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Southeast San Diego inspires single, video by rappers Ryan Anthony, Mitchy Slick, Oscar-nominee Andra Day

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Rapper Ryan Anthony teamed up with Mitchy Slick and Andra Day to release “Southeast Summers,” a feel-good song about living in southeastern San Diego.

‘Southeast has always had a negative cloud hanging over it, but there is so much positivity,’ local rapper Ryan Anthony highlights San Diego neighborhoods with new single ‘Southeast Summers’

The character, culture and overall essence of several neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego are the inspiration behind a newly released single and video by two rappers and Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winner Andra Day.

Rapper Ryan Anthony teamed up with Mitchy Slick and Day to release “Southeast Summers,” a feel-good song about living in southeastern San Diego.

The song’s lyrics mention spending time in Lincoln Park, Paradise Hills, Emerald Hills, Logan Heights, Shelltown and Skyline. The video shows the three enjoying themselves near local businesses, in Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, near various murals in southeastern San Diego and the Willie Henderson Sports Complex.

It’s a song meant to evoke positive feelings about growing up in those communities, said Anthony.

“Southeast has always had a negative cloud hanging over it, but there is so much positivity,” Anthony said. “If all you’re focusing is on the negativity that’s all you’re going to see.”

Mitchy Slick (driving), Ryan Anthony and Andra Day made "Southeast Summers"  video on March 5.
Mitchy Slick (driving), Ryan Anthony, and Andra Day released “Southeast Summers” on March 5.
(Courtesy of Carleton Overstreet Jr. )

The song has been in the making since 2018 and was released March 5. Anthony’s third album, Barely See the Beach 3, comes out April 2.

The video features popular murals from Barrio Logan and various neighborhoods, local businesses such as Skyline Convenience and Imperial Fish Market, some lowrider cars and bikes, and the neighborhood signs for Mountain View and Emerald Hills.

Anthony, who was raised in Spring Valley and attended school in Paradise Hills, said the neighborhoods have a lot to offer, and the goal of the song and music video was to tap into that beauty.

“Ain’t no other place I’d rather be ... when it’s summer time in southeast,” Anthony sings in the chorus.

And like much of Anthony’s work, which touches on socio-political issues, the song briefly points to changes in the neighborhoods that impact residents, such as rising rents and gentrification.

“Neighborhood, 59, Lincoln Park, Skyline, 60s to 30s to 45, Logan, Lomita Village, Shelltown to where Emerald Hills is, live by hood ... but the rent high,” Anthony sings.

San Diego’s southeastern neighborhoods are those south of state Route 94 and east of downtown. Most have large populations of Latino and Black residents.

They also are some of the most under-served communities in the city. Residents are continuously advocating for improved education, job opportunities, access to healthy food and other resources.

Ryan Anthony holds a box of food while volunteering at a food and laptop drive at Jacob Center Saturday.
Ryan Anthony holds a box of food while volunteering at a food and laptop drive at Jacob Center on Saturday.
(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Anthony, 30, was introduced to music as a youngster, but his parents did not let him listen to rap, he said. Still it was something he was drawn to, especially the work of San Diego artists, he said.

He also didn’t plan to become a rapper, he said; he envisioned working in the background of the music industry. But he had music to share, he said.

On a recent Saturday he volunteered at a food and laptop distribution event in Lincoln Park. He passed out boxes of food to dozens of families while his new song played in the background.

“It means everything,” Anthony said of being able share what he created with the community.

Anthony said it was an honor to work with Slick, who has been a musical inspiration for him, and with Day, who grew up in Paradise Hills.

Anthony, who still lives in Spring Valley, has collaborated with Slick in the past and with other rappers such as Tech N9ne, and E-40. He released his first EP in 2016 titled Barely See the Beach.

Slick, who grew up in Lincoln Park, is founder and CEO of Tha Wrongkind, a collective of artists, producers and entrepreneurs. His first album was released in 2001, and he has appeared in dozens of mixtapes. He has been an inspiration for many local rappers, including Anthony, he said.

Slick said in an interview that it’s important that their music video shows several neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego that did not always associate together because of old gang rivalries. He views the music and video as a way of unifying the communities.

“I think this breaks down those walls,” Slick said.

Slick said it’s good to bring new housing and businesses to the neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego, but it’s important that the changes involve helping and educating people there, not displacing them.

Day, who could not be reached, was nominated Monday for an Oscar for her performance as Billie Holiday in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for the role as well. She was nominated in 2015 for a Grammy for her single, “Rise Up.”

With Oscar buzz growing, the three-time Grammy-nominated singer discusses her breakout film role — in ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ — after finding her destiny as a San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts student

Carleton Overstreet Jr., a community organizer who grew up in Paradise Hills and knew Day from high school, said it gives him a sense of pride, watching the three San Diego-raised artists pay tribute to their communities.

“It’s an anthem that is intended to uplift the neighborhoods that we come from,” he said.

Kathy Beas, small business technical assistance manager with the Southeastern Diamond Business District, said it is wonderful to see the neighborhoods highlighted in a positive song. Beas, who grew up in the area, said it allows people to reminisce.

“Just seeing all the things that are important to us — lowriders, lowrider bikes, playing dominos, little kids getting wet with the water guns,” Beas said. “It’s a happy video about all the things we look forward to.”


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