Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Remembering Compton's Short-Lived C.P.O.

Posted by Billyjam, April 7, 2015 12:01pm | Post a Comment

In the aftermath of the success of N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton, record labels were rushing to sign West Coast SoCal acts in any way related to N.W.A. or even just hailing from their Compton neighborhood. Compton's C.P.O. were such an act. Down with N.W.A. and from Compton, the rap group was comprised of rapper Lil Nation and DJ Train (plus some extended posse members). Formed in 1989, they were signed soon after, thanks to N.W.A.'s MC Ren, by Capitol Records who released their debut album To Hell And Black the following year. However, the major label dropped the rap group from their roster that same year. 

The short-lived Compton-based C.P.O., whose name stood for Capital Punishment Organization, was primarily just its front person - the robust rapper/MC Ren protege Lil Nation (aka 'CPO' or Boss Hogg) who, at 6'2" and 357 pounds, was far from 'lil' back in 1990 when the former gang-banger emerged on Ren Records/MC Ren Productions. To Hell And Black spawned the two funky singles "Ballad Of A Menace" and "The Beat Is Funky" and their accompanying videos.

DJ Train, who added all the turntable scratching and cutting, had previously worked with both J.J. Fad and MC Ren, and had been down with N.W.A. for some time. He was among those included on the album cover photo of 1987's N.W.A. & the Posse.  Meanwhile the C.P.O. entourage was rounded out by The Chip, Donovan, and Young D who co-produced the group's sole album with Ren (who also rapped on the release). Lil Nation, as Boss Hogg, would later appear on N.W.A,'s 1991 Niggaz4life on the track "Findum Fuckum and Flee."  C.P.O. was in the right place at the right time, arriving on the music scene just as gangsta rap, still a relatively new and primarily West Coast phenomenon, was, to the chagrin of many, proving itself to be more than just a passing fad. They were presented alongside the major players of the new hip-hop shock sub-genre of that era.

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2015 SF DMC Battle (April 12 @ Brick & Mortar) Fosters "Accepting Vibe Where Everyone Can Feel Respected And Encouraged"

Posted by Billyjam, April 6, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

Three years ago in April of 2012, following a noticeably long six-year absence, the longtime DMC DJ Battle returned to San Francisco with its 2012 DMC Bay Area Regional Battle at 330 Ritch at which DJ Sol Rising won the turntable competition. It was a most welcomed return of the world's longest running, most recognized, and prestigious DJ battle to the epicenter of turntablism/skratch music in the country. Thankfully, each year since then a Bay Area DMC Regional, one that determines who will go on to represent NorCal in the DMC USA national finals in New York, has taken place. The 2015 DMC San Francisco Regional DJ Battle will take place this coming Sunday, April 12th, at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in the Mission District of San Francisco. Tix here.

As well as being the NorCal Regional battle, the event will also encompass the Battle for US Supremacy as part of the six-hour long program. The event is special also in the fact that this year's will be an all-ages event! Note that there is still time to enter for the battle by contacting usa@dmcworld.com. DJs have until exactly 11:59pm on April 11th to register for the battles on April 12th. This year's battle has the backing of the Rane DJ gear company along with the pioneering Bay Area DJ Cue's (co-founder of the Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters) San Brun-based Special Tech DJ school.

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Amy: The Amy Winehouse Documentary

Posted by Billyjam, April 5, 2015 12:21pm | Post a Comment

Amy Winehouse movie preview (2015)

Above is the very telling first trailer for the forthcoming documentary, Amy, on the short life and times of the late great Amy Winehouse. In it the singer, who died at age 27 of alcohol poisoning, incorrectly predicts in an early interview how she figured that she was not going to be very famous. In regards to fame, she said, "I don't think I could handle it. I'd probably go mad!" 

The film, directed by Asif Kapedia (Senna), promises to include a lot of unseen archival footage as well as feature some never before heard Amy Winehouse tracks (likely to appear on an accompanying soundtrack).

No doubt there'll be more trailers for Amy published before its scheduled theatrical release in July. In the meantime, check out Amy Winehouse's back catalog at Amoeba Music, which includes the track "Back To Black" (video below) -- the title track of her second album released by Universal in 2006. The song can be heard in the above movie teaser, albeit in an altered, slower, stretched-out version that isolated the acapella parts and mixed them over an eerie sounding instrumental for full haunting effect.

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Various Causes of Musicians' Deaths, By Genre

Posted by Billyjam, April 3, 2015 11:53am | Post a Comment


Melancholy a topic as the content in above chart might be, which comes care of theconversation.com, it is very engaging and enlightening. The color red on the chart represents "significantly above the overall average rate for cause of death" with rap and hip-hop leading the chart's overall percentage amount. Meanwhile, metal leads in suicide as cause of death, with cancer pretty much evenly spread across all genres except for hip-hop and rap - perhaps because it is the youngest genre represented.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Community Skratch Games, PRhyme, Common, Shing02's The Divider, J Dilla RSD Release, De La Successful, Jay-Z

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2015 09:01am | Post a Comment
Now in its ninth year is Ireland's Community Skratch Games - the annual DJ battle that takes place at the Bierhaus in Galway each Easter weekend - that began as a fun alternative to the more serious minded DJ battles like the ITF or DMC. In fact its Sex Pistols styled slogan for one early year boasted Never mind the DMC's...Here's the Community Skratch Games!

The Community Skratch Games began in 2007 with no real long term plans, merely a desire to show love to the skratch art of turntable manipulation for the small niche of skratch fanatics in Ireland as well as raise awareness of hip-hop DJ culture to those not fully aware of turntablism as a musical art.

In addition to its fun battle (for which the champion won, not a corporate prize such as some sponsored company's mixer, but a bag of meat - yes as rashers (Irish bacon), sausages, steaks, and pork chops - donated by the local butcher) the Community Skratch Games, which has continued each year growing from strength to strength, a variety of workshops and showcases. Or as chief organizer Jimmy The Hideous Penguin called it in a 2009 Amoeblog interview  "a barrage of funk, hip-hop, electro and sweaty dancing folk." At that same time the DJ/producer and member of Ireland's incredible Vince Mack Mahon DJ crew, who oversees the spinoff Community Skratch Music record label, noted that the advantage of holding the annual Community Skratch Games in Galway versus the large Irish city of Dublin was that, "It's easy to be noticed in a small city. There are lots of great skratch DJs in other parts of Ireland too. I'm not sure, it's easy to do your own thing in Galway. In bigger cities I think people lean more towards fitting in or suiting other peoples' needs."

This year's Community Skratch Games will take place this weekend - Saturday and Sunday April 4th and 5th at the Bierhaus - and feature a grip of amazing talent including Naive Ted, Danny Deepo, DJackulate, Handsome Paddy, Johnny Doobs and many more with host Ray Wingnut (look for his Amoeblog interview next week here). A few weeks ago I was over in Galway, Ireland visiting Jimmy Penguin who was already very busy getting ready for this weekend's ninth annual event. I asked him what makes this year's Games different than previous years? "It gets bigger and better every year with more and more new delighted faces and dropping jaws. It's great to see people getting involved year after year," he said adding that, "As always the highlight this year will be the Community Skratch Games freestyle Battle Royale." Click here  and/or see flyer above for more details.

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