Amoeblog

REMEMBERING LEOPOLD RECORDS. PART 2: HIP-HOP HISTORY

Posted by Billyjam, September 5, 2008 10:37pm | Post a Comment

This is the second of the two part Amoeblogs remembering long-defunct Berkeley music store Leopold Records. Part 1 focused on the Leopold's Amoeba connection, while this one is about the hip-hop history of the store. Included are an interview with former Leopold rap buyer Daria Kelly and an essay by Amoeba Brady who, like many, worked there before joining Amoeba. I highly recommend you read both of these insightful windows to another time in Bay Area music history. Also included in this Remembering Leopold Amoeblog is one of the final Bay Area Top Ten charts issued by the store before it closed, from early 1996, and a video of Saafir performing live at the store from late 1994.

The live Saafir performance is of "Just Riden" (video above), the song originally from the artist's Boxcar Sessions album released in September 1994 on Qwest/Warner Brothers. The footage iis from an in-store that was technically an "out-store," since the Oakalnd emcee did it right outside the store doors of Leopold's on Durant in Berkeley, CA. 

Look closely at the video above for the quick crowd camera pan and you will see Del (in Hiero T-shirt) puffing happily on what looks like a blunt. Around that same time in East Bay hip-hop history you would usually find members of Saafir's extended rap family Hobo Junction right outside Leopold and around the streets of Berkeley selling, or as they called it "dirt hustlin,'" their lo-fi but tight homemade rap tapes.

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SINS INVALID TACKLES MISPERCEPTIONS OF DISABILITY & SEXUALITY

Posted by Billyjam, September 5, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment
Sins Invalid @ Brava Theater SF this weekend
Tonight and tomorrow night at 8PM  (Friday/Saturday, Sept. 5/6th) at the Brava Theater at 2789 24th Street in San Francisco will be the third year of one of the most envelope pushing performance projects tackling the topic of sexuality and disability:
Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility.

Amoeblog caught up with Patricia Berne, the director of Sins Invalid, to ask her about this most unique performance project and this weekend's two performances that include singer/songwriter Nomy Lamm.

AMOEBLOG: For those who know nothing about Sins Invalid, can you describe what it is?

PATRICIA BERNE: Sins Invalid is a performance project which incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing on artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Our performance work explores the themes of sexuality,  embodiment and the disabled body. Conceived and led by disabled people of color, we develop and present cutting-edge work where normative paradigms of "normal" and "sexy" are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all individuals and communities. We define disability broadly to include people with physical impairments, who are a sensory minority, people with emotional disabilities, people with cognitive challenges, those with chronic/severe illness, individuals who identify as disabled due to intersex conditions or gender variance, and others who may identify as disabled because their bodies do not conform to society's notions  of "normal" or able-bodied.

AMOEBLOG: What are the most common misconceptions on the topic of   sexuality and disability?

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REMEMBERING LEOPOLD RECORDS. PT 1: THE AMOEBA CONNECTION

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2008 01:25pm | Post a Comment
MC Lyte stops thru Leopold Records Berkeley
Any longtime Bay Area music fan knew and loved the long gone Berkeley record store Leopold Records (circa '68 - '96), which used to be located at 2518 Durant in the block above Telegraph Ave. and down from Bowditch Street. Back in the day you could go spend lots of time (and money) as the hours slipped past and you got lost digging in their never-ending rows of music, invariably getting assistance along the way from the store's dedicated staff, who really knew their stuff and were more than happy to share that musical knowledge.

At one point, Oakland emcee Del tha Funkee Homosapien even worked at Leopold! The store, for Bay Area rap fans, was the number one destination when you wanted to get the latest hip-hop releases. The store also had many artists stop by, including MC Lyte (pictured above) and Saafir, who once did an in-store (well, technically an out-store, since it was right outside the building) at Leopold. (See video clip in the second part of this two-part Leopold Records' Amoeblog.) Scroll down below to see Joan Baez at a Leopold instore performance from 1993, singing a version of "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" that includes, much to the crowd's delight, a spot-on imitation of Bob Dylan. Michael Jackson even did made an appearance at Leopold's back in his heyday.

Leopold's many former employees went on to other music industry positions: former rap buyer Daria Kelly now works at Six Degrees Records in San Francisco. Read her Amoeblog interview recalling Leopold Records' role in the hip-hop community in Part II of this Amoeblog remembering Leopold's.
Many Amoeba Music employees also worked at Leopold's and consequently, it seems, have carried over that tradition of truly caring about the business that they are in. Amoeba Music's Karen P (in pics both above & below) is one of those people who used to be a part of Leopold's. I recently asked her if she thought there was a connection between her old place of employment and Amoeba Music. She replied: "Yes, there definitely is a connection, both philosophically and in spirit. Part of it might be that much of the beginning (and even current) Amoeba staff started at Leopold's." Karen listed some of those individuals as Mark Beaver (in B&W picture below), Craig Bishop, Lisa Loomis, Stacy Young, Roxanne (in MC Lyte pic), Barbara Ballesteros, and Lynne Brady. (Read Amoebite Lynne Brady's wonderful stream-of-consciousness rap recollections of Leopold in Part II of this Amoeblog -- to be posted tomorrow, Friday.)

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JAMOEBLOG TOP TEN: WEEK OF 09:03:08

Posted by Billyjam, September 3, 2008 06:02pm | Post a Comment
pain language dj muggs and planet asia
  Jamoeblog Top Ten: 09:03:08

1) DJ Muggs & Planet Asia "Sleeper Cell" (Gold Dust Media)

2) Paris "Blap That Ass Up" + "The Trap" (Guerrilla Funk)

3) dan le sac Vs. Scroobius pip "Development" (Strange Famous)

4) Large Pro "Rockin Hip-Hop" (Gold Dust Media)

5) Tricky "Council Estate" (Domino Recording Company)

6) J-Live "Ooweee" (bbe)

7) Nightmares On Wax "195 lbs" (Warp Records)

8) Quest Quartz Qrew "Do Gooder" (Reverse Techniques)

9) Jean Grae "My Story" (Blacksmith)

10) Brooklyn Academy "This is Brooklyn" (feat Ill Bill) (K7)

DJ Muggs & Planet Asia have a very strong new collaborative album in Pain Language. It brings out thesoul assassins very best in both artists on tracks such as "Sleeper Cell," "Black Mask Men," "Smoke," "9mm" (video below), and "Death Frees Every Soul" featuring Sick Jacken. Wu-Tang members Killah Priest and GZA paris acid reflexare among the album's many guests. Also making cameos on Pain Language (available at Amoeba in two weeks) are B-Real, Cynic, Scratch, Prodigal Sunn, Tri State, Chance Infinite, and Turban. What I love most about the Soul Assassins' DJ Muggs' top notch production is his ability to effortlessly create a dark, ominous mood -- the perfect backdrop to Fresno emcee Planet Asia --  that is enhanced with subtly interwoven soundbite samples.

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DJ DEVA VU: DJ SLYCE WINS DMC USA FINALS AGAIN, 11 YEARS LATER

Posted by Billyjam, September 3, 2008 11:52am | Post a Comment
DJ Slyce wins 2008 DMC USA Championship
Congratulations to the new DMC DJ champion of the USA DJ Slyce who took the title hands down (once again) last Saturday night at the Knitting Factory in New York and consequently will travel to the UK later this month for the 2008 DMC World Championship finals September 26th/27th. It was a kind of deja vu for DJ Slyce who also won the US DMC title eleven years ago (see video clip of that legendary 1997 DMC routine below). "Anyone who said hip hop was dead has not been to a recent hip-hop DJ battle and with the return of DMC to the Mecca I can assure you the DJ element of our culture is alive and kicking some serious ass! An historical night to say the least and not because DMC was back in New York, not because it was the first time a father and son competed-- it was having such a variety of past and future legends share the stage and tear the decks up," said Washington DC (formerly of the SF Bay Area) DJ Dust One, who drove the four plus hours to NYC just to attend the event last weekend.

Dust One stressed to me how blown away he was by both seeing Grand Wizzard Theodore (creator of the scratch) and to getting to talk to him. "I asked him if it must feel great to watch what he created develop into such an art form. He smiled and proudly answered, 'I created monsters,'" related Dust One, adding that, "DJ Slyce stole the show and will represent the United States with the utmost showmanship and [it] would not surprise me if he took the world title back home. His set was flawless and the creativity took it to another level.Competition was definitely tough, but DJ Slyce showed us he is the best! Much respect to all the competitors, the judges and to Christie Z for coordinating such a great show!"
 
DMC Events Coordinator Christie Z Pabon is a the tireless ambassador of turntablism as well as theDJ Slyce other elements of hip-hop.  She had not organized a DMC battle for several years, instead focusing more on her own hip-hop dedicated organization, Tools of War. Pabon was perhaps the single reason why this year's US DMC battles seemed to bring the battle back on track after years of people complaining of it slipping. I talked with Christie Z, who organized the DMC battles from 1998 to 2000 and who likely will stay on board for upcoming years' DMCs, about how she felt about last weekend's event in NYC:

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