Saafir

Last year at the San Bernardino stop on the Rock The Bells festival tour, Bay Area emcee Saafir shocked the crowd by appearing on stage with fellow Golden State Warriors members, Xzibit and Ras Kass, after being pushed onstage in a wheelchair by Shock G of digital underground.

In a letter posted to Davey D’s website, Shock reveals that Saafir’s tale begins after surviving a 1992 plane crash:

Survived TWA plane crash at JFK scheduled for Frisco. Engine blew during take-off, skidded-out sidewayz off the runway, came to a stop, and after a few seconds, burst into flames…

…Saafir was the first one off, but he jumped before the slide fully inflated and wound up jolting his lower back as his feet hit the ground beneath the thin material. It was a Boeing DC-10, so it was hella high-up (..like jumping from a 3rd floor apt balcony).

Shock continues by stating that Saafir, born Reggie Gibson, repeatedly injured his back over the years and suffered intense pain over the years. The discomfort wasn’t alleviated by Saafir’s poor diet (“Most of his meals come from either the Arco Mini-market, 7-Eleven, or the Wendy’s nearby [his] deep-east Oakland apartment”), his abuse of Ecstasy, or his refusal to take his prescribed painkillers.

By 2007, Saafir had undergone a spinal operation but still experienced numbness in his legs. Four years later and doctors still hadn’t been able to give a solid explanation or diagnosis. By the end of 2011, Saafir was no longer able to walk on his own and had moved in with an ex-girlfriend.

They barely get along, the scene is usually tense. Meanwhile, his X & molly abuse continues, and without ever drinking water (their nightly ritual is to x-out before they f*ck and crash-out). He continues to ride-out the pain (“Blood, I’ma soldier”) while flippin his pain meds for cash.

After learning of Saafir’s situation in early 2012, Shock G says he visited Saafir for the first time in 10 years and vowed to help.  In May 2012, Shock and Saafir flew to Arizona to visit the Laser Spine Institute in Scottsdale where Saafir underwent a procedure with a proclaimed 90% success rate.

On day 2 of the 7-day process, after many tests, they apologetically announce they can’t help his situation. “Our type of procedure can’t treat his type of injury” was their only explanation, “We’re extremely sorry you traveled this far..” and they reimbursed us 15k of the 20 we spent to make it happen.

Unfortunately, Shock’s letter does not end on a happy note as he closes out stating Saafir’s current status:

Still searching for a doctor or a procedure that can help.

Still living off skittles, soda, chips and 7-Eleven burritos.

Still chain-smokin Newports

Still got them roxys fo’ya!

Watch Xzibit, Ras Kass & Saafir perform “3 Card Molly” at Rock The Bells 2012, San Bernardino, CA

Read Shock’s full letter at Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Comments

  • mi$ter iLL

    damn, sad to hear about this. boxcar sessions is one of my all time favorite albums

  • http://twitter.com/RobertTres Robert Trujillo

    Dang, didnt even know. Saafir is one of the illest on the Mic and im not just saying that because I was born in Oakland.

  • Nick

    Yeah I saw him a while back at the Shell station over on High St. in Oakland. I pumped his gas for him and got to chop it up with him about hip hop. Really cool dude. Wish him all the best.

  • rock johnson

    Boom boom boom #salute… #sp #mps #teamINFANTRY

  • hoeyuno

    Saafir is a legend in hip hop. it’s sad that if shock never brought this to people’s attention we would still be saying ” “where’s saafir been” or “is golden state ever gonna happen?”.. Saafir ain’t industry made. he won’t take too much of labels trying to control him. for these reasons saafir never became what he shoulda been..Peace to saafir though and peace to shock g for giving us some insight.