Now seven years strong Zion I's annual hip-hop showcase the Hella Fresh Fest takes place this year on Halloween night in the at the Metro with a lineup that continues Zion I's Zumbi and AmpLive's tradition of presenting a rich cross section of contemporary hip-hop talent to join them in concert. In addition to Hella Fresh's tradition of showcasing the best of homegrown hip-hop (Sol, Erk tha Jerk, Bang Data) they've also booked such out of town talent as Rhymesayers' Seattle emcee Grieves, and Funk Volume's Dizzy Wright. Also on the bill will be Triple Threat DJ Vinroc while the Hella Fresh hosts will be Chris Riggins and Panama by way of Oakland duo Los Rakas who performed at Hella Fresh 2011. That Hella Fresh Fest took place at the Fillmore in San Francisco while last year's was at the DNA Lounge. But this year it will be in the place it was meant to be. With the name Hella Fresh it has to be in Oakland so it is perfect that it will be at the Metro in Oakland - and on Halloween night with live art by Haven Arts. Good news for young hip-hop fans is that the show will open those under 21. It is a 14 and over show! Below are a series of videos of the acts on this year's bill along with a highlights of last year's Hella Fresh Fest. Buy tickets here
If you prefer your hip-hop rooted in the traditional golden era style and with a respect for the four elements of the culture including the DJ as turntablist - then DJ JS-1's recommended new album It Is What It Isn’t is the hip-hop album for you. This latest release from the longtime New York City boom bap producer / scratch DJ - that arrived in Amoeba this past week care of his Ground Original imprint with distribution from Fat Beats - is back-to-back quality hip-hop that's more like a rich hip-hop compilation due to the long list of talented emcees that join the instrumentalist throughout its 21 tracks.
JS-1's impressive list of emcee collaborators is a balance of emcees that have been consistently putting it down since the golden era to an array of new school innovators. That long list numbers a few dozen hip-hop artists and includes KRS-One, O.C, Ras Kass, Buckshot, Erick Sermon, Homeboy Sandman, Sadat X, Murs, Fashawn, Wordsworth, Torae, Kyle Rapps, Blacastan, Professor X, A.G., C-Rayz Walz, and the Artifacts' El Da Sensei and Tame One to name but some.
A full-time b-boy and lifelong dedicated hip-hopper the Queens, NY DJ JS-1 began his career two decades ago. He was a member of the Rocksteady Crew. As well as been a hip-hop DJ with a talent for scratching he was also a graffiti artist who went by the name JERMS.
1) Homeboy Sandman Hallways (Stones Throw)
2) Dilated Peoples Directors Of Photography (Rhymesayers)
3) Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark self titled (Delicious Vinyl)
4) Souls of Mischief There Is Only Now (Linear Labs)
5) Busdriver Perfect Hair (also in LP format) (Big Dada)
Four decades into a career of being a voice for the oppressed Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) keeps the good fight going strong when tonight, along with author/educator/activist Dr. Michael Parenti (Against Empire, Assassination of Julius Caesar) and others, he will volunteer his talents to co-present a night of politics, spoken word, and poetry at La Pena in Berkeley in a fundraiser event for the Pro-Rent Control Slate for the Berkeley Rent Board. Other performers on tonight's bill include Berkeley City Council member, poet, and political activist Kriss Worthington, Berkeley poet and political activist Bill Bogert, and Gary Hicks of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade. "In these times of spiraling rents, tenants are at the mercy of rapacious large landlords, and small landlords are at the mercy of foreclosure-hungry banks- but the Berkeley Rent Board fights to keep a level-playing field for tenants and landlords," organizer Jesse Townley (aka Jesse Luscious of Blatz, Criminals, and KALX radio) told the Amoeblog adding of tonight's show that, "It's a history-making night. The first time Alternative Tentacles spoken word artists Jello Biafra and Michael Parenti will appear on the same stage." This worthy fundraiser takes place tonight, Thursday, October 16, from 8:00pm to 10:00pm (doors @ 7:30) at La Pena Cultural Center located at 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA - near the Ashby BART station. If you can't make it but want to donate to the cause do so here. And in keeping with tonight's theme and the legacy of Jello Biafra I leave you with the Dead Kennedy's "Kill The Poor" which can be found as the opening track on the DK's album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables.