If you have been to concerts in the Bay Area, or attended any events that have showcased arts and culture you might have seen someone wearing an “Oakland USA” or “Dope Only” logo. I’ve always wondered what the meaning was, so when I came across the creator I had to share it with you. Rod Campbell is an Oakland native that is the man behind the brand that you see. He describes it as “an interest in all things, fly, fresh, and raw”. The hip-hop culture has used the term to describe just that so he stamped it with the “only” to make it his own.
Dope Only was created the summer of last year from his pilot project called Oakland USA. “People understand what lives within them so that’s where Oakland came from. Dope only is the greater umbrella”. Rod has built a foundation in his own hometown networking with local entrepreneurs like himself. He makes sure to use his marketing and savvy techniques to produce a business and develop a team that he works with to promote through out the bay area. Artists like Nate, Esinchill, Ryan Nicole, DJ D Sharp, Kmaxx, and DJ Toure’, just to name a few are representatives. Dope Only currently endorses a weekly Monday showcase called “Monday Soul” where local artists perform and young and affluent music lovers gather at the New Parish in downtown Oakland. Dope Only has been worn on known names like Andre Ward, Raphael Saadiq, Dwayne Wiggins, Too Short, Richie Rich, and even Shamar Moore.
Dope Only and Oakland USA clothing comes in the form of hoodies and t-shirts. There are different colors that are customized and individually selected. When learning more about the brand, I gathered that it’s almost an official approval if you were caught wearing one- you are officially dope at what you do whether it be in music, art, or entertainment. Rod Campbell plans to expand the brand beyond just clothing and recognition to campaigns catering to youth development and networking. This summer he plans to bring his business to Oakland ‘s annual “Art & Soul” festival and plans to work on future expansions with San Francisco and other major cities outside the Bay Area.
Rod Campbell’s best advice he could give to aspiring entrepreneurs, “Don’t be afraid to get your feelings hurt. You are going to get a lot of doors slammed on your face but when you do find one that opens go through it.” He has definitely followed his passion and has created a brand that will continue to open a lot of doors.
Think you’re “Dope Only” material? Check out the official website for more info here.