Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Bay Area's Dangerous Dame

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2015 02:00pm | Post a Comment

This week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog celebrates veteran Oakland rapper Dangerous Dame. The East Bay hip-hop, born Damon Edwards, ranks up there amidst the select early Bay Area hip-hop era artists to make it in terms of putting out records in the 80's, getting commercial radio airplay, and landing a major label record deal - and all while still a teenager! However, as is often the case in the ever-fickle music biz, that success was relatively short-lived despite affiliations throughout his career with such high profile artists as Too $hort, Master P, and Mac Dre. Nonetheless Dangerous Dame is a very important figure in the history of Bay Area hip-hop whose career was most notable from the late 80's through the late 90's with the first few years being the most significant. He was also an artist that grabbed rap fans attention with his unique flow and penchant for forever shouting out his hometown of Oakland, CA  born and proud rapper.

Dangerous Dame got into rap early in life, kick-starting his career while barely into his teens. At the young age of thirteen he was writing his own rhymes and within two years was onstage performing them at local talent shows.  Not long after that the talented teen was teaching himself how to make beats and produce his own music; thanks to his always supportive father James who purchased him his first drum machine along with some other basic recording equipment, and who would later fund and personally release his son's debut "Jumpin" (featuring DJ Dopecut on the scratches). Hence why the label name incorporated his pops' name; James Edwards Sr. Enterprise.  Released at the beginning of 1989 this underground, cassette-only release was truly a homegrown, low-budget affair. It's cover art,  a low-grade photo of Dame and his DJ posing by an Oakland city sign with their two names scribbled on with a sharpie and the album title oddly appearing in quotes, looked like it was sloppily slapped together as an afterthought.  Regardless the tape inside offered seven powerful tracks that showcased both the young Dame's solid writing skills and his unique delivery; a rough & rugged but shrill vocal style that was distinctly Oakland and somewhat derivative of Too $hort but never duplicating him in either flow or content.

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Unique Veteran French Prog-Rock Ensemble Magma Return to US for Brief Tour

Posted by Billyjam, March 30, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

One of French rock music's most innovative and eclectic musical ensembles, the eight member group Magma whose style is their own unique brand of progressive-rock, will be making a brief North American tour over the next two weeks with only eight select dates scheduled (including two in California dates: LA's Echoplex on Monday, April 6th and Slim's in SF on Wednesday, April 8th). Their upcoming tour that kicks off at Venue in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, April 2nd.

The longtime group, who were founded by main member Christian Vander four and a half decades ago upon inspiration from a "vision of humanity’s spiritual and ecological future," stand apart from every other band (not just in France but everywhere) due to their unique musical sound and the fact that they crafted their very own language.

WFMU radio's DJ Trouble, who plays a lot of French musical acts on her weekly show, has been a big fan of Magma's for many years and will be attending their upcoming tour's closing date at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on April 13th. I asked the DJ what exactly it is that she likes so much about Magma? "They're a wild French band that includes a former Yé-yé girl," she said, adding "And they've made up an extra terrestrial language and "origin" story. Oh and they make crazy prog-ish sounds! What's not to love?" Another major fan of the band is Amoeba owner Marc Weinstein whom I asked what it is that has long attracted him to Magma. "They are unlike anything else. They created their own universe and you literally have to enter their universe to appreciate their music," said Weinstein, noting how Magma founder Christian Vander's intense interest in music by Stravinsky and Coltrane helped shape the band's eclectic, adventurous progressive sound.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Earl Sweatshirt, L'Orange & Jeremiah Jae, Rapper Big Pooh, CRAYONE & Dregs, The Jacka + more

Posted by Billyjam, March 27, 2015 10:35am | Post a Comment

Among the brand new releases to arrive at Amoeba this past week is Words Paint Pictures by Rapper Big Pooh care of Mello Music Group who continue their flawless streak of releasing hip-hop that matters amidst so much pablum out there. This nine-track release features a bunch of collaborators including Ras Kass, Erik Blakk Soul Keith, Marv One, Apollo Brown (who did production for the lead single "Augmentation") and super producer L'Orange (who does a remix of "Augmentation").

Fellow fans of L'Orange, who I am a major fan of and last interviewed here on the Amoeblog in May of 2014 when he dropped his amazing Orchid Days, will rejoice to know that he is soon to unleash another album. Unlike Orchid Days when he paired up with various emcees, he will collaborate with just one mic wrecker this time, the Chicago wordsmith Jeremiah Jae (who many may know from the Dirty Collections 7" single series he has released via Warp Records) with whom L'Orange recorded the upcoming The Night Took Us In Like Family that will be arriving in Amoeba on April 21st.

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Influential Guitarist/British Folk Revivalist John Renbourn Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, March 26, 2015 03:43pm | Post a Comment

The influential British guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn died earlier today, reportedly the result of a heart attack, it was reported the Guardian. The 70 year old artist, known for his solo work as well as with the legendary jazz-tinged, progressive British folk group Pentangle, was described by Amoeba.com biographer J. Poet as "one of the Godfathers of Britain’s folk revival" and "one of the best fingerpickers in the world and if he never did anything else but help found Pentangle, the world’s first folk/jazz band, his place in music history would be secure." You can add to those accolades the huge influence the prolific artist's guitar playing has had on so many folk guitarists of the past several decades. Between his solo releases and those with Pentangle (with whom he formed with the late Bert Jansch) Renbourn recorded and released over 30 albums, getting nominated twice for Grammys. Wrote J. Poet in 2008 "He’s approaching his 50th year of music making with no signs of slowing down" which was absolutely accurate since Renbourn was busy right up to his death - currently on with guitarist / singer Wizz Jones. In fact he was due to perform last night (Wednesday March 25th) at the Ferry in Glasgow but, according to today's Guardian news report when he failed to show up a the Scottish music club "colleagues became concerned" which in turn led to police finding him dead at his home this morning (March 26th). Rest in peace.

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Isle of Wight Festival: From Outlawed Event to Celebrated Leader of "Festival Island"

Posted by Billyjam, March 26, 2015 12:00pm | Post a Comment

In recent years the prestigious UK Festival Awards named the once outlawed Isle Of Wight Festival the 'Best Major Festival' across the festival-rich United Kingdom that hosts such other well known annual festivals as Glastonbury, Reading, and Creamfields. But once upon a time - back five decades ago - so controversial was this short-lived rock music festival off the southern coast of England, that began as a counterculture event during the "summer of love" in 1968, that following its overwhelmingly popular third year it got shut down by the government. In fact so notorious the shutdown of the event dubbed "the Woodstock of Europe" that it even earned a British Parliament Act named after it.

Following the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, which horrified many locals when it attracted an estimated 600,000 long haired hippies to this once quiet small southern English island. For context that was nearly five times the population of the island - hence the uproar by the ill-prepared citizens of the island whose loud vocal complaints were heard by politicians. Hence why before the next year's festival could take place the British Parliament had passed the "Isle of Wight Act."  That act introduced new legislature that made it illegal to present gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special license.

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