Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Joe Conzo (Born In The Bronx) Amoeblog Interview

Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2014 06:47pm | Post a Comment
     

"It's pretty humbling and amazing to see my photos from when I was a sixteen, seventeen year old kid," Joe Conzo told the Amoeblog - as seen in the above video clip - speaking last week by the wall of photos on display at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise gallery space on Greenwich Street in the Village in New York City. The exhibit is similar in title and theme as well as contributors to the highly recommended 2007 published book Born In The Bronx that he is an integral part of. "Born In The Bronx: Afrika Bambaataa, Buddy Esquire, Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style and Joe Conzo - A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop" the exhibit that is curated by Johan Kugelberg (editor of the book) runs through July 26th, 2014 at the downtown gallery space and is well worth visiting - and it is free.

In addition to Conzo's photos on exhibit are such artifacts as classic original era hip-hop show flyers by Buddy Esquire (RIP), a grid of original cells from the animated sequences of Charlie Ahearn’s landmark hip-hop film Wild Style, and a wall display of LP and 12" vinyl from the Afrika Bambaataa's influential record collection.  There's also Afrika Bambaataa manuscripts and notebooks and the original lyrics handwritten for “Planet Rock” - all of which adds up to must-see material for any true hip-hop history fanatic.

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Hip-Hop History: 1991 Rap Radio, When Ice Cube, Main Source, LL Cool J, Gang Starr & Digital Underground Ruled Hip-Hop's Airwaves

Posted by Billyjam, March 23, 2010 10:59pm | Post a Comment

Back in early 1991, as witnessed by the various top ten hip-hop radio charts below from that period, the popular hip-hop of the day was a pretty darn diverse selection of the genre, especially in comparison to what counts for popular hip-hop today. Although the period technically fell under hip-hop's so-called "golden age," as typified by such chart entries below as Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest and Main Source, there were many other specific rap flavors also represented. These many different styles sharing the spotlight back then included feminist rap (Yo-Yo's "Dope Femininity" -- the B-Side of "Stompin To The 90s" -- is on the charts as well as tracks by female rappers Nasty and Monie Love), uplifting, feel good party rap (Digital Underground's "Same Song" featuring 2Pac), traditional battle rap (LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"), weed themed rap (Cypress Hill, who had a head start on the "blunt era" of hip-hop by a good 18 months with this pre-album release version), new jack swing (Father MC), socially conscious rap that pushed for change and equality (Kool G Rap's "Erase Racism" and the Human Education Against Lies -- aka H.E.A.L. project), as well as the more intense Afro-centric or hardcore political rap (Paris, X-Clan, Intelligent Hoodlum, King Sun, Consolidated), and of course gangsta rap (NWA) and player rap (Too $hort). Meanwhile, Ice Cube's incredible December 1990 released EP Kill At Will, featuring such tracks as "Dead Homiez" and "Jackin for Beats," transcended one individual style, and instead melded political with hardcore and gangsta.

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Heaven For Bay Area Graffiti Fans This Weekend

Posted by Billyjam, October 8, 2009 06:22am | Post a Comment
Style Wars
Bay Area graffiti fans should be in heaven this weekend, with so many amazing events celebrating the urban art form jumping off in both SF and the East Bay starting today, Thursday, and ending on Saturday with The 3rd Annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle (EIGB). This evening (Thursday, Oct 8th) kicks things off at the 1:AM Gallery in San Francisco with The Can Film Festival, which will include screenings of the two graf films, Style Wars and Bomb It. The films will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel that will include Kevin Epps, Suzie Lundy, Erin Yoshioka, Estria Miyashiro and will be moderated by hip-hop author Jeff Chang. Screenings start at 7pm but doors open at 6:30pm. Even better, this is a free event, so get there early to ensure admission. 1:AM Gallery is located at 1000 Howard St. (near 6th St.), San Francisco, CA . Click here for more info. Note that tomorrow at 1:AM gallery will be the last day for the exhibit Don't Sweat The Technique - Ode To The Spray Can Art Show, featuring art by judges and contestants involved in Saturday's Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle.

Then tomorrow (Friday, October 9th) is the big event at the Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland-- the Pecha Kucha Night Oakland: Don't Sweat The Technique - Graffiti For Social Change, which is being presented in partnership by the Eastside Arts Alliance, Hard Knock Radio, Samurai Graphix and Youth Speaks. The event is happening at 2277 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94606 from  7:30-10:30pm tomorrow (get there early)! Its ten presenters scheduled include legendary graf archivalist Jim Prigoff (co-author of Spraycan Art, Walls of Heritage Walls of Pride and Graffiti New York), Spie from the mighty Bay Area TDK crew, Steve Grody (author of Graffiti LA), and San Francisco community activist Nancy Hernandez.
According to artist Estria, who is another of the presenters and who was instrumental in bringing this event to Oakland, "Pecha Kucha is a great way to expose your art to many professionals in other fields in one quick-fire burst."

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Hip-Hop Author Marcus Reeves Discusses "Somebody Scream! Rap Music's RIse To Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power"

Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2008 12:24pm | Post a Comment
Marcus Reeves ("Someboday Scream!" author)
Marcus Reeves
, former editor of the the Source hip-hop magazine and contributor to such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Vibe magazine, recently had his book Somebody Scream! (Rap Music's Rise To Prominence In The Aftershock of Black Power published by Faber and Faber Inc.

Like Jeff Chang's critically acclaimed hip-hop history Can't Stop Won't Stop, Somebody Scream likewise takes an analytical look at hip-hop -- a musical form that, like rock before it, is now all grown up and going through its own kind of mid-life crisis. Cornel West called Reeves' book "a strong  timely book for the new day in hip-hop" and he is right.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the East Coast based author to talk about his new book, Somebody Scream,  and its subject matter: hip-hop. Here is that dialog:

Amoeblog
: First up, how hard is it writing a book on a topic that is still unfolding around you as you report on its subject matter?

Marcus Reeves: Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to write because before I even started I had a beginning, a middle and an end. I’d already picked out who were the most influential rap artists—the ones who lead their particular era—strung their stories together by chapter and let the narrative unfold.Marcus Reeve's book "Somebody Scream!" And the narrative was easy because, like so many who’d watched the story of commercial rap over the last 30 years, it was also the story of my life. All the history and events that the music reflected, and I talk about in the book, were things I lived through and impacted my life. The last chapter of the book, which discusses what events shape the music now, helped capture all those moments that were still unfolding.

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TONY SILVER, DIRECTOR OF GRAFFITI FILM STYLE WARS, PASSES

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2008 10:45am | Post a Comment

In the past week hip-hop lost one of its greatest historians when Tony Silver, the director of landmark 1983 graffiti hip-hop film Style Wars, died after losing to his ongoing battle with brain cancer. New York native Silver, who made the legendary documentary with producer Henry Chalfant, lived in LA and  is survived by his wife and two daughters and grandchild.

Beside Style Wars, Silver had a fat portfolio that included award-winning work in theatrical and TV trailers, main titles and special effects. As a documentary director his credits include such films as Anita Ellis For the Record, 30 Seconds At A Time (about company response to employees who are victims of domestic violence), and Arisman Facing the Audience (about illustrator Marshall Arisman). Additionally Silver lectured at universities around the US and served on panels at the NEA, the NEH, and at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But it is for Style Wars that Tony Silver will always be best remembered.

The film, which just about any true die-hard graffiti artist can quote verbatim, remains not just a classic among hip-hop/graffiti fans but is also recognized by educators and critics the world over as the most important film to capture the original spirit and vitality of hip-hop's element of graffiti which emerged from from the gritty streets and subways of New York City and later (thanks in great part to this film) blossomed into global consciousness and appreciation. Style Wars, which originally aired on PBS, won the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival upon its original release.

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