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Skratch Fight Inspires Bay Area Turntablists

Posted by Billyjam, February 18, 2015 01:27pm | Post a Comment

Like so many positive uplifting music events in the Bay Area that tend to fly under the radar and get little notice or props for all they contribute to the greater Bay Area music/arts community, the ongoing DJ session and battle gathering known as Skratch Fight is among the most admirable. An informal yet tight-knit community of dedicated skratch DJ and aspiring DJs, Skratch Fight is an ongoing series of turntablist sessions and/or DJ battles that take place on a monthly basis (typically twice a month) around the Bay Area including every last Sunday at the War Memorial building in Daly City where the next Skratch Fight will take place this weekend. Another location where Skratch Fight takes place is at the Michael Chavez Center in Concord CA where I stopped by on a recent (January 25th) Sunday afternoon during one of the Skratch Fight live DJ sessions (as distinct from their battle/fights). There I met with the main Skratch Fight founder/organizer/DJ who goes by the name Dulodulo, as well as Concord Skratch Fight organizer (and member of 925 Hip-Hop) Benny Contreras who both chatted with the Amoeblog (see video interview below) to break down the history of Skratch Fight as well as its positive impact. Those in attendance that day included DJ Me One, DJ Universe, Nicholas Joeseph Abigana, DJ Sick Nick (GPK - garbagepailkid), S.T.A.T.I.K., DJ MaseTheTablist, Ichy the Killer, Kurteek, Six Kutter, DJ ALF, and Chuck Martinez.  All were clearly into the ongoing informal skratch session which, as well as a musical outlet for turntablists, is a grassroots networking/meet-up; the type of event that inspires longtime DJs and aspiring DJs alike. It is also a potluck (everyone brings a dish of food to share) and an informal record swap meet with several DJs bringing extra copies of battle records and old VHS tapes to share or trade with their fellow skratch enthusiasts.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Remembering Producer Paul C McKasty

Posted by Billyjam, February 17, 2015 09:30pm | Post a Comment
For this week's Hip-Hop History installment we pay tribute to one of hip-hop's greatest (albeit little known and way under-appreciated) producers; Paul C McKasty or Paul C as he was professionally known. Hailing from the Rosedale area of Queens, New York City, Paul produced the likes of the Ultramagnetic MC's, Eric B & Rakim, Stezo, Biz Markie, Main Source, Too Poetic, and Mikey D & The LA Posse to name but a small fraction of those he worked in the studio with. It was care of these and dozens upon dozens of other records where hip-hop fanatics, who closely read the credits on 12" record labels and LP and single's back covers, learned of this influential figure who gets little love in the big scheme of things (as well as not always getting credited on all the records he produced and worked on) when it comes to honoring hip-hop history's past back in the 1980's. However within hip-hop circles comprised of crate diggers and diehard appreciators of the art Paul C, a producer whose accolades include being a mentor to a young Large Professor, is a major figure of great importance; an artist of legendary status who was a highly influential producer - an unassuming Caucasian dude who is highly revered for the work - as both engineer and producer - in his all too short but prolific lifetime. Paul C's life came to shocking premature halt when in 1989, at the young age of 24, he was shot and killed in an unsolved murder. In his prolific lifetime the long list of records that Paul C worked on, including the ones he engineered as well as exclusively produced, would fill several pages so rather than list them all here, instead I've included below the excellent, albeit low budget, Pritt Kalsi directed Memories of Paul C McKasty documentary that cross-references many of the records Paul worked on and features in-depth interviews with several key hip-hop figures, including Rakim, whose lives he touched in his short lifetime.

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The Doors Were "Stupid" and The Beatles Were "Garbage" - According To Lou Reed

Posted by Billyjam, February 17, 2015 02:29pm | Post a Comment
     

Lou Reed "never liked the Beatles.” In fact he strongly disliked them. “I thought they were garbage," said the Velvet Underground singer/writer with a BA in English who shared how he always had, "wanted to write the great American novel but I also loved rock and roll." All of these quotes (and more) come from a rarely heard March 1987 interview Reed, who died of liver disease in October 2013, conducted with journalist Joe Smith that was found in The Joe Smith Collection at the Library of Congress. Conducted almost exactly 28 years ago the interview was recently acquired by PBS who animated it and published it to YouTube earlier today as the latest installment in their ongoing Blank on Blank series - published under the title Lou Reed on Guns & Ammo | Blank on Blank. In the audio interview, in which Reed comes off as mostly grumpy and pretentious, he says that in addition to hating the Fab Four that he also hated some of his adoring fans - especially those who made the mistake of tracking him down to his "out of the wilds of nowhere" New Jersey home address at the time and trekking out to it in the hope of meeting their music hero. "I got out with my shotgun. This is hunting country out there. You better run" - he warns.  Elsewhere in the audio interview, that as well being animated was also subtitled, Reed expresses his disgust of The Doors ("stupid") while maintaining that the goal of Velvet Underground was steadfastly to, "elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before" - adding that no other group came close to the VU's level in his opinion ("The other stuff couldn’t come up to our ankles"). The animated interview is above while the full original audio interview is free via iTunes from the Joe Smith Library of Congress page - here where it was initially made free to the public last April, and where other interviews by Joe Smith include one with Paul McCartney and another with George Harrison who, it should be noted, do not talk shit on Lou Reed or the VU.

Malcolm X Home Firebombed On This Day 50 Years Ago

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2015 07:21pm | Post a Comment

In the early morning hours of this date fifty years ago -  February 14, 1965 -  Malcolm X's New York home was firebombed with him, his pregnant wife, and four young daughters in the home at the time. The African American civil rights leader and his family managed to get out of the building safely. And later that same day he would travel to Detroit to make a speech in which he would address the house bombing "by the black Muslim movement upon the orders of Elijah Muhammad" according to Malcolm X (see video of speech below). However exactly a week later, after his return to New York, on February 21st, 1965 he would be assassinated at the age of 40.

  

Weekly Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Joey Bada$$, Zion I, 88 Ultra, Freez & Mike Fry, Doomtree, E-Lit

Posted by Billyjam, February 13, 2015 10:01am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending Feb 13 2015


1) Joey Bada$$ B4.DA.$$ LP (Cinematic Music)

2) Wiley Life Is A Game of Snakes & Ladders (Big Dada)

3) 88 Ultra Sirens (Ultra Glacial Recordings)

4) Freez & Mike Fry Freez's Frozen French Freys (Soul Tools)

5) Doomtree All Hands (Doomtree)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for the latest Top Five Hip-Hop chart above. Below is the accompanying video clip shot this week at the East Bay store with E-Lit running down all these and other new/recent (and reissue) hip-hop releases in both LP and CD formats that are featured at Amoeba Berkeley right when you come in the front door of the Telegraph Ave store on your right hand side. Also down below is the brand new music video from Zion I ("Juggernaut") that was filmed mostly right outside Amoeba Berkeley as well as across the street and round the back (Peoples Park) from Amoeba among some other quick shot locations.

The Bed-Stuy Brooklyn NYC artist born Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott but widely known as main man of Pro Era, Joey Bada$$, as well as Malia Obama's favorite rapper, continues to sell well at Amoeba with the vinyl version of his official debut (commercial release) new album B4.DA.$$ (Cinematic Music) outselling the CD version of B4.DA.$$. And this week the artist released a new music video for "Like Me" featuring BJ the Chicago Kid that (with the refrain "fuck the police") addresses police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement (see the music video clip down below). Other new chart entries this week include UK hip-hop/grime artist Wiley's Life Is A Game of Snakes & Ladders (that is also available in LP/vinyl format as well as digital download - all care of Big Dada. The others include Doomtree's December 2014 release All Hands (Doomtree) that is also available in vinyl format, 88 Ultra Sirens (Ultra Glacial Recordings), and Freez & Mike Fry's Freez's Frozen French Freys (Soul Tools). For more background on these two releases peep the E-Lit video shot at Amoeba Music this week in which he gives some background on these acts/releases.

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