As usual, there's lots of great indie hip-hop jumping off round the Bay Area this weekend, starting later today (May 30th) at Amoeba Music San Francisco where longtime local hip-hop artist TOPR, in celebration of his latest (fifth) solo album The Marathon of Shame, will be performing for free at 6PM.
Joining the Gurp City member onstage at the Haight Street store will DJ Quest, who incidentally celebrated his own new album (Questolous) release on the same stage not too long ago.
For some more background information on TOPR, who appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V with a song whose lyrics mentioned Amoeba Music, read his bio on the Amoeba Music website and/or scroll down a bit to the Amoeblog interview recently conducted with the hip-hop artist who is known for his homeless couch-surfing past, his gift for graffiti art (see a piece he did with Lews of LORDS crew below), and of course his love for booze and partying.
Meanwhile some other Bay Area hip-hop shows happening this weekend include a great DJ throwdown tonight featuring two of the Bay's best turntablists, the world famous DJ Apollo (Triple Threat DJs etc.) vs. Goldenchyld of San Jose's Finger Bangerz fame at Vessel, 85 Camptan Place (near Union Sq., SF). Tomorrow night the ever busy DJ Apollo will join forces with his fellow Triple Threat DJs, Shortkut and Vin Roc and throw down a mix of hip-hop, breaks, and reggae at Berkeley's Shattuck Downlow, where tonight (Friday, May 30th) the reggae legend Eek-A-Mouse will be performing.
AMOEBLOG: First up, can you tell us a bit about your new album, including who produced it, who guests on it, and what exactly is the meaning of its title, The Marathon of Shame?
TOPR: The Marathon of Shame is a reference to the infamous "walk of shame" that every college kid/ problem alcoholic should be able to relate to. The walk of shame is the the trek home the next morning from a hard night of partying or a shallow one-night sexual conquest, still rocking the disheveled, booze-infused clothes of the night before and dodging the knowing glares and snickers from the working populace. I figure I've been doing the walk of shame for so long it's almost like a marathon. It's soon became a metaphor for my whole career in the indie rap game. The entire album was produced by the one and only Dick Nasty of The Earthlings and amateur porn fame. All the cuts are performed by world renowned scratch innovator DJ Quest. The rellies Eddie K, BOAC, Luke Sick, Z-Man, Conceit and Foul Mouth Jerk all make solid vocal contributions. It also comes with a free DVD documentary of my long and embarrassing career in the local hip hop scene, brought to you by 2B1 Multi-media. From a music consumer's stand point it's kind of a no-brainer.
AMOEBLOG: When did you first connect with the Gurp City guys?
TOPR: I hooked up with Luke Sick back in the days, freestyling at hip hop shows at Stanford University in Palo Alto. He respected my unwavering commitment to booze. I started kicking it with DJ Marz a lot during that time as well. Through him I met Z-Man, who rolled on the Warped Tour with BOAC, DJ Bootleg and myself. Conceit (who is my brother from way back) was the driver until he got sick at the wheel so Z-Man suggested we bring Thug E Fresh to replace him in the captain's chair. I hit it off with him hella well and he let me into the fold. Everything basically snow balled from there.
AMOEBLOG: Can you talk a bit about the Fuck Pop Convention that you were involved with?
TOPR: The Fuck Pop Convention was a huge underground hip hop show that my crew The Earthlings put together at Maritime Hall and headlined in 2000 or so. We had so many heads there it was insane: many who make up a big part of the Gurp City collective today. It was Earthlings, Sacred Hoop, Third Sight, 99th dimension, Bored Stiff, Conceit, Thunder Hut, LA Kool aka Rifleman, Disflex6, Kirby Dominant, so many heads. Thousands of people showed up. Thats when indie hip hop was still considered cool with the kids, right before the whole market got flooded. I'm gonna throw a new one this year though, so keep an eye out.
AMOEBLOG: And what about the Freestyle Olympics that you were also pretty involved in?
TOPR: The Freestyle Olympics is the brainchild of my boy Satva and DJ Delivery. They thought the Bay Area battle scene was getting stale, as it has been here and all around the country. It's so one sided and biased; a lot of cats who get over in the battle circuit can't really rap for shit! They just string a few mediocre comparisons and punchlines together to impress the crowd and win a title. Snore. So those guys brought me into the mix and we put together different events that could showcase an emcee's talent besides battling -- like tempo and topic rounds. It came off as a more well rounded and entertaining competition. Past gold medalists have been Dirt Bag Dan, Conceit, The Saurus and Won Way [Editor's note: from Berkeley Amoeba]. The 2008 competition is coming up on June 21st at Club 6. Conceit is going to host since I'm going to be out of town on tour. You won't be disappointed.
AMOEBLOG: And what can folks expect at the Amoeba instore with you and DJ Quest (pictured left) tonight? And will there be any other artists with you on stage?
TOPR: Anyone who has seen a TOPR show with Quest knows that we tear the fucking roof off! Our approach to doing shows is pretty intense. We believe in the party-rocking aesthetic of a good hip hop show. I'm gonna have my boy Foul Mouth Jerk backing me up on stage since Dick Nasty can't be there, but together we have some of the best stage banter in the business. Its also gonna be my first all ages show in SF since the 90s. I don't plan on doing another show in the city again until the fall, so be there or be square. Did I mention DJ Quest will be there? That guy will change your life, no joke.
AMOEBLOG: Anything you would like to add or any shout outs?
TOPR: There has been a resurgence of great underground hip-hop music in San Francisco in the last few years. It feels like something big is about to happen soon, and I'm trying to help lead the way. Get on board early so you can brag to your friends later that you were down from the jump. Gurp City is taking over in 2008, you either with or against. Big shout out to my graff crews LORDS, CMA, CBS, PCF and my clothing sponsors 12 Grain and ZeroFriends. Thanks to Amoeba for supporting the local scene and we'll see ya there.
TOPR with DJ Quest tonight for free (all ages) at Amoeba Music on Haight Street. Show starts at 6PM.