Super unique & talented, albeit generally slept-on, longtime San Francisco emcee Z-Man flew out to New York City last week to do a couple of gigs including opening for the Alkaholiks at the Knitting Factory last Thursday (4/10) when the Gurp City former 99th Demention emcee, down with the Hieros, totally wrecked it on the mic (pictured left), much to the delight of the numerous San Fran transplants in the NYC audience that night, proudly representing in their SF Giants gear (no doubt they showed up to see both Z-Man and the other SF rapper on the bill Starski who is on the current LIKS tour).
Z-Man, as well as pleasing fans, managed to convert many East Coast-ers unfamiliar to Z-Dazzle's fluency in the Bay Area spun Gurp City** slanguage (word billy) for a tight set that included his song "OJ Simpson & Courtney Love." A great set, with DJ Thanksgiving Brown ably backing up the MC, from a true lyrical talent who I rate up there with E40 and the late Mac Dre when it comes to being a truly creative wordsmith, creating new words and always telling stories in a most engaging way -- a far cry from the usual tired clichés that pass as rap/hop-hop these days. For proof, pick up his CD "Dope or Dog Food" (Refill/Hiero - 2002) or any of the other releases of his available at Amoeba including his "Z-Mutiny" 12" vinyl release. Z-Man never disappoints.
(**For more on the Gurp City Collective, that in addition to Z-Man includes Eddie K, Sacred Hoop, Conceit, MC Oroville, The Gingerbread Man etc. etc., visit the Gurp City website)
Headliners the LIKS, who had performed the previous weekend in SF as part of their ongoing comeback Rehab tour, were really tight and as J-Ro of the LA trio made clear midway in the set, this was not a reunion since the Alkaholiks actually had never officially broken up. Still, it had been a long, long time since they were together as a group onstage. Consequently they were made to feel most welcome for their New York stop on their first tour in many moons, and in the house and on the stage to show love for their Left Coast brethren were such East Coast hip-hop legends as Tony Touch, Psycho Les from the Beatnuts, and Jeru the Damaja who delighted the crowd by jumping on the mic and catching wreck for a minute (see video clip below thanks to illdoctrine.com ).
Seems to be a lot of really strong hip-hop releases dropping about now. Show You The World (Legendary Music) by The Grouch, who along with the rest of the Living Legends recently performed at Amoeba Music Hollywood (see pic below), is a really good well-balanced hip-hop full-length. Also tight is the forthcoming Raashan Ahmad (emcee for Crown City Rockers) album The Push (OM) which drops May 20th and features Chali 2na on the track "City Feel Proud" and a stable of tight producers including DJ Vadim, Hednodic, Eligh, and Stro from The Procussions.
Dizzee Rascal's new album Maths + English on his new Stateside label, Definitive Jux (under exclusive license from XL) -- who seem to be putting out releases by all the good artists (Del's 11th Hour) these days -- is not technically a new album by the English artist but it is still really good. It was released last June on Matador but the new reissue has a few new additional tracks tagged onto the already dope cuts including a remix by El-P of the duet with UGK ("Where Da G's.").
DJ Quest's new CD Questolous is an amazing DJ-centric hip-hop album. Look for an interview with the veteran San Francisco turntablist here in the Amoeblog in a couple of days as a preview to his San Francisco Amoeba Music instore on Friday (4/18) at 6PM. He will be joined at the Haight Street free concert by such new album contributors as Bas-1, Eddie K, Oaty Love, Dawgisht & DJ 2 Fresh.
Another accomplished Bay Area artist to be interviewed here in the Amoeblog in the coming week is Daly City Records' main man David Wang, aka Mochipet, whose guest-heavy (including Dopestyle, Opio, Casual, E da Boss, Bicasso, Mike Boo, Raashan Ahmad, Taiwankid, & Mykah9) new hip-hop album MICRO PHONE PET is just amazing. I highly recommend it.
And speaking of quality Bay Area hip-hop: check out the video clip below of the now fifteen year old Bay Area track (Souls of Mischief's "93 Til Infinity") being performed by the Oakland group at the recent MURS-curated Paid Dues show in SoCal. This song will never get old. It is truly a classic and will undoubtedly be included in their sets when the Hieros go on the road with Paid Dues in June for four national dates that include the Berkeley Community Theater (6/14) and a jaw-dropping hip-hop lineup that includes Gza, Rakim, De La Soul, Sage Francis, Hieros, Blackalicious, and of course MURS and many many more.
And finally lest we forget why YouTube was invented in the first place -- to show peoples' pets doing crazy entertaining stuff captured on video -- the YouTube clip below will assist in jogging our memories. This YouTube video, which was posted by someone in Japan, shows a cute looking, musically gifted cat, who possesses some slick turntablist-worthy reflexes, manipulating a theremin-type instrument. It is pretty short and worth watching. Notice at the end of the 36 second clip the musical cat's buddy -- another feline -- staring up with that puzzled but adorable look on his/her face.
PS: Don't forget that Amoeba Music is one of the participants in this Saturday's (4/19) Record Store Day, celebrated by hundreds of independent record stores across the country with all three Amoeba locations holding day-long festivities (noon-7pm) featuring DJ sets and special appearances from such artists as Peanut Butter Wolf, Daniel Ash and David J, The Donnas, DJ Smash, V. Vale, Aaron Axelson, Jello Biafra, Pam the Funktress, Inti, J-Boogie and DJ Kitaytay.