Killer Mike, seen above with the Vermont senator whom he endorsed and has done a series of appearances and interviews with, may be the most visible hip-hop supporter of Democratic presidential runner Bernie Sanders. But the politically and socially conscious Run The Jewels emcee is not alone when it comes to hip-hop (and rock) artists who have shown support for the 74-year-old Vermont senator whose polls routinely show a large following among both young and minority voters. No wonder since Sanders routinely addresses topics that directly effect or at loudly resonate with the members of these oft ignored demographics. These include slashing the escalating high cost of college tuition, demilitarizing police departments across the US, remedying the uneven ratio of young black and Latino men incarcerated, rescheduling weed from a class A drug, and going after the (currently) entitled so-called 1% by making Wall Street accountable for its central role in the 2008 financial crash.
Other hip-hop artists to publicly put support behind Bernie include Berkeley's Lil B (The BasedGod), Stretch Armstrong, and Z-Trip, who 8 years ago had endorsed Barack Obama, doing some speech remixes and teaming up with Shepard Fairey (another Bernie supporter). Scarface of Geto Boys fame believes in Bernie as does fellow Southern rap pioneer Bun B of UGK (RIP Pimp C). The Trill creator told the Miami New Times this week that Sanders gets his endorsement for being transparent. Some note Sanders' track record dating back to his college days when he fought for housing equality in Chicago.
Hip-hop fans in the Bay Area have an opportunity to catch one of contemporary hip-hop's most innovative emcees when Homeboy Sandman stops by Amoeba Berkeley Thursday, February 4th at 4pm. The in-store will be the Queens, NY emcee's first ever visit to the East Bay Amoeba Music store. The always down-to-earth hip-hop-loving emcee who breaks all negative stereotypes of rappers will perform a few songs from his deep back catalog. That set will be followed by an informal meet and greet with fans.
"With hip-hop they think you can only rap about horrible criminality and misogyny, or else rap about how you don't rap about that, when the truth is you can rap about anything. I have always loved making songs about stuff that people haven't made songs about," Homeboy Sandman said in one of his previous Amoeblog interviews. That quote was from an interview the school teacher turned full-time emcee did back in June 2010 around the time he had just released his album The Good Sun on High Water/Fat Beats before he signed with Stones Throw Records. Since signing with Peanut Butter Wolf's famed record label, he's released a string of solo recordings including his Subject: Matter EP, the Hallways LP, and the First of A Living Breed album.
Bay Area Black History Month events in this leap year include the Tech and Soul Food 2016 Black History Month Speaker Series at Impact Hub Oakland. The unique tech-talk-meets-soul-food series takes place over lunch and dinner on Wednesdays catered by Oakland's La Christa's Cafe with a choice of vegan, vegetarian, and meat soul food. The noon to 2pm and 6-8pm programs feature speakers addressing cultural and educational aspects of the modern tech age, all from an African American perspective. Brief talks are followed by a Q&A session. But the main portion of the program is an hour and a half workshop designed to further educate attendees on varied technology topics.
Blacks Online will be the topic discussed by Dawn Elissa Fischer who is a noted professor from San Francisco State University's trailblazing Africana Studies department. Kumi Rauf of I Love Being Black will speak on Online Stores (2/10). Brian Drayton of Oakland Spokes will giving an indepth talk on the innovative ways to utilize crowd sourcing for businesses (2/10). Meanwhile, both Melonie Green (KPOO, Omni Gallery) and "The Uber Rapper" Ashel Seasunz will speak on the topic of Arts and Technology (2/24). Green Technology will be the topic discussed by Ujamaa Villages (2/17). Kicking off the new series tomorrow (2/3) will be Dream Nefra who will speak during both lunch and dinner sessions on the topic of Blacks in Technology History. As well as being a speaker, Dream Nefra is also the organizer of the series that comes under the recently formed Oakland-Berkeley Soul Food Tech meet-up group that is described as a group for people who are "in alliance with the African American community of Oakland, have web development skills to share or be helped on issues in technology" as well as providing soul food.
Now that February has arrived, 2016 hip-hop will officially kick into full gear with lots of new releases dropping. January is traditionally a slow month for new releases. This year was a little different since there were additional January releases that were reissues of older classic material, mostly on vinyl but some on CD too. These included latest (and there's been a few!) reissue of KMD's storied second album Black Bastards. The new 2LP pressing comes with gatefold pop-up album cover design and booklet included. Released by MF DOOM's record label Metal Face Records, it was recently profiled here on the Amoeblog. Another 2016 vinyl reissue is Lil Ugly Mane's Mista Thug Isolation LP c/o Hundebiss, which is among the entries on the latest Amoeba Berkeley Top Five hip-hop chart (see below). That chart, courtesy of E-Lit, also includes the must-get 2LP reissue of the classic 1995 album from The Pharcyde, Labcabincalifornia, c/o Bicycle Music Company.
Tickets went on sale today for the diverse Andre Nickatina-curated hip-hop concert at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on March 10th. Joining the Fillmore SF rap legend in the line-up, the kick-off show of a 56 date cross-country tour, will be Slick Rick, DJ Abilities, Mac Lethal, Who Cares, and Bukue One. Although not on the official flyer issued above, there are some other acts supposedly on the bill too. As per the Regency Ballroom website, Murs will be joining the line-up. In video clip below with Andre Nickatina announcing the tour lineup late last month, he said that Redman was also a strong possibility to be on the tour or at this premiere concert. Andre Nickatina also says in the video clip that there will be a "Fillmoe feel" to the tour, which has the odd name of "White Wizards of Hip Hop." The meaning behind that name is described by the tour producers Go See Em Touring as "White Wizards of Hip Hop are those wizards whose careers have been twisted and turned with difficulty, loss, and extreme circumstance, and yet, they have overcome to become some of the most iconic names in Rap and Hip Hop history."