40th Anniversary of Punk and the San Francisco Punk Rock Renaissance Continues

Posted by Billyjam, September 23, 2015 02:13pm | Post a Comment

The 40th anniversary of punk and the San Francisco punk renaissance is being celebrated this week at the San Francisco Public Library, where coincidentally Penelope Houston (The Avengers) works, with a special highlight today care of the San Francisco History Center and Book Arts & Special Collections in association with the Punk Rock Sewing Circle. This afternoon's panel discussion is entitled The Power of the Word: Fanzines and the Pioneering of Punk Rock Journalism, and will discuss the importance (in the pre-Internet age) of punk zines and the key role they played in getting out information to fans fiending for information on the then new cultural movement's soundtrack. Free and open to the public, today's panel moderated by Peter Urban will feature V. Vale (Search and Destroy), Mickey “Creep” (Creep), and Verna and Linda Wilson (Ripper) who will "discuss their experiences as pioneers in the punk rock scene and examine the pivotal function of fanzines" for the years 1975 through 1981. They will examine both the Bay Area’s "first-wave punk rock community as well as focus on the contributions to new music culture made by such periodicals as Sniffin’ Glue (London), Punk (New York), and Slash (Los Angeles.)" Free event, all ages, open to the public today until 430pm at the San Francisco Public Library Main Library - 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, California 94102.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Early 1990's Record Label Promo Postcards [Outkast, Artifacts, Willie D, Insane Poetry, The Legion]

Posted by Billyjam, September 22, 2015 08:16pm | Post a Comment

Above and below are the two sides of the promo postcard from Big Beat Records from 1994 that was part of the Atlantic Records distributed label's big promotional push for The Artifacts' 12" single/maxi-cassette/CD release "Wrong Side Of The Tracks." That five star track was released in advance of and taken off the NJ duo's act's album, that was reissued on vinyl two years ago by Fat Beats, Between A Rock And A Hard Place. The postcard is one of several 1990's promo postcards featured in this Hip-Hop History Amoeblog that includes postcards from two decades ago from the first half of the nineties - the
golden era of rap/hip-hop label promotions. While indeed in the 1980's, record labels were releasing a good deal hip-hop singles (and to a lesser extent hip-hop albums) publicity and promotional departments had not yet been fully developed at most labels. The promotional push for '80's hip-hop, while certainly in existence, was sparse and limited to the select few major labels with rap acts and the larger majority of the field filled with smaller indie record labels. These small often regionalized rap labels typically released 12" singles only and as their respective promo pushes typically targeted retail outlets or their distributors, or the record pools that DJs were members of. The promo/publicity was usually advertisements in select trade publications while their promotional pushes would be aimed at DJs via record pools or sometimes radio stations. By the time 80's ended and 1990's decade began, the marketplace had changed dramatically with promo campaigns directed at retail, radio, and other media (print, video) becoming more commonplace. 

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Denver's Colorado Crush Street Art Festival: Where Aerosol & Kush Fill The Air and Vibrant Murals Line The Mile High City's Walls

Posted by Billyjam, September 18, 2015 11:01am | Post a Comment

Denver's ever evolving and expanding annual Colorado Crush street art festival, where the distinct odors of kush smoke and aerosol paint fumes fill the air while bright colorful, painstakingly handcrafted art pieces fill the walls of the Mile High City, is back again this week for what promises to be its best year to date - Colorado Crush 2015.

Begun by Robin Munro and others who shared a passion and love for street art as well as for their Colorado capitol city, the outdoor arts event began quietly back in 2009. But in the six years since this now internationally renowned street art festival has blossomed into one of Denver's signature art events, having grown exponentially and winning accolades along the way. Last year it won the 2014 Mayor's Design Award chosen by Denver's Mayor Michael B. Hancock - whose progressive city is unique in how it  embraces street art, even lending financial support, while other cities like New York continue to demonize it, making its creators criminals, and failing to distinguish between the various types of street art.

This year's Colorado Crush, that runs through Sunday September 20th, organizers say will be its "biggest and best" yet with participation up an estimated 50% resulting in even more outdoor art to enjoy, and with more business owners and community members getting involved and donating wall space.

DJ Food's Star Wars Audio/Video Megamix

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2015 11:43am | Post a Comment

DJ Food - The Tracks Go Off In This Direction from Solid Steel on Vimeo.

Star Wars fans, who are counting down the days to the forthcoming new movie in the franchise Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens opening in theaters on December 18th, will rejoice at the recently published Star Wars themed music/video mix by UK based DJ Food who, via Solid Steel Vimeo, has laced up the above sweet mix entitled "The Tracks Go Off In This Direction" that is packed with appeal to both Star Wars movie fans and hip-hop/cut'n'paste music fans.

The 30 minute megamix by the Ninja Tune artist, that contains a lot of different samples/sound sources, is accurately described by its producer as  a "celebration of audio visual Star Wars spin-offs, made to mark the end of a summer performing at Secret Cinema's production of 'The Empire Strikes Back' in London."  That Secret Cinema show, by the way, ends its run on Sunday, September 27th, with tix for the London, England event available here. Meanwhile the JJ Abrams produced new movie may not open in theaters for another three full months, but you can purchase advance tix now online here. And of course you can shop at Amoeba Music for such Star Wars items as the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set

Remembering San Francisco MC African Identity

Posted by Billyjam, September 16, 2015 02:26pm | Post a Comment

Late last night Pam the Funkstress posted a sad social media update to her Instagram and Facebook pages with the news that fellow veteran Bay Area hip-hop artist African Identity, who rose to fame in the early nineties with his firebrand mic skills and hardcore political hybrid style, had died yesterday, September 15th, 2015. In addition to her update, including noting how she had just seen him in the past month, Pam posted the above photo of the late great artist for whom no cause of death has yet been announced. The Fillmore, San Francisco emcee named Hunafa, but known to most as African Identity and sometimes as just Identity, will be remembered for such releases as Ransom Note and You Won’t Come To My Funeral. By the time his debut album You Won’t Come To My Funeral was released in 1995 the microphone master was already a respected mainstay on the healthy 1990's Bay Area hip-hop scene - ever since arriving with a bang in 1992 with his acclaimed single, “Let’s Get It On (Pullin That Trigger).”

In the capacities of hip-hop journalist, radio DJ, and concert producer I worked directly with African Identity on numerous occasions throughout the decade of the nineties and always knew him to be both a good person and most talented (albeit largely underrated) artist, especially when it came to flexing his freestyle skills. In the first half of that decade I would have him as a regular guest on my KUSF hip-hop radio show on the USF campus, not far from where he lived. I remember how listeners really appreciated his improv rhyme skills and how they nominated him as the “number 1 Bay Area freestyler" on the now defunct San Francisco radio station. Meantime over at KMEL African Identity had been nominated as the first runner up in their heated Battle Of The Rappers. With a now eerie sounding reference to his own funeral, the San Francisco artist's debut album, You Won't Come to My Funeral, was a largely slept-on, talent-packed Bay Area hip-hop gem. It featured an impressive roster of his peers as guests that included Pam the Funkstress' group The Coup, Del tha Funke Homosapien (who also did some production), the GLP's JT Tha Bigga Figga, and D-Moe, Shock G of Digital Underground, Young Woo, Psycho Gangsta, Double D, Cisco The Frisco Mack, Blackbook, and Screwface. Produced mostly by Nick Peace but with some additional studio work by Del and J-Mack, the album defined both the Bay Area sound at the time as well as that of the artist himself. In the period right before its mid-nineties release he summed up the richly diverse 14 track album as “enlightening, tantalizing, sensational, provocative, political, Afro-centric, Euro-centric, it’s everything that we are....”.

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