Amoeblog

Grandmaster Caz Amoeblog Interview

Posted by Billyjam, May 30, 2013 11:53am | Post a Comment

Grandmaster Caz Amoeblog interview (2013)

Grandmaster Caz truly loves hip-hop. The Bronx born native lives and breathes the culture of hip-hop in all its elements and has done so for almost every year of its four full decade lifespan. Grandmaster Caz is also a most humble guy. He has to be considering that, despite the fact he is one of the most influential and important pioneering figures in hip-hop, the average music fan doesn't really know much about Caz or the Grandmaster Cazimportance of his place in hip-hop history. Of course the fact that his legendary crew The Cold Crush Brothers, who introduced to the most via their appearances in the landmark 1983 Charlie Ahearn directed hip-hop movie Wild Style, never released an official album or the fact that Caz never got credited for the verses of his that Big Bank Hank borrowed for the Sugarhill Gang's breakout megahit rap single "Rapper's Delight." Maybe this was all for a reason: something to test Caz's commitment to hip-hop. If so he has passed that test with flying colors and, unlike so many figures in the history of hip-hop who fall off or fade away after a few years, decade after decade Grandmaster Caz has been a consistent contributor been to the culture that defines him and that he, in turn, helps define.

Continue reading...

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #33: Red, Yellow, and Blue, NYC Popfest, Grandmaster Caz on NYC, The Boy vs Girl From NYC

Posted by Billyjam, May 29, 2013 11:52am | Post a Comment

Above is one of the three key components (the red colored portion) of the latest public art exhibits in ever changing public art installation space that is Madison Square Park (MSP) Red, Yellow and Blue is the simple yet descriptive title of this new exhibit that was unveiled earlier this month (following 2½ years of planning, conceiving, reworking, and production, plus an additional eleven days of installation) and will remain through September 8th in the park that is bordered by 23rd and 26th Streets, and Fifth and Madison Avenues in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. The ambitious work of sculptor/artist Orly Genger the Red, Yellow and Blue installation contains 1.4 million feet of layered, painted, and hand-knotted rope that are threaded through steel posts and drilled into the park's lawns to hold in place.

Of the three colors my favorite is the yellow (see pic right) since it is to my eyes the most natural. In fact when I first unexpectedly  encountered it -  stumbling upon the artwork earlier this week while walking through the park - at first glance thought it was a hedge or some large plants I was seeing. A traveling installation Red, Yellow and Blue will next travel to near Boston, MA after it finishes its run in NYC, when it takes up residency at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in October. More info on its current MSP exhibit.

Continue reading...

Rakim, EPMD, Lord Finesse, Jazzy Jay, & Cold Crush Brothers Among Those Doing Free Concerts In NYC's Parks This Week

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2011 09:57am | Post a Comment
The summer ain't over yet. Still lots good stuff happening in NYC. And sure, New York City in the summer can endure some extreme and unpredictable weather shifts that can unleash some unbearably hot and humid weather or thunderstorms that come out of nowhere, but that's all part of what makes it New York in the summer. Another defining factor is the jaw-dropping amount of amazing & free outdoor cultural events, especially all the music concerts in the parks. Of these there is no shortage of hip-hop free shows by legends of the genre such as the free SummerStage show in Central Park today (Aug 21) featuring Rakim, EPMD, and DJ Funkmaster Flex or the free Digger's Delight park jam on Tuesday evening (Aug 23) in St Nicholas Park up in Harlem with hip-hop icons Lord Finesse, GrandMaster Caz, Jazzy Jay, and Red Alert. Then on Wednesday evening of this week (August 24), there is a free concert by highly-influential and legendary hip-hop act the Cold Crush Brothers who will be downtown Manhattan on the bandshell in the East River Park.

Today's free SummerStage show, which starts at 3pm and goes til about 7pm, should be a goodie since it features Rakim, who many have called the greatest emcee in the history of the genre. It is also the 25th anniversary of Eric B & Rakim’s iconic album, Paid in Full which is considered to be among the top ten greatest hip-hop album of all time. EPMD's debut album, Strictly Business, is another golden-era hip-hop classic that makes many best of lists, as does their follow up Unfinished Business.  Funkmaster Flex will DJ at the start of the day and throughout the afternoon for which it is likely special guests will stop by. Last summer, I caught Public Enemy in the same spot. Earlier this summer, I saw Brazilian rapper Marcelo D2 on the same Central Park stage. Also this summer, I made it to two park jams at Queensbridge Park (another legendary spot in hip-hop's formative years) to see concerts from both N.O.R.E. and Kool Moe Dee. Each was really good, especially Kool Moe Dee. Then two weeks ago, I trekked over to Tappen Park on Staten Island to catch the Sugarhill Gang. While disappointing overall due to the fact that they spent most of their set doing covers of other old school acts, it was worth it to hear them do "Rapper's Delight" and it was free! Like today's Rakim & EPMD show, these were all part of the public funded City Parks Foundation Summerstage Series, which puts on a wide array of shows in the parks of each NYC borough every summer.

Continue reading...

NYC Summer 2010 Pt. III - Tools of War's Christie Z Talks About the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2010 02:04pm | Post a Comment
True School NYC Summer Park Jam, Week 1

Unlike California's seasonal changes, especially SoCal, where the shift from one season to another is relatively subtle, New York goes throuGrand Wizzard  Theodore gh dramatic extremes in the change from winter to summer. The East Coast's freezing cold winters are typically a period when you simply have to stay indoors much of the time and are so severe that by the time the polar opposite hot New York summer rolls around, everybody automatically rushes outside to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

In the late spring and summer New York City's streets and the parks come back to life, with cafes setting up on the sidewalks again and block parties, park concerts and events jumping off everywhere you wander in the NYC. And for hip-hop fans, especially appreciators of the old school, there is no shortage of outdoor events. Of all of these, the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series is the ultimate annual must-attend event.

Now in its eight year, this Tools of War (TOW) produced free summer Park Jam series sets up stage at a few different NYC parks every Thursday evening, June through August. It's clearly a labor of love by TOW's Christie Z Pabon, who works along with a strong support group that includes her husband, legendary hip-hop Park Jam Tools of Warfigure Jorge FABEL Pabon, aka Popmaster Fabel. Long rooted and well connected within New York's hip-hop circles, TOW manages to enlist some amazing artists. Last Thursday I attended the Park Jam at East Harlem's White Park on 106th Street and got to see/hear many artists, including GrandMaster Caz of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers and DJ GrandWizzard Theodore -- the veteran Bronx DJ who created the scratch. As the classic breaks and hip-hop music boomed from the JBL speakers, b-boys, poppers and lockers got busy in a most entertaining and impromptu fashion. 

Continue reading...