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A Love Letter to "Black Star"

Posted by Amoebite, May 18, 2015 04:47pm | Post a Comment

Love Letter to Black Star

I loved our recent Essential Records piece about Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star. I loved the personal reflection and the reminiscing about that time and how it had an impact. So many of us are touched by music at a point in our lives - by a particular song or record - and it's amazing how much it sticks with us, and resonates for years and years and years. Just hearing that record can make us feel something deeply: a moment in time, a time in our lives. Music is the wallpaper and the soundtrack. For some of us it is something way more than the background, it is at the core of who we were and are and who we developed into.

Karen at Leopold RecordsKaren at the Info Counter (~1990)

Of course I had a slightly different, but just as pivotal, experience with the release of the album. It has been one that has carried me from the Bay down to LA. Black Star was released the year that Amoeba opened in San Francisco. It was what reminded and reassured me why I was committed to doing what we do every day with music. Because, simply put, artists and musicians were still challenging and stretching and inventing and bringing music to people in a whole new way to whole new generations.

Essential Records: Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star

Posted by Amoebite, May 11, 2015 05:36pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Black Star

The '90s proved to be interesting times for Hip Hop. Early in the decade, the “golden era” produced countless classics, while the middle of the decade gave way to a highly publicized beef between East and West coast rappers. Gangsta rap came and went. “Bling bling” became a thing with rappers wearing chains so big MR. T was blushing. The entire Hip Hop community was shaken up by the untimely murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., leaving a major void in the mainstream. Slowly, the tide began to shift and Hip Hop audiences started looking to the underground for what was to come next.

In 1996, with backing by James Murdoch (son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch), Rawkus Records was established in New York City. The small label launched with Company Flow’s debut, Funcrusher Plus (1997), quickly establishing itself at the forefront of the new underground movement. Rawkus set the bar high by following up with two stellar compilations, Sound Bombing (1997) and Lyricist Lounge Volume 1. (1998). The latter featuring veteran emcees including De La Soul, Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Black Thought of The Roots. Music fans and critics began taking note of the fledgling label and all the stars seem to align for what came next.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Punk Band Death

Posted by Amoebite, November 20, 2013 12:50pm | Post a Comment

Death

Some music enthusiasts and critics alike believe the band Death to be the precursors to punk rock. Jack White is quoted as describing them as "ahead of punk and ahead of their time." Mos Def says, "These dudes were pre-Sex Pistols, pre-Bad Brains, pre-all that shit, and nobody knows about them. I don't understand how the world could forget them."

Death The story of Death is the stuff of legend. It's all documented in the film, A Band Called Death, a must see for all fans of music history and punk fans alike. After uncovering master tapes in an attic from sessions in the early '70s, Death's music was finally getting its chance. In 2009, Drag City Records released a 7-song LP entitled ...For The Whole World To See. Soon after, a reformed Death took to the stage, almost 30 years after they formed. Death was alive again!

Our What's In My Bag? crew caught up with the members of Death when they performed at Amoeba Hollywood in support of the documentary film, A Band Called Death.  These guys know good music and they love it all. They dig up a vinyl copy of Jamaican reggae singer Garnet Silk's Reggae Anthology. The guys keep it punk rock and pick up the Patti Smith classic, Horses, on vinyl. Of course they couldn't leave without taking back a little Motown. They manage to dig up Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations. Check out all their cool selections in this awesome What's In My Bag? episode.

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A Band Called Death Blew the Doors off Amoeba Hollywood [Video]

Posted by Amoebite, October 8, 2013 06:21pm | Post a Comment

Death

Some music enthusiasts and critics alike believe the band Death to be the precursors to punk rock. Jack White is quoted as describing them as "ahead of punk and ahead of their time." Mos Def says, "These dudes were pre-Sex Pistols, pre-Bad Brains, pre-all that shit, and nobody knows about them. I don't understand how the world could forget them."

The documentary A Band Called Death tells the story of a Detroit band made up of three brothers who pursue a record deal to no avail. Despite interests from big wig Clive Davis, who insited that the band change their name for broader appeal, the group refused and was never signed to a deal. Their demo tapes were boxed away and placed in an attic to be forgotten. Three decades later, a demo tape made its way out of the attic and into the ears of an audience several generations younger.

Death

In 2009, Drag City Records released a 7-song LP entitled ...For The Whole World To See. Soon after, a reformed Death took to the stage, almost 30 years after they formed.

Continue reading...

MC Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) Endures Pain of Being Force Fed to Demonstrate Suffering of Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strikers

Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2013 12:12pm | Post a Comment

Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) force fed under standard Guantánamo Bay procedure

As seen in the (warning) upsetting and unsettling YouTube video clip above, made by director Asif Kapadia and posted earlier today by the UK Guardian newspaper, MC Yasiin Bey (the hip-hop artist/actor formerly known as Mos Def) put himself into a position of physical pain to demonstrate the suffering that more than forty inmates at Guantánamo Bay currently endure, as part of an ongoing hunger strike, when they are force-fed by authorities there. Bey teamed up with the UK based human rights organization Reprieve to make this demonstration which vividly demonstrates what are standard operating procedures employed currently to force-feed inmates - based on exact practices in a leaked military handbook that shows inmates enduring similar force feeding techniques at Guantánamo.
 

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