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Foreign Legion's Prozack Turner on His New Oakland Bar, The Legionnaire Saloon

Posted by Billyjam, August 6, 2013 05:30pm | Post a Comment

Zack Turner 
talks to the Amoeblog about his new Oakland bar The Legionnaire Saloon

With a name that triggers in your mind the name of his hip-hop group (Foreign Legion) and a storefront design that makes you think it's an Irish pub that's been there for years - Zack Turner's recently opened The Legionnaire Saloon on Telegraph Ave. between 23rd and Grand, also has the feel of a bar that's been there for years. However this latest Oakland music bar/club only opened at the start of March this year, in the space formerly occupied by gay bar Club Paradiso, but since then has taken off big time and established itself as an important component of the vibrant Uptown District nightlife scene of Oakland with entertainment (with a lot of love for the DJ including hosting The 45 Sessions) ranging from hip-hop to rock, comedy to burlesque, and (yes) even Irish traditional music nights.

The Legionnaire Saloon is the lifelong dream of Zack Turner (AKA talented hip-hop emcee Prozack Turner) the former co-owner of Oakland's Layover bar/club and member of longtime Bay Area hip-hop act Foreign Legion. In fact a few weeks ago he and Foreign Legion partner in rhyme Marc Stretch, along with current DJ Tim Diesel, performed upstairs at the venue during the premiere presentation of the monthly Blunt Club Oakland. Even though Zack and his wife just had their first born (a baby boy named Cassius) about a week earlier (Marc Stretch became a new dad a week later) Zack was full of energy and seemed like the happiest man on the planet or at least in the room. At the end of the above interview video is a short clip of Foreign Legion that night doing their 2002 single "Happy Drunk" which, with its references to drinking and partying in Oakland, seemed it was prematurely written as the theme song for Turner's new bar.  

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The Town Part IV: The Layover's Prozack Turner Talks About His Popular New Downtown Oakland Bar

Posted by Billyjam, August 23, 2010 05:46pm | Post a Comment

Seven years later, listening back to Oakland (aka The Town) hip-hop artist Prozack Turner's funky-infectious, Oakland party rap anthem "Feelin' My Steelo" (DreamWorks, 2003), it would seem that the mic-wrecker turned bar-owner clearly envisioned himself one day running a popular music themed bar in Oakland -- something he does today at The Layover, which opened earlier this year.

"Make some noise! Let me know where The Town at. Hold up your drink now. Let me see you pound that. Home of the Silver and Black, killin' the track," enthusiastically rapped the talented East Bay emcee on the single (from the album Death, Taxes, and Prozack). He was "possessed by the ghost of Bukowski" as if penning the later soundtrack for his popular new downtown Oakland music bar which earlier this month got honored by the East Bay Express when it won the Best of the East Bay Awards for Best New Bar.    

Born Zachary Turner, Prozack has been a familiar figure for many years on both the local and international underground hip-hop scenes. A successful solo artist (producing as well as emceeing), he is perhaps best All That Glitters Isn't Platinumknown as a member of the super-talented but way underrated Bay Area hip-hop crew Foreign Legion along with his partner-in-rhyme Marc Stretch. Originally a trio, Foreign Legion formed back in the nineties along with DJ/producer DJ Design. Their impassioned ode to hip-hop, "Full Time B-Boy," released as a single by ABB Records, was also the opening track on the first Amoeba Music Compilation series, with their lyrics "All That Glitters Isn't Platinum" even lending the various artists Amoeba collection its title. 

BILLY JAM'S HIP-HOP ROUND UP OF THE WEEK: EMMANUEL JAL +

Posted by Billyjam, May 2, 2008 07:20am | Post a Comment

Not since M.I.A., with her well-publicized turbulent political past, has an artist with such an extraordinary life-story arrived on the scene as Sudanese child soldier turned-rapper Emmanuel Jal.

The musician/songwriter/rapper whose autobiographical album Warchild will be released on May 13th was a featured guest at the premiere of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York earlier this week where the documentary about him, the Karim Chrobog directed War Child, made its American premiere. (It had its world premiere earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival.) The film outlines the tough life of this 28 year old musician who was a soldier in the Sudanese People's Liberatin Army when he was only eight years of age.  Jal's autobiography will be published by St. Martin's Press later this year.

His story is truly an amazing one.  But what about the music, you ask?  Well, unlike M.I.A., whose music was even more exciting than the publicity package that preceded her, Emmanuel Jal's new album "Warchild," which was recorded in London in 2006 and 2007, is kinda disappointing -- to these ears anyway, after one full listen. Maybe the hype had me expecting too much.   Sung/rapped mostly in English and veering between reggae and rap, Emmanuel Jal sounds too often like he is trying too hard to emulate popular American rappers and it just ain't working. Hence, he is at his best on the tracks where he isn't trying to streamline his sound for US or British audiences.

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