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Amoeblog Interview With True Skool's Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2014 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist has long been part and parcel of the fabric that makes up the Bay Area's vibrant hip-hop scene - even though he's not originally from California. An East Coast transplant, with a stop en route to Cali in Colorado, Ren is not only a skilled DJ with two decades of turntable experience coupled with a deep diverse knowledge of music, but he is also a revered club/concert promoter whose True Skool parties are legendary. Additionally, via his online magazine / newsletter True Skool website and its affiliated social network links - notably Twitter and Facebook, he provides a unique and invaluable source of information on Bay Area hip-hop and nightlife happenings as well as general hip-hop news and cultural/political updates - all of which demonstrate how well connected and passionate the man born Renoir Salgado is about hip-hop culture and the Bay Area at large. In addition to his own productions Ren is also in big demand at other folks' events too such opening for Wu-Tang Clan at Ruby Skye in San Francisco (photo above) in 2007, or over the summer at the Amoeba Music sponsored Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at where he was among the carefully chosen curators and also a guest lecturer. Then last month at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (YBCA) cool retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition he was an integral part of the two-day event when, among other things, he curated/DJ'ed the official CD mix of event - an excellent mix of hip-hop music from the year of '93. This week I caught up with the always busy Ren to ask him about True Skool - its history, ongoing projects, and future plans. 


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DJ Woody's "The Nature of Battle" Dedicated To 2014 DMC World Championships

Posted by Billyjam, October 4, 2014 12:03pm | Post a Comment
       
                 DJ Woody's "The Nature of Battle" dedicated to the 2014 DMC World Championships

In anticipation of this weekend's big battle DJ event in London - the 2014 World DJ Championships in London tomorrow, October 5th - UK battle DJ veteran DJ Woody has just laced up the above killer tribute video/audio mix as his "dedication to all the DJs who ever took their skills to the battle."  Woody, who gave up battling some years ago to concentrate on his career as a mixed media DJ career (he does amazing video sets), knows a thing or two about DJ battling with a  rich resume that boasts such titles as the 2001 World ITF Champion, and the 2002 World Vestax Champion.

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Five Year Anniversary of Passing of Pioneering DJ Grand Master Roc Raida

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2014 12:04pm | Post a Comment
On this date, September 19th, five years ago the hip-hop world was shocked to learn the tragic news that super-talented DJ Grand Master Roc Raida had died from cardiac arrest at age 37. The totally unexpected death, following a week of being hospitalized, was due to medical complications relating to an accident that the DJ encountered a few weeks previously while training in the contact combat self-defense system known as Krav Maga. Later today on my weekly hip-hop radio show on WFMU I will be honoring the legacy of the DMC world champion DJ who most got to know via his membership of the X-Men/X-Ecutioners but who, over his illustrious prolific career, worked with a wide array of artists that included MF Grimm, Big Pun, Pink, Linkin Park, Jungle Brothers, Nelly, Opio, The Beatnuts, Mike Patton, and Dilated Peoples.

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2014 DMC US Finals Winners: Proof That Prep For Prestigious Battle Starts At Young Age

Posted by Billyjam, August 26, 2014 01:00pm | Post a Comment

2014 DMC US Champions Top 5 (Showcase style: six minutes each DJ)
 

1st: DJ I-Dee (Fairfax VA)

2nd: DJ Dwells (NYC)

3rd: DJ Ease (Rochester NY)
(aka
 International Ease)

4th: DJ Esquire (Brooklyn NY)

5th: Ichy the Killer (San Jose CA)

DJs I-Dee and Dwells - the winner and runner-up respectively in this year's heated 2014 DMC US Finals DJ battle presented by Rane, that took place Saturday night at Webster Hall in New York City - are both examples that battle DJing is something that many get into at an increasingly younger age. They're also proof that the DMC is indeed as it claims to be the "most prestigious" and important competition for DJs out of the many other battles over the years - since it's the DMC that these two (like most DJs) strive towards winning, and that each have meticulously studied videos of past DMC competitions for inspiration in bettering their skills in preparing for battle. "When I first started DJing seventeen years ago, when I was ten, I picked up a whole bunch of DMC tapes," said the new US DMC battle champ DJ I-Dee in his acceptance speech for the title that will take him to the UK in October for the 2014 DMC World Championships. "My goal was accomplished ten years ago when I made the [DMC] US Finals. And everything after that has been a complete bonus," added the Fairfax VA DJ [seen in above pic c/o Arvee Eco Photography who supplied most of the photos for this review - others c/o Christie Z-Pabon of DMC/Tools of War].

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Hip-Hop DJ Heaven In Hollywood Today with RockWalk DJ Inductions +Hollywood GC DJ Concert

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2014 08:53am | Post a Comment
It's gonna be hip-hop DJ heaven in Hollywood today over by the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd. (not too far from Amoeba Hollywood) where both the big RockWalk induction ceremony at 3pm will take place followed at 5pm by the Hollywood GC DJ event with a list of great DJs appearing and performing. The free two-part event begins at 3pm (but get there earlier to both get parking a secure a good spot) with an induction ceremony of the first ever hip-hop DJ artists to the RockWalk:  Grand Wizzard Theodore, GrandMixer DXT and Grandmaster Flash. Then at 5pm another turntablism legend DJ Jazzy Jeff will both perform and host a killer DJ concert featuring sets by such other greats as D-Styles, DJ Nu-Mark, DJ Rhettmatic, Mr Choc, P-Trix, Shortee, The Gaslamp Killer, Mike Relm, and Dynamix. The event ends at 11pm.
Unveiled in 1985, the RockWalk, which is located in front of the Sunset Blvd Guitar Center in Hollywood, is a musical alternative to the nearby movie themed Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater. With its mission statement, that is literally written in stone (see pic right), of being for "individuals who have made significant contributions to The Music Business" the RockWalk celebrate rock, jazz, blues, and (few) hip-hop artists are all honored in handprints and autographs in cement. Additionally in the window of Guitar Center they've  guitars and other memorabilia once owned by musicians honored on the RockWalk. The long list of those honored to date includes Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Les Paul, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Todays three inductees Flash, DXT, and Theodore, who will be introduced by DJ Qbert, have each long believed in and envisioned the turntable as an instrument. Even back four decades ago when no one in the mainstream took hip-hop DJ'ing (long before the word turntablism had been coined to define the sub genre - by DJ Babu in 1995), or even hip-hop itself, seriously these three artists had the foresight to project ahead and imagine what the turntable as instrument would become what it is today and that the practitioner of that instrument be given the same respect as any musician would.

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