QBert and D-Styles at Skratchcon in 2000
There is a lot going on right now in Bay Area hip-hop music and what is most impressive is not just the quantity of artists making new music but the diversity of hip-hop music in the Bay Area as we head into what promises to be one a most prolific summer of music. One week ago exactly I wrote about Bay Area female rapper Kreayshawn's meteoric rise to fame within the previous week and a half, thanks in large part to her viral video "Gucci Gucci." Well since then, the buzz-worthy artist who did her first show only three months ago at SXSW, sold out her White Girl Mob show with Lil Debbie & V Nasty at SOM Bar in SF and had Erk da Jerk and Mistah Fab opening for her. More significantly she landed a major deal with SONY: reportedly a one million dollar deal of which she sees a quarter up front.
In the world of turntablism, which many agree is rooted in the Bay Area thanks to such pioneering crews as the Bulletproof Scratch Hamsters and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, this week is a really exciting time in San Francisco. On Wednesday (June 1st) the monthly Bay Area Skratchpad party, which recently extended to LA (after Sacramento and San Jose) jumped off at the Rockit Room on Clement (formerly the Last Day Saloon). In addition to such resident DJs as Deeandroid, Celskiii, DnZ, and Snyak Eyez flexing their stuff on the turns also making beautiful turntable music were Primo, Robynn Battle, MuddBird Waxaholic, and SoundTronix. Additionally Chicken Skratch (the night's expert beat selector) was laying down an incredibly rich variety of grooves from old school to dubstep.
When longtime SF DJ/producer DJ Design just happened to wander into the club (he was walking by and heard the scratching outside) he jumped up on stage and Chicken Scratch swiftly dug up one of Design's own beats for him to scratch over. To top it off live drummer Gabriel McDowell (aka Big G) joined the DJs on stage with a complete drum kit playing a steady funk beat all night. The next SF Skratchpad is July 6th. More info. Many of the folks at Skratchpad Wednesday will be at Low End Theory tonight at the LA founded event's San Francisco party when for the first time in ten years Bay Area turntalbist masters / legends D-Styles and QBert will play together.
Today I talked with D-Styles (a Low End Theory resident) who told me that. "We have been wanting to have Q play at Low End Theory for awhile. Since we started doing a monthly in SF it only made sense. It was actually just gonna be Q doing a solo set but we decided we might as well have some fun and cut it up together! We are cutting over some new and old beats mainly. I'm hoping Q takes it easy on me! Haha."
Also on the bill of this LA founded party will be Young Montana?, Dntel of Postal Service, Daddy Kev, Mono/Poly, Nocando, Jel, & Odd Nosdom 10pm show. 21+ $15. Q and D go on at 1:30am til 2am. More info.
This weekend Shady Nate and J.Stain of Oakland's LiveWIre hip-hop collective continues his good deeds of giving back to the community when they'll throw his second community picnic and BBQ (for free) under the banner "Our Kids, Out Streets" in West Oakland's DeFemery Park on Sunday afternoon starting at noon. The park is located at 1651 Adeline Street. See flyerr right for info. I plan on attending and will report on it here in a future Amoeblog. Today on my WFMU radio show, a remote from the KUSF In Exile studios in SF, my guests will include Vallejo rapper Moe Green and former KUSF DJ, producer J-Boogie. And tomorrow J-Boogie will do an unusual concert when the OM artist will perform for a yoga class at Yoga Tree in the Castro at 830pm. More info here. Today the tix go on sale for the Bay Area and LA installments of Rock The Bells which are August 20th and 27th respectively.. Line up info. Ticket info. And now here is the top five hip-hop releases from the Amoeba Berkeley store with a breakdown/description thanks to E-Lit at the East Bay store.
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending June 3rd, 2011
1) Beastie Boys Hot Sauce Committee Part Two CD (Capitol)
The new Beastie Boys album continues to be a major seller over at Amoeba, which is not surprising considering the amount of universal love and attention it’s been receiving. You’ve got to respect a group that has the money and fame to rope in as many celebrities as they choose, yet decides to record their vocals as if they were still putting music on 4-track tape. Features Nas and Santigold, plus it’s a huge improvement over “To the 5 Boroughs.”
2) Tyler the Creator Goblin (Deluxe CD) (XL)
LA’s Odd Future has taken off in a major way in the last few months, with more hype built around Tyler’s album prior to its release than any hip hop title in recent memory. Regardless of how you feel about their content or approach to the genre (the term “shock rap” has been tossed around quite a bit), these kids are doing their own thing and have their own particular sound. Comparisons to Onyx or Necro are inevitable, so fans of the darker and more aggressive side of hip hop may have something to dig here.
3) Atmosphere The Family Sign CD (Rhymesayers)
Slug & Ant & Eric & Nate’s latest album continues to move steadily, proving once again that these guys hold the crown as one of the most successful independent hip hop groups out there. This latest offering is very low-key and introspective, with lots of somber live musicianship and personal lyrics from Slug.
4) Sims Bad Time Zoo LP (Doomtree/Modern Radio)
We scored some of these very limited Bad Time Zoo LPs directly from Modern Radio the other week, and have almost sold through our supply of them. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to this long-awaited effort from Sims & Lazerbeak, it’s a culmination of years of hard work that pits Sims’ insightful lyricism and heated flow against Lazerbeak’s neck-breaking production. One of the best rap releases of 2011 thus far. Gatefold LP, limited to 500 copies!
5) Blue Sky Black Death Noir CD (Fake Four Inc.)
This latest instrumental effort from Blue Sky Black Death was selling fairly well until I played a copy of over the store’s speaker, at which point no less than 5 customers asked for it! Glad that the music resonates with folks, because it’s a dense and well-crafted effort that feels like it could be the soundtrack to an epic movie. Those searching for atmospheric beats you can zone out to should look no further.