V.E.R.A. Clique's Fresh Out The Box CD is available at Amoeba Music and other stores but you can also buy it on BART if you're lucky to run into one of its members selling the CD on a random BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train.
The Oakland based group, whose album track "The Movement" is featured on the recent BOMB Hip-Hop Compilation Vol. 2 (also avail at Amoeba), are a talented hard-working hip-hop crew whose pre- Oakland roots date back to 2002 to Bend, Oregon where the group's Anderson Ray and Mascen Apollo first crossed paths at a hip-hop event. Fast forward a few years and both hip-hoppers had moved south to the Bay Area where they formed the group V.E.R.A. Clique, with the name standing for Very Essence of Real Artists.
I first learned about V.E.R.A. Clique only recently and in a most unusual way -- while sitting on the Bay Point / Pittsburg to San Francisco BART, somewhere near the MacArthur stop, Mascen Apollo of the group walked by dirt hustlin his crew's CD to BART passengers, all the while keeping a watchful eye out for the BART police, who not only frown upon any business being conducted on BART, but will arrest perpetrators for doing so. Over the years I have seen Bay Area hip hop artists sell their CDs or cassettes at various public places. In bygone years, members of Hobo Junction or Mystik Journeymen and their extended Living Legends crew would often be found on Durant or Telegraph (outside Amoba) selling their cassettes. But selling on the BART train was a novel approach to hip-hop marketing or distribution that I had not witnessed before. Hence I was anxious to find out more about it so I recently caught up with the V.E.R.A. Clique member Mascen Apollo to ask him about slinging hip-hop on BART.
Los Pikadientes De Caborca-"La Cumbia Del Rio"
Probably the most fun Cumbia I've heard coming out of Mexico since Celso Piña's monster hit "Cumbia Sobre El Rio," Los Pikadientes created their own style of drunken pueblo Cumbia that is fun as anything you would hear at a Mardi Gras. The video for the song is excelient as well.
Jose James-"Park Bench People"
This song is a validation to all the L.A. underground Hip-Hop heads that felt Freestyle Fellowship were light years ahead of their time. Jose James adds more jazz but doesn't stop the flow. Such a visual and beautifully lonely song.
Hijos De La Cumbia-"La Mara Tomasa"
Maybe it was the Caifanes sample or that it borrowed heavily from Andres Landero's "Mi Machete." Either way, I couldn't stop playing this song in the clubs or at my house.
Erykah Badu-"Cleva" (Captain Planet Remix)
This was the B-Side to Greenwood Rhythm Coalition's remix of Erikah Badu's "Honey." It's a Samba version of her hit from her Mama's Gun album. Fits right in with the classic Brazilian music and never failed to make heads turn at the clubs.
Patato Y Totico-"Dilo Como Yo" (Antibalas Remix)
Antibalas took this Patato Y Totico classic and took it into outer space via Africa. Best track off the Verve Remix Vol.4.
Nortec Collective Present Bostich & Fussible-"The Clap"
Part Kraftwerk and part Los Tigres Del Norte, and they make it work!
1. V/A-Roots Of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru
2. V/A-Nigeria Special
3. V/A-Nigeria Rock Special
4. V/A-Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump
5. Manu Chao-Clandestino
6. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos-Cantan En Espanol
7. Manu Chao-La Radiolina
8. V/A-Nigeria Disco Funk
9. Jorge Ben-Jorge Ben (1969)
10. Orchestra Baobab- Made In Dakar
11. V/A –African Scream Contest
12. Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible-Tijuana Sound Machine
13. Serge Gainsbourgh-Les Annes Psychédéliques
14. Julieta Venegas-MTV Unplugged
15. V/A-Brazil 70-After Tropicalia
16. Lila Downs-Shake Away
17. Ethiopiques-Very Best Of Ethiopiques
18. Hector Lavoe-A Man And His Music
19. Suen Kuti & Egypt 80-S/T
20. V/A-Victrola Favorites
21. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-S/T
22. V/A- Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted - Baghdad 1925-1929
23. Toumani Diabate-Mande Variation
24. V/A- Love's A Real Thing - The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa
25. Heroes Del Silencio-Tour 2007