Gifted & Prolific San Francisco Hip-Hop Artist Z-Man Both Raps And Paints, Creating All His Own Original Album Art Work

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2015 09:09am | Post a Comment

"There was a time when I asked myself should I draw all the album covers?" said Z-Man, quickly answering his own question. "Fuck it man! I'll do all the album covers - and others too! Yeah, it's a lot of work but it is so gratifying,"  grinned the longtime San Francisco hip-hop artist recently in an Amoeblog interview, while referring back to a previous period in his long, colorful, illustrious and richly varied and prolific career as both a painter and a hip-hop artist.

Some multi-talented rappers such as Lord Finesse or J-Live also DJ and produce their own albums but uniquely talented, but Z-Man has the distinction of painting all of his own album cover art too. And he has been doing so since day one when he hand drew the cassette cover art for his old Daly City based hip-hop crew 99th Demention's album release in 1996.

And ever since that premiere release, that will celebrate its 20 year anniversary next year, Z-Man he has been consistently doing both the music and cover art for his albums (and others) with the most recent examples being for 2014's The Opening Act (with Elon on Gurp City) and his brand new Solidarity Records release "Flea Circus" with producer Tahaj Edwards. In the photo on top  up above Z-Man is seen holding up the album cover's original art that he painted, like most of his work, at his cramped but creative Western Addition district San Francisco home studio in the home where he grew up. I recently stopped by Z-Man's home, in the building where he grew up as a child and has seen the area around him become gentrified.

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Record Release for New Z-Man Album "Flea Circus" - A Collaboration with Tahaj The First

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2015 06:58pm | Post a Comment

As most hip-hop heads in the Bay (and beyond) already know, San Francisco emcee Z-Man is one of the most talented and unique wordsmiths out there; albeit an underrated artist who ranks up there talent-wise with E-40 when it comes to channeling a brilliant mind into clever wordplay of the English language along with a generous dash of his own slanguage.  Z-Man possesses a gift for unleashing a non-stop flow of clever wordplay that is typically fun, party themed on the surface, but deep on the outset - the kind that demands repeated listens.  The artist is simultaneously a very gifted painter/artist who does most of his own album artwork dating back almost two full decades when he laced up the cover art for his nineties crew 99th Demention's debut tape and such other releases as the cover for 2003's Dope Or Dog Food. which was released via the Hieroglyphics label.    

"Z-Man is definitely one of the Bay Area's most underrated artists," concurred E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley where whenever Z-Mainey (as he is also known) drops a new release it is in big demand for those who are hip to Z-Man's mic skills, many via his membership of the Gurp City crew or the many other Bay Area hip-hop entities he is down with including One League and Solidarity Records. In fact it is via the Bored Stiff (Equipto, White Mic, etc.) associated label that Z-Man is releasing his brand album with a record release party tonight at the (soon to close) Elbo Room in San Francisco. Entitled Flea Circus the album is a joint collaboration with gifted Bay Area producer Tahaj The First who produced the new GoodWord (of BPos) track that was featured here on the Amoeblog last week and who has showcased his diverse production skills working with such other artists as Otayo Dub and young mic spitter Gigio. For tonight's record release  (so new it has yet to arrive in Amoeba) Tahaj and Z-Man will celebrate with a live set performing tracks from the new album on a bill hosted by the aforementioned Equipto with live performances by Aukwin, Xiomara & the Headband, The People's Tree, and  Murk Sauce (that's Gurp City's Brycon and Eddie K), with Troubleman on the turntables. More info on the Elbo Room show here. And below is Z-Man's video for the track "Cupcakin" from with five years ago and featuring Eddie Def on the cuts.

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Hiero Day 2014 Artists Preview

Posted by Billyjam, August 31, 2014 11:20pm | Post a Comment

Hiero Day 2014 -- happening Monday, September 1st in Oakland in the blocks surrounding 95 Linden Street (Linden Street Brewery) -- may only be in its third year, but this ambitious, annual, refreshingly non-mainstream, all-ages East Bay hip-hop festival has quickly become the best Bay Area hip-hop festival of the year. Hiero Day features the extended Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective along with a slew of equally talented hip-hop friends (mostly Bay and Cali hip-hop acts) performing on three different stages throughout the day.   I attended last year's Hiero Day and was so impressed with how fun and how peaceful this musically rich event was!

Hiero Day is free and all-ages with a truly indie feeling, and no nasty corporate overtones. In fact it is more like an expanded modern day continuation of the Living Legends' Unsigned & Hella Broke jams back in the day. Fittingly, Mystik Journeymen are among those on the bill at Hiero Day 2014 - a day that will attract hip-hop appreciative fans in the thousands to enjoy great music, a variety of tasty food trucks, tables selling cool hip-hop clothing, a skate contest, and (for vinyl fiends and crate diggers) the beat swap meet.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 12.16.11: The Roots, D.Willz, Roach Gigz, Rick Flare + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2011 07:07am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 12:16:11

1) The Roots Undun (MCA)

2) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)

3) Pusha T Fear of God II: Let Us Pray (Fontana)

4) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)

5) J Cole Cole World (Columbia)

Special thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Amoeba Music Hollywood store for this week's Amoeba Hip Hop Chart which includes staples of the past few weeks Drake's Take Care on Cash Money/Universal, J Cole's Cole World on Columbia Records, Pusha T's Fear of God II: Let Us Pray Fontana, and Eligh & Amp Live's Therapy At 3 via Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic. Meantime the number one hip-hop seller is the brand new album from The Roots Undun which was released last week (December 6th). Undun is the Roots' eleventh studio album but it is their first concept album. As outlined in the Undun preview video above that concept follows the life and times of the fictional young Redford Stephens - "a kid who becomes criminal, but wasn't born criminal" and who is "neither victim nor hero."  As the online Amoeba reviewer accurately wrote of Undun: "Don’t let their spot as Jimmy Fallon’s house band fool you — The Roots haven’t softened one bit. Their latest release is a concept album about a youth drawn into street life until it results in his death, told in reverse. Despite all the inherent bleakness that would imply, lyrically, musically Undun is not so dour, buoyed by vibrant soul and touched by flourishes both electronic and orchestral that suggest how far the Roots have come as a band and as conductors of a sound they alone seem to inhabit.

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E40's Revenue Retrievin', Ice Cube's Raiders Movie, DonWill's Don Cusack in High Fidelity, Irish Hip-Hop Fests, Free Downloads and More: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up: 04:02:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2010 07:25am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:02:10

1) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

2) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

3) Madlib Medicine Show 3-Beat Konducta in Africa (Stones Throw)

4) Meth, Ghost & Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)

5) DonWill Don Cusack in High Fidelity (Interdependent Media)

In both the number 1 and 2 chart positions this week on the San Francisco Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Chart is longtime Bay Area rap artist E-40 with the his simultaneously released pair of CDs titled Revenue Retrievin' Day Shift  and Revenue Retrievin' Night Shift. Released this past Tuesday, both the Day Shift and Night Shift parts shot to the top of the chart partly in response to the well received lead off single/video "The Weed Man (feat. Stressmatic)" (see video below). Other guests who join the pioneering, "slanguage" making Vallejo wordsmith on the new two part CD series include such known names as Snoop Dogg, Too Short,  Mistah F.A.B., Ya Boy, Laroo, Dru Down, The DBz, Turf Talk, The Jacka, E40 MVPGucci Mane, B-Legit, Mike Marshall, Suga T, J. Valentine, Droop-E, Mac Shawn and Clyde Carson & Husalah of Mob Figaz, who appear together on the song ""Lightweight Jammin'" which is on the Day Shift volume of the two CDs. As usual, Forty Water keeps it true to the Bay with all of those local artists joining him throughout the two CDs, which total up 38 new tracks --19 on each CD.

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