Amoeblog

The Sacramento / European Hip-Hop Connection: JR & PH7 X Chuuwee

Posted by Billyjam, December 18, 2014 11:51am | Post a Comment

JR & PH7 X Chuuwee - ''Meanwhile Off Mack''(2014)

Call it a Euro-Sacto mix. The brand new video release above of the hip-hop track "Meanwhile Off Mack," that was published yesterday with a full album to follow in the new year and a single track free download available now, showcases the combined talents of Sacremento's Chuuwee with the studio skills of the two European producers JR & PH7 - who hail from Germany and Denmark respectively.

In comparison to the Euro beatsmith duo who've been putting it down for a few years now and whose track record includes working with such other US emcess as Sean Price, Ras Kass, Skyzoo, and Saigon, the South Sacramento rapper Chuuwee (whose voice/flow reminds me a bit of Mac Mall's) is a relative newcomer to the hip-hop world but odds are that will all change with the forthcoming full-length release of this Euro-Sacto collaboration to be entitled The South Sac Mack and to be released by Below System Records. It's scheduled to arrive in Amoeba in early 2015. Watch this space for more details at that time.

Amoeblog Interview With True Skool's Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2014 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist has long been part and parcel of the fabric that makes up the Bay Area's vibrant hip-hop scene - even though he's not originally from California. An East Coast transplant, with a stop en route to Cali in Colorado, Ren is not only a skilled DJ with two decades of turntable experience coupled with a deep diverse knowledge of music, but he is also a revered club/concert promoter whose True Skool parties are legendary. Additionally, via his online magazine / newsletter True Skool website and its affiliated social network links - notably Twitter and Facebook, he provides a unique and invaluable source of information on Bay Area hip-hop and nightlife happenings as well as general hip-hop news and cultural/political updates - all of which demonstrate how well connected and passionate the man born Renoir Salgado is about hip-hop culture and the Bay Area at large. In addition to his own productions Ren is also in big demand at other folks' events too such opening for Wu-Tang Clan at Ruby Skye in San Francisco (photo above) in 2007, or over the summer at the Amoeba Music sponsored Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at where he was among the carefully chosen curators and also a guest lecturer. Then last month at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (YBCA) cool retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition he was an integral part of the two-day event when, among other things, he curated/DJ'ed the official CD mix of event - an excellent mix of hip-hop music from the year of '93. This week I caught up with the always busy Ren to ask him about True Skool - its history, ongoing projects, and future plans. 


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Top Ten Essential Hip-Hop Albums of 2014

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2014 11:13am | Post a Comment

10 Essential Hip Hop Albums of 2014

1) DJ Qbert Extraterrestria + GalaXXXian (Galactic Butt Hair Records)


Although only released digitally in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign (vinyl to arrive at Amoeba in 2015), this instrumental album (Extraresstria) and its rap/emcee counterpart album (GalaXXXian) rate as my top pick(s) for the best hip-hop released in 2014. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking so; Extraterrestia is up for a possible Grammy award. The stated goal of DJ Qbert's new album, which the artist considers as a Wave Twisters Part II, is to present the sound of skratch music in the future as he sees it, or - as he said upon the release of the new project - "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." The "Jimi Hendrix of the turntables" ably accomplishes both solo as producer/DJ as well as with such album collaborators as Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, and Chad Hugo, who (along with Tipsy) co-produce the album's best track - the soothing, dreamy, ethereal "Ascender (Agartha)."

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Catching Up With Wheelchair Sports Camp's Kalyn Heffernan on New WSC Album, Youth on Record Program, and More

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2014 02:01pm | Post a Comment

In her hometown of Denver, charismatic hip-hop artist/activist/educator Kalyn Heffernan is well known. She is also much loved and respected for her talents, her warm personality, endless energy, and the passion for everything she embraces in her life. She is also an instantly recognizable figure. She may only be three and a half feet in height, weigh less than sixty pounds, and need the use of a wheelchair to get around, but the ever-active Kalyn Heffernan (who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta) is a commanding persona who always has words of wisdom and encouragement to impart with those who cross her path.

The always good-humored, weed-smoking, queer, hip-hop artist/front person of the live hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC) counts among her many admirers music fans, fellow protesters in the Denver Occupy movement, and the recent anti-police demonstrations in the Mile High City as well as all the inner-city kids at the programs she tutors (when not on tour). She also has many fans in the LGBT community won over by her out, loud, and proud positive attitude as witnessed in the WSC song "Madd" with the lyrics, "Everyone here is mad / Everyone here is queer and perfectly glad!"

The Denver Colorado artist's accolades are lengthy. She's been featured in her hometown's The Denver Post a few times, been featured in Spin, Vice, and the Huffington Post, as well as gracing the cover of the NYC weekly The Village Voice in 2011 when she only had some demos and no album yet. In September she was among the contributors in the ten-day NYC arts festival Photoville where her video piece 4TheHomies (see below) was part of the exhibit. As a teacher/mentor she works in a couple of youth empowerment programs including Youth on Record at Youth Media Studios where various areas of music production are taught with an emphasis on hip-hop and its four elements (see video interview below that I conducted with her recently at the space).

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Tortorous Tunes - CIA Mixtape Vol. 1

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

"The CIA was probably keeping detainees awake by blasting Feist," quipped Stephen Colbert during last night's broadcast of the Colbert Report in reference to the some of the disturbing torture tactics employed by the US in the last decade during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that has been revisited this week with the publication of the so-called CIA Torture Report. While the Feist reference was funny in terms of jokes about popular music in the aughts decade, the artist (her last album, 2011's critically acclaimed Metals, debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart) was actually not among the music on the CIA torture playlist of a decade ago. That music playlist included such seemingly innocent songs as the theme songs to kids TV shows Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, as well as the Meow Mix TV commercial jingle. Harder sounding guitar driven songs included AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman," which (along with Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray") is cited by the US military member in the documentary clip below. Meanwhile pop songs that made the CIA torture playlist included The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," Don McLean's "American Pie," and Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty."

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