The Poet Azeem's "Postera" Delivers A Message of Encouragement To Artists

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2015 09:15pm | Post a Comment

Throughout The Poet Azeem's performance of Postera today at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting on West 27th Street in Manhattan, one recurring message was to be true to yourself. And if you're an artist, be 100% true to your art - no matter what - and don't sell out. That message came from an artist who truly practices what he preaches. Azeem has always being about his art first and foremost - dating all the way back two plus decades ago when the NJ born artist began his career in the Bay Area.  Today's Postera performance - the final of a few to play in Manhattan this week - was presented as a "uniquely triumphant story of a modern misfit on an alternative path" in life with Chapter III of the film portion titled "The Misfit King" which is also the name of a song by Azeem with the German based Ancient Astronauts under the collective name Band Of Broken Puppets. Today's performance blended Azeem's semi-autobiographical tale with him both on stage and projected onto the stage's film screen via the "visual narrative" collaborative aid of NYC based filmmaker Zak Cedarholm. As well as tracing his own personal journey, coming of age in the 80's and kickstarting his music career in the 90's, Azeem offered his own firsthand political and social observations as well such as how the American crack academic coincided with the rise of the prison complex.

One the many inspiring moments of today's mixed-media show was when the New Jersey born, longtime hip-hop emcee / spoken word artist encouraged his fellow artists to go all out in their creativity. "If you see an envelope, push it!" stressed The Poet Azeem to all his fellow artists. And following the 45 minute performance piece today at the midtown theater the house lights came up and Azeem and his visuals collaborator Zak Cedarholm opened the floor up to questions and discussion. Cedarholm talked about how he initially met up with Azeem a year and half ago and how the two clicked creatively and hence set about making a special type of film together (see trailer below) that even includes some old Bay Area era footage of Azeem. He noted that their ultimate goal is of making full-length movie of Postera. He and Azeem then noted how they hope to tour with the mixed media piece and have accompanying workshops for others to build from it. Azeem said that he would hope that aspiring artists would see this work and that it might inspire them to follow their creative dreams and goals. Now that's what I call giving back and spreading the love and the art.

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Weekly Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Dilated Peoples, Los Rakas, Band of Broken Puppets, Cougnut Memorial, L'Orange + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 12, 2014 03:26pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 09:12:14

1) Jeezy Seen It All: The Autobiography (Def Jam)

2) Wiz Khalifa  Blacc Hollywood [Deluxe Edition] (Atlantic)

3) Dilated Peoples Directors of Photography (Rhymesayers)

4) Madlib Rock Konducta  (Madlib Invazion)

5) Childish Gambino Because The Internet (Glassnote)

Southern rap icon Young Jeezy who is now known as simply Jeezy went straight to the number slot on the latest Amoeba Hollywood hip-hop chart, as well as on the latest Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart,  with his brand new twelve track Def Jam release  Seen It All: The Autobiography.  Also released in a Deluxe CD version, that sports three bonus tracks, the album finds the rapper serving up more of his self-described "diarrhea flow." Jay-Z, who joins Jeezy on the lead single track "Seen It All," is among the several guests who collaborate on Seen It All. The others include Rick Ross, Akon, Game, Lil Boosie, and Future. The music video for the album track "Me Ok" appears down below, as does the music video for "KK" featuring Project Pat and Juicy J by weed fan Wiz Khalifa off his new joint  Blacc Hollywood [Deluxe] on Atlantic that is this week's number two chart entry. Along with Madlib's Rock Konducta  and Childish Gambino's Because The Internet, the other chart entry this week is the highly recommended new Dilated Peoples album Directors of Photography which is not just a five-star album (not one bad song on here) but is also nicely packaged with a whole set of polaroid like pictures with info on the back of each. Also below is the just produced video for the current L'orange album track "I Need You (feat. Blu)" Other videos below include the brand new ones from new group Band of Broken Puppets' (Azeem + Ancient Astronauts) fun rocking track "When Bruce Willis Had Hair," and Oakland's now major label duo Los Rakas ("We Dem Rakas (Hola)"). Speaking of Bay Area based artists and new music videos San Francisco rap crew BPos will be shooting their new video for "Party Mardigra" tomorrow, Saturday September 13th at 8pm, at the corner of Ashby and California (one block up from Sacramento) in Berkeley. It is also a potluck BBQ - or rather a "Pos Luck" BBQ so bring some eats to throw on the grill. Also happening in the Bay tomorrow is a tribute concert to late great Cougnut - the much beloved old school local rapper who tragically was killed in a car accident thirteen years ago on his way home from a fishing weekend. The memorial concert party will include performances from Equipto, Michael Marshall, Cellski, Black C, Baldhead Rick, Shag Nasty, and TC. 9pm at Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco. $10. 18+ More info.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #21: Deep Cuts Record Store/Barber Shop, The Return of NY Hip-Hop, V-Day in NYC, Concerts + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 13, 2013 04:02pm | Post a Comment

In this week's New York State of Mind Amoeblog is a preview from the forthcoming XXL magazine on the return of New York hip-hop, a review of a unique new record store/barber shop  Deep Cuts at the Silent Barn in Bushwick Brooklyn, plus a novel, budget conscious, way to celebrating Valentines Day in New York City, as well as a righteous rewarding way to participate in V-Day's  One Billion Rising in NYC,  plus concerts picks and happenings for the week ahead.

Concerts include gospel great Mavis Staples (pictured right) on Feb. 14th as part of the American Songbook series in the Allen Room, Jazz At Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall at Broadway at 62th Street. 8pm show. More info 212 721-6500 and at AmercianSongbook. Also on Feb 14th (Valentine's Day) soul singer Freddie Jackson plays BB King's on 42nd Street in the Times Square area. More info. On Friday, Feb 15th heavy metal masters Meshuggah headline a bill at Roseland Ballroom on W 52nd near 8th Avenue with both Animals As Leaders and Intronaut opening. Tickets and info. Big Head Todd & The Monsters play Irving Plaza on Saturday, Feb 16th. More info. Longtime homegrown hip-hop acts M.O.P. and Smif-N-Wessun, both from Brooklyn, team up to play a show at the Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street in the Chelsea district on Sunday Feb 17th. More info.
On Friday and Saturday (Feb 15 & 16) in celebration of Black History Month 2013 Reg E Gaines will present three performances of his multimedia one-man show The Last Celebrity  which is billed as a "non-linear look at Reg’s accidental brush with fame and his journey from obscure street poet to writer of the Tony Award winning musical, Bring in da Noise/Bring in da Funk." For each of his three performances (two on Saturday and one on Friday) he will have a different opening act. For the 7pm Friday show NJ to the Bay to NY artist Azeem will do a performance of his acclaimed one man show Rude. Technically it is not a New York event since it happens across the river over in Jersey City at Art House Productions at 1 McWilliams Place. But Jersey City is only a five minute PATH train ride from WTC station in Lower Manhattan. Tickets are $10 and you can buy them here.

"New York is back" - that's the word according to New York City based Harris Publications hip-hop magazine XXL who, in celebration of this proclamation, feature on the cover of their brand new (March/April) issue both Harlem’s A$AP Rocky and The Bronx’s French Montana in both solo covers and the joint cover (left). These two newcomer NYC rap stars, "are sure to be two of 2013’s most celebrated MCs" write XXL's editors. A$AP Rocky’s debut album (as distinct from his mixtapes), LONG.LIVE.A$AP, debuted at No. 1 on the Amoeba chart and on Billboard 200 upon its release last month. Meanwhile fellow NY rapper French Montana's debut disc, Excuse My French, will drop on April 16th and is expected to do extremely well. In the new XXL issue, which hits stands nationwide on February 19th, both artists give intimate in-depth interviews with Rocky talking about such things as his former drug dealing days and the recent death of his father, and Montana discussing such things as his relationship with 50 Cent and his feelings on that almost deadly day he was shot in the head.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #1

Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2012 11:44am | Post a Comment

Times Square Subway Station entrance Sept 2012 (move cursor over pic for NYC info)

Welcome to a New York State of Mind, the new weekly Amoeblog series in which I will report on music and other things from a New York City perspective via text, photos, and videos. Each week in the New York State of Mind Amoeblog, which will be a kind of NYC music/entertainment-report-meets-budget travel-guide, you'll find info on new music coming out of New York, events unique to the city, artists doing shows here (with a focus on touring Cali artists), plus a sample of the fun events that are always happening in "the city that never sleeps." Actually, this is something I have done intermittently over the past five years for the Amoeblog anyway by blogging about such things as Saul Williams "Chorus" show at Joe's Pub in NYC a few weeks ago, the True School  NYC Summer Park Jam free annual series, the music at Occupy Wall Street a year ago (just before it was shut down), the DMC DJ battles in NYC - both national finals and NY regionals, the John Lennon and New York City Amoeblog report from Strawberry Fields Central Park on the 2009 29th anniversary of his tragic death, and the 2010 NYC Summerstage guide.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 07.08.12: Amoeba Top 5, El-P, Killer Mike, Aesop Rock, Azealia Banks, Toure, Erk Tha Jerk, Azeem & Kabanjak

Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2012 03:17pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:08:12

1) El-P Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum)

2) Killer Mike R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)

3) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)

4) Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope)

5) Oddisee People Hear What They See (Mello Music/Fat Beats)

Once again at Amoeba the number one entry this week on the San Francisco hip-hop top five chart is El-P's truly amazing new album Cancer4Cure which I have worn out from listening to over and over. The only other recently released new hip-hop album that I have played quite as much (a bit more actually) is the number two Amoeba chart entry this week - also coincidentally produced by El-P; Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music on Williams Street. On my WFMU hip-hop radio show this week I both opened and closed with selections off this all-killer album:  the title track and "Reagan" which, with a slow smoldering lead in with some Ronald Reagan samples (in which he admits his lies) is followed by one of the best critical evaluations of the former Republican prez who has been repeatedly in the news of late with so many Republicans citing hm as an example of a fine leader. Killer Mike does not share this view as confirmed with the songs closing lyrics: "I leave with these four words - I'm glad Reagan dead." Another new hip-hop track that samples Ronald Reagan is the track "Zero Dark Thirty" off the new Aesop Rock album Skelethon.  The long awaited new album from the artist, who used to be on El-P's now defunct Def Jux label, will be released by Rhymesayers Entertainment on Tuesday (July 10th) when you can expect it to be a hot seller at Amoeba. The video for this Aesop Rock track (the lead single) follows below along with such others as El-P's new album track "The Full Retard,"

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