Top 10 Hip-Hop Acts At Ice-T's Art of Rap Festival

Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2015 12:55pm | Post a Comment

This Amoeblog, which includes music videos by ten of the numerous talented acts that will perform at this weekend's Art Of Rap Festival, is geared to act as a primer for the Ice-T-curated,  two-day, two-location (SoCal and NorCal) event that includes some of the best MC names in the history of hip-hop, such as Rakim, Melle Mel, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, and the Cold Crush Brothers featuring Grandmaster Caz. Taking place today (Saturday, July 18th) in SoCal at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre and then tomorrow up at the Shoreline Amphiteather in Mountain View, the ambitious project is an outgrowth of the documentary film Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap from a few years ago. The documentary features many of the same acts in the film, which is now available from Amoeba on DVD as well as the accompanying soundtrack on CD and LP that features lots of the freestyle and live versions of songs featured throughout the documentary).

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #91: Photo Edition + Concert Guide

Posted by Billyjam, July 30, 2014 01:40pm | Post a Comment

For this week's installment of the New York State of Mind Amoeblog I have included a bunch of photos (above/left/below)  that I took all round town (mostly Manhattan and mostly over the past week or two - but some other times/boroughs too including the one in the Bronx above) and if you drag the mouse icon on top of each image you will see embedded text that accompanies the respective images.  Meanwhile some of the events and happenings in NYC in the week ahead include later today (July 30th) Lisette Melendez, George Lamond, and Coro who are masters of the hip-hop/disco born genre known as freestyle: the synth-based dance music which combines the influence of Afrika Bambaataa’s electro-funk flavor (note that Bambaataa is presenting this concert today) with Latin rhythms, and European Hi-NRG vocals.  Free. All ages. 7pm to 9pm sharp. At Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. Part of the NYC Summerstage series. Free ferry ride from lower Manhattan to Staten Island takes about half hour including wait for boat, followed by short bus ride. More info

On Saturday afternoon in the same Summerstage series will be a killer free show in Central Park at 3pm with Dr John & The Night Trippers. Opening for the New Orleans legend will be the New Orleans influenced Hurray for the Riff Raff which is the creation of frontwoman Alynda lee Segarra, a 26-year-old Bronx native who traveled to New Orleans to hone her musical chops. This is a free show but arrive an hour or more before the official 3pm opening time to ensure admission. More info.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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