Amoeblog

Interview with Longtime SF Hip-Hop Artist/Activist Equipto about Frisco Day (4/15)

Posted by Billyjam, April 14, 2016 10:30pm | Post a Comment
 
Not to be confused with other important dates in the hectic week ahead such as Tax Day (Note: 4/18 this year) or 4/16 (Record Store Day) or 4/20 (Dank Day), 4/15 is the newly assigned annual date to celebrate Frisco Day. That's 4/15 as in April 15th symbolizing the numerals of the 4-1-5 area code of San Francisco (aka Frisco). But 4/15 Frisco Day is more than simply being a day for residents to celebrate pride in their City by the Bay. It's more about solidarity among poor blue collar / working class San Franciscans who've been marginalized and endangered by the influx in recent years of high paid tech workers to their city. That's according to veteran San Francisco hip-hop artist and activist Equipto who is one of the organizers of Friday's 4/15 Frisco Day event. This week the Amoeblog caught up with the passionate and always politically outspoken emcee to ask him about 4/15 Frisco Day, and about life in general and hip-hop in particular in San Francisco in these gentrified times.


Amoeblog: So this is the first official 4/15  Frisco Day but it has been around for a minute already, right?

Equipto: Frisco Day, April 15th is a special day for certain Frisco die hards that I know. My friend Barry, who has the clothing company SFOG, has thrown dope intimate shows on 4/15 for some years now with performers like San Quinn, RBL, myself and more. But this year, this Friday 4/15, will be the first official Frisco Day for the public

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HipHopForChange Celebrates 3 Successful Years Of Utilizing Hip-Hop As Tool of Empowerment

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2016 04:42pm | Post a Comment


Bucking hip-hop's dominant negative image as fictionalized one-dimensional music merely celebrating materialism and misogyny, HipHopForChange refreshingly reminds us that hip-hop is a deep meaningful culture with a history rooted in positivity and empowerment. "The mainstream music industry sells sexism, drug abuse, homophobia, materialism, and gang violence as if these problems represent the cornerstones of hip hop culture" is how HipHopForChange articulates it on their website. Through their website and workshops for youth and recording studio and visible representation at various community events, HipHopForChange has been consistently educating and entertaining (edutaining) for three dedicated years in the Bay Area. Tonight at The Uptown in celebration, HipHopForChange will present a Bay Area hip-hop showcase with sets from Opio, BPos, Kev Choice, 2nd Floor Samurais, and DJ Ren the Vinyl Archeaologist. $10 8pm. Info

Odds are if you've gone out to hip-hop shows in the Bay Area over the past three years you'll have noticed the name HipHopForChange associated with many of them, especially conscious hip-hop.  The non-profit Oakland based organization believes in presenting a platform for hip-hop artists with empowering social justice messages.

More significantly HipHopForChange also goes out to schools around the Bay Area  to present and produce workshops and classes for youth. These interactive workshops introduce these kids to hip-hop culture and its deep history. They also demonstrate how hip-hop interacts with issues of social justice. These much needed workshops have traveled to high schools all over including in Bayview/Hunters Point, El Cerrito, and West Oakland.

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Mic Checking, Not Reserve Army Training at ROTC - San Francisco's Return of The Cypher

Posted by Billyjam, January 16, 2016 06:45pm | Post a Comment

Don't let the name ROTC fool you. San Francisco's weekly session at the Boom Boom Room, fondly referred to as ROTC by regulars, is no Reserve Officer Training Corps. Rather it's the popular Bay Area hip-hop improv session Return Of The Cypher that takes place every Sunday night at the Fillmore District club that is traditionally a blues spot. ROTC is one of the Bay Area's best long-running hip-hop weeklies. It's also one of its most unpredictable. And that's a good thing!  With the cypher's ever rotating lineup of emcees and beatboxers, no two weeks are ever the same. And it is the total spontaneity of hip-hop events like this that make them so fun and true to hip-hop's roots, and ROTC's roots run deep. Long-time Bay Area club and radio DJ Kevvy Kev is the musical curator and turntable manipulator each week. Meanwhile, live beats are  provided by the Gemstone Band. Guest musicians have been known to stop by and jump into the freestyle mix, while b-boys and b-girls might spontaneously break out some moves on the dance floor. Some weeks feature special guests including next Sunday, January 24th, when local multi-talented artist Taharka Chango will present his conscious hip-hop piece entitled "The Sermon."

As far an ongoing Bay Area event that stays true to hip-hop's elements, ROTC regular mic-wrecker GiGiO says it's the best.  "Every Sunday night they keep the spirit of live hip-hop music high. I would say it's the dopest hip-hop event in the Bay right now. Lot of dope cats on the come up," said the emcee who is a member of the Oakland-based crew Smooth Beast along with fellow emcees Mike Fish, Karen Less, and Monolyth who will release their debut album in 2016. GiGiO noted how Smooth Beast first connected via the ROTC sessions -- a place he contends is central to a new Bay Area hip-hop wave. "The Bay is going through some kind of [hip-hop] renaissance right now. Feels good to be apart of it!" 
 

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Lyrics Born Discusses His Recently Released New Orleans Flavored Album "Real People"

Posted by Billyjam, May 23, 2015 11:52am | Post a Comment

 
"No, I never thought that one day I'd be working with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. It's funny because I went to the Preservation Hall in the '90s to watch them play and I appreciated the music, but my world was centered around hip-hop for a long long time," answered Lyrics Born when quizzed if he ever envisioned himself one day working with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, as the longtime Bay Area emcee/Quannum co-founder/Latyrx member does on his latest solo album. Entitled Real People and released through his own Mobile Home Recordings label, it is the eighth album (including solo and group) from the artist born Tsutomu "Tom" Shimura, and is available from Amoeba in both CD and digital download formats with a forthcoming vinyl version on the way.

Mostly upbeat with just a few down-tempo tracks, the 13 track, 44 minute album is a recommended uplifting funky fresh collection of New Orleans flavored hip-hop unlike any you've heard before that features, in addition to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, such other NOLA heavyweights as Ivan Neville and Trombone Shorty, plus full production by the Big Easy's Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman from Galactic. In addition to the full Galactic band (who join Lyrics Born on the killer cut "Rock-Rock-Away"), other album contributors include Corey Henry, Corey Glover of Living Colour, David Shaw of The Revivalists, and Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame.

Amoeblog Interview With True Skool's Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2014 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist has long been part and parcel of the fabric that makes up the Bay Area's vibrant hip-hop scene - even though he's not originally from California. An East Coast transplant, with a stop en route to Cali in Colorado, Ren is not only a skilled DJ with two decades of turntable experience coupled with a deep diverse knowledge of music, but he is also a revered club/concert promoter whose True Skool parties are legendary. Additionally, via his online magazine / newsletter True Skool website and its affiliated social network links - notably Twitter and Facebook, he provides a unique and invaluable source of information on Bay Area hip-hop and nightlife happenings as well as general hip-hop news and cultural/political updates - all of which demonstrate how well connected and passionate the man born Renoir Salgado is about hip-hop culture and the Bay Area at large. In addition to his own productions Ren is also in big demand at other folks' events too such opening for Wu-Tang Clan at Ruby Skye in San Francisco (photo above) in 2007, or over the summer at the Amoeba Music sponsored Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at where he was among the carefully chosen curators and also a guest lecturer. Then last month at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (YBCA) cool retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition he was an integral part of the two-day event when, among other things, he curated/DJ'ed the official CD mix of event - an excellent mix of hip-hop music from the year of '93. This week I caught up with the always busy Ren to ask him about True Skool - its history, ongoing projects, and future plans. 


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