Straight Outta Compton & Fending Off the FBI & PMRC, It Would Be Such Infighting as Ice Cube's Split That Would Bring Down N.W.A

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2015 10:00am | Post a Comment

With their highly-anticipated biopic Straight Outta Compton opening in theaters today, August 14th, you can bet that there's gonna be a whole lot more talk about N.W.A's legacy in the history of hip-hop. The highly influential group's unique new take on raw in-your-face hardcore rap changed the rap game forever.

They first grabbed the attention of the hip-hop world in 1987 with "Boyz-n-the-Hood" and "Dope Man" on Ruthless Records via Macola when it was N.W.A and the Posse. That was when this collective of rappers from South Central LA first made people stop and listen to their unprecedented rap sound - a mix of head-nodding, hard, funky bassline beats and grooves with catchy as hell, no-holds-barred stories about life in the ghetto. Then came their landmark 1988 debut album Straight Outta Compton that gave the new film its title and sporting such soon to be classics as "Gangsta Gangsta," "Fuck Tha Police," "Dopeman (Remix)," and its powerful title track. Extra significant is the fact that Straight Outta Compton was recorded in just six weeks for only $8,000. The indie release with its iconic album cover art, that has been copied and parodied a million times since, would go on to sell three and a half million copies and, more importantly, be instrumental in altering the direction of a genre.

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The Jacka Birthday Tribute Concert with Mob Figaz, Andre Nickatina, Paul Wall, Cellski, Keak Da Sneak, Joe Blow, Mistah F.A.B. + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 12, 2015 04:49pm | Post a Comment

As seen in the new documentary below about The Jacka, the widespread outpouring of grief by fans and peers alike of the NorCal hip-hop artist when he was tragically killed earlier this year, in a still unsolved murder, is an indication of just how widely respected the prolific Pittsburg, CA born rapper truly was. That grief for the beloved Oakland-based artist, who initially came to fame in the '90s via C-BO proteges The Mob Figaz, was especially felt in his native Bay Area. In the months since his untimely death on February 2nd when he was shot and killed in a drive-by in Deep East Oakland, there have been many tributes to the artist including concerts, radio specials, and dedicated DJ mixes. And according to E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley, Jacka fans old and new alike have been seeking out solo and collaborative releases (including track cameos) by the rapper such as his ever-popular, guest-heavy 2009 album Tear Gas, his series with Berner including last year's Drought Season 2, and the collaborative full-length Highway Robbery with Philly emcee Freeway.

Today, August 12th, is another significant day for the artist born Dominic Newton in 1977 since this would have been his 38th birthday. In honoring this date, tonight at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, will be a most impressive line-up of artists presenting The Jacka Birthday Tribute Concert.  This all-star lineup of artists will include his old crew Mob Figaz, as well many others from the Bay (and beyond too) including Andre Nickatina, Cellski, Keak Da Sneak, Paul Wall, Joe Blow, Mistah F.A.B., Mitchy Slick, Laroo, Traxamillion, Lee Majors, Krondon, Zion I, Erk Tha Jerk, Dubb 20, Street Knowledge, and DJ Drama - many of whom have collaborated with the artist over the years including both Andre Nickatina and Traxamillion, who collaborated on The Jacka track "Glamorous Lifestyle." With so many artists on the one stage, it is likely that their sets will be much shorter than usual concert performances. Tickets for this great line-up tonight are only $20 advanced or $25 at the door. Showtime is 8pm for this all-ages show, but get there early as this could be a sold-out show. More info here.

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Set in the Seventies, New HBO Drama Series "Vinyl" Promises "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll"

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2015 07:25pm | Post a Comment

If the voice-over intro to the trailer below (or rather "teaser") for the forthcoming television series Vinyl reminds you of the Goodfellas monologue by Ray Liotta's character Henry Hill in the iconic crime/gangster film's opening, that's perhaps because the 2016 HBO drama-series is also from Martin Scorsese who directed that popular 1990 film. In this new production Scorsese, along with Mick Jagger and Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire creator), are the ones behind this new HBO show that is set in the 1970s and delves into all the drama and excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle that was personified in that decadent decade. The cast of this upcoming series is listed as Bobby Cannavale, Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano, Ato Essandoh, Max Casella, P.J. Byrne, J.C. MacKenzie, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Juno Temple, Jack Quaid, Paul Ben-Victor and (Mick's son) James Jagger. Based on this short trailer alone that was uploaded to YouTube in the past week and shows some familiar faces playing key roles (plus the music of the New York Dolls), I am pretty sure that this will be another HBO series worth watching each week, likely on Sunday nights when their best shows first air. For updates and more teases on this series go to the Vinyl Facebook page and the HBO website page dedicated to the show.

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Salute to Sean Price and Digg of U.D.I. - Two Hip-Hop Artists, Each In Their Early 40's, Who Passed Over the Weekend

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2015 05:30pm | Post a Comment

The Internet was abuzz over the weekend after news of the sudden and unexpected passing on Saturday morning of two different MC artists on opposite coasts. NYC emcee Sean Price died in his sleep on Saturday morning (August 8th). Also on Saturday morning, San Francisco rapper Digg of U.D.I. fame died of, as yet, unconfirmed causes. Making it more tragic is that both of these hip-hop artists were relatively young men, each only in their early 40s. Born Derrick Reed, Digg (or Dig) was one half of the famed Hunters Point, San Francisco rap duo U.D.I. (Under Da Influence) with Quinton "Big Quint" Morris. They came to fame in the '90s and, along with such acts as 11/5 and Cold World Hustlers, shaped the sound of San Francisco street rap of that era, working with many of the same rappers and producers.

These same collaborating artists/lifelong friends have been taking to social media since Saturday to express their grief and shock about his sudden tragic death. This long list includes producer Mr. Laid for whom the passing was extra profound. Mr. Laid, aka Marvelle Reed, is the deceased rapper's brother and sometime musical collaborator. Along with Chill Black, Race Smith, Reggie Smith, and T.C., he was a producer for U.D.I.'s 1995 debut on DogDay Records. Laid went online yesterday to post a photo along with the lyrics to the song "Brotha Luv" off that DogDay album with such lyrics as "We'll do it again when we get to the other side because that Brotha Luv runs deep."

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Outside Lands Alternative: "Goat Roaster III Festival" feat. Metallica, A$AP Rocky, Pete Seeger, The Other Band On Earth + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 8, 2015 09:47am | Post a Comment

I knew about the big annual Outside Lands music festival (with Kendrick Lamar, D'Angelo, Sam Smith etc.) happening in the Bay Area this weekend, but, for some reason, until very recently I had not even heard about the Goat Roaster III festival also scheduled for today and tomorrow (August 8th and 9th). Looking for the first time this past week at the poster above for this wonderful alternative Bay Area festival and reading the lineup that includes Metallica, A$AP Rocky, Deerhoof, Primus, Thurston Moore, The Melvins, and Tina Fey DJ'ing I was most intrigued. Now that's something I'd pay to see, I thought as I curiously eyed the poster that stopped me dead in my tracks as I passed it on the sidewalk on Telegraph Ave in Oakland over by the Legionnaire Saloon one recent afternoon. But as I looked for ticket prices and location, neither of which I could find, but noted that the headliner was the relatively unknown The Other Band On Earth I knew something seemed fishy about this "Goat Roaster III" festival. 

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