Amoeblog

HOMOHOP'S ROLE WITHIN HIP-HOP: JUBA KALAMKA INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, July 7, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Juba Kalamka
     Juba Kalamka performing at Amoeba Music San Francisco's recent Pride '09 in-store celebration with Pick Up The Mic stars. Also performing were JenRO and Dutchboy (6/25/09).
All photos from the event by Kaitlin Layher


Juba Kalamka was recently part of the Amoeba Music San Francisco in-store Pride '09 Celebration, which was also a DVD release party for the seminal "homohop" documentary Pick Up The Mic. Juba, along with fellow Bay Area queer rap artists JenRO and Dutchboy, who also performed that day at the Haight Street store (view all the pictures here), is one of the many talented stars of the must-see, Alex Hinton directed film. Although the film first screened a few years ago, it is only very recently available on DVD.

In early 2000 Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag), along with Tim'm T. West (aka 25percenter) and Phillip Juba KalamkaAtiba Goff (aka Lightskindid) formed Deep Dickollective (D/DC), which also featured member Ralowe Ampu (G-Minus). The seeds for D/DC were sown a year earlier after Kalamka and West met at Stanford following a 1999 screening of black gay filmmaker and scholar Marlon Riggs' film Tongues Untied. I personally first heard of and met the guys from D/DC about a year into their career, and, most impressed with their hip-hop skills in combination with their refreshing take on a genre traditionally drenched in homophobia, I invited them to be included on one of the Amoeba Music Compilations.

STARTIN' SOMETHIN': DEATH STARTS NEW CHAPTER IN MJ's CAREER:

Posted by Billyjam, June 27, 2009 05:40pm | Post a Comment
MIchael Jackson R.I.P.
"What hit me most about hearing the news of Michael Jackson dying was only then I realized just how much he meant to me, how much his music was such a part of my life," confided my friend Eboness from New York by phone on Thursday evening, just hours after the shocking news of the pop star's passing had clogged all channels of communication. 

One of the many friends and acquaintances who seemed compelled to reach out and talk MJ on Thursday and in the days since, Eboness is 38 and lives in Harlem. Like so many people out there, she grew up on Jackson's music.

She said she and her mom had just come from 125th Street, where a growing crowd was gathering en masse outside the Apollo Theater to spontaneously mourn alongside total strangers in the shared sadness. As Jackson's music boomed from speakers up high, the teary eyed crowd below, with sunken shoulders, sang along to every lyric.

Thursday afternoon's shocking news of MJ passing caught everyone off guard it seemed. When I got that first text on my phone sometime after 3pm from my friend Timi D... which read "Michael Jackson just died???" I thought that maybe it was some of kind of prank or inside joke about the oft mocked star. Maybe it had something to do with his string of upcoming UK concert dates, I theorized as my Google search quickly confirmed the tragic news, with reports citing either the LA Times who broke the story or leading gossip news site TMZ that simultaneously reported on the same story. And when I next logged on to my email, my inbox was overflowing with messages with MJ's name in the subject box. I then clicked on the Amoeblog, where I saw that Whitmore had just posted the news. That was about 3:15 or 3:20 pm on Thursday; by then the news had already spread like wildfire via news and gossip sites and of course via Twitter, Facebook, and every other social network. Michael Jackson thriller

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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP: 06:26:09

Posted by Billyjam, June 26, 2009 07:38pm | Post a Comment
JenRO
JenRO
(pictured left) was among the artists featured in the new hip-hop documentary Pick Up The Mic: The Evolution of Homohop that graced the stage of Amoeba Music San Francisco yesterday (June 25) for a free in-store performance. The instore both marked the release of the critically acclaimed documentary on DVD, and also helped celebrate Pride '09. As you know, the big SF LGBT Pride parade & party is on Sunday, June 28 -- and Amoeba will be present, with our own booth where you can win fabulous prizes! Details here and here.

JenRO's Amoeba performance was tight and captured the emcee's pure Bay rap flavor and gift for lyrical flow. JenRO is not just a good queer hip-hop artist -- she is a talented emcee, period. For more on this San Francisco female rapper, who, as she rapped at Amoeba yesterday "was born the same year that CDs were created," visit her website, or hit up her official info phone line @ 415-692-5695, or check out the video interview with her on Yo!TV included in the Recognize: Bay Area Female Rappers Amoeblog from a year ago.

Longtime Bay Area homo-hop artists Dutchboy and Juba Kalamka were also performing at Amoeba SF yesterday. After the show I caught up with Juba Kalamka, whom I know from his days with now defunct  Bay Area homo-hop crew Deep Dickollective (D/DC). Eight years ago the group's great song "StraightTrippin" (feat. Doug E) was featured on Independent Sounds: Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. III, and two years later fellow D/DC founding member Tim'm T West also appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. IV. Check back for an interview here with Juba in an upcoming Amoeblog.

RECOGNIZE: BAY AREA FEMALE RAPPERS

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2008 10:24am | Post a Comment
Conscious Daughters
Big ups to the female artists in the history of Bay Area hip-hop who, as it seems to be the case with the rest of the rap nation, are (and have always been) in the minority. Why? A variety of reasons-- the main one, in my opinion, is that women can never fare well in a male dominated field that is predominantly (but not exclusively) sexist and misogynist. If you have any strong insights into why you think there is still such a unbalanced female to male rap ratio, please share in the COMMENTS box below where I invite you to also list your favorite female emcees from the Bay Area or elsewhere.

By no means is this post inclusive of the many female hip-hop artists from the Bay; it is merely a salute a select talented few -- both new and old school -- who come to mind, including such old school emcees as 80's East Bay female rapper Cassidine. When she dropped her debut twenty years ago on 75 Girls (the Oakland label run by the Hodges Brothers), she was heralded as the female counterpart to (label mate) Too $hort. Cassidine's album, Man Handler, contains such hardcore tracks as "She Daddy." Unfortunately, the a killer collection of hardcore rhymes and beats from a bygone era in Bay rap has never been re-released. 
Oaktown 3-5-7
Also from 1980's Bay rap is Oaktown 3-5-7, the female rap crew who first came to fame as MC Hammer's backing singers/dancers on tracks such as "Let's Get It Started."  In fact, they performed this song with Hammer and the rest of his large entourage when they made their national debut on the The Arsenio Hall Show. When they released their own music on Hammer's label they enjoyed reasonable success but not enough to keep them from breaking up in 1992. Their 1989 Wild and Loose album was their most successful and made waves on the Billboard pop and black-album charts two decades ago when it spawned the singles "We Like It" and "Juicy Gotcha Krazy" (video below).

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