Amoeblog

Remembering Oakland Rapper Seagram, Exactly 18 Years After His Unsolved Murder (Includes Rare 1991 Interview Excerpt)

Posted by Billyjam, July 31, 2014 07:07pm | Post a Comment

Seagram "The Ville" (from The Dark Roads)

Today marks the eighteenth anniversary of the death of talented Oakland rapper Seagram who on July 31st, 1996 was shot and killed on the streets of East Oakland. Seagram Miller was only 26 years old with two albums to his name (his third would be released posthumously) and had not yet reached his artistic potential nor had he gotten the full level of appreciation that he deserved. A smart, intelligent, articulate wordsmith whose way ahead of its time debut album (The Dark Roads on Rap-A-Lot) addressed the realities and consequences of the gangsta life that he was unapologetically a part of right up to his tragic death - a violent shooting murder that was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle at that time as such: "Oakland police Sgt. Gordon Melera said the two men had just exited a van in the 1900 block of 24th Avenue, an area in East Oakland known for violence and drug trafficking, when they were fired upon Wednesday night." That same article also noted how three years previously Seagram had escaped an assassin's bullet writing that, "Police said Miller's song about a rival gang in 1993 angered an Oakland drug kingpin, which led to an attempt on Miller's life. Miller escaped injury in that shooting, but a San Leandro police officer was wounded" but that OPD would not speculate whether his fatal shooting, in which Seagram's rap associate Gangsta P was seriously shot but not killed, was related to the earlier 1993 attack. Even 18 years after that fatal night in East Oakland the murder is still unsolved. Also of note from a Bay Area hip-hop historical perspective is that in that same year of 1996 two other Bay rap greats were also shot and killed: Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas two months later, and Mr Cee of R.B.L. Posse who was killed in San Francisco on New Year's Day of that year.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Flashback To 1994 SF Concert, A Reminder Of Those We've Lost

Posted by Billyjam, January 21, 2014 08:18am | Post a Comment

The other day I stumbled across the above flyer from now (gasp!) 20 years ago. It was for a rap/hip-hop concert with mostly Oakland/Bay Area acts at the long gone Townsend Club in San Francisco that took place on a Friday night, August 12th, 1994. It was for The Conscious Daughters (TCD), who that year released "We Roll Deep" on Bay Area hip-hopper Paris' label Scarface Records distributed by Priority Records, along with fellow Oakland rap talents Seagram, EA Ski & CMT, and Rally Ral, plus visiting Texas rap star Big Mike of the Geto Boys affiliation (misspelled "Ghetto Boys") on this basic design flyer. Beyond the initial reaction, as a longtime hip-hop fan/follower, to fondly reminisce on a golden time period in Bay Area rap the other thing that jumps out at me from this flyer is the sad realization that we have lost two of the famed Bay Area rap artists on this flyer way too early in their lives: promising East Oakland rapper signed to the Geto Boys' Rap-A-Lot Records label Seagram died at age 26 (he was shot) just as his career was starting to take off, while fierce female emcee Special One who was one half of The Conscious Daughters tragically died a little over two years ago (only in her 40's) as a result of complications associated with blood clots that had reached her lungs. In honor of both of these two fallen East Bay talents below are music videos from each: TCD's "We Roll Deep" and Seagram's Oakland themed 1993 gangsta rap single "The Ville" from the late rapper's album The Dark Roads (inset).

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: 30 Years Later DJ Chill & DJ Chino of Bay Area's Midnite Cru Deejays Look Back

Posted by Billyjam, December 31, 2013 11:45am | Post a Comment
        

Back in 1983, a time when Bay Area hip-hop was just beginning to take root, there were a handful of dedicated early era DJs around the Bay starting to fully embrace the still relatively new genre including both DJ Chill and DJ Chino (above) who formed the Midnite Cru Deejays that year. With hip-hop being such a globally popular and ubiquitous musical genre in 2013 it is hard to imagine a time when it was otherwise but back thirty years ago things where very different. Back in '83 hip-hop records (of which few were albums, mostly only 12" singles) were comparatively limited in supply and hence DJs like the Midnite Cru Deejays would typically mix in other types of music (freestyle, pop-dance, Minneapolis 80's funk, and new wave) into their mixes.

In addition to the above video interview with Midnite Cru Deejays' DJ Chill (who you can also follow on Twitter) and DJ Chino (conducted at Gellert Park in Daly City during Cue's Records Reunion BBQ in October of last year), in which they name check such legendary SF/Bay hip-hop spots as the Palladium, Creative Music, and Bobby G's Soul Disco Records' store and DJ pool, this week I again caught up with the two Bay Area DJ pioneers to ask them each a few questions on their hip-hop DJ legacies: Chino from Daly City and Chill from San Francisco. These questions and their replies appear below.  DJ Chino, who is DJing in the new year tonight at The Connection in the Outer Mission district of SF at 5740 Mission St (flyer below), shared of his long DJ history that, "I never thought I would make it this far as a DJ but time just flew by, and here I am thirty plus years later and still doing what I love to do, DJing. It's my natural high (mixing). I get these goose bumps that just make me want to do it again and again."  Meanwhile Chino's longtime turntable partner DJ Chill offered this wonderful insight on why not to bother a DJ at work - something that any club/party DJ can relate to - via this series  of rhetorical questions: "Do you bother a fireman in the middle of a fire? Do you bother a doctor in the middle of surgery? Would you bother a cop in the middle of an arrest? Then why the fuck would you bother a DJ in the middle of the mix?!"

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BAY AREA HIP-HOP ARCHIVES: SHOWS & FLIERS 1984-1996

Posted by Billyjam, September 25, 2007 07:10am | Post a Comment
             

Since I (finally) got a new scanner, I am now able to go back into my Bay Area Hip-Hop Archives and start scanning and posting all of these wonderful slices of music history from the last 20+ years in Yay Area rap. Ranging from 1984 to 1996, these are some show fliers plus a ticket stub (above) which is from the first time I went to check out the Egyptian Lover and Uncle Jamm's Army * -- the LA turntable army (who were really hot at the time - especially the Egyptian Lover, whose single "Egypt Egypt"/"What is A DJ If He Can't Scratch" ruled at the time) -- when they came north to the Bay Area to do a show at the cavernous Richmond Auditorium. Rap shows, especially large scale ones, were still a relatively new phenomenon in the Bay Area in '84. It would still be a couple of years before the Fresh Fest (Whodini, Kuritis Blow, Fat Boys, etc) happened and rolled through Oakland (and that was a totally exciting new experience, to check out a large scale hip-hop festival with all of these major acts in the one place!). But in the few years before '84 I only remember going to the very, very occasional rap show, such as Grand Master Flash & Furious Five at the Berkeley Square, which was in '82 I believe, But I do clearly remember some very vocally disgruntled club goers at the long defunct University Ave venue complaining that they had forked over their money but there was no band -- just a DJ and bunch of rappers on mics (twas early days for sure).

Anyway Uncle Jamm's Army would return to the East Bay within a month that summer of '84 when they performed with Run DMC at the Oakland Convention Center (see flyer below and note its very basic layout -- this was in the pre-photoshop days). Also note the low ticket price of only $6.50 for each show.  The other Bay Area rap concert fliers below include one or two that actually never happened-- like the 1994 Music People / In-A-Minute showcase, scheduled during the annual music convention that always attracted a lot of hip-hop acts from all over the country, the Gavin Seminar in San Francisco. That show fell through at the last minute due to the club not being able to get insurance (a common problem with rap shows then and now).  And with some of these shows, the venue is long gone, such as the Omni ("the Bay Area's largest showcase nightclub" on Shattuck at 48th near Telegraph) in North Oakland where Young MC headlined in September 1989 with Bay Area artists Paris, APG Crew, Captial Tax, and Step G with MC Sirgeo all opening for him. Another time within about a year of that show, Too $hort headlined at the Omni -- doing his typical no-frills, straight up rap concert. (This was a time when another Oakland rapper, MC Hammer's stage shows were huge choreographed events -- Too $hort was the proud antitheses of that.)

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