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LONGTIME SF HIP-HOP CREW BORED STIFF KEEP THEIR GAME ON POINT

Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2009 03:05pm | Post a Comment
Bored Stiff video for "@ A Distance" off their new album The Sad Truth (Solidarity)
(Check for the scenes shot at Amoeba Music San Francisco)

The brand new video "@ A Distance" from Bored Stiff, who headline the Elbo Room in SF tonight (Saturday Jan 24th), is like a nice condensed history lesson (set to music) of the longtime San Francisco true hip-hop crew, who have been tirelessly putting it down on the hip-hop scene since the early 90's. The Matt Straus directed video (above) mixes footage taken over the years of the tight knit Sucka Free collective spanning from 1992 to 1998 to 2001 to the present day. Some of the current day shots in the video for the song, taken from their highly recommended new album The Sad Truth (Solidarity Records),  were shot partially inside Amoeba Music San Francisco (:53 - :57) where they go digging for their latest release in the "New Hip-Hop CD" aisles) as well as outside including right in front of the Haight Street store (1:06 - 1:10) with sometime collaborator Z-Man making a cameo.

Luis, from the hip-hop department at Amoeba Music San Francisco, is both a big fan and supporter of the group, most of whose members live not too far from the SF store."They're a humble group of really good rappers who have steadily kept their rap game on point all these years. Their style is timeless because they transcend trends. In fact they have an album called Timeless," said Luis by phone this week. "They've been doing this stuff since the early or mid-nineties and their music is still top quality all these years later." Their current album The Sad Truth, which features such guests as The Grouch and The Jacka, has cracked the SF store's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart.

Yesterday by phone I caught up with Bored Stiff's Equipto who is perhaps the highest profile member of the crew due to his prolific outside solo work and collaborative work with fellow Fillmore district mic fiend Andre Nickatina. He told me that Bored Stiff consists of about 12 people but it is "about 8 cats that are musically involved." Most impressive is the fact that all of the original lineup is still intact. I asked him what was the secret to Bored Stiff's longevity? "Friendship. We grew up together, youngsters from middle school to high school, so first it was friendship. Music too, of course. But being friends first is probably why we stick together," replied Equipto. Before they formed Bored Stiff, back in the day the members were all in separate local groups or doing solo stuff. "But then we decided to become part of one group which we labeled Bored Stiff and that was around '92 or '93 (pause). That is a long time ago now," he laughed.

Clearly the friendship between Bored Stiff's members is sincere and runs deep, real deep. In addition to Equipto (aka Queezy) the Bored Stiff lineup includes Big Shawn (aka B.I.). White Mic, Mint Rocky, bored stiff the sad truthP-Way (aka Esco), Julz, Liel, Priz, and Ike. But if you look on their MySpace page under membership you will also see included in their lineup the name Jo Jo (aka Jo Jigidy). One of the non-musical contributing members of the extended rap family, the late Jo Jo, who died January 19th, 1996, is fondly remembered on The Sad Truth with two heartfelt tracks dedicated to him: the short "January 19th" and "Hey Jo." "We all still miss him," said Equipto.

One of the things I have always loved about Bored Stiff's rich hip-hop sound is that it has always been of a distinctly Bay Area flavor. "We're sticking to that sound," said Equipto of that great hip-hop style they first arrived with. "The sound from the era of, you know, when Hiero and Legends and Hobo Junction and everyone was coming up in those years.  We try to keep that same vibe going."

If you are in the Bay Area, tonight is the perfect time to catch that vibe/sound in person when Bored Stiff headline at the Elbo Room. Equipto, who said they will be playing many songs off The Sad Truth plus a lot of classics, promises that tonight's set will be "Raw lyrics over dope beats. Not too mellow but not too hype." Also on the bill for the party, being hosted by Flossafee and DJ True Justice, are XienHow, The Bayliens, ELEMNOP and Word Up. Doors 10PM show. TIckets @ door: $10.00.

Meantime, peep the video below for "Don't Got Much." Another great Matt Straus directed Bored Stiff video, it starts out like a bank heist gangster buddy mini movie but subtly morphs into a Robin Hood tale with the rap video ultimatelly been a serious statement about San Franicso's chronic homeless situation.

Bored Stiff "Don't Got Much" from From The Ground Up

Relevant Tags

Amoeba San Francisco (60), Z-man (11), Equipto (7), Bored Stiff (7), Andre Nickatina (6)