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Hip Hop Rap Up: RIP Wesley Burton, Mac Dre Art Show, Scarface Book, HBK's Azure, Big Mont, Third Sight IV LP + more

Posted by Billyjam, April 24, 2015 11:37am | Post a Comment
This Saturday evening's Mac Dre Art Show - Dre Area at at Charles Place in Downtown Oakland -  merely proves that the late great Vallejo rapper, whose cult status has grown exponetially since his murder eleven years ago, is truly an iconic hip-hop figure everywhere but especially in his native Bay Area. Dre Area features a total of 40 different artists, including Ernest Doty and Yung E, contributing via their art their take on Mac Dre - some of it inspired by Mac Dre's famous photos and album cover imagery. A one-off event happening this Saturday evening only from 5pm to midnight Dre Area (with all Mac Dre music being spun by DJ Dontdoodaat) takes place at Charles Place which is at 347 13th St. Oakland. Cover is $5 and I have a feeling it could get really packed and if so plan on going earlier than later.

Another beloved Bay Area public figure taken from this world and his family way too young is KPFA's Wesley Burton who, among other things at the Berkeley Pacifica station, co-hosted the popular late Friday night music show Sideshow Radio. However after finishing his show and leaving KPFA last Friday night / early Saturday morning while driving home to his family along Martin Luther King Boulevard in Oakland his car was struck a speeding hit-and-run driver that crashed into him causing Burton's car to flip and die at the scene.  A really well loved individual, tributes to him have included a moving one earlier this week hosted by Davey D during KPFA's Hard Knock Radio that is archived here for playback.

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Howard Stern Presents Celebration of The Beatles with The Flaming Lips Hosted by Fred Armisen

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2015 01:30pm | Post a Comment

On his SiriusXM radio channel this Friday (April 24) evening Howard Stern will present A Celebration of The Beatles with the Flaming Lips that will be hosted by the Portlandia's Fred Armisen. The session, for which Howard Stern will surrender his SiriusXM radio studios, will feature the Flaming Lips performing songs from their Beatles tribute album; their interpreted version of the Fab Four's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band tribute album entitled With A Little Help From My Fwends (also available in LP/vinyl format). Since the show will run for an hour listeners can expect the Lips to cover some other material too during the session by the unpredictable band. The special will premiere this Friday out of the NYC studios at 11pm (8pm Pacific Time) on Howard Stern's SiriusXM channel Howard 101 heard online. The Flaming Lips album With A Little Help From My Fwends was released back in October 28th via Warner Bros. Records when the band released their own versions of each track off The Beatles' 1967 classic album with an eclectic array of guests including Miley Cyrus, Moby, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, Tegan and Sara, and many more. No mention or official word as to whether any of these contributors will perform on Friday along with the Lips but odds are that at least one of them will have to do so. Finally I leave you with What's In My Bag? video segment from last year featuring the Flaming Lips' drummer Kliph Scurlock as he goes digging in the crates at Amoeba Hollywood.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The D.O.C.

Posted by Billyjam, April 21, 2015 06:00pm | Post a Comment
A key contributor to both Ruthless and Death Row Records' most significant releases, The D.O.C. is best known for his own landmark 1989 Dr. Dre-produced debut album No One Can Do It Better whose success, due to a tragic accident that destroyed his larynx, he would never be able to replicate. But that album remains a true hip-hop classic. The D.O.C. was born Tracy Curry (aka Tray) in Houston,TX but moved to Dallas where in 1986 he became a member of the hip-hop trio Fila Fresh Crew along with Fresh K and Dr. Rock.  Originally he went by the rap name Dr. T but later switched it to Doc T.  The Fila Fresh Crew relocated to the Compton area of LA where, through Dr Rock's World Class Wreckin Cru era affiliations with Dr. Dre, landed several of the trio's tracks on the 1987 album  N.W.A. and the Posse. This Macola/Ruthless release was essentially a compilation showcasing the talents of extended N.W.A. family (including Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Yella, and the Arabian Prince) plus the Fila Fresh Crew whose own poorly-received album, titled "Tuffest Man Alive" - featuring the same songs,  would be released on Macola a year later. Neither that album nor the single from it, "Dunk The Funk" would experience much success and the act soon disintegrated.  By this stage the D.O.C., a skilled battle emcee who displayed a superior lyrical finesse and a knack for writing memorable rhymes, had already moved on to work with the members of N.W.A. In no time he had proved himself an invaluable part of the Ruthless creative team.  In tandem with the young and talented Ice Cube (the main writer) he ghost-wrote a good deal of Eazy-E's 1988 debut album Eazy-Duz-It (the two also guested on the opening prelude track "Still Talkin'" ). Not long afterwards he got busy both ghost-writing for and contributing vocals to N.W.A.'s landmark 1988 Straight Outta Compton album on which he appeared on the track "Parental Discretion Iz Advised."  By this time he had changed his name to "The D.O.C." - apparently abbreviating "Doc" to  D.O.C. as a direct influence of N.W.A.'s use of periods between each abbreviated letter of their name.

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It's 4/20: Rallying Call Continues To Be Legalize It, And Make Today A National Holiday

Posted by Billyjam, April 20, 2015 12:50pm | Post a Comment

On his past Friday night's HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the long time outspoken supporter of pot legalization said that 4/20 (aka today's date April 20th) should be made an official national holiday. He says this because already it is the day set aside to fully celebrate the positive effects of weed and the advancements and recent strides towards marijuana legalization and its accepted use for medical uses - it just needs a Federal stamp of approval. In showing his sincerity for his proposal Bill Maher noted that he had alredy created a Change.org petition that calls on Congress to make every year's April 20 date a national weed-related holiday. He is serious and has consistently championed the legalization of pot, routinely calling out President Obama on his slowness to fully promote legalization on a national level.

You can sign the Change.Org petition here which has already reached about 80% of its desired petition signees. Despite the general lax attitude towards weed in California these days, thanks mostly to the efforts of those who fought for medical cannabis legalization which date back to Proposition 215 (AKA the Compassionate Use Act of 1996) the California law concerning the use of medical cannabis, it is important to remember that it is still not legal for recreation use in the Golden State. And hence why a couple of grassroots political groups have recent filed ballot initiatives to try and make weed (medical and recreational) more accessible to adults in the State.The California Craft Cannabis Initiative is for both full legalization and for initiating both a cannabis trademark and a state cannabis commission. Meanwhile the other recently filed ballot initiative is The Compassionate and Sensible Access Act which is more of a health-care (versus recreational) rooted initiative that is pushing for weed to be viewed and fully accepted as a “legitimate, alternative medicinal treatment.” Both of these (or just one or neither) could well end up next year (2016) for voters in California to make a decision on at the ballots.

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Hip Hop Rap Up: Record Store Day, Coachella, Concert Picks, US MCs + Euro Producers

Posted by Billyjam, April 17, 2015 04:00pm | Post a Comment

As you well know tomorrow - Saturday, April 18th - is Record Store Day 2015 and it is the one day that you must head to one of the three outlets of the world's largest independent record store - Amoeba Music - where we have some amazing RSD releases plus a ton of other stuff including in-stores sets ( and complimentary coffee, and announcement of the winner of the Pro-Ject Essential II turntable and a ton of choice vinyl. See full Amoeba Music RSD details here. As far as the special RSD releases - of which there are 500+ this year - some of the hip-hop ones include N.W.A.'s landmark Straight Outta Compton on cassette - with digital download card. To be best prepared for the rush and crowds of Record Store Day it is best to arrive at Amoeba prepared - knowing which specific RSD releases you want in advance of getting to the store. And you can study the full RSD 2015 releases list here.  

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