Amoeblog

The Poet Azeem's "Postera" Delivers A Message of Encouragement To Artists

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2015 09:15pm | Post a Comment

Throughout The Poet Azeem's performance of Postera today at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting on West 27th Street in Manhattan, one recurring message was to be true to yourself. And if you're an artist, be 100% true to your art - no matter what - and don't sell out. That message came from an artist who truly practices what he preaches. Azeem has always being about his art first and foremost - dating all the way back two plus decades ago when the NJ born artist began his career in the Bay Area.  Today's Postera performance - the final of a few to play in Manhattan this week - was presented as a "uniquely triumphant story of a modern misfit on an alternative path" in life with Chapter III of the film portion titled "The Misfit King" which is also the name of a song by Azeem with the German based Ancient Astronauts under the collective name Band Of Broken Puppets. Today's performance blended Azeem's semi-autobiographical tale with him both on stage and projected onto the stage's film screen via the "visual narrative" collaborative aid of NYC based filmmaker Zak Cedarholm. As well as tracing his own personal journey, coming of age in the 80's and kickstarting his music career in the 90's, Azeem offered his own firsthand political and social observations as well such as how the American crack academic coincided with the rise of the prison complex.

One the many inspiring moments of today's mixed-media show was when the New Jersey born, longtime hip-hop emcee / spoken word artist encouraged his fellow artists to go all out in their creativity. "If you see an envelope, push it!" stressed The Poet Azeem to all his fellow artists. And following the 45 minute performance piece today at the midtown theater the house lights came up and Azeem and his visuals collaborator Zak Cedarholm opened the floor up to questions and discussion. Cedarholm talked about how he initially met up with Azeem a year and half ago and how the two clicked creatively and hence set about making a special type of film together (see trailer below) that even includes some old Bay Area era footage of Azeem. He noted that their ultimate goal is of making full-length movie of Postera. He and Azeem then noted how they hope to tour with the mixed media piece and have accompanying workshops for others to build from it. Azeem said that he would hope that aspiring artists would see this work and that it might inspire them to follow their creative dreams and goals. Now that's what I call giving back and spreading the love and the art.

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DJ Shadow Protege Bleep Bloop To Play Low End Theory

Posted by Billyjam, January 10, 2015 09:49am | Post a Comment
Electronic music fans in LA who picked up Bleep Bloop's excellent 10 Watt Lazers EP that arrived at Amoeba a month ago via DJ Shadow's recently launched Liquid Amber imprint , will be pleased to know that the "outerspace" music artist will be performing at the upcoming edition of the revered Low End Theory (LET) weekly club this coming Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 at Airliner. Joining a bill that will include Mike Gao, BLKNZ and resident DJs Daddy Kev, Nobody, The Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles, and Nocando, this installment of the LET promises to be off the hook. And if by chance you've never attended a LET party this is the one to make your first. Speaking of firsts, this is the first artist, other than himself, that DJ Shadow has released on his already successful new Liquid Amber label.

Of the new label and this premiere artist on it the NorCal DJ/producer born Josh Davis said, "It's an exciting and challenging phase of the process. I'm learning something new daily, and that's rewarding. With [Bleep Bloop] Aaron's music, it's not hard for me to be motivated to work on his behalf.  He's one of the artists pushing boundaries, and that's a cause I'll always get behind." As for the futuristic spacey music of the Santa Rosa based Aaron "Bleep Bloop" Triggs and what it exactly sounds like - you be the judge by listening to the free download of his spanking new remix of the Clipse track 'Keys Open Doors.' (avail via SoundCloud here) that he says he will be playing at Wednesday's LET gig. As for what else to expect during Bloop Bleep's set on Wednesday in LA? "For my show I'm gonna be playing all originals and collaborations and remixes. Gonna pack em in there and get a bunch tunes played," he told the Amoeblog today adding of his experience of working with his DJ Shadow,"It's incredible and surreal. I'm so stoked to be a part of it [and] feel really fortunate!"

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Golden Era Hip-Hop Star Cool C Granted Stay of Execution

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2015 11:10pm | Post a Comment
For much of yesterday social media was abuzz with the news that hip-hop golden era star Cool C, the Philly rapper born Christopher Roney, would be executed for the two-decades old charge of first-degree murder of a Philadelphia police officer in a 1996 failed PNC Bank robbery in the Pennsylvania city.  It was a tragic tale of a once famous artist, one who back in the late 80's was signed to Atlantic Records and rapped about "The Glamorous Life" (see video below), but who today (January 8th 2015) following nineteen years in prison after been sentenced to death was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. Note that back in 2006 he was originally scheduled to be executed but due to litigation issues had that fate postponed. Fast forward to last month and the rapper, who committed the attempted 1996 bank robbery with fellow 80's Philly rap star Steady B and another rap colleague of theirs born Ernest Mark Canty (they both got life without parole for their parts in the failed heist), was set to be executed but due to a last minute stay of execution once again had it postponed  - but not for long.  Then late yesterday word surfaced in the evening that Cool C had been granted a second stay of execution. In the meantime in the comments of news sites and on social media there were endless emotional posts and comments - many mostly by those who were not familiar with the music of Cool C - with the majority taking a vocal stand against the "cop killer," "s "thug" etc. for killing a police officer. That prevalent outrage and distaste toward the 45 year old Cool C, who during the 1996 botched bank robbery shot and killed single mother of two Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird, comes at a time when emotions are high in regards to attacks on police with political stances more polarized than ever.

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Kevvy Kev's Wu-Tang Wednesdays @ 2800 In San Francisco

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2015 06:25pm | Post a Comment
Kevvy Kev's Wu-Tang Wednesdays ain't nuthin to mess with! The pioneering Bay Area hip-hop DJ, who began his career a full decade even before the famous Staten Island hip-hop collective first took the music world by storm, began his popular new WU weekly (Wednesdays at 2800 24th Street in San Francisco) back in late November out of a passion for the group and 90's classic hip-hop - specifically the Wu-Tang Clan who helped shape the decade's hip-hop sound. "It needed to be done. That’s always been the mission: Give the streets what they need," he told the Amoeblog earlier this afternoon taking a brief break from digging in his deep crates for records that include the ones in his top five below.

As for what Kev thinks makes the Wu-Tang such an important and essential music group? "At no time before, and arguably since, has that much talent been assembled in one package with that sort of game-changing production, concept, and execution. It was literally the perfect storm, and that’s why it hit the entire culture like a thermonuclear bomb,". he replied quickly adding for further emphasis, "And you know what a bomb sounds like, right? Bong bong!"

As a club and radio DJ (his long-running KZSU show "The Drum" is both highly influential and legendary  - read the Amoeblog profile on it and Kevvy Kev here) he has personally known the Wu members from their inception - even before in fact. "I met RZA first, as a solo artist when he was on Tommy Boy," he recalled, continuing. "After that record, he went solo and released "Protect Ya Neck" independently, and the streets went crazy! So when Loud picked up the group, they flew ‘em out to Cali and did a run from LA to the Bay. The [Bay Area Hip-Hop] Coalition handled the Bay Area part of the run, so we had a chance to build with the clan," he recalled pausing for a moment. "Too many stories to go into here, but you can imagine!" And as for Kevvy Kev's top five favorite Wu-Tang Clan joints of the moment - whether group, solo, or side projects? "With the caveat that this list changes frequently and for often arbitrary reasons,," he replied. "For the purposes of this list, I’m only picking songs from the Wu albums - not solo joints or collabos."

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: April 1992 KUSF Top 30 Hip-Hop Chart

Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2015 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Just dug up the Top 30 airplay chart (left) from 23 years ago from the weekly KUSF FM  hip-hop radio show I did at that time on the beloved, now sadly defunct San Francisco radio station that used to reign supreme at 90.3FM. The radio show I did was on Sunday evenings after the Spotlight guest DJ feature program and before The Germ's demo tape show. It was a good time in the history of hip-hop when the genre was still in its so-called "golden era" epitomized by artists like 3rd Bass, Black Sheep, and Gang Starr and by such releases as Showbiz & AG's Soul Clap EP, Ultramagnetic MCs' Funk Your Head Up album (with the single "Poppa Large"), and A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory which even though it was released seven months earlier was still getting airplay due to the sheer quality of its content - every track on point - examples including "Buggin' Out," "Butter," "Check The Rhime," "Show Buiness," and "Jazz (We Got)." 

Other golden era classic tracks included on this chart are House of Pain's breakout crossover hit "Jump Around," the Beastie Boys' "Pass The Mic," and Main Source's "Fakin' The Funk." The accompanying video for that song, in which the lyrics even reference "the year of 92," can be seen below. As is evident from the video the song was used on the soundtrack to the film White Men Can't Jump that was released at that same time. Another rap heavy soundtrack included on this chart is the excellent Juice OST that got released  a few months earlier and included tracks from such acts as Eric B. & RakimEPMD, Cypress Hill, and Naugthy By Nature - but oddly not Tupac Shakur who starred in the movie and had just released his solo debut 2Pacalaypse Now. As well as the Bay Area based 2Pac there were some other Bay Area artists associated with the movie - well with the excellent soundtrack specifically. These included producer Ant Banks as well as Too $hort, and MC Pooh. The latter artist who also went by the name Pooh-Man is separately featured on this chart with the single "Funky."

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