Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Saint Charles' Solar Music Group (SMG) Promoted Nephew E-40's Mr. Flamboyant on Sick Wid' It

Posted by Billyjam, October 13, 2015 11:23pm | Post a Comment


Back in '91 the above promo one sheet was mailed out to rap radio programmers like myself along with the E-40 and The Click promotional record featuring a radio version of E-40's "Mr. Flamboyant" EP. It was the introduction of radio to the "hot rap group" from Vallejo who would enjoy much success in that decade. The promo items were sent by E-40's uncle Saint Charles who, early on in his career, helped him and his family group The Click get their music out via his regional distributor / promotions company SMG (Solar Music Group). And boy did SMG have all areas of promo locked down as clearly outlined by their letterhead that boasted nationwide promotions "on the streets, in the ghettos, at the parties, in the clubs" as well "in the hood" and at college campuses, distributors, and retailers. The company had it lcovered and 40's uncle was instrumental in getting the rapper and Sick Wid' It Records on the map. In this case it was for the 12" pressing that had the radio version of "Mr. Flamboyant" (as distinct from the dirty "street" version of the song found on the cassette release). ["Mr. Flamboyant" also appeared on The Click album Down & Dirty.]


To assist in finding the song, Saint Charles circled the title on the label with a black sharpie pen - just to ensure no one would miss it. Also on the EP were the tracks "Tanji," "Club Hoppin," and "Shut It Down." Released on Sick Wid' It Records the EP was distributed by Rushforce Records who had in 1988 released the pre-Click lineup M.V.P.  By the time of this Sick WId' It release E-40 solo and the Click as a group had been releasing records and tapes on Sick Wid' It but soonafter each other member of the family crew would drop solo releases including Forty Wata's (and D-Shot's) sister Suga T who, in March 1993 on Sick Wid' It, would release her solo debut It's All Good.
 

Continue reading...

Interview with Bay Area Hip-Hop Artist Turned Novelist Bret Alexander Sweet on "Among The Veils"

Posted by Billyjam, October 12, 2015 01:30pm | Post a Comment
Bret Alexander Sweet is the Bay Area hip-hop artist turned author who expertly channeled his writing skills as an emcee (Karma with Kemetic Suns, and Fundamentals) into being an accomplished author. This year Alexander Sweet, who works in mentoring inner city youth in entrepreneurship and is the son of prominent Bay Area civil rights attorney and social entrepreneur Clifford Charles Sweet, published his impressive first novel Among The Veils.  With a distinct musical backdrop to its storyline (references songs and musicians throughout) the work of fiction is clearly fueled by Alexander's love and broad knowledge of music. The book is the Oakland, CA resident's first in an ambitious five-part series of publications. Already half completed the author, who graduated from Berkeley High School in 1995, has scheduled the sequel to Among The Veils - to be entitled Sanctuary In The Veils - for a late 2016 planned publication date. 

As a hip-hop artist in the nineties Sweet was a founding member of Kemetic Suns, a member of Fundamentals, as well as founder of the underrated indie label House Kemetic Suns whose releases included the cassette The PatterFall Wars (scroll down to hear). As mentor/teacher Alexander was awarded Certified Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship in 2004 which led to him a few years later founding the Dualism Group whose mission statement he outlined as an, "early stage venture capitalism firm and consulting arm geared toward helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and expand their companies in order to bring jobs to lower income communities."   Recently I caught up with Bret Alexander Sweet to find out more about his book and its inspiration.

Continue reading...

51Oakland's Jason Hofmann Recognizes Correlation Between Public School Arts and Music Programs and Academic Achievement

Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2015 11:31am | Post a Comment

Despite the numerous studies conducted that unequivocally prove that there is a direct positive correlation between arts and music programs in schools, and improving academic scores and school attendance records for students who participate, music and arts programs in American public schools are constantly under the threat of being cut from their respective district's shrinking school budgets. School districts in cities across the US such as Chicago, Detroit, and Oakland are among those to feel the results of these budget cuts. Viewing them as short-sighted and detrimental to their communities, 51Oakland co-founder Jason Hofmann calls the cuts to the music and art programs criminal. "That there are no art and music programs in the public schools is a crime," said Hofmann who four years ago, with Yoshi Akiba (Yoshi's Jazz club co-owner), co-founded the non-profit 51Oakland organization with the singular goal of bringing music and arts back into the classrooms of the city of Oakland schools. Jason and Yoshi outlined 51Oakland's mission statement as "a funding conduit for inspirational music and arts programs developed by a synergistic partnership of Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) principals and teachers, professional musicians and artists and involved community members." 51Oakland has produced its own events and developed programs, as well as teaming up with another similarly themed local non-profit Elevate Oakland that is headed by Sheila E - the accomplished percussionist, singer, former Prince collaborator, and daughter of Pete Escovedo. 

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop Rap-Up 10:09:15: Top 5 Albums, African Identity Memorial, Skratchpad, Lyrics Born, Dregs-One, Richie Cunning + more

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2015 09:41pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Albums


1. Blackalicious Imani Vol. 1 (Black Mines)


2. Apollo Brown 
Grandeur (Mello Music Group)

3. Chief Keef Bang 3
(RBC Records)

4. The Underachievers Evermore: The Art of Duality (RPM) LP


5. Bleubird Lauderdale (Fake Four Inc.)

Hardworking, Humble DJ Shortkut Is Finally Ready for His Solo Debut LP + Discusses New Skratch Piklz Album and Career Highlights

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2015 11:49am | Post a Comment
 Hardworking, humble, & hella talented DJ Shortkut @ 45 Sessions New Parish JZLim Photography

"If I was to end all this tomorrow and I had an album, then I would be happy," DJ Shortkut confided when I caught up with the hardworking, highly respected, and diversely talented San Francisco DJ in his hometown this week. Feeling "exhausted" but with a wide smile on his face, the heavy in-demand globe-trotting DJ, who is booked on average 4 to 5 nights a week, was just back home in the States from Asia where he's been spending a lot of time in recent months including at Red Bull Thre3Style events with the recently reunited Invisibl Skratch Piklz (ISP), along with Qbert and D-Styles, with whom he recorded the anticipated album The 13th Floor. Despite the fact that he was honored with the Grand Wizard Theodore Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the development of scratching & DJ culture, and that he holds membership of three of the most revered turntablist ensembles in the history of the genre - ISP, The Beat Junkies, and Triple Threat DJs (with Vinroc and Apollo) - and has recorded with each of them, plus released a stack of his own amazing solo DJ mixes encompassing hip-hop and dancehall and other styles, he has never released a DJ Shortkut album. But that is all about to change the Daly City DJ born Jonathan Cruz told me this week following an impressive turntable set he threw down at Guitar Center on Van Ness celebrating the launch of Thud Rumble and DJ Qbert's TRX Scratch Mixer.

BACK  <<  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  >>  NEXT