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Ice T Well Prepared For Critiques of his "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" Documentary at UK Premiere

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2012 07:07am | Post a Comment


Ice T
's critically acclaimed, independently produced, hip-hop history documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, which opened in the States last month, just opened here in Europe on Friday last. The evening before (July 19) there were a series of premiere screenings in London and other select European cities including Dublin, Ireland when I caught it at the IFI (Irish Film Institute) where the film was followed immediately by a Q+A & concert performance via live satellite from London's Hammersmith Apollo. There Ice T, along with Melle Mel, Chuck D, and Raekwon were all in town for the UK debut. During this Q+A from the audience (a tough crowd) Ice T fielded most of the questions in which he spent a fair amount of time in defense of his great film: something he was well able to handle.

But first the movie which I had heard and read all about and was most anxious to view. I thought it was really excellent; especially on the big screen with the film's ample use of panoramic aerial views of NYC, LA, and Detroit, all lovingly shot in breathtaking widescreen at various times of the day from helicopter, that nicely broke up the dialog segments of  the documentary.

Sure the film didn't have all my favorite rappers in it but it was not my film, it was Ice T's. And as the OG (original gangsta) turned rapper, turned actor, turned filmmaker - stated before the film was even screened at Sundance earlier this year; he was not trying to represent all things rap (especially the bling & swag elements) but rather simply focus on the art of the rapper / emcee, and from his own personal perspective. This he did in loving detail, casually catching up with old friends in the rap game, and having them spit a verse or two from their own or other rapper's favorite rhymes, and share a little insight on how they approach their craft. In all 47 artists made the final cut including such talents as Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Raekwon, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Snoop Dog, Kool Keith, KRS-One, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chino XL, Grandmaster Caz, and Melle Mel - the latter two getting perhaps the most shine and props in the film. 

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 07.20.12: Top 5, Psycho Realm, Aesop Rock, Nas, Public Enemy, Kyle Rapps, QBert + more

Posted by Billyjam, July 20, 2012 06:06am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:20:12


1) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)

2) Psycho Realm Presents Sick Jacken & Cyni In Terror Tapes 2 (Mb Recordings)

3) Nicki Ninaj Pink Friday Roman Reloaded (Cash Money)

4) The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde [Expanded Edition] (Delicious Vinyl)

5) Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhyemsayers Ent.)

Thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Hollywood Amoeba store for this latest Hip-Hop Top Five chart that includes such new or recent releases as J Dilla's posthumous, emcee guest heavy Rebirth of Detroit, Psycho Realm's Presents Sick Jacken & Cyni In Terror Tapes 2 - Sick Jacken with Street Platoon artist Cynik which is another, refreshingly hardcore rap presentation from the no-holds-barred Psycho Realm who never fail to disappoint (check out down below the party-hard video for the album track "I'm Gone" Recordings), and
Aesop Rock's Skelethon just released by Rhyemsayers Entertainment - his killer return that, as witnessed by the turnout & crowd reaction at his Amoeba San Francisco in-store earlier this week is a universally crowd favorite.

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Black History Month Leap Year Review: the Good, the Sad & the Bizarre

Posted by Billyjam, March 2, 2012 11:40am | Post a Comment

Among the "good" of this year's Black History Month was Robert Glasper's excellent
Black Radio album on Blue Note released Feb 28th, 2012


Maybe it's because this is a leap year that Black History Month 2012, which ended two days ago, seemed a little out of whack. Or maybe it was because it was a Black History Month that started on a really bad note when, on the morning of Feb 1st, the tragic news that Don Cornelius of Soul Train fame had taken his own life was the first thing we were to read about. That was bad enough but this tragic news came hot on the heels of the world losing a string of other black music/cultural icons, including in just the preceding two weeks both Etta James and JImmy Castor.  And then, of course, ten days later, on the eve of the Grammys, the whole world was taken aback with the shocking news that Whitney Houston had died at age 48. Not exactly a great time to joyously celebrate black history!

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Hip-Hop Gives Back to Skid Row with Free 1/15 Concert feat. Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Kurupt, King T, Kid Frost, Egyptian Lover + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 5, 2012 10:40am | Post a Comment
Dubbed as both the Operation Skid Row Music Festival and the Occupy Skid Row Music Festival, on January 15th Chuck D and Public Enemy along with a dozen or more (mostly old school LA) hip-hop acts will put on a free concert for the down-on-their-luck residents of Los Angeles' desolate Skid Row district. The list of other performers for this wonderful free all afternoon event, that will also be open for free to anyone from anywhere who wishes to attend, includes Cypress Hill, Kurupt from the Dogg Pound, Mellow Man Ace and Zzyzzx, King T, Rapper's Rapp Group, Sir Jinx and General Population, OG Kid Frost, L.A. Posse, and the Egyptian Lover. What makes this concert significant is that all of these artists have agreed to perform for free as a an unselfish token in this new year for the homeless population of LA's famed Skid Row area which contains one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the USA. A 2011 study estimated that Skid Row's population was at over 4300 people!

As with so many of the worthy events and happenings associated with Skid Row that I hear about this one too is also linked directly back to General Jeff - the longtime LA hip-hop figure, friend of Amoeba, hip-hop golden age recording artist, & community activist/tireless supporter of the rights of LA's Skid Row community. General Jeff (real name Jeff Page) is Resident Director for Central City East/ Skid Row & is on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council as well as being VP of Outreach and Communications and is always down to volunteer his time, skills, and endless energy to the worthy residents of Skid Row with whom he has worked on behalf of for years. This morning I caught with General Jeff, who was up early busy at work while listening (he informed me) to the late great LA hip-hop artist Mausberg's Non-Fiction album.

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N.A.S.A.:The Spirit of Apollo Documentary Screens at Roxie Theater in SF, 11/16

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 7, 2011 05:24pm | Post a Comment
POP/ROX (Noise Pop + Roxie Theater) present a screening of the rockumentary N.A.S.A.:The Spirit ofNASA Apollo at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on November 16th at 7:30pm and again at 9:30pm.

The filmmakers and the band will be there in person for a post-show party DJ-ed by N.A.S.A.!!! 

A look behind the making of N.A.S.A.’s globetrotting debut album, The Spirit of Apollo, featuring a truly staggering array of talent: David Byrne, Karen O, Tom Waits, Kool Keith, Nick Zinner, Lykke Li, M.I.A., Kanye West, George Clinton, Chuck D, Seu Jorge, and the RZA. The movie features design and animation collaborations by Syd Garon, Shepard Fairey, Splunny, Sage Vaughn, Marcel Dzama, The Date Farmers, Logan, Didiu Rio Branco, Three Legged Legs and Lorenzo Fonda.

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