The Jam Master Jay Foundation For Music Keeps The Slain Run-D.M.C. DJ's Legacy Alive

Posted by Billyjam, November 5, 2015 10:34pm | Post a Comment
Hard to believe that already thirteen years have passed since the tragic death of hip-hop icon, Run-D.M.C.'s DJ Jam Master Jay. And still hard to believe is that this great artist was shot and killed in what is still an unsolved murder. The anniversary was marked last Friday (Oct 30th). On that date in 2002 the artist born Jason William Mizell was murdered while doing what he loved best; music. He working in a recording studio on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens working on music when an unknown assailant entered and killed him.

Back at the time of this totally unexpected event communities all over the world, including the Bay Area's deep hip-hop DJ scene, were in a collective state of both remorse and shock. Shocking all these years later is that the 2002 murder still remains unsolved.  Over the years suspects have been named and investigated, but 13 years on and no one was ever found responsible for the murder nor convicted.

JMJ lives on through his music that both entertains and influences. Further he influences a new younger generation posthumously through the efforts of the foundation set up in his name. The Jam Master Jay Foundation For Music was created about a year after his death by his widow Terri Corley-Mizell. The non-profit organization was set up to give back to the next generation. Its stated goal is that, "regardless of socio-economic status, every child deserves equal access to the arts. The Foundation supports the idea that social Justice, Arts and Music (J.A.M.) education should be in every school, in every region of the country, giving children the opportunity to expand their world-view through artistic expression." The Foundation's next planned public event is a hip-hop lip sync battle on November 10th, at Subrosa located at 63 Gansevoort St NY, NY. The beats will be provided by TJ Mizell, JMJ's son who is carrying on his father's legacy in various ways including acting as DJ for Run-D.M.C. in concert. For more information on the Foundation happenings visit their website. Meanwhile check out the rare clip from 1984 of JMJ doing he intro to the Run-D.M.C. concert from three decades ago. And browse the Run-D.M.C. records and CDs available from Amoeba.

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Prolific West Oakland Rapper J.Stalin Returns To His Roots With Strong 14th Album "Tears Of Joy" On His Livewire Label

Posted by Billyjam, November 3, 2015 08:44am | Post a Comment

Since its release last Friday (October 30th), popular Bay Area rapper J.Stalin's latest album Tears Of Joy (Livewire) has been selling well at Amoeba, particularly at the stores in the Bay Area where the prolific longtime West Oakland rapper hails from. In fact, as a reminder to fans that the new album is out, the Livewire Records CEO commissioned a series of billboard ads round the Town (Oakland) in the weeks leading to the release. But the main reason why this new album is in demand is because it's a hit and fans were fiending for its release for some time now. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, especially for the autobiographical "Selling Crack" (see new music video below), "Instagram Gangstaz (feat. L'Jay)" that pokes fun at this era's version of fake superficial studio gangstas, and album standout track "Think U Ready" that posthumously features a cameo from beloved Bay Area rap icon The Jacka who was killed earlier this year in East Oakland in a drive-by.  The album also features a touching tribute to the slain artist, "Jacka's Prayer."

Other artists guesting on the new album include Iamsu!, Riff Raff, Snow Tha Product, Mistah F.A.B., Rayven Justice, D-Lo, B-Legit, and Jonn Hart. Meanwhile, production credits go to some of the best including The Mekanix, DJ Fresh, and Junonnabeat. Fans of the Bay's rich mobb music legacy will appreciate this rap album that the artist himself considers it a return to form.

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Ed Lee Or Not To Be For Second Term? SF MCs Equipto & Dregs One Weigh In On San Francisco's Crucial 2015 Mayoral Election

Posted by Billyjam, November 2, 2015 09:00am | Post a Comment

Love him, hate him, or simply feel indifferent towards him, no one can deny that during the past (almost) five years of Ed Lee as Mayor of San Francisco the City by the Bay has been dramatically reshaped. Hence why tomorrow's November 3rd election for mayor of San Francisco, in which he is running for a second term, is considered so crucial.

Back on January 11, 2011, Ed Lee was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term. At the time no one thought much of it, believing Lee would carry on business as usual without making any significant changes. Wrong! In the half decade since taking office, Lee has made numerous changes and in so doing been roundly accused by his detractors (and there are many) of been beholden to big corporate money, all the while turning his back on San Francisco's longtime low-income residents.

In tomorrow's election Lee faces five different challengers who are united in their anti-Lee stance and push to a return for what's been labeled "a grassroots democracy" for San Francisco. In all the six candidates on the ballot for mayor of San Francisco are Kent Graham, Francisco Herrera, Ed Lee, Reed Martin, Stuart Schuffman and Amy Farah Weiss

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Ten Current Tracks That Prove 2015 Hip-Hop Is In A Very Healthy State (Audio + Video)

Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2015 05:10pm | Post a Comment

You can't blame some hip-hop fans for complaining that there's no good new hip-hop being made anymore, provided they are not making a blanket statement about all new hip-hop but merely referring to the bulk of what's popular in new rap & hip-hop these days. You know, the stuff that you hear blasted everywhere and repeated ad-nauseam on commercial radio. But the truth is that, if you take a little time and research to seek it out, there is in fact more good hip-hop being released now than ever. A lot of this new music's production and rhyme delivery pays respect to hip-hop's deep rich past while still pushing the genre forward and sounding new.

Below I have assembled ten tracks from the past few months with accompanying videos (some audio only) of new hip-hop that proves the genre is alive and well.  Alongside new hip-hop artists are many longtime acts who are still making quality music - even if not to the same wide an audience as they once commanded. I heard a few old school hip-hop fans comment recently how they didn't realize that Public Enemy (PE) were still around until seeing the longtime revolutionary group's recent live set on Jimmy Kimmel Live. PE never went away and recently released their best album in years - Man Plans God Laughs - that they performed the title track from on JKL (video below) in a "Fight The Power" medley since the song references back to the original from 26 years ago. NorCal legendary duo Blackalicious returned after a decade's absence with a powerful, fan-funded new album Imani, Vol 1 (LP version). Currently on a UK tour, they've been winning accolades for both the album and their performances. The NorCal duo have attracted a whole new wave of fans in recent times due to Daniel Radcliffe who did a rendition of their 1999 ABC tongue-twisting song "Alphabet Aerobics" on The Tonight Show a year ago.

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E-Lit's Scary Movie Guide: Top Five 1980's Classics + Top Five Modern Scary Movies

Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2015 11:02pm | Post a Comment

As anyone who knows E-Lit personally or who caught the Amoeba Berkeley staffer's Halloween-themed KALX radio show this past week can attest, the man is not just a big hip-hop fan. He also has a passion for, and good knowledge of, scary movies (especially 1980's classics of the genre) with a sizable DVD collection of scream-inducing scary films to prove the point. So to help set the tone for this Halloween, I invited E-Lit to draw up two top five lists of scary movies: an all-time favorite five plus a more modern era, recently-released scary movie top five list.

Both top five lists follow below with accompanying movie trailers and links to movie at the Amoeba online store. Or, of course, look for them on DVD or Blu-ray at the Amoeba stores. Among E-Lit's picks is the excellent Night of the Creeps (Fred Dekker's directors cut includes the ending he always wanted) about an alien experiment going wrong...horribly wrong. As noted elsewhere here on, Dekker's Creeps is wonderful in how it "deftly mixes all sorts of genres while simultaneously having fun with them (the college and all the leading characters are named after famous horror movie directors)."

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