Amoeblog

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Community Skratch Games, PRhyme, Common, Shing02's The Divider, J Dilla RSD Release, De La Successful, Jay-Z

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2015 09:01am | Post a Comment
Now in its ninth year is Ireland's Community Skratch Games - the annual DJ battle that takes place at the Bierhaus in Galway each Easter weekend - that began as a fun alternative to the more serious minded DJ battles like the ITF or DMC. In fact its Sex Pistols styled slogan for one early year boasted Never mind the DMC's...Here's the Community Skratch Games!

The Community Skratch Games began in 2007 with no real long term plans, merely a desire to show love to the skratch art of turntable manipulation for the small niche of skratch fanatics in Ireland as well as raise awareness of hip-hop DJ culture to those not fully aware of turntablism as a musical art.

In addition to its fun battle (for which the champion won, not a corporate prize such as some sponsored company's mixer, but a bag of meat - yes as rashers (Irish bacon), sausages, steaks, and pork chops - donated by the local butcher) the Community Skratch Games, which has continued each year growing from strength to strength, a variety of workshops and showcases. Or as chief organizer Jimmy The Hideous Penguin called it in a 2009 Amoeblog interview  "a barrage of funk, hip-hop, electro and sweaty dancing folk." At that same time the DJ/producer and member of Ireland's incredible Vince Mack Mahon DJ crew, who oversees the spinoff Community Skratch Music record label, noted that the advantage of holding the annual Community Skratch Games in Galway versus the large Irish city of Dublin was that, "It's easy to be noticed in a small city. There are lots of great skratch DJs in other parts of Ireland too. I'm not sure, it's easy to do your own thing in Galway. In bigger cities I think people lean more towards fitting in or suiting other peoples' needs."

This year's Community Skratch Games will take place this weekend - Saturday and Sunday April 4th and 5th at the Bierhaus - and feature a grip of amazing talent including Naive Ted, Danny Deepo, DJackulate, Handsome Paddy, Johnny Doobs and many more with host Ray Wingnut (look for his Amoeblog interview next week here). A few weeks ago I was over in Galway, Ireland visiting Jimmy Penguin who was already very busy getting ready for this weekend's ninth annual event. I asked him what makes this year's Games different than previous years? "It gets bigger and better every year with more and more new delighted faces and dropping jaws. It's great to see people getting involved year after year," he said adding that, "As always the highlight this year will be the Community Skratch Games freestyle Battle Royale." Click here  and/or see flyer above for more details.

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Joni Mitchell Found Unconscious At Her LA Home, Rushed To Hospital In "Serious" Condition

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2015 08:56pm | Post a Comment


As reported a little earlier this evening by various news outlets, with TMZ breaking the story, at approx 2:30pm this afternoon legendary Canadian born singer/songwriter and painter Joni Mitchell was found unconscious at her LA home in the Bel-Air district and rushed to the hospital with hospital officials reportedly describing her condition as "quite serious." And although no specifics of exactly what caused Mitchell to be unconscious have been publicly announced so far, the 71 year old artist, who has attributed a life long cigarette smoking habit (she began smoking at age nine) to ending her singing career five years ago, has had a life long history of health problems. The range from surviving both scarlet fever and polio as a child (she was lucky to walk again) to several years ago being diagnosed with the disease known as Morgellons which results in sufferers experiencing under their skin parasite-like biting and crawling sensations.

She addressed this rare disease in her candid memoir Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words in which she described it as being so bad that she couldn't wear clothes, had to crawl across the floor, and couldn't leave her house for years on end. Additionally Mitchell has shared that she has suffered from both acute paranoia and insomnia. I sincerely hope that Joni Mitchell, one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever, survives this hospital emergency. For updates on her status the JoniMitchell.com Twitter page tweeted earlier this evening that they are "awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know." 
Meantime read Joni Mitchell's full Amoeba.com bio by Oliver Hall and check out some of below of a few select live performance tracks by the artist, whose album Blue ranks in my top ten best albums of all time, below - which can be found, along with many more, at Amoeba in the Joni Mitchell section. Also immediately below is an enlightening interview with Mitchell, who doesn't do many interviews, from a couple by her native CBC television conducted by Jian Ghomeshi at her California home.

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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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