Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Hiero Day 4 Review, Seagram Biopic, RIP Kool DJ AJ, Digg Tribute Compilation + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 14, 2015 11:51pm | Post a Comment

"I live in the Town now. My son goes to school here," LA born emcee Bambu (pictured above) told the early afternoon audience at Hiero Day 4 this past Monday (September 7th) between songs by his political rap group Native Guns from the Imperium Stage - one of several
performance stages simultaneously featuring a rich diverse array of mostly local or Left Coast hip-hop acts. The recently relocated SoCal artist was making the point of how important Oakland had become to him personally as well as how incredibly impressive was this independent and unique urban event that he and his hip-hop group were invited to be a part of.

"No negativity," stressed Bambu gesturing out across the large scale, violence free, annual festival that would again prove the naysayers wrong in that Oakland (aka The Town) can indeed produce a peaceful,  positive, uplifting hip-hop festival with no negativity, just positivity! While the credit for this accomplishment goes to all of the participants - both on stage and off - it primarily goes to the Hieros themselves. As the event's producers, they have crafted something quite amazing out of their combined love of the culture that gave them their careers and the city that gave them their start. Indeed Hiero Day is the ultimate celebration of all things positive about Oakland, CA with the Hieroglyphics collective embodying and embracing the very essence of Oakland in 2015. Not too surprisingly then that former Mayor Jean Quan formally recognized September 3rd (9/3) as Hiero Day two years ago. However the Hieros themselves have done more to uplift The Town than any politician with a skewed agenda ever could!

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Hip Hop In The Park, Souls of Mischief in NYC, Top 5, E-Lit's New Releases, Amoeba Converse Exhibit + more

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2015 09:05am | Post a Comment

This weekend marks the nineteenth year of Hip Hop In The Park - Berkeley's annual free, all ages, all elements inclusive, hip-hop event in Peoples Park, located behind Amoeba Berkeley. Since 1997, the Students For Hop Hop @ Cal have been presenting this always fun afternoon celebration of hip-hop culture. This year's headliner is Fashawn who has been winning over a whole wave of fans since connecting with Nas and the Queensbridge rapper's new label,  Mass Appeal, on which he released the critically acclaimed The Ecology two months ago. Just in the past week, the Fresno rapper unleashed the album's second single and accompanying video, "Higher."

The Souls of Mischief along with their childhood friend and director of the engaging documentary on the Hiero crew, 'Til Infinity, Shomari Smith are all in New York City right now for the screening of the film tonight at the Helen Mills Theater on West 26th Street as part of the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF 2015). So far, the veteran Oakland hip-hop crew have included doing an interview with Birthplace magazine, and stopping by an old friend's radio show. 

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It's 4/20: Rallying Call Continues To Be Legalize It, And Make Today A National Holiday

Posted by Billyjam, April 20, 2015 12:50pm | Post a Comment

On his past Friday night's HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the long time outspoken supporter of pot legalization said that 4/20 (aka today's date April 20th) should be made an official national holiday. He says this because already it is the day set aside to fully celebrate the positive effects of weed and the advancements and recent strides towards marijuana legalization and its accepted use for medical uses - it just needs a Federal stamp of approval. In showing his sincerity for his proposal Bill Maher noted that he had alredy created a petition that calls on Congress to make every year's April 20 date a national weed-related holiday. He is serious and has consistently championed the legalization of pot, routinely calling out President Obama on his slowness to fully promote legalization on a national level.

You can sign the Change.Org petition here which has already reached about 80% of its desired petition signees. Despite the general lax attitude towards weed in California these days, thanks mostly to the efforts of those who fought for medical cannabis legalization which date back to Proposition 215 (AKA the Compassionate Use Act of 1996) the California law concerning the use of medical cannabis, it is important to remember that it is still not legal for recreation use in the Golden State. And hence why a couple of grassroots political groups have recent filed ballot initiatives to try and make weed (medical and recreational) more accessible to adults in the State.The California Craft Cannabis Initiative is for both full legalization and for initiating both a cannabis trademark and a state cannabis commission. Meanwhile the other recently filed ballot initiative is The Compassionate and Sensible Access Act which is more of a health-care (versus recreational) rooted initiative that is pushing for weed to be viewed and fully accepted as a “legitimate, alternative medicinal treatment.” Both of these (or just one or neither) could well end up next year (2016) for voters in California to make a decision on at the ballots.

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Top Ten Essential Hip-Hop Albums of 2014

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2014 11:13am | Post a Comment

10 Essential Hip Hop Albums of 2014

1) DJ Qbert Extraterrestria + GalaXXXian (Galactic Butt Hair Records)

Although only released digitally in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign (vinyl to arrive at Amoeba in 2015), this instrumental album (Extraresstria) and its rap/emcee counterpart album (GalaXXXian) rate as my top pick(s) for the best hip-hop released in 2014. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking so; Extraterrestia is up for a possible Grammy award. The stated goal of DJ Qbert's new album, which the artist considers as a Wave Twisters Part II, is to present the sound of skratch music in the future as he sees it, or - as he said upon the release of the new project - "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." The "Jimi Hendrix of the turntables" ably accomplishes both solo as producer/DJ as well as with such album collaborators as Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, and Chad Hugo, who (along with Tipsy) co-produce the album's best track - the soothing, dreamy, ethereal "Ascender (Agartha)."

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Hiero Day 2014 Artists Preview

Posted by Billyjam, August 31, 2014 11:20pm | Post a Comment

Hiero Day 2014 -- happening Monday, September 1st in Oakland in the blocks surrounding 95 Linden Street (Linden Street Brewery) -- may only be in its third year, but this ambitious, annual, refreshingly non-mainstream, all-ages East Bay hip-hop festival has quickly become the best Bay Area hip-hop festival of the year. Hiero Day features the extended Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective along with a slew of equally talented hip-hop friends (mostly Bay and Cali hip-hop acts) performing on three different stages throughout the day.   I attended last year's Hiero Day and was so impressed with how fun and how peaceful this musically rich event was!

Hiero Day is free and all-ages with a truly indie feeling, and no nasty corporate overtones. In fact it is more like an expanded modern day continuation of the Living Legends' Unsigned & Hella Broke jams back in the day. Fittingly, Mystik Journeymen are among those on the bill at Hiero Day 2014 - a day that will attract hip-hop appreciative fans in the thousands to enjoy great music, a variety of tasty food trucks, tables selling cool hip-hop clothing, a skate contest, and (for vinyl fiends and crate diggers) the beat swap meet.

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