Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Weekly Top Five: 10:09:09
1) Ghostface Killah Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (Def Jam)
2) Crown CIty Rockers The Day After Forever (Gold Dust Media)
3) Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)
4) Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II (ICEAL)
5) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)
Thanks for this week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five chart go out to Tom at the Berkeley store where, in addition to updating the Amoeblog on the top selling new hip-hop albums, he reports that, as of yesterday, the Telegraph Ave. store has, "got all the Halloween decorations up and it looks mighty spooky." What's spooky to me is how quickly the summer just flew by and the fact that it's almost Halloween again. Dang! Time really does fly. Case in point is Ghostface Killah -- it seems like it's only been a few years since the Wu-Tang Clan rapper dropped his first solo release, Ironman, but actually that release came out thirteen long hip-hop years ago, in 1996! His latest album, Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City on Def Jam, which is this week's number hip-hop release at Amoeba, is actually the eighth solo release from the Wu rapper, who took his name from the 1979 kung fu film Mystery of Chessboxing.
Bay Area graffiti fans should be in heaven this weekend, with so many amazing events celebrating the urban art form jumping off in both SF and the East Bay starting today, Thursday, and ending on Saturday with The 3rd Annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle (EIGB). This evening (Thursday, Oct 8th) kicks things off at the 1:AM Gallery in San Francisco with The Can Film Festival, which will include screenings of the two graf films, Style Wars and Bomb It. The films will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel that will include Kevin Epps, Suzie Lundy, Erin Yoshioka, Estria Miyashiro and will be moderated by hip-hop author Jeff Chang. Screenings start at 7pm but doors open at 6:30pm. Even better, this is a free event, so get there early to ensure admission. 1:AM Gallery is located at 1000 Howard St. (near 6th St.), San Francisco, CA . Click here for more info. Note that tomorrow at 1:AM gallery will be the last day for the exhibit Don't Sweat The Technique - Ode To The Spray Can Art Show, featuring art by judges and contestants involved in Saturday's Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle.
Then tomorrow (Friday, October 9th) is the big event at the Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland-- the Pecha Kucha Night Oakland: Don't Sweat The Technique - Graffiti For Social Change, which is being presented in partnership by the Eastside Arts Alliance, Hard Knock Radio, Samurai Graphix and Youth Speaks. The event is happening at 2277 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94606 from 7:30-10:30pm tomorrow (get there early)! Its ten presenters scheduled include legendary graf archivalist Jim Prigoff (co-author of Spraycan Art, Walls of Heritage Walls of Pride and Graffiti New York), Spie from the mighty Bay Area TDK crew, Steve Grody (author of Graffiti LA), and San Francisco community activist Nancy Hernandez.
According to artist Estria, who is another of the presenters and who was instrumental in bringing this event to Oakland, "Pecha Kucha is a great way to expose your art to many professionals in other fields in one quick-fire burst."
It seems we take music for granted in our current times, which is easy enough to do since we are so innundated with endless music from a seemingly endless stream of artists. With the way things are these days, it might be difficult to stop and imagine a time or a place where music could be much, much more scarce -- a place where music and the artists who create it are valued and treasured so much more than they are here and now. One of these long lost places has been captured in the great documentary on music fandom The Posters Came From The Walls, in which diehard Depeche Mode (DM) superfans look to their heroes for meaning in their lives. The documentary's subjects are primarily in second world nations, fans who bonded with the music of DM in the midst of political turbulence.
The feature length documentary about DM fans around the world was co-directed by Nick Abrahams and Jeremy Deller. In the documentary, the directors spend some time in the US and UK interviewing DM fans, but the flick is at its best when capturing DM fans in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, where DM's music has taken on a whole new meaning since the 1980's, when it was not only hard to find but illegal and only available via much coveted bootleg tapes. From that point DM's music became a sort of freedom soundtrack for many of these fans. DM's Dave Gahan’s birthday falls on May 9th, which is Russia’s National Day. In St. Petersburg DM fans celebrate the date as “Dave Day” every year.
In the male dominated music world, female DJs are in the minority, especially when it comes to hip-hop. And when it comes to female scratch DJs, aka turntablists, the number of female artists is even smaller. Exceptions include DJ Shortee, Kuttin Kandi, and the Bay Area DJ duo of Deeandroid and Celskiii, who have been busy perfecting their game for over a decade now.
Tonight the Filipino female DJ duo, who were invited on tour by KRS-One a few years back, will be throwing their popular twice-monthly Skratchpad turntablist event (every first and third Tuesday) at The Cellar in San Francisco. The event had been on hiatus for a few years and returned just this May. I caught up with the two Vallejo natives to ask them about their party (including its "funky freestyle jam") and other aspects of the hip-hop DJ music they both so passionately love. They, like many other diehards, spell "skratch" with a K.
Amoeblog: Can you run down the history of Skratchpad -- from the first time out to the revised 2009 version?
Deeandroid: We started Skratchpad at the (old) Sublounge in May 2003. The Resident DJs were Celskiii, Wint-One, Amerriica and myself. We had a desire to organize and start up an open turntable event, since the Bay Area is like a DJ mecca. We loved to skratch and party and really missed the inspiration from when they had night events like the Beat Lounge at Deco. Celskiii and myself
were very influenced by the Beat Lounge weekly party/DJ session that was held at Deco back in 1997, where we [were] exposed to a great selection of rare & original music from DJs that were very talented, guests and rotating DJ residents/turntablists that were making some noise in the DJ scene at that time. The showcases and DJ sets were amazing, from cats like Apollo, Vin Roc, Derrick D, Shortkut, Spydamonkey, Snaykeyes, etc. So when Beat Lounge stopped...years later, Cel, Winst-One and I thought it would be dope if we created our own space for the DJs in the Bay Area to network, come together, and just jam in honor of Beat Lounge and to inspire new heads and practitioners of the DJ arts.