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SF Hip-Hop Trio BPos, Who Have an Amoeba Berkeley Instore Friday, June 11th, Keep the Music Positive

Posted by Billyjam, June 10, 2010 02:03pm | Post a Comment
BPos "Stay Alive" from the new album The Upside (One League)

With so much popular hip-hop these days veering toward the more negative, mean mugging, and macho posturing end of the rap spectrum, it is BPos The Upsiderefreshing to encounter an alternately positive crew like the San Francisco hip-hop trio BPos, whose name literally stands for "Be Positive" and whose attitude follows suit. Their mantra is, "To be positive is not to miss the facts and see the downside -- not being blind to it, but to work toward a brighter side."

In support of their just released debut album, The Upside (One League), this Bay Area group, comprised of Goodword, D-Wiz, and DJ Johnny Venetti, are performing both tonight (Thursday, June 10th) at Element Lounge in San Francisco and tomorrow for free at 6pm at Amoeba Music Berkeley.

Earlier today I caught up with emcee Goodword of the crew to ask him if he felt that BPos was a kind of reaction to aforementioned negativity so dominant in hip-hop these days? "It's more a reaction to all the negativity in the world," he replied. "It started as a way to keep us, as individuals, grounded and focused on a goal. You know, speaking for myself, every time I see the name it reminds me of what we set out to accomplish and that acts as a guideline for me in my life outside of hip-hop. It's like no matter how much negative shit is going on around me in my everyday life, BPos reminds me that there is always something positive to take from every situation."

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Despite Omitting Cash Money and Lil Wayne + Many Other Key Southern Rap Entities, VH1's Hip-Hop Honors The Dirty South Was Still a Most Entertaining Telecast

Posted by Billyjam, June 9, 2010 01:18pm | Post a Comment
Diddy Jermaine Dupri
The problem with having an all inclusive tag like the "Dirty South" prominently featured in the title of a big television tribute production such as the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors The Dirty South, that premiered on the music television network two nights ago & is viewable in full on VH1.com, is that by definition certain expectations accompany such a title. One would expect a "Dirty South" honors show to recognize and represent certain key Dirty South entities such as the successful, influential Cash Money Records and its high profile star Lil Wayne. However, neither the artist nor his label were included in the night's honors. Nor were such other prominent Dirty South acts as Three 6 Mafia or Young Jeezy, to name but two most important contributors to the regional rap sub-genre. Meanwhile, both OutKast and Goodie Mob were recognized (barely), but could have been celebrated a whole lot more.

Of course, I am being picky and, perhaps unrealistic, since there is no way that a mere two-hour TV show, even one the scale of the well choreographed annual VH1 live concert presentation, could possibly include every Dirty South entity. But that's too bad, because otherwise this year's VH1 Hip-Hop Honors The Dirty South, the seventh in the annual event, was truly a top notch production as awards shows go -- especially for rap music awards, which are historically prone to such negatives as awful sounding live performances and outbreaks of violence. Nothing like that marred this fun, extremely well-paced, Silkk the Shockerexcellently executed, nicely mixed & highly entertaining event. Yeah, sure, there were a couple of off moments, like the beginning of the 2 Live Crew's set, which was not quite on beat, or Keri Hilson's cameo, which instantly proved that her voice does not match her good looks. But those were just a couple of hiccups in otherwise stellar rap show.

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NYC Summer 2010 Pt. I - Terry Flaxton's In Other People's Skins Installation Plays with the Virtual and the Real

Posted by Billyjam, June 7, 2010 12:43pm | Post a Comment
Terry Flaxton's In Other People's Skins installation (June 2010, NYC)

At last week's opening of In Other People's Skins (IOPS), the unique, hands-on moving images art exhibit at the cathedral of St John Divine in uptown Manhattan, one attendee found himself sub-consciously reaching out to scoop up a spoonful of food from a virtual bowl of rice and veggies. Of course, there was no actual food as he sat at this lively but deceptively surreal dinner party with a dozen other chatty guests! They all appeared seated around the intimate candlelit wooden dinner table as an overhead film projector (with sounds too) flashed filmed images of hands reaching out Terry Flaxtonfor food with chopsticks or spoons & forks in hand, all apparently eating a tasty meal, or rather, one of five meals.

"I shot five different dinner parties from above and I projected those five different dinner parties down onto a table the same size as the original dinner parties' table," IOPS' creator Terry Flaxton told me afterward. "And the intention is that people come in and sit and they touch the art because in modern art you are not allowed to touch, so one of the most important things to me is that people get to touch the art. The irony of it is that it is a completely virtual installation, so you can't touch it but it plays with the virtual and the real."

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Nas + Damian Marley, Reflection Eternal, Devin The Dude, Andre Nickatina, Madlib, E40 + Cousin Fik, DJ Platurn + more: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up: 06:04:10

Posted by Billyjam, June 4, 2010 05:20am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 06:04:10

Nas Damien Marley
1) Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives  (Republic)

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

3) Madlib Madlib Medicine Show #5-History of the Loop Digga-1990-2000 (Stones Throw)

4) Andre Nickatina Khan! The Me Generation (I-Khan Dist)

5) Devin The Dude Suite 420 (Koch)

Thanks to Inti at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for this week's Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart. It picks up where last week's San Francisco Amoeba chart left off, with continued Amoeba love being shown for LA producer extraordinaire Madlib and his ongoing twelve-part Medicine Show series, the hip-hop super-duo Reflection Eternal (producer Hi-Tek and emcee Talib Kweli), who had a memorable instore performance at Amoeba San Francisco May 24th, and the ground-breaking new Distant Relatives project, which is number one for the second straight week on the Amoeba hip-hop charts. Packed with an uplifting message of empowerment and clearly a work of activism through music, the son of Bob Marley, Jamaica's Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, and the son of jazz musician Olu Dara Jones and hip-hop icon in his own right, Nas, join creative forces with pitch perfect results. Distant Relatives, which can be bought online from Amoeba at a reduced cost, is a reggae meets hip-hop album that never sounds forced. A project that undoubtedly will be raved about for a some time to come, Distant Relatives tackles pertinent issues about the continent of Africa. What is most impressive, though, is that the two artists manage to do so in a forcefully coherent Devin the Dudebut never overbearing way.

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Frank Nitt Talks About New Solo EP Jewels In My Backpack, Delicious Vinyl, Moving to LA, Frank-n-Dank, & J-Dilla

Posted by Billyjam, June 3, 2010 09:00am | Post a Comment
Frank NItt
The name of Frank Nitt’s just released six-song EP on Delicious Vinyl, Jewels In My Backpack, is more than simply some catchy throwaway title. Rather, it accurately sums up the new recording's sound -- one that melds the smooth glossy production of Terrace Martin (Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Talib Kweli, etc.) with the raw & gritty yet instantly engaging Mid West flow of the longtime Detroit emcee, who is known to most rap fans for his membership in Frank-n-Dank and his longtime affiliation with the late great J-Dilla

"I'm considered a backpack emcee, a grimy, underground emcee, while  Terrace Martin, he does records with Snoop and people like DJ Quik, his is a much bigger, shinier sound," said the artist, who was born Frank Bush. "So Terrace kinda represents the jewels while I represent the backpack -- Jewels In My Backpack."

In fact, that theme of juxtaposing opposite components but somehow making them effectively co-exist in one recording is what Jewels is all about. Hence, the EP song titled "H.A.T.E." is balanced out by another titled "L.O.V.E." "This whole record is all about balance," stresses Frank. "Like, I got a song called "Go Girl" which is about strong empowered women, but I also have a song called "Psychedelic Freaky Girls," which is about, I guess, the opposite of that. So this record is very balanced." It also has a nice Frank Nittbalance of guest contributors, including J. Black, Problem, Bad Lucc, Kurupt, and DJ Quik.

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