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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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Longtime Oakland MC Naru Kwina (formerly Sir Quick Draw)

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2014 08:16pm | Post a Comment
His name may not be as familiar to the average Bay Area rap/hip-hop fan as such fellow Oakland rapping contemporaries of his as Too $hort but longtime East Bay hip-hop emcee talent Naru Kwina, who began his career back in the eighties along with a handful of other local rappers and is still making music to this day, is both a talented artist and an integral part of Bay Area hip-hop history's formative years.

Originally known as Sir Quick Draw, Naru Kwina began his hip-hop career when few others were recording and releasing music in the Bay Area compared to nowadays - and those that did make rap/hip-hop music had a tough time getting their music out there and heard. "I started rapping in 1979, the day I first heard Rappers Delight," he recalled recently. However it would several years later, in 1986, when I first met the artist. He had submitted a demo cassette tape for a Bay Area rap contest I produced on UC Berkeley radio station KALX in the Fall of that year. With a fresh upbeat inspired style and flow on the song he submitted ("Rapaholic") Sir Quick Draw's tape was so good that the judges of the contest (including Davey D Cook) all agreed that he was the best out of all the demo tape submissions. In fact in the months following the radio contest win, into the following year of 1987, the song "Rapaholic" that was recorded with his David K-OS got signed and released by Baywave/Macola Records as a 12" single. Then the year after that, in 1988, he would record another 12 inch single  - this time under the name MC Quick but again along with David K-Os entitled "I Like It Like That" (b side "I'm Just Rollin'").

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 06.07.14: Top 5, OMCA's VINYL, DJ Platurn, Too $hort, Dregs One @ Slim's, Scratch Cypher in The Town

Posted by Billyjam, June 8, 2014 04:20pm | Post a Comment

During last evening's Bay Area hip-hop themed Talk, Play, and Sip session I hosted at the Oakland Museum of California - as part of OMCA's ongoing Amoeba sponsored VINYL: The Sound and Culture of Records - several participants addressed in their shares the importance of hip-hop as a vehicle for a message of upliftment and/or awareness rather than simply mindless escapism and glorification of consumerism, sexism, and casual violence. Speakers including Bas-One, Adisa Banjoko (below), and Eric Arnold each addressed the topic as did DJ Platurn (pictured above) who observed that to his fellow speakers, who all came up in the era of politicized, positive thinking hip-hop via artists like Public Enemy and the Bay Area's Paris, were all conditioned to view hip-hop as a powerful medium of message and change. DJ Platurn's Talk N Play 45's record selections reflected that too, especially Too $hort's classic 1990 single "The Ghetto" (off Short Dog's In The House) which addresses the poverty and economic disparity of urban areas like Oakland. Also noted at last night's OMCA session was how Bay Area hip-hop has traditionally included many politicized artists. One such current example is Dregs One who, along with host Equipto and a grip of other SF artists and speakers (see flyer for full lineup), take over Slim's tonight in a benefit hip-hop show that will address pressing local community issues such as evictions, gentrification, and police brutality.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.28.14: New Releases, Swampkat (RIP), Too $hort Bowling, DMC 2014, Qbert in NYC, Ras Kass in San Jose

Posted by Billyjam, March 1, 2014 12:28pm | Post a Comment

Shout out to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for running down, in the above video, all the new and recent hip-hop releases to arrive at Amoeba lately in both CD and vinyl formats including Open Mike Eagle's Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes(on vinyl) and As Is on CD by longtime prolific Bay Area hip-hop soldier White Mic of Bored Stiff fame who, as E-Lit notes, also has a forthcoming release - a previous collaboration with Z-Man - now coming on vinyl. All of the releases showcased by E-Lit above can be found at Amoeba Music in the three retail stores (Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood) and in most, but not all, cases online at the store.

Hip-hop concerts, parties, and events from the Bay to LA and beyond in the week ahead include Too $hort doing a most worthwhile charity event that offers fans a chance to go both bowling and into the studio with the godfather of Bay Area rap while simultaneously helping out the East Oakland self-described multi-service community transformation hub Youth UpRising that Short has long been involved in.  The ongoing Too $hort Charity Buzz auction fund drive, that offers the final winner "one hour of recording time in the state of the art music studio at Youth UpRising, a 25,000 sq. ft. community transformation center in the heart of East Oakland. Following the recording session, join Too $hort for a game of bowling at Lucky Strike, a stylish bowling lounge in San Francisco," is currently up to $850 with the estimated value on this item listed as $2000. Bid here and help a worthy cause and yourself at the same time. Auction ends March 11th.  In the South Bay tonight, Saturday March 1st, LA rap vet Ras Kass along with Indjnous headlines a show with Motion Man (whose classic 1993 song/video "Mo Like Flows On" is below), Jeff Turner, Opski Chan, Audio Dru, plus DJ Abraham and others. Show at Back Bar 418 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113. 9pm 21+ $10 more info

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