Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #95: Hip-Hop Celebrated, DJ Dwells Interview, West Indian American Day Carnival

Posted by Billyjam, August 27, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment

        

 

What a great week it has been for hip-hop in New York City! On top of the big 2014 DMC US Finals at Webster Hall in the East Village on Saturday (reviewed on Amoeblog here) and the following day's nearby Battle Ave DJ battle at Turntable Lab, there were clubs and concerts galore, an amazing True School Park Jam yesterday, the Harlem Hip-Hop Festival - part of Harlem Week - over the weekend, and first annual International Hip Hop Parade on Saturday. The parade took place in none other than the "Boogie Down" Bronx, the borough where hip-hop was born 41 years ago, with many legendary figures in attendance including the three grand marshals of the parade Melle Mel, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Kool DJ Red Alert (who afterwards called the parade "a great event to recognize this unstoppable culture that was born in the Bronx."). The organizers of the parade, which took place along Bathgate Avenue to a positive response from onlookers, say that they plan to travel to a new location each year for the event, noting that their mission statement is one of, "showing the positive side of Hip Hop music through technology, education, and expression."  More info.  

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2014 DMC US Finals Winners: Proof That Prep For Prestigious Battle Starts At Young Age

Posted by Billyjam, August 26, 2014 01:00pm | Post a Comment

2014 DMC US Champions Top 5 (Showcase style: six minutes each DJ)
 

1st: DJ I-Dee (Fairfax VA)

2nd: DJ Dwells (NYC)

3rd: DJ Ease (Rochester NY)
(aka
 International Ease)

4th: DJ Esquire (Brooklyn NY)

5th: Ichy the Killer (San Jose CA)

DJs I-Dee and Dwells - the winner and runner-up respectively in this year's heated 2014 DMC US Finals DJ battle presented by Rane, that took place Saturday night at Webster Hall in New York City - are both examples that battle DJing is something that many get into at an increasingly younger age. They're also proof that the DMC is indeed as it claims to be the "most prestigious" and important competition for DJs out of the many other battles over the years - since it's the DMC that these two (like most DJs) strive towards winning, and that each have meticulously studied videos of past DMC competitions for inspiration in bettering their skills in preparing for battle. "When I first started DJing seventeen years ago, when I was ten, I picked up a whole bunch of DMC tapes," said the new US DMC battle champ DJ I-Dee in his acceptance speech for the title that will take him to the UK in October for the 2014 DMC World Championships. "My goal was accomplished ten years ago when I made the [DMC] US Finals. And everything after that has been a complete bonus," added the Fairfax VA DJ [seen in above pic c/o Arvee Eco Photography who supplied most of the photos for this review - others c/o Christie Z-Pabon of DMC/Tools of War].

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: History of DJ (The DMC Story Part 2)

Posted by Billyjam, August 12, 2014 10:34am | Post a Comment
           
The History of DJ Part 2: The DMC Story (2014)

Just finished in production and finally published yesterday is the above anticipated second part/sequel to the excellent premiere in the The History of DJ and the continued story of the UK founded DMC as told by DMC founder Tony Prince - the former Radio Luxembourg DJ/founder of the British company that would become synonymous hip-hop DJ/turntablist battles - even if DMC initially (and still does) stand for Disco Mix Club. It was so named since initially it was all about the mixing end of the DJ but soon morphed into the scratch area of the DJ as is outlined in this second part of the documentary above when some participants in the contest took offense to the (then) new direction in the latter 80's that the battle was taken - upon its cue from the scratch-themed Superman battles at the annual New York City convention the New Music Seminar.  Tony Prince formed the "Disco Mix Club" in 1986 as an offshoot of his Disco Mix Club Show radio program that he began in 1981. The above second part is a great history lesson that covers a lot of ground in the history of both the DMC and of the DJ. It returns to some memorable moments such as Philly DJ Cash Money traveling to the UK in 1988 to reign supreme in the competition, 1989 DMC World champ Cutmaster Swift doing a live routine on the high profile Terry Wogan television program, and Germany's DJ David winning the world title in 1991 when, in the final dramatic 15 seconds of his six-minute routine, he wowed the judges with the ultimate body trick of palm-spinning his entire body around on top of one of his turntables. However many (justly) argued at the time that the judgement was unfair and based on his purely eye-catching, visual body trick rather than on his turntablist skills and that runner up DJ Qbert should have in fact won. But such are the debates surrounding any competition that carries as much weight as the DMC does. Upcoming in this year's DMC battles are the 2014 DMC US Finals taking place in NYC at Webster Hall on August 23rd (look for a full review of that battle here on the Amoeblog shortly after that date), followed by the 2014 DMC World Championships in London at the Forum on October 5th. Below is the video of the winning routine by last year's champion - DJ Fly from France.

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Brooklyn DJ Esquire Took US Title In Heated, High Caliber 2013 US DMC Finals DJ Battle

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2013 11:06pm | Post a Comment

DJ Esquire took the 2013 US DMC Finals title over the weekend in New York at a packed Stage 48  nightclub with DJs Spare Change and Ease taking second and third places respectively in an entertaining evening that featured inspired six minute sets by each of the 13 US contestants, event host Kool DJ Red Alert providing funny banter, great sets by the special guest performer DJs Rockin Rob, Johnny Juice, and DJ Izoh, plus a surprise moment of true turntablist romance when New Mexico contestant OHM proposed to his girlfriend.

New York City DJ Esquire became a hometown hero Saturday night at the Hells Kitchen district club when garnered the most votes to take the new title at the 2013 US DMC Finals following a heated, high caliber DJ battle featuring 13 turntable talents from all across the country,. This achievement, that he earned despite his needle breaking toward the end of his intense six minute routine, means that the Brooklyn DJ will travel to London, England to represent the US in the DMC World DJ Championship 2013 finals on October 5th. Saturday night's talent-packed battle presented somewhat of a dilemma for all the judges, myself included, since the talent was so great that it was incredibly tough in making that final decision of narrowing it down to just three DJs. Truth is that each of the other ten DJ contestants also delivered incredibly impressive sets and, it could be argued, that any one of them deserved to have ranked in the final three. I was not alone in this summation since, after the battle, talking to such fellow judges as Roli Rho, DJ Cheese, DJ Shiftee, and Snayk Eyez - all of whom had chosen different top threes - the consensus was that it was too challenging task to narrow it down to a top three. Snayk Eyez summed the battle and the content of the competitors up best when he noted how each competitor was 100% on their game with their skills down to perfection meaning that then, "It all came down to delivery, presentation, showmanship," said the visiting Bay Area DJ/judge. 

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #34: Weed and the City, Wheelchair Sports Camp in NYC, Park Jam, Governors Ball Fest, Tony Awards +

Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2013 09:10am | Post a Comment


Welcome to installment number 34 in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog. This past week here in NYC witnessed the first non-stop, uninterrupted week of hot weather (finally), the launch of the wonderful new CitiBike bike share program to mostly positive feedback (more on this in a future NY Amoeblog), new NYPD released statistics that the subways are safer than ever with robberies on the mass transit system (typically iPhone grab and runs by opportunist thieves) down 30% from this time last year.  And while this past week's tabloid news of Amanda Bynes getting in trouble for weed smoking and bong tossing in New York City dominated most headlines, on Monday up in the state capital of Albany the New York State Assembly passed a medical marijuana bill (for the fourth time) that would allow medical marijuana, passing with a 95-38 vote.

If this new medical marijuana bill makes it through the Senate New Yorkers with "severely debilitating or life-threatening conditions" can be legally prescribed weed by their doctors. As it stands now the difference in attitude towards weed (medical and recreational) in NYC and such California cities as Los Angeles or Oakland is like night and day and has been such since the early 90's. It is radically different here with the NYPD enforcing a zero-tolerance towards any public weed activity. It has been this way ever since the reign of Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani who initiated the "broken window" theory which meant that that small crimes like weed smoking in public (once a common non-issue thing in NYC) were now an arrestable offense. People get arrested in NYC and thrown in jail for the weekend over half a joint and many of these are young black and Latino males who fall into the net of the NYPD's controversial, often illegal 'stop-and-frisk' program whereby the cops randomly stop someone for no reason other than they fit a profile, have them empty their pockets, and arrest them for small amounts of pot.

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