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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Park Blvd. Records and Tapes

Posted by Billyjam, November 29, 2015 02:30pm | Post a Comment


Bucking the trend of record stores closing up shop, Oakland's Park Blvd. Records and Tapes opened up shop at the start of this past summer. In the five plus months since that opening business has been brisk for the specialized record store that is part of a new music retail business model that seeks out a small but dedicated customer base. They've found their niche and, in turn, fans of that musical niche have found them and their new retail space. While the small record store carries several genres of popular music and mostly older era (examples include 80's hardcore punk 45's) Park Blvd. Records and Tapes' main focus is hip-hop/rap records and tapes. Those records and tapes (plus some CDs, DVDs, and books) feature quite a concentration of older classic hip-hop material including a good size ratio of Bay Area rap/hip-hop from the 90's.  Stocked with some select new hip-hop releases their customers, who travel from all over, are more interested in those specialty items that normally they might only find online or at well stocked stores like Amoeba Music. A quick glance around the store's vinyl display bins and cassette and CD shelves provides ample proof. The selection includes ample amount of classic early era Bay rap and hip-hop releases by such artists as Too $hort, IMP, Hugh E. MC, E-40, Mac Mall, C-BO, Mac Dre, Dre Dog / Andre Nickatina, Celly Cel, Digital Underground, Spice 1, 2Pac, Chunk, 11/5, 415, Souls of Mischief, RBL Posse, and Bored Stiff.  Stocking releases in various formats of bygone eras along with brand new nationally popular hip-hop releases from artists like Drake or Mac Miller, it is the speciality items that attract customers to their store. The 2014 Park Blvd., Oakland CA shop, whose name outside simply reads "Records and Tapes," was vacant for three years before its latest incarnation. Before that it was a fortune teller's place of business.  That was back when the old Parkway Theatre was still down the block a bit, and before relocating crosstown to 24th Street off Telegraph.

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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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