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NYC Summer 2010 Pt. III - Tools of War's Christie Z Talks About the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2010 02:04pm | Post a Comment
True School NYC Summer Park Jam, Week 1

Unlike California's seasonal changes, especially SoCal, where the shift from one season to another is relatively subtle, New York goes throuGrand Wizzard  Theodore gh dramatic extremes in the change from winter to summer. The East Coast's freezing cold winters are typically a period when you simply have to stay indoors much of the time and are so severe that by the time the polar opposite hot New York summer rolls around, everybody automatically rushes outside to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

In the late spring and summer New York City's streets and the parks come back to life, with cafes setting up on the sidewalks again and block parties, park concerts and events jumping off everywhere you wander in the NYC. And for hip-hop fans, especially appreciators of the old school, there is no shortage of outdoor events. Of all of these, the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series is the ultimate annual must-attend event.

Now in its eight year, this Tools of War (TOW) produced free summer Park Jam series sets up stage at a few different NYC parks every Thursday evening, June through August. It's clearly a labor of love by TOW's Christie Z Pabon, who works along with a strong support group that includes her husband, legendary hip-hop Park Jam Tools of Warfigure Jorge FABEL Pabon, aka Popmaster Fabel. Long rooted and well connected within New York's hip-hop circles, TOW manages to enlist some amazing artists. Last Thursday I attended the Park Jam at East Harlem's White Park on 106th Street and got to see/hear many artists, including GrandMaster Caz of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers and DJ GrandWizzard Theodore -- the veteran Bronx DJ who created the scratch. As the classic breaks and hip-hop music boomed from the JBL speakers, b-boys, poppers and lockers got busy in a most entertaining and impromptu fashion. 

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NYC Summer 2010 Pt. II - SummerStage Brings New York City's Parks to Life with Free Concerts

Posted by Billyjam, June 30, 2010 03:11pm | Post a Comment
DJ Kool Herc
Considering hip-hop got its start during the 1970's in block parties and in various parks in the Bronx, it is more than fitting that the man credited with creating the genre, Jamaican transplant DJ Kool Herc, will be headlining this evening's free concert in Crotona Park in the Bronx. During the 70's and 80's many pioneering hip-hop figures performed at informal hip-hop jams and several scenes for the seminal hip-hop film Wild Style were filmed back at the park in the day. Tonight's show in the "Boogie Down" Bronx park is just one countless (mostly free) outdoor concerts in the wonderful SummerStage concert series produced by New York's City Parks Foundation. Each year in June, July, & August the foundation stages an impressive 100+ musically diverse concerts plus theater and dance performances in various parks in NYC's five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Many days there are two or three events happening simultaneously in different parks & boroughs, so it is impossible to catch everything, but there are still oodles to choose from. This summer shows include acts such as The Specials, Public Enemy, EPMD, The Metropolitan Opera, Gil Scott Heron, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jimmy Cliff, Pharoahe Monch, Doug E Fresh, and the two-day Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring such acts as James Moody, Jimmy Scott, and McCoy Tyner.

A few days ago I talked with DJ Kool Herc, who said that it is "a nice feeling" to be DJ'ing in Crotona Park in the Bronx again all these years later. And as for the music he will be spinning? "I'm playing music to reminisce [about] then and now, extremely then and extremely now." Herc emigrated to America from Jamaica and took the Jamaican sound system style of DJing with him to the Bronx, where essentially created hip-hop itself by being the first DJ to isolate the "breaks" parts of records and play two versions back to back to extend these "breaks." Of this pioneering act he says, "I'm like a shepherd. I'm watching my flock. I'm watching my audience, and I like to dance and I would notice that people who liked to dance would wait for particular parts of the record to come up and play before they would start to dance and I am always observing. So one day I thought I would put all these parts, these breaks, that I have together and I am going to call it the merry go round. All the good parts -- get right to the yolk and everybody just ranMcCoy Tyner with it."

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Hip-Hop History: 10 Dates that Helped Define Hip Hop in 1996

Posted by Billyjam, June 28, 2010 07:24pm | Post a Comment
Mr Cee (RBL Posse)
There were numerous hip hop albums released in the year 1996, countless rap concerts & related events, plus many news worthy incidents in the genre that occurred. Here are just ten hip hop dates/events that helped shape the genre in that twelve month period fourteen years ago, and from a Bay Area perspective.

Jan 1st: Mr. Cee of popular San Francisco rap group RBL Posse was brutally shot and killed  on Harbor Road in the Bayview / Hunters Point district. He was only 22 years of age. The tragic incident marked the unfortunate  beginning of a year where  Rap = Violence became the all-too-convenient equation for the mainstream media's sensationalist portrayal of an entire genre. Unfortunately the one event that overshadowed everything else in 1996, the death of Tupac Shakur, merely reinforced this stereotype.

Feb. 27th: Death Row Records released the first of two 2Pac albums for the year, the rush-recorded double CD set All Eyez On Me, which debuted at number one on the Billboard pop charts, sold five million copies in its first three months alone, and cemented the ever controversial ShDr Dreakur as the poster boy of 'gangsta rap.' Even before his tragic death, the rapper/actor's ever newsworthy life and times blurred that fine line in reality rap between life and art. 

March 20th: Dr. Dre, the veteran LA producer with the Midas touch who both shaped NWA's sound and mainstreamed 'gangsta rap' with his 1992 multi-platinum album The Chronic, made headlines by exiting Death Row Records. Reportedly he was sick and tired of the Suge Knight dominated record company's all-gangsta format. "Then Tupac coming to the label was the straw that broke the camel's back," partner RBX told Vibe in the October issue that year. As if to prove the point, soon after his departure Dr. Dre declared "gangsta rap dead" and went about setting up his own label, Aftermath Records, releasing "East Coast West Coast Killas" as its first single, which called for an end to the then still very prominent East versus West coast rivalry.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up - Week Ending 06:25:10: Eminem, Jay-Z, The Roots, QuestFest, Tupac Shakur

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2010 06:04pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 06:25:10

Eminem
1) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)

2) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)

3) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)

4) Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives  (Republic)

5) Reflection Eternal Revolutions Per Minute (Blacksmith/Rawkus/Warner Brothers)

This week's number one with a bullet at Amoeba Hollywood is the new Eminem album Recovery which many, including the artist himself, say is way better than his previous full-length release, last year's Relapse. In fact, on the new album track "Cinderella Man" the rapper goes so far as to label Relapse "trash." He goes even further on the new album track "Talkin 2 Myself," rapping, "Them last two albums didn't count," in reference to Relapse and its predecessor, 2004's Encore. "Encore, I was on drugs, Relapse, I was flushin' em out. I've come to make it up to you now," he promises of Recovery. The album finds the artist in full confessional mode, admitting his past pill addiction and also the weight he gained. "I'm hatin' my reflection, I walk around the house tryin' to fight mirrors / I can't stand what I look like yeah / I look fat," he raps on the song "Going Through Changes." Production wise, noticeably absent this time out is his longtime studio partner Dr Dre, who only produces Jay-Z + Eminemthe one track, "So Bad," which is one of Recovery's most instantly accessible songs. The rest of the production credit is split between a crew of producers, including Just Blaze, Jim Jonsin, and Boi-1da.

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On this One Year Anniversary of his Death, All Things Are Michael Jackson Today, Especially on TV

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2010 07:12am | Post a Comment
Michael Jackson
Today -- the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death -- there is no shortage of scheduled tributes to the King of Pop, especially on TV, with ABC, NBC, CNN, VH1, MTV, BET, E!, Fuse, and even the TV Guide Network all airing MJ related specials today, as well as over the weekend. There are also some new MJ themed books published today or this week. And today, diehard fans of MJ around the globe are planning a simultaneous vigil called World Cry 2010. For this ambitious global event, which is synchronized for between 2:30pm and 3pm (PST), organizers hope to have over a million MJ fans, with candles and the lyrics to MJ's song "Cry" in hand, "Lighting up the world in honor of Michael Jackson's visions and memory!" Each major city is planning certain meeting points for MJ fans to congregate, sing, and honor their hero. For more World Cry 2010 info click here.

Today the new MJ book Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson, published by De Capo and penned by Nelson George, arrives on bookshelves. Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story by J. Randy Taraborrelli (Grand Central Publishing), which is for now only available in hardcover, is another example of a brand new book about MJ. You can also pick up the recently revised version of Taraborrelli’s 2004 Michael Jackson biography, now including details of Jackson’s final years and the aftermath of his death. Then there is the new satirical book about MJ, Simon Crump's Neverland: The Unreal Michael Jackson Story from Old Street Publishing. Yet another new MJ book published this week is Katherine Jackson's Never Can Say Goodbye which features photos and text by the woman named the guardian of the King of Pop’s three children after his death last summer.

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