Exactly one year ago today - September 3rd, 2012 - avid East Bay DJ/music collector, former Amoeba Berkeley employee, and KALX DJ Matthew Africa was killed in a car accident while driving with his wife coming back from Reno, Nevada to their Oakland home. At yesterday's Hiero Day in Oakland, a lot of folks I ran into were thinking of Matthew and recalling this time last year when the shocking news of his death began circulating 'round the Bay. Here is link to an Amoeblog post written at that time that's worth re-reading, Remembering Matthew Africa Through The Music He Loved. The post includes input from many friends touched by this man's life that was fueled by the music he loved so much.
Now in its second year Hiero Day, happening today from 11am to 6pm at 95 Linden Street in Oakland promises to be an off the hook affair and, despite earlier reports of the free event being "sold out" (meaning they had given away all the advance tickets), the latest news is that there is now plenty of room for everyone to get in. This positive turn of events happened over the last few days when the Hiero Day organizers, who realized that the demand far outweighed supply for entrance to Hiero Day, redesigned the entire area at the Linden Street Brewery so that it can accommodate the large numbers who want to get in to see all the great artists performing today at the all ages event.
Note that those who got the original tickets from the online lottery should still bring their printed out tickets and everyone should be prepared for some delays and wait in getting into event. Also make note that there is no parking and that the street outside will be blocked off. Attendees are advised to cycle, take BART (West Oakland BART is within walking distance), and (if you are coming from the other side of the Bay) the ferry at Jack London Square is also within walking distance. For more info on the event and directions visit Hiero Day website. Meantime as a preview of the acts playing today (see flyer above right) below are videos from a select few including members of Oakland hip-hop ensemble The Hieroglyphics themselves plus Murs & Fashawn, Strong Arm Steady, Mystic, and Erk Tha Jerk. Enjoy and see you at Hiero Day today.
Earlier this summer South Bay DJ/production The Bangerz released their stellar new album PRiSM which is the music soundtrack for the Las Vegas stage show of the same name to accompany the slick choreography of their successful longtime pals in the SoCal b-boy crew The Jabbawockeez who rose to fame as winners of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew competition. The new 14 track album by the super-talented San Jose turntablist/DJ/production crew that originally went by the name Fingerbangerz and whose membership includes Goldenchyld, Replay, Nick Ngo, Cutso, Squareweezy, and G-Wrex, is more on the modern electro / EDM tip than their more turntablist flavored 2002 debut Vi-R-Us, which initially sparked their collaborations with the San Diego based Jabbawockeez, and marks the Bangerz growth as a group. Indeed in the decade since their debut a lot has happened for the Bangerz in their atypical rise to success and fame. With their roots in the generally under-the-radar ITF and DMC DJ battle/turntablist scenes, but always displaying a talent for rich production, the Bangerz slowly but surely built and expanded as DJs and producers: their collective production experience ranges from remixes (including Chris Brown and Kelis) to video game soundtracks, and TV commercials. All the while they've built their rep as accomplished club/party DJs - again both collectively and individually. They've done tons of shows alongside major hip-hop and pop artists and toured with the likes of Z-Trip. Tomorrow afternoon (Sept 2nd) the group perform at the free Hiero Day in Oakland. But the most significant career move of all for this San Jose DJ collective was hooking up with a crew of once little known hip-hop dancers from San Diego who would go on to become major TV stars when they took the title in the first season of America's Best Dance Crew, and consequently went on to become high profile American pop stars. This week I caught up with Goldenchyld of the Bangerz to ask him about the new album and the crew's rise to fame.
1) Being able to be at the People's Station when that meant something.
2) All the Chuy Klause Christmas and being able to help!
3) Being able to work with John London, Renel, and Rick Chase and all the other folks
that made up [the] original Family
4) Being able to put so many people on.
5) Summer Jams and meeting so many artists
Two weeks ago KMEL fired beloved longtime DJ/radio personality Chuy Gomez. After 20 long radio years' service on the popular Bay Area hip-hop and R&B radio station located at 106.1 on the FM dial the powers that be fired their most popular DJ with no explanation or apology. Yes as is typically the case in the cold world of the corporate radio business no forewarning was given to this loyal dedicated employee of two decades. Nor, upon being let go, was even a reason given to Chuy for his sudden, unexpected dismissal. Insiders say it was merely a calculated cost cutting move by the Bain Capital owned media empire where the bottom line is the almighty dollar - not music or people. Simply put Chuy's unceremonious dismissal was another case of business as usual in the halls of the Clear Channel radio station where pleasing shareholders and maintaining advertising revenue rules above all else. In the eyes of corporate radio execs on-air "personalities" are not viewed as persons but merely interchangeable cogs that can be replaced with increasingly cheaper labor. On the very day (August 16th) they let Gomez go the Clear Channel radio station deleted the Chuy in the Morning profile page from its website with the intent of erasing any association of him with the station.