Well, what is urb? Urb is a type of lifestyle. The people who are apart of the urb culture are strongly present in the Northern parts of California and as you travel North up the west coast. The term urb started in East Sac (Sacramento), California, in the ’10’s. Could refer to it as the 2010’s but since we’re going to be shortening English words from now on, might us well slim down some numbers. Besides, most the people who use the word urb don’t even remember much of anything before the year 2000. Plus, ’10’s is totes adorbs.
I first heard about the urb life in Portland in 2011, a pretty urban city in it’s own right. While there, I was riding my fixie through downtown Portland when I stopped to drink some water. I stopped right next to a Portland valet attendant who was looking me up and down. I smiled at him with a nod, and he gave me a wagging “hang loose” sign, squinted his eyes, and said “hella urb bro.”I was caught off guard. At first I thought he was saying “hella herb,” and probably just assumed I was a stoner. But, after replaying it back in my head, I knew I heard him right. So I asked, “You NorCal bro?” The “hella” usage tuned me into that prediction.
“Yeah bro, I could tell by your attire and fixie that you be livin’ that urb life, huh?”
“To be honest I don’t know what the urb life is,” I replied.
“You from Sac?” He asked.
“I frequent Sac often, yes.”
“All the in East Sac dress just like you do my man, assumed you were about that life.”
“Haha, I just may be!” I replied back as I hopped on my bike and rode away.
NorCal is my home, and I actually frequented the East Sacramento area quite frequently as I had a group of friends who would chill at East Portal Park. I had just graduated highschool that year in 2011 and spent half of my summer in Sacramento before I moved to the bay area and then to Oregon. I had not picked up on the urb life movement, but I guess my attire and my chosen ride had tipped off someone out of the area that thought I may be associated with the urb life.
After this exchange took place, I got on a phone call with one of my buddies from East Sac, and I asked him if he knew about the urb life and if he was a part of it. This got a chuckle out of him and he started to explain to me what that guy was saying. He told me the urb life isn’t really a culture or anything of much. It’s mostly just younger folk who ride fixies and dress in cutoffs who claim that anything they do that goes against the norm is hella urb. It seems to be a play on words.
My last visit to Sacramento, I went on a few bike rides through East Sac and had a chance to talk to some teens and guys in their early 20’s if they were apart of the urb life. I always got a hell yea, with a hang loose sign. It seems as if everyone in East Sac is now part of the urb life, and it’s pretty evident, and pretty rad.
I try to do what I can now to try to spread these hella urb vibes to people all over.