In this week's New York State of Mind Amoeblog is a preview from the forthcoming XXL magazine on the return of New York hip-hop, a review of a unique new record store/barber shop Deep Cuts at the Silent Barn in Bushwick Brooklyn, plus a novel, budget conscious, way to celebrating Valentines Day in New York City, as well as a righteous rewarding way to participate in V-Day's One Billion Rising in NYC, plus concerts picks and happenings for the week ahead.
Concerts include gospel great Mavis Staples (pictured right) on Feb. 14th as part of the American Songbook series in the Allen Room, Jazz At Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall at Broadway at 62th Street. 8pm show. More info 212 721-6500 and at AmercianSongbook. Also on Feb 14th (Valentine's Day) soul singer Freddie Jackson plays BB King's on 42nd Street in the Times Square area. More info. On Friday, Feb 15th heavy metal masters Meshuggah headline a bill at Roseland Ballroom on W 52nd near 8th Avenue with both Animals As Leaders and Intronaut opening. Tickets and info. Big Head Todd & The Monsters play Irving Plaza on Saturday, Feb 16th. More info. Longtime homegrown hip-hop acts M.O.P. and Smif-N-Wessun, both from Brooklyn, team up to play a show at the Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street in the Chelsea district on Sunday Feb 17th. More info.
On Friday and Saturday (Feb 15 & 16) in celebration of Black History Month 2013 Reg E Gaines will present three performances of his multimedia one-man show The Last Celebrity which is billed as a "non-linear look at Reg’s accidental brush with fame and his journey from obscure street poet to writer of the Tony Award winning musical, Bring in da Noise/Bring in da Funk." For each of his three performances (two on Saturday and one on Friday) he will have a different opening act. For the 7pm Friday show NJ to the Bay to NY artist Azeem will do a performance of his acclaimed one man show Rude. Technically it is not a New York event since it happens across the river over in Jersey City at Art House Productions at 1 McWilliams Place. But Jersey City is only a five minute PATH train ride from WTC station in Lower Manhattan. Tickets are $10 and you can buy them here.
"New York is back" - that's the word according to New York City based Harris Publications hip-hop magazine XXL who, in celebration of this proclamation, feature on the cover of their brand new (March/April) issue both Harlem’s A$AP Rocky and The Bronx’s French Montana in both solo covers and the joint cover (left). These two newcomer NYC rap stars, "are sure to be two of 2013’s most celebrated MCs" write XXL's editors. A$AP Rocky’s debut album (as distinct from his mixtapes), LONG.LIVE.A$AP, debuted at No. 1 on the Amoeba chart and on Billboard 200 upon its release last month. Meanwhile fellow NY rapper French Montana's debut disc, Excuse My French, will drop on April 16th and is expected to do extremely well. In the new XXL issue, which hits stands nationwide on February 19th, both artists give intimate in-depth interviews with Rocky talking about such things as his former drug dealing days and the recent death of his father, and Montana discussing such things as his relationship with 50 Cent and his feelings on that almost deadly day he was shot in the head.