JenRO (pictured left) was among the artists featured in the new hip-hop documentary Pick Up The Mic: The Evolution of Homohop that graced the stage of Amoeba Music San Francisco yesterday (June 25) for a free in-store performance. The instore both marked the release of the critically acclaimed documentary on DVD, and also helped celebrate Pride '09. As you know, the big SF LGBT Pride parade & party is on Sunday, June 28 -- and Amoeba will be present, with our own booth where you can win fabulous prizes! Details here and here.
JenRO's Amoeba performance was tight and captured the emcee's pure Bay rap flavor and gift for lyrical flow. JenRO is not just a good queer hip-hop artist -- she is a talented emcee, period. For more on this San Francisco female rapper, who, as she rapped at Amoeba yesterday "was born the same year that CDs were created," visit her website, or hit up her official info phone line @ 415-692-5695, or check out the video interview with her on Yo!TV included in the Recognize: Bay Area Female Rappers Amoeblog from a year ago.
Longtime Bay Area homo-hop artists Dutchboy and Juba Kalamka were also performing at Amoeba SF yesterday. After the show I caught up with Juba Kalamka, whom I know from his days with now defunct Bay Area homo-hop crew Deep Dickollective (D/DC). Eight years ago the group's great song "StraightTrippin" (feat. Doug E) was featured on Independent Sounds: Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. III, and two years later fellow D/DC founding member Tim'm T West also appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. IV. Check back for an interview here with Juba in an upcoming Amoeblog.
Meanwhile, take a look at the trailer clip below of the film Pick Up The Mic: The Evolution of Homohop, directed by Alex Hinton and featuring interviews and/or performances from artists including Juba, D/DC, Tim'm, Dutchboy, JenRO, Tori Fixx, QBoy, JB Rap, and Scream Club. Note that the DVD version of the film features over 40 minutes of deleted scenes.
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 06:26:09
1) Mos Def Ecstatic (Downtown)
2) Busdriver Jhelli Beam (Anti)
3) J Dilla Jay Stay Paid (Nature Sounds)
4) DJ Quik & Kurupt Blaqkout (Mad Science)
5) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)
Four of the five top selling new hip-hop releases (Mos Def, J Dilla, Black Eyed Peas, and DJ Quik & Kurupt) on the latest Hollywood Amoeba hip-hop top five chart have also recently charted at the other two Amoeba stores. Brand new to the charts is the truly one of a kind underground Los Angeles hip-hopper Busdriver, whose latest fulll-length, Jhelli Beam, on the Epitaph Records imprint Anti is this week's number two at the Sunset Avenue store. Falling fairly under the "progressive" or "alternative" hip-hop sub-genres, Busdriver, who was literally born into hip-hop (his father Ralph Farquhar was screenwriter for the 80's hip-hop film Krush Groove), is a refreshing voice in hip-hop, with a clever, rapid fire wit that is only matched by his rapid fire rhyme flow. The new album finds him firing off an arsenal of smart, observant lyrical rhymes over an eclectic backdrop of samples -- from the unusual to the plain, atypical to those normally heard in hip-hop. Because of Busdriver's uniqueness it may take a those unfamiliar with his sound a few listens to fully appreciate his take on the genre, but once you do, you will be hooked. Standout tracks on the 14 track Jhelli Beam (the artist's eigth studio album) include the song "Me - Time (With The Pulmonary Palimpsest)" in which Busdriver, in a sing-songy, bugged-out, super-accelerated lyrical delivery, sounds almost like an old English music-hall MC from the turn of the last century. Like I said, Busdriver is a one of a kind artist! See the video of this song, directed by Hiro Murai, immediately below.
In other news, it seems like everyone is dying lately. This week alone we lost Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcet, Ed McMahon, and Sky Saxon of legendary sixties garage band The Seeds, who died yesterday (June 25th). And we can add to this sad list young Irish rap artist Lunitic, who died suddenly of heart failure on Monday (June 22). He was only 25 years of age. The talented Dublin rapper, who was born Daniel McDonnell in 1984 and who had suffered from a weak heart for much of his life, had been back in hospital again recently and was released this past Sunday. The next day he dropped dead. I met the Ballymun Dublin area rapper when I interviewed him on WFMU last December during a live remote broadcast I did from the Irish capital (see picture left at All City in Dublin) and even before then had been a fan of his music.
I first heard of Lunitic about four years ago when I got the Irish hip-hop compilation Homemade Bombs, put out by the Urban Intelligence crew, which he was a member of. And since he released his album Based On A True Story on Working Class Records earlier this year, I had been bumping it a lot on my system and on the radio, Just last Friday I played the great track "Celtic Funk" featuring fellow Irish emcee and former Scary Eire member Ri Ra on the radio show I do.
To learn more about this Irish rapper, who was taken from us way too young, check out his MySpace, which is still up. There you can download his music for free, including the profound song by the artist "What You Put Into Life." There is also this special memorial website where you can sign your name and leave a comment. Thanks to my man Tall Paul Lowe back in Dublin for assistance in reporting on this story.