Amoeblog

Interview With Rob Swift About New Album The Architect (Ipecac)

Posted by Billyjam, March 1, 2010 11:45pm | Post a Comment
Rob Swift
Released last Tuesday, The Architect by DJ/producer Rob Swift (X-Men, X-Ecutioners, Ill Insanity) has been selling well at Amoeba Music. At the San Francisco store it charted at number three last week on the latest Top Five Chart. Put out by Mike Patton on his Ipecac Recordings, The Architect is the latest in a string of solo releases from the prolific turntable artist, who for this latest release constructed and modeled the album like a classical music composition.

In fact, The Architect is an ambitious project, even for an artist like Swift, who has made a career out of pushing the envelope with his innovative turntable-as-instrument recordings. The Architect, which he dedicated to his former X-Ecutioners band-mate Roc Raida, who died last year, is an excellent recording that raises the bar on turntablist/scratch albums.

I recently caught up with Rob Swift to ask him about the new album and how it came into being. "In June of 2008 I was in my bathroom shaving and my girlfriend, her name is Tess, walked into the bathroom and was like, 'I want you to listen to something. So she set up her iPod and little speakers and played a piece by Chopin for me. I forget what piece it was but I remember being blown away and been really touched and moved by this music I was listening to," he recalled. "So I finished shaving and came out of the bathroom and I was like, Tess you gotta play me more of that music. What is it? And she started to explain to me about classical music. And the funny thing is that all of us have been exposed to classical music at one time or another, whether in a movie or at Macy's in an elevator, or if you're watching commercials. So as much exposure as I have had to the genre of classical music, I don't think my mind and my heart was ready to accept it. But for some reason on that day in my bathroom, my heart was ready to embrace this genre."

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Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up 02:26:10: Ras Kass, RasCue, Snoop, Ya Boy, Big Rich, Rob Swift, Dan the Automator, Freeway & Jake One, etc.

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2010 10:07am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 02:26:10



1) Big RIch & Ya Boy Guns & Roses EP (Black Card Music)




Big Rich & Ya Boy "Street N*gga" (2010)







2)  V/A Snoop Dogg presents West Coast Blueprint (Priority Records)


 
Kid Frost "La Raza" (West Coast Blueprint)







3) Rob Swift No The Architect (Ipecac)


   Rob Swift "The Architect" (title track)

GRIPPING GRAFFITI DRAMA WHOLETRAIN SCREENS IN SF & LA

Posted by Billyjam, February 24, 2010 02:30pm | Post a Comment
Scene from the making of the film WHOLETRAIN, which was shot in Poland

Graffiti fans should make a point of attending the California screenings of the powerful new European graffiti themed feature film WHOLETRAIN that screens this evening (Feb 24) in San Francisco at the Goethe-Institut and on Monday (March 1st) at the same institution's center in Los Angeles. After the screenings in each city director Florian Gaag will be on hand for a Q&A session.

Gaag's first feature, WHOLETRAIN was shot in Poland, has English subtitles and has already been a film festival fave. It tells the story of a tight knit crew of graffiti writers, Tino, David, Elyas and Achim, who go through a lot of troubles (including run-ins with the law and a growing feud with a rival graf crew) in pursuit of their art.
WHOLETRAIN
WHOLETRAIN is full of wonderful, memorable scenes like the one where Tino (convincingly played by Florian Renner) is trying to persuade his friend and ever-frowning crew mate David (played by Mike Adler), who is on his last strike with the authorities, to go back out that night on an important train "bombing" mission in which they have a final opportunity to prove their worth against the rival graf crew.

If they miss this last chance, "We look like a finger painting group. Unless we do a wholetrain, we can battle housewives in the local drawing class," warns Tino. 

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Chilly B Of Old School Group Newcleus Died Today

Posted by Billyjam, February 24, 2010 12:53pm | Post a Comment
Chilly B
Bob "Chilly B" Crafton
, one of the original members of legendary early 80's electro hip-hop outfit Newcleus, died today from complications associated with a stroke. He was 47 years of age. The Brooklyn based old school group Newcleus was best known for the early eighties hit singles "Jam On It" and "Jam On It Revenge (The Wikki Wikki Song)," both punctuated by the Chipmunks-like voice contained on their tracks. The tracks were released on the Sunnyview label -- records that any hip-hop DJ back in the day had to have in their crates for dancers and breakers as well as almost a requisite for a mixtape.

"Chilly B was a gifted artist who played keyboards and bass. He laid down that famous bass line in 'Jam On It,'" said friend and fellow old school New York hip-hop artist Scratchmasta Jazzy G via email to me this afternoon. "He was a cool person too. He will be missed."  As well as laying down that famous bass line on "Jam On It," Chilly B also busted out such well known lyrics on the song as "Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Chilly B/ And I'm a surefire, full blooded bonafide house rockin' Jam-On Production MC/ If you want the best, put me to the test, and I'm sure you'll soon agree/ That I got no force cause I'm down by law when it comes to rockin' viciously, you see." Rest in peace to another hip-hop great.


Newcleus "Jam On It"

HIP-HOP AND BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, February 22, 2010 04:06pm | Post a Comment

The Last Poets
From its early days, hip-hop has been closely interrelated with black history and culture. Hip-hop is really a continuum of many previous black art forms. Rapping or MC'ing, for example, is merely carrying on a tradition of various oratorical forms in black history that include West African griots, talking blues, the sharp verbal flow of 1950's & 1960's hipster-jive talking radio DJs, the spoken word of artists like The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron, and of course, the toasting style in reggae. Additionally, hip-hop music, through both its lyrical content and its endless sampling, is responsible for teaching black history in a non traditional way.

Thanks to hip-hop's ubiquitous sampling of such historical black figures as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. (especially in the 80's and 90's), many young people first learned about the philosophies of these black leaders and black history in general. One of the earliest popular hip-hop songs to sample Malcolm X was Keith La Blanc's "Malcolm X - No Sell Out" 1983 single on Tommy Boy that utilized absolutely no rapping, just samples of the black leader speaking. In later years most hip-hop artists sampled bits of Malcolm X to Malcolm Xcompliment the emcee's message. In 1988 Public Enemy's politically charged album It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back opened with a powerful Malcolm X sample.

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