and he messaged me saying he wanted some joints for his new album. I sent all the instrumentals from me and Rucks BeatDiscovery “The Findings Vol. 1 and 2” (available on wax at We recently released his first single as a teaser check that shit and support that – i’m really hype for him to bless the scene and put it down for Dilla and Baatin!

For more on BeatDiscovery the VST and albums go here (we released 3 albums using this revolutionary sequencer, all recorded live)…

Also, this past summer I had the opportunity to tour the US with the great DJ Shadow. Really amazing show and he’s definitely someone I’ll continue to support as he cares so much about the culture. Dude puts in work! We had a great time and all the shows were amazing. I really enjoyed opening up for him and being able to do my thing the whole way. For the most part, I was new to the crowds and really won them over playing all the styles I produce from boom bap, funk, turnt bangers and all the in betweens. Really great open minded crowd who just wanted the dope! Much love to my man Shadow for having me. I would close each set by performing a live version of my remix of “Best Foot Forward” from his Entroducing anniversary release. Check the recorded version here…

After our last show in Nashville, I headed straight to the airport for a flight to Philly for Jazzy Jeffs 2017 Playlist Retreat. Such an honor again to be invited and not only as a guest but this year myself and Ruckazoid were presenting BeatDiscovery. It was amazing to say the least. Like the previous year, we had another music challenge and I was hype to find that Dres from Black Sheep was on my team (along with DJ Jaycee and Maimouna aka MuMu Fresh). We made a crazy joint that will be released soon along with all the others (super heat in there!!). Dres and I continued to stay in touch and actually have been working since. He has a new mixtape in the works that myself and Ruck both produced on. Def look for that!

Favorite burrito joint?

Not only for the food (which is top notch) but the love and compassion shown for his community and family makes Papalote a top pick for me! I tell people that I was raised on his salsa – and I was! Every month back at Zebra Records on Filmore, Mr. E would bring all the djs chips and salsa!! My dude!!

You travel, like a lot. You just had a couple of healthy runs while rockin’ Jazzy Jeff’s “Playlist Retreat” in between. Please share some insight on how to stay healthy on the road and what it takes to stay focused and productive while being so busy and traveling.

Generally I try to keep it righteous when it comes to intake. On the road it’s definitely a bit tricky. I stick to lots of water and since i’m a vegetarian I like to pack dry snacks like nuts and chia bars. My rider tends to be consistent with my diet. My friend recently hipped me to this app called “Happy Cow” which locates all the nearest vegan/veggie options while on the road. I see health and productivity hand in hand, when my health is up i’m able to maintain high productivity levels and continue to heal the game. 😉

Curry or Kobe? Rane or Vestax? Soundcloud or Mixcloud (or none of the above)?

Curry, Rane, aaaaaaannnnnnnnd i’ll pass.

Shout outs to your folkers, and where folks can find you on social media.

So blessed to have so many amazing people around me who keep me on point – much love to my G Ruckazoid, Starship Connection (B.bravo), Mugpush, 4onefunk, B. Lewis, Diamond Ortiz, Jazzy Jeff and all my Playlist Retreat fam, T3, Dres and all my real ones who been on the wavestrength. Let’s keep riding!

Socials = ayything @TeekoMusic


State your stage name and profession for the record.

My stage name is Truthlive and I do a handful of things professionally, but for this interview it’s probably most relevant I’m a DJ.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I first started as a self taught DJ when I turned 13. I took a long hiatus from DJ’ing to fully immerse myself in creating and releasing original music. I’ve come full circle as my current primary focus is once again DJ’ing. I’ve mos def come a long way considering my first gig was during my Freshman year in High School for a birthday party.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

My favorite era in the Bay Area DJ scene is now. I think it’s an incredibly exciting time when tremendously creative and talented people are constantly given new tools and technological improvements to open up the possibilities and push the boundaries of what it means to “DJ.” Social media allows creatives to easily share their ideas and contributions. It feels very communal and cooperative, with a healthy sense of collaborative competition. It’s like people keep building on top of each other’s most recent breakthroughs to improve the baseline standards of the craft. The overall talent pool in the Bay is unrivaled in my opinion, in terms of both technical skills and diversity of taste. I’m frequently blown away by the things people come up with and share.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute set to prove your worthiness. What songs do you choose?

Wow. Fuck. 10 minutes on stage in front of my heroes to prove my worthiness, what do I play? It would depend on the nature of the event, so I can’t really say what songs considering I’m not a genre or sub-scene specific DJ. But I do know I’d go for some of the unexpected, semi-forgotten, underplayed feel good gems. Not too abstract or self indulgent, but the real shit that moves the casual crowd as well as the people emotionally invested in the music. My gut says James Brown, Depeche Mode, Outkast, Kendrick, Wuki, Little Dragon, Dilla, SpydaTek, Tom Budin, Prince, and a Baysik Moombah edit are clamoring to be blended together from left field.

Rebel Pop Radio has has become a bit of an institution here in the Bay. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important outlet in the Bay Area DJ scene.

That’s quite a compliment to call our radio show (Rebel Pop Radio) an institution. It’s sincerely an honor to be able to curate, produce, and ultimately invite such amazing people to contribute to the show. We air on Saturday nights on WiLD 94.9 locally and iHeartRadio globally.

We, my partner Cutso and I, have been at it for over 2+ years now. It’s been semi-surreal to go from my original pitch to a very controlled and corporate entity, to being so well received today. The concept is to embody DJ culture, club culture, break new music, and refresh classics. Which really means cover all ground, hopefully in an interesting, fun way. Vibe, not genre. It’s truly a HELLA open format interpretation of guiding Top 40/Pop familiarity along with lots of remixes and curveballs outside of the safe zone. The weekly guests and resident DJ’s we’ve had are so dynamic, it really makes the show unique week-to-week, yet easily digestible at the same time. It’s a privilege our bosses at the radio station allow us to step outside the general confines of traditional programming, as long as we hold it down with good selections/mixes. It’s been incredible how well it’s gone thus far and how it opens doors at major venues to provide similarly dynamic programming co-branded under the Rebel Pop banner.

To me, community is everything. Rebel Pop allows a space and forum to commercially appreciate and better expose the range of talents and music for Bay DJ culture, and DJ culture at large, on a mega iconic platform. Let the brightly talented lights of others shine. It’s a blessing to do it.

“To me, community is everything. Rebel Pop allows a space and forum to commercially appreciate and better expose the range of talents and music for Bay DJ culture, and DJ culture at large, on a mega iconic platform. Let the brightly talented lights of others shine. It’s a blessing to do it.”

Favorite burrito joint?

Shit, I know it’s cliche and often alcohol induced, but I love El Faralito burritos. There’s so many good choices, probably “better” places for the snob types or long time true SF born and raised in the city natives, but I’m partial to El Faralito… for burritos specifically.

Curry or Kobe?

Ha! Trolling me. Steph or Kobe? Of course Steph! I mean, Kobe’s career was amazing. He’s easily one of the most talented players of all-time with an unrivaled will power and determination. He’s probably the second best Two Guard/Shooting Guard of all-time. But where most saw 60 points in his farewell game, I saw 50 shot attempts!! Who in the fuck does that?! Even in that context. Disgusting and shameful to the game in my opinion. The guy liked scoring, more than winning, otherwise he probably gets 7, 8, 9 rings, not 5. And I’m not knocking the 5– huge achievement, but I really feel Kobe actually underachieved in terms of potential and legacy by being such a selfish decision maker and bad teammate. He’s the greatest ball hog of all-time, in the ultimate team sport. Fuckery.

Steph on the other hand, is the consummate “team first” guy and without question is the greatest shooter, ever. Catch and shoot, self created off the dribble, range, around the basket, mid-range floaters, free throws, both hands, after contact, etc. He’s unreal. And it’s all technique and self made development. He’s not bigger, stronger, faster, born physically superior like most of the other greats. That shit is work and living inspiration. And Dubs up, Beat LA, off top, automatic, duh.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

I don’t do it often enough, but I love to go to Bodega Head to unwind. It recharges me. I like it windy, sorta overcast, and less populated. It’s beautiful. I’m also a semi high maintenance fancy hotel staycation room service and do nothing type. I love hotels. Sleep, eat, lay around, fuck (hopefully), watch movies, shut off the outside world for a bit.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now and why?

Again, maybe cliche, but hella real– DAMN. I’m 1,000% certain I’ll still be listening in 10 years. I initially lightweight hated on Kendrick when Section 80 dropped. I like bold opinions, but don’t do for blog buzz from internet critics or sensationalized hyperbole. Once I truly took it all in though?! Game over. He’s the truth. DAMN is such important art to me. To be able to mass appeal in the moment, but not dick ride a sound, still take risks, and be authentic to yourself while making relevant insightful commentary, is special. He’s on the GOAT trajectory in my opinion. It’s like NWA, Outkast, Nas, Eminem, Public Enemy, Freestyle Fellowship/CA underground shit, and lots of Southern bass/boom got blended up in a mixer of creation. Dude is the voice of the generation. Dare I call him the 21st century Pac with much better technical skills? Yep. I’m sayin it.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Yo, you can find me @truthlive universally across social platforms and @rebelpopradio as well.