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Hip-Hop Author Marcus Reeves Discusses "Somebody Scream! Rap Music's RIse To Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power"

Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2008 12:24pm | Post a Comment
Marcus Reeves ("Someboday Scream!" author)
Marcus Reeves
, former editor of the the Source hip-hop magazine and contributor to such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Vibe magazine, recently had his book Somebody Scream! (Rap Music's Rise To Prominence In The Aftershock of Black Power published by Faber and Faber Inc.

Like Jeff Chang's critically acclaimed hip-hop history Can't Stop Won't Stop, Somebody Scream likewise takes an analytical look at hip-hop -- a musical form that, like rock before it, is now all grown up and going through its own kind of mid-life crisis. Cornel West called Reeves' book "a strong  timely book for the new day in hip-hop" and he is right.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the East Coast based author to talk about his new book, Somebody Scream,  and its subject matter: hip-hop. Here is that dialog:

Amoeblog
: First up, how hard is it writing a book on a topic that is still unfolding around you as you report on its subject matter?

Marcus Reeves: Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to write because before I even started I had a beginning, a middle and an end. I’d already picked out who were the most influential rap artists—the ones who lead their particular era—strung their stories together by chapter and let the narrative unfold.Marcus Reeve's book "Somebody Scream!" And the narrative was easy because, like so many who’d watched the story of commercial rap over the last 30 years, it was also the story of my life. All the history and events that the music reflected, and I talk about in the book, were things I lived through and impacted my life. The last chapter of the book, which discusses what events shape the music now, helped capture all those moments that were still unfolding.

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BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP (W)RAP UP: 07:18:08

Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2008 08:31am | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE 07:18:08

1) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)

2) Messy Marv Hustlas Motivation Mixtape

3) Jean Gray + 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith/Warner)

4) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)

5) Nas Untitled (Def Jam)


This week's number one seller at the Amoeba Music San Francisco store should come as lil surprise. It was Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne, which, despite advance leaks and rampant downloading of its tracks, still managed to sell big numbers (by today's music industry standards) and hit the number one spot on countless charts (both airplay & sales) from Billboard (3 weeks straight @ #1) to KMEL toFillmore, San Francisco rapper Messy Marv Amoeba etc. Luis in the hip-hop department at the Haight Street Amoeba, who kindly supplied this week's Hip-Hop Top Five, said that Bay Area music buyers love Lil Wayne just as much as national audiences (especially considering the historic Bay Area/Dirty South connections), but that their dedication to Bay Area rap/hip-hop, including this week's chart's number two album, is unbridled.

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EAST BAY EXPRESS' HELLA FUN BEST OF THE EAST BAY PARTY

Posted by Billyjam, July 14, 2008 06:28pm | Post a Comment
The Uptones @ Oakland Museum, East Bay Express party
"I thought there would be maybe a couple of hundred people here and that it would be a pretty good event but, damn, I didn't think there would be this many people here and that it would this great a party. Hell yeah!," exclaimed Dan K -- one of the many attendees at last Friday's East Bay Express party.

The Oakland biker/hip-hop artist (who a few years back had a feature on him in the East Bay Express) was excitedly shouting over the music coming from the main stage at the Oakland Museum of California, where the independent East Bay weekly was hosting its "Old School" themed "Best of the East Bay" free party. Meanwhile, behind him, one of the hella fun night's many performers, longtime Berkeley ska group The Uptones (pictured above), ripped into their appropriately old school hit "Out to Sea."   

"Crazy....in a good way," laughed Amoeba Music's Naomi about the scene. She and fellow Amoebite Rachael were kept extremely busy tending to the long line of music fans who patiently waited for their turn to Amoeba Music spin-to-win @ East Bay Express 2008 Best-of party spin-to-win prizes including CDs, DVDs, and lots of Amoeba swag, including bags, hoodies, and turntable slip mats. (Amoeba was one of the main sponsors of the event.) A little later, headlining act Flipper was scheduled to sign autographs at the Amoeba table.

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FRIDA FOR FREE IN DA SFC + OTHER BAY AREA FREEBIES

Posted by Billyjam, July 13, 2008 11:19am | Post a Comment

The best things in life are free and the free things in life are the best -- especially if you're broke as a joke or just hate wasting money.  The Bay Area is a wonderfully resourceful place to find free things to do. Today, Sunday July 13th, you can go check out the new Frida Kahlo exhibit at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for free, and it is just one of the many wonderful free things to do in the Bay Area this summer.

First Tuesdays of the month are when most (not all -- so always check in advance) major SF museums host free days. On July 1st, the most recent free first Tuesday at MoMA, I headed over in the hopes of catching both the general museum exhibits (which are highly recommended) and the recently opened one of Frida Kahlo's work (thru Sep 28), which spans the famed Mexican artist's career and also includes her own collection of photographs, most of which have never been displayed before.

When I arrived at the main entrance on 3rd Street, there was no cover charge and no line to get in to the general part of MoMA but the much (justifiably) hyped new Kahlo show had attracted an additional wallop of eager art fans who both had to line up (it moved fast) and pay an additional $5 (still good value) to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. I inquired about seeing Frida for free and was informed by Jean Halverson at MoMA that July 13th would be the only completely free day to see that exhibit. But be forewarned: free often comes with some kind a price, usually standing in line for a bit -- so arrive prepared, and bring a book to read or snacks to share with your friends in line. At one ridiculously long wait for a one-time only exhibit in New York, a bunch of us in the slow long line had pizza delivered.

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KRIP-HOP PROJECT'S LEROY F MOORE ON BEING BLACK & DISABLED

Posted by Billyjam, July 11, 2008 07:40pm | Post a Comment
Leroy Franklin Moore Jr.
My name is Leroy Franklin Moore Jr.  I was born in New York in 1967 and was born with a physical disability (cerebral palsy). Being both Black and disabled, I’ve always had questions about race and disability. 

I grew up in an activist family and became active in issues that faced my Black and disabled communities. At an early age I realized that both of my communities, Black and disabled, did not recognize each other and because of this fact I continued to search for some kind of balance with my two identities.
 
In school I found out that very few professors or students knew about Black disabled people in history -- from slavery, to the music industry, to activism. Outside of the educational system and my communities, I started to educate myself on the rich history of Black disabled people. 

Because my father was into Black music, I started my research on Black disabled people in music and found out that most of the early blues artists were Black and blind or had other types of disabilities that forced them to make a living from singing on street corners all over the South and North: artists like Cripple Clarence Lofton who had polio but used to dance and was known as one of the creators of boogie-woogie piano. 
                                                                                                                                                                                  Cortella Clark
A lot of these Black disabled musicians didn’t get their dues and were discriminated against. The story of Cortelia Clark, who was a blind blues singer, singing on the streets of Nashville, is one of many true stories of Black blind/disabled artists in the early stages of the development of the music industry. Although Clark won a Grammy for his 1967 song, the appropriately titled "Blues in the Streets," he couldn’t attend the ceremony because he couldn’t afford to buy a ticket. The following day he was back on the streets trying to earn money to pay rent.

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