Recently ran into Mista B at Amoeba Music San Francisco (as pictured left) as the famed turntablist and member of SF's 4OneFunk crew (with Teeko, B.Cause, Max Kane) was dropping off copies of his tight new independently released CD SonicSoulSpace.
This latest production by Mista B comes hot on the heels of his collaborative mix CD with fellow 4OneFunk'er B.Cause titled Record Haterz. That ol skool Bay Area rap mix dug deep in the vinyl crates to deliver a flawless mix punctuated by forgotten gems by such bygone Bay rap greats as Totally Insane, 415 (feat. RIchie RIch), and 11/5.
Mista B will be flying out to New York in a couple of weeks to represent the Bay Area in the 2009 DMC US Finals Battle - the legendary DJ battle where skilled turntablists from all over, usually with endless hours upon hours of practice, converge in a heated battle that only last minutes but whose results go down in the history books forever. This will be Mista B's fifth time to enter a DMC battle. "I have mixed feelings upon competing again. Usually, DJs compete just once and [then] they're done. For me, it's not just about the competition but it's about sharing this so called art of turntabilism," he told me. "I feel that DJ battles are one of very few platforms to showcase the art. So with me, I still practice because I like to work on my craft, my skill if you will. Specifically beat juggling for me. I don't do it to be better than the next guy, but to be better than what I was yesterday and to show how graceful sounding this art is" Always pushing himself to improve and to innovate the SF who has been honing his diligently DJ'ng since 1993, told me that. "I took a class in college and a professor came up with the concept, "sound art." That concept stuck with me since so I like to consider what I do "turntable sound art." So now I just look for a medium to showcase the art. So here I am again, competing on a high level versus the country's best DJs, The DMC USA Finals again."
As far as Mista B's influences in what he does, he said the foremost thing is, "Community. And the Bay Area is all about that. I actually battled last year for the first time in a couple years and I felt good. Although I didn't place in last years DMC, I felt at peace with it and was ready to move on. I was getting props and other things like, "yo that was a dope routine" or "you shoulda placed" so I felt that I left on a good note. Being in 4onefunk, all of my counter parts have beyond moved on from battling and I was already working on projects such as mixtapes, remixes, podcast and album cuts. I don't know what it is though. Something just started brewing here again. Teeko, has always been in innovative and musical influence on me but lately, he has been on a mission to showcase his skill and funk through the vestax controller-1 turntable and his natural talent. Cellskiii and Deeandriod also re-started skratchpad and
by doing that, brought in djs from different scenes together, who usually wouldn't be under the same roof, to help through the event. So far it's been great. DJs get to showcase, and anyone can jus hang out and scratch, regardless of their scratch skill level."
Fellow Bay Area turntablist Celskiii, who recently along with turntable partner Deeandroid entered the DMC battle in LA and at whose bi-weekly party Skratchpad in SF Mista B is a regular, gave the DJ some invaluable advice. "I remember when I battled last year, Cell told me she got influenced by me doing DMC (in 2008). Next thing you know, her and Deeandriod are entering the DMC team battle. I was like "wow, that so cool!" They were asking me to enter too and at first I was like no. I actually was supposed to judge that battle but changed my mind the week before and said "f__k it!" The combination of Teeko and his music and Deeandroid and Celskiii entering the DMC influenced me enough to enter. I also wanted to be there to support them so I also felt that both of us battling would help us influence each other. They placed second and I qualified to go back to the USA finals so it worked out great. So now, I'm not just doing this for myself and the art but for the turntable scene in the bay area. I feel that regardless of what happens, I'm in the DMC again for a reason."
Mista B added that he feels there is a renaissance in the turntable arts right now in the Bay Area citing artists like Teeko, Deeandroid, and Celskiii, and himself who "are carrying the tourch." But it is different to a previous decade turntablist explosion in the Bay he insists. "The only thing is that were doing whatever we want, our way. This isn't the same scene Q-Bert etc. blew up. I feel that we're more aware of what's going on. We want this to be about sharing and having people enjoy turntable music. Don't get me wrong, he, Q-Bert will always be a major influence to all of us. But the thing is, it's our time to shine
now and all of us have worked hard to get to where were at. It's 2009 and were gonna get it now and beyond."
The US DMC Finals battle takes place at Santos House in downtown Manhattan on Saturday August 1st. Along with all the contestants also in the house will be Lord Finesse, DJ Precision, and Kool DJ Red Alert. All ages. Doors 4pm. Tix $15. More info here.
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 07:17:09
1) Mos Def The Ecstatic (Downtown)
2) Chali 2na Fish Outta Water (Decon)
3) Wu Tang Chamber Music (KR Urban/KOCH)
4) J Dilla Jay Stay Paid (Nature Sounds)
5) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)
For the fourth straight week in a row Mos Def's powerful latest release, The Ecstatic on Downtown, is the number one new hip-hop top seller at Amoeba Music Berkeley. Among the several producers to lend their skills to this fourth album by Mos Def are Madlib, his younger brother Oh No, Preservation, Mr Flash, and J Dilla. And it seems so many releases and/or artists these days are just a few degrees of seperation from the late great J Dilla who himself is charting this week at the East Bay Amoeba with his latest posthumous release Jay Stay Paid on the fine Brooklyn based label Nature Sounds.
Just as they've been doing over at the San Francisco Amoeba recently both the new Chali 2na and the new Wu-Tang albums are both doing well at the East Bay store. As noted on th Amoeblog a couple of weeks ago noticably absent from the new Wu-Tang (no Clan anymore in the name) RZA exectuve produced album Chamber Music are Method Man, GZA, and Masta Killa. But the rest of the crew are here as are many ol skool NY guests. To hear a sample of the new album track "Evil Deeds" featuring Ghostface Killah, Havoc and RZA click here. And for a sample of a track off the recommended new Chali 2na album Fish Outta Water immediately below is a slide show accompanying the track "International" featuring Beenie Man which although on the new album has been around for about a year.
In da Bay lots of great shows happening this weekend and in the week ahead. Tonight New York emcee Cage, whose latest album Depart From Me on Def Jux was the top seller at Amoeba Music San Francisco last week, plays at the Great American Music Hall at 859 O'Farrell Street in San Francisco tonight. Also on the bill is Yak Balls. 9pm show. $16. All ages. Also tonight in SF is the 5th Annual Afrofunk Music Festival at The Independent celebrating Afrobeat music and global rhytmns including hip-hop with a lineup that includes Bayonics, Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, and DJ Walt Digz. 9pm. 628 Divisidaro. 21+ $15.
Tomorrow at Pier 23 right on the water in SF (a great place during the good summer weather we've been having recently here in the Bay) is the all-day, 12-hour music event Bay Vibes Presents Summer Musicfest 2 , with ten Bay Area bands lined up to perforn. Not strictly hip-hop but all rhythm based and all good music including the soulful roots reggae of Navtive Elements and Dogman Joe and the upbeat conscious hip hop of Kev Choice and his ensemble who rocked it at last summer's East Bay Express party over at the Oakland Museum. Others scheduled to perform this weekend at this all day festival include the Jethro Jermiah Band,Spaceheater, Pat Jordan Band, Monophonics, Afrolicious, Kapakahi, and Izabella. The event kicks off at 2pm and goes til 2am. Tix $15. Pier 23 located down on the Embarcadero. More info here.
SF Mission District producer/DJ Unagi, who appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. IV and who has just dropped his latest album Reinventing The Eel (442 Records) with mic guests including Motion Man, is playing tomorrow (Saturday July 18th) with several guest emcees at Cafe du Nord at 2174 Market Street. 10pm show. $10. De La Soul are at The Fillmore 1805 Geary next Thursday, July 23rd. 9pm show. Tix $29.50.
Finally I leave you with an excerpt from a recent interview with BIg Rich (aka Fillmore Rich) outside Amoeba Music on Haight Street San Francisco, where his new album Heart of the City is one of the top sellers in the hip-hop section. In this excerpt the Frisco rapper talks about the real impact of the so-called "hyphy" movement, which note he was never a part of but was often mistakenly lumped in with it by shortsighted journalists since he first came to fame around the time the Bay Area style peaked in popularity. RIch also talks in the video below about his sense of repsonisiblity to his community and what San Francisco means to him. He also talks about his upcoming shows on Saturday July 25th, which will include him performing at the Get Live Stay Live AIDS awareness show at the Bayview Opera House 3:30pm. Free to those who get tested. $5 for others. Later that afternoon Big Rich will stop by the all-day Bay Area Producer's Conference at the Cathedral Hill Hotel at 5pm, and at Hot Import Nights (4-11pm) at Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton at 6:30pm And tomorrow he will do doing a show at City Hall in San Francisco at 3pm. Check back next week for another excpert from this Big Rich video interview. Also below is the music video to the 2008 song and video that I never tire of, "SF Anthem" featuring Big Rich along with San Quinn and Boo Banger and lots of great San Francisco sights.