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Interview with Andy Noble of Kings Go Forth, Who Effortlessly Capture Retro Soul/Funk Vibe On Brand New CD

Posted by Billyjam, April 27, 2010 10:45am | Post a Comment
Kings Go Forth "One Day"

When you think of the typical retro RnB / soul revival type group, you tend to think of a well meaning musical ensemble who may earnestly attempt to recreate their favorite bygone musical era, but rarely match the sound and vibe of their soul heroes. Milwaukee's ten piece Kings Go Forth, who last Tuesday released their debut album The Outsiders Are Back on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, instantly break that stereotype. Their sound, as witnessed on this all-killer, no-filler 10 track album, is a Kings Go Forthrefreshing recreation of a 70's soul/funk vibe served up in an all new sound, pitch perfectly arranged, with crispy clean production, and infectious dance rhythms aplenty.

The group's name is drawn from the title of a 1958 Frank Sinatra/Tony Curtis film, and was founded six years ago by bassist Andy Noble and vocalist Black Wolf (a respected figure on the Milwaukee music scene since the 70's who was once part of The Essentials). The rest of the ensemble includes Dave Wake (keyboards), Dan Flynn (guitar), Jeremy Kuzniar (drums), Cecilio Negron Jr. (percussion), Jed Groser (trumpet), Dave Cusma (trombone), Dan Fernandez (vocals), and Matt Norberg (vocals & rhythm guitar).

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1991 Interview with Gang Starr's DJ Premier and the Late Great Guru

Posted by Billyjam, April 26, 2010 09:44am | Post a Comment
Gang Starr
Exactly one week ago today Keith "Guru" Elam (aka G.U.R.U.) of legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr tragically died at the age 43, a month after the cancer-stricken emcee collapsed and went into a coma. His passing hit all hip-hop fans hard, including myself, since I have been a die-hard fan of Guru and his production partner, the ever talented DJ Premier, from day one and had had the honor of meeting and interviewing them several times over the years. Earlier today, after digging, I discovered one of these old interviews. It's from mid 1991, when the duo were out visiting the Bay Area for a show at the DNA (which was off the hook!) and visiting local retail and radio, including KALX, where I conducted the interview that follows below.

At this stage in their career the Brooklyn based (Boston formed) duo was riding high off the reception to their January 1991 released second album Step In The Arena. In hip-hop it was a time many when rap acts were jumping on the jazz fused musical tip, something that Gang Starr had pioneered -- melding jazzy grooves (rather than the standard James Brown and other funk breaks) into their hip-hop sound. In fact, it was Gang Starr's track "Jazz Music" off their 1989 debut album No More Mr Nice Guy (Wild Pitch) that caught the attention of director Spike Lee, resulting in his inviting Gang Starr to contribute "Jazz Thing" (with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and featuring Kenny Kirkland and Robert Hurst) to the soundtrack of Lee's 1990 film Mo' Better Blues starring Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L Jackson, and Lee himself.

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Beasties' RSD Mystery Single, Guru's Controversial Deathbed Letter, DJ Vlad vs Rick Ross, DMC NOLA, DJ Junebug Movie, League510, Little Brother Say Farewell + More: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up 04:23:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 23, 2010 07:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:23:10

Murs & 9th Wonder
1) Murs & 9th Wonder Fornever (SMC Recordings)

2) The Beastie Boys RSD Mystery (Capitol Throw)

3) Meth, Ghost, Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)

4) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

5) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

So successful was Record Store Day at Amoeba last weekend that one of the releases only sold on that day (last Saturday) made it to number two on the latest Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Chart. As reported by Amoebite Daniel Tures in his recent Record Store Day Mania at Amoeba Hollywood Amoeblog, "hip bands and artists from the Flaming Lips to the Beastie Boys released exclusive, limited-edition vinyl items available at independent record stores only, which were the subject of an intense shopping free-for-all that looked like a pro wrestling cage match grand slam." Many of these records were 7" releases. The Beasties were one of the few 12" and there were reportedly only a 1000 copies pressed up with indie stores all over each getting their limited share to sell. And even though the contents of the Beastie's sealed twelve inch, appropriately titled RSD Mystery, were indeed a mystery (Capitol Records, who pressed it up, promised that it contained Spinderella Amoeba Hollywood"two unreleased" tracks wrapped in a white jacket with only the Beasties logo on it), fans fiended for them nonetheless. In fact, they snapped them up in record time (pun intended) for their collections.

Earth Day at 40: As Individuals Become More Conscious of Their Environment, Corporations Appropriate the G Word

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2010 06:30am | Post a Comment
Greenzo, 30 Rock
Today, April 22nd, Earth Day 2010, is the fortieth year of celebrating Earth Day! And looking back over those 40 years it is clear that things have changed a lot in our collective consciousness as well as in our behavioral patterns towards the good of our planet, including our awareness of the seriousness of climate change.

Today it is clear that a greater percentage of the population is much more aware than back on the first Earth Day in 1970, of such things as the importance of composting, or methodically recycling their garbage including E-waste, and truly thinking "green." In fact, awareness of that word "green" (the G word, if you will) is among the key things that have changed over the years -- both for better and for worse. Despite all of the well-meaning folks' adaptation of the term "green," the G word has simultaneously become a buzz word for big business to borrow. At its worst the G word has morphed into one of those hollow words that profit-driven corporations love to market as they loudly throw it on leaflets, wastefully printed up by the hundreds of thousands to inform us of just how "green" and "eco-friendly" they are.

I always think of that hilarious episode of 30 Rock starring David Schwimmer as the NBC Earth Day 2010environmentally-friendly mascot Greenzo used by the GE owned NBC to make the most money off of what they see as "the whole green trend." Of course, in true 30 Rock comedic tradition, the project backfires when Greenzo, with new-found popularity gone to his head, insists that he really believes in the meaning of "green." Furthermore, the real joke behind this 30 Rock episode is that Tina Fey and company concocted it in a slightly subversive reaction to the real-life NBC's week long green-themed programming, which the company, at the time three years ago, toted as "aimed at entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives."

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Hip-Hop Icon Guru Dead At Age 43. Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal, Rest In Peace

Posted by Billyjam, April 20, 2010 10:13am | Post a Comment
Gang Starr "Mass Appeal"

Yesterday  hip-hop icon Keith Elam, aka the emcee Guru, died at age 43 reportedly succumbing to cancer following a heart attack last month. GGang Starruru, whose name stood for Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal, will always be remembered for having been one half (the emcee part) of legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr along with DJ Premier. Together this emcee and this producer created some of the finest, most memorable hip-hop during the genre's golden era. And despite all of the work over the years Guru did apart from Premier, including the ambitious Jazzmatazz series with Branford Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ronny Jordan, it is the Gang Starr recordings that will forever remain in hip-hop consciousness.

Proof of the power and influence of Gang Starr's music lies in the sheer volume of later hip-hop songs that have sampled or paraphrased Guru's words. Over the years and up to this day Gang Starr song titles and Guru lyrics such as the classic "Just To Get A Rep" or "Mass Appeal" (video above) continue to lend themselves to club night names and mixtape titles. Expect to hear a lot of Gang Starr, songs like "Code of the Streets" (below), on the radio for the next week. Rest in peace, Guru.

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