Amoeblog

Catching Up With Wheelchair Sports Camp's Kalyn Heffernan on New WSC Album, Youth on Record Program, and More

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2014 02:01pm | Post a Comment

In her hometown of Denver, charismatic hip-hop artist/activist/educator Kalyn Heffernan is well known. She is also much loved and respected for her talents, her warm personality, endless energy, and the passion for everything she embraces in her life. She is also an instantly recognizable figure. She may only be three and a half feet in height, weigh less than sixty pounds, and need the use of a wheelchair to get around, but the ever-active Kalyn Heffernan (who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta) is a commanding persona who always has words of wisdom and encouragement to impart with those who cross her path.

The always good-humored, weed-smoking, queer, hip-hop artist/front person of the live hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC) counts among her many admirers music fans, fellow protesters in the Denver Occupy movement, and the recent anti-police demonstrations in the Mile High City as well as all the inner-city kids at the programs she tutors (when not on tour). She also has many fans in the LGBT community won over by her out, loud, and proud positive attitude as witnessed in the WSC song "Madd" with the lyrics, "Everyone here is mad / Everyone here is queer and perfectly glad!"

The Denver Colorado artist's accolades are lengthy. She's been featured in her hometown's The Denver Post a few times, been featured in Spin, Vice, and the Huffington Post, as well as gracing the cover of the NYC weekly The Village Voice in 2011 when she only had some demos and no album yet. In September she was among the contributors in the ten-day NYC arts festival Photoville where her video piece 4TheHomies (see below) was part of the exhibit. As a teacher/mentor she works in a couple of youth empowerment programs including Youth on Record at Youth Media Studios where various areas of music production are taught with an emphasis on hip-hop and its four elements (see video interview below that I conducted with her recently at the space).

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Tortorous Tunes - CIA Mixtape Vol. 1

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

"The CIA was probably keeping detainees awake by blasting Feist," quipped Stephen Colbert during last night's broadcast of the Colbert Report in reference to the some of the disturbing torture tactics employed by the US in the last decade during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that has been revisited this week with the publication of the so-called CIA Torture Report. While the Feist reference was funny in terms of jokes about popular music in the aughts decade, the artist (her last album, 2011's critically acclaimed Metals, debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart) was actually not among the music on the CIA torture playlist of a decade ago. That music playlist included such seemingly innocent songs as the theme songs to kids TV shows Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, as well as the Meow Mix TV commercial jingle. Harder sounding guitar driven songs included AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman," which (along with Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray") is cited by the US military member in the documentary clip below. Meanwhile pop songs that made the CIA torture playlist included The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," Don McLean's "American Pie," and Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty."

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Dec 12 2014 Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Ghostface Killah, E-40, Metermaids, Yung Lean, J.Cole

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2014 05:31pm | Post a Comment


Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five Week End 12:12:14

1) Run The Jewels RTJ2 (Mass Appeal)

2) E-40 Sharp On All 4 Corners 2 (Heavy On The Grind)

3) Ghostface Killah 36 Seasons (Tommy Boy)

4) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation)

5) Wu-Tang Clan A Better Tomorrow (Warner Bros)

As mentioned in last week's Amoeblog hip-hop report there's been a slew of new releases dropping recently - something confirmed by my visit to Amoeba Berkeley this week where I talked with E-Lit in the Telegraph Ave. store's hip-hop section who did a nice overview of all the latest CD and vinyl releases featured at the store. See the video clip with the hip-hop buyer/DJ below in which E-Lit breaks down such new releases, including some of the top five chart entrants above, as Wu-Tang Clan's much hyped new joint A Better Tomorrow that dropped last week, and Wu member Ghostface Killah's 36 Seasons that dropped yesterday care of Tommy Boy Records and features such guests as Kool G Rap and Pharoahe Monch. Also released yesterday is the new 13 track J. Cole album 2014 Forest Hills Drive on Roc Nation - the follow up to last year's popular Born Sinner and most likely this one will be just as popular with fans of the North Carolina born multi-talented artist. 

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Unnecessary "Quotation" Marks

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2014 07:25am | Post a Comment

You'd think that as time and innovation progresses, so too would the correct use of our language. But it's not so. The opposite appears to be the case in our current culture of social media where speed of who gets what up first reigns over accuracy of reporting and grammar. Despite all of the new technologies directly linked to language (spell-check on every device, etc.), the use (or rather abuse) of English in the written form seems to be regressing at a rapid rate. If you were to quiz any high school English teacher on the current state of students' penmanship, spelling, and grammar, odds are that they would squeeze their face into a painful look and tug on their hair as they proceed to launch into a list of today's abuses of the English language. And it is the written word, especially the typed or texted word, that tends to be the biggest victim of this current decline of the language.


These days, with typos and overuse of caps being the norm in the majority of social media posts, emails, and text messages, it is as if we are all granted a poetic license to type and spell however we feel fit. And of course this is all fine so long as the person on the other end of the two way communication can understand what the hell has been said or written. This is where the problems and fun begin. In fact, many amused bloggers have dedicated websites to the numerous abuses of the English language. One of my favorite sites - one that's been around for several years now - is the blog of unnecessary quotation marks. As its name implies, it focuses on the misuse of quotation marks and has been diligently reporting each week with photos of newly found examples of unnecessary use of quotation marks. Check out submitted photos of signs that use inappropriate quotation marks, such as "live" reindeer, "NO" parking, and chairs are for "customers" only.  Bookmark the blog of unnecessary quotation marks or simply keep your eyes open today in your travels and you likely will spot an abuse or two. 

Shopping At Amoeba For That Hip-Hop Fan On Your Holiday Gift List

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2014 02:05pm | Post a Comment

While at Amoeba San Francisco over the weekend, I realized that one could easily take care of their holiday shopping for that hip-hop fan in their life merely by focusing on the wonderful Featured Hip-Hop Releases display (found at end of the section's aisle) that is currently stocked with a variety of perfect gift choices. These include Brian Coleman's excellent, exhaustively researched new book Check The Technique Vol. 2 (for which he recently chatted with the Amoeblog about the making of), a killer '90's hip-hop mix cassette (with digital download card included) laced up by DJ Spinna and J-Rocc descriptively entitled The Best of 90's Hip-Hop Flavors Mix Cassette, and a Souls Of Mischief picture disc album (with liner notes) of their latest new studio recording There Is Only Now  - a collaboration with Adrian Younge

You'll also find on this display the classic 1987 Profile Records hip-hop Christmas Rap compilation on vinyl that boasts Run DMC's classic Christmas rap track "Christmas In Hollis" (recently reissued as a limited run 7" single for Black Friday/Record Store Day) along with other holiday themed hip-hop tracks from such other old school acts as Sweet Tee, Dana Dane, and Spyder D. Also on the same rack is a must-have for any hip-hop junkie - the Wu-Tang Clan's first album, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36-Chamber ,in yellow black swirl vinyl. Don't miss the instrumental version (on vinyl) of the 2011 release Fela Soul, which is Fela Kuti vs. De La Soul and is, as you would imagine, a unique and pleasing meld of golden era hip-hop with afrobeat rhythms and funky horn riffs.

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