Gifted & Prolific San Francisco Hip-Hop Artist Z-Man Both Raps And Paints, Creating All His Own Original Album Art Work

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2015 09:09am | Post a Comment

"There was a time when I asked myself should I draw all the album covers?" said Z-Man, quickly answering his own question. "Fuck it man! I'll do all the album covers - and others too! Yeah, it's a lot of work but it is so gratifying,"  grinned the longtime San Francisco hip-hop artist recently in an Amoeblog interview, while referring back to a previous period in his long, colorful, illustrious and richly varied and prolific career as both a painter and a hip-hop artist.

Some multi-talented rappers such as Lord Finesse or J-Live also DJ and produce their own albums but uniquely talented, but Z-Man has the distinction of painting all of his own album cover art too. And he has been doing so since day one when he hand drew the cassette cover art for his old Daly City based hip-hop crew 99th Demention's album release in 1996.

And ever since that premiere release, that will celebrate its 20 year anniversary next year, Z-Man he has been consistently doing both the music and cover art for his albums (and others) with the most recent examples being for 2014's The Opening Act (with Elon on Gurp City) and his brand new Solidarity Records release "Flea Circus" with producer Tahaj Edwards. In the photo on top  up above Z-Man is seen holding up the album cover's original art that he painted, like most of his work, at his cramped but creative Western Addition district San Francisco home studio in the home where he grew up. I recently stopped by Z-Man's home, in the building where he grew up as a child and has seen the area around him become gentrified.

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Record Release for New Z-Man Album "Flea Circus" - A Collaboration with Tahaj The First

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2015 06:58pm | Post a Comment

As most hip-hop heads in the Bay (and beyond) already know, San Francisco emcee Z-Man is one of the most talented and unique wordsmiths out there; albeit an underrated artist who ranks up there talent-wise with E-40 when it comes to channeling a brilliant mind into clever wordplay of the English language along with a generous dash of his own slanguage.  Z-Man possesses a gift for unleashing a non-stop flow of clever wordplay that is typically fun, party themed on the surface, but deep on the outset - the kind that demands repeated listens.  The artist is simultaneously a very gifted painter/artist who does most of his own album artwork dating back almost two full decades when he laced up the cover art for his nineties crew 99th Demention's debut tape and such other releases as the cover for 2003's Dope Or Dog Food. which was released via the Hieroglyphics label.    

"Z-Man is definitely one of the Bay Area's most underrated artists," concurred E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley where whenever Z-Mainey (as he is also known) drops a new release it is in big demand for those who are hip to Z-Man's mic skills, many via his membership of the Gurp City crew or the many other Bay Area hip-hop entities he is down with including One League and Solidarity Records. In fact it is via the Bored Stiff (Equipto, White Mic, etc.) associated label that Z-Man is releasing his brand album with a record release party tonight at the (soon to close) Elbo Room in San Francisco. Entitled Flea Circus the album is a joint collaboration with gifted Bay Area producer Tahaj The First who produced the new GoodWord (of BPos) track that was featured here on the Amoeblog last week and who has showcased his diverse production skills working with such other artists as Otayo Dub and young mic spitter Gigio. For tonight's record release  (so new it has yet to arrive in Amoeba) Tahaj and Z-Man will celebrate with a live set performing tracks from the new album on a bill hosted by the aforementioned Equipto with live performances by Aukwin, Xiomara & the Headband, The People's Tree, and  Murk Sauce (that's Gurp City's Brycon and Eddie K), with Troubleman on the turntables. More info on the Elbo Room show here. And below is Z-Man's video for the track "Cupcakin" from with five years ago and featuring Eddie Def on the cuts.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 07.18.14: Madlib, Z-Man, Deltron 3030, DJ Woody, Hieroglyphics, Kid Vishis, Sir Michael Rocks + more

Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2014 11:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:11:14

1) Madlib Rock Konducta 1 & 2 CD (Madlib Invasion)

2) Madlib Rock Konducta Pt 2 (LP) (Madlib Invasion)

3)  Quasimoto "Planned Attack" / Talkin' Shit" [Picture Disc] (7") (Stones Throw)

4) Riff Raff Neon Icon (Mad Decent)

5) Blu Good To Be Home (Universal)

Holding down three of the five positions in the latest hip-hop chart from Amoeba Hollywood is Madlib. In the first two slots are a couple in Madlib's new ongoing Rock Konducta series (Rock Konducta Vol 1 & 2 CD and Rock Konducta Pt 2 LP) which began last year's five-track Rock Konducta 45. Note that they are available in both single volume LPs One and Two and as a double CD set (52 tracks total). An offshoot of the renowned producer's Beat Konducta series these two first full-length volumes, which are rock instrumentals (some instantly recognizable, most not as they are underground ranging from prof to psychedelia to Krautrock and beyond) all given that special Madlib treatment. Clocking in at about 40 minutes per volume with 20 plus tracks they are all totally tweaked out in Madlib's distinctive production style. IE must get material! And knowing the ever prolific producer's track record my bet is that this new Madlib series could well go on for another dozen installments. Read more on these releases on the Stones Throw website. The other Madlib entry is the 7"  picture disc single from Madlib alter-ego Quasimoto (aka Lord Quas) "Planned Attack" / Talkin' Shit" culled in part from the album Yessir Whatever. Other chart entries this week include Riff Raff's Neon Icon care of Diplo's Mad Decent imprint, and Blu's Good To Be Home care of the major label Universal Records.  Bout time the mainstream caught up with Blu!

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.14.14: Top 5, Qbert Galaxxxian Review, 206 Zulu, ILLEST DJ/B-Boy Battles, Valentine's Day Rap + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2014 07:07pm | Post a Comment

The photo above (as all other pics of show by James Mak of Joysco Studio for the Amoeblog) was taken last night at the Mezzanine in San Francisco with DJ Qbert joined by emcee A-Plus (Souls of Mischief) - one of the several artists that would join the DJ/producer throughout his hour long set that featured artists who appear alongside him on his soon to drop new album Galaxxxian (the rap counterpart to his other new album the instrumental Extraterrestria).  Others included emcees  P.E.A.C.E.  (Freestyle Fellowship), Bambu, Z-Man, and Unity, producer Dan The Automator, and "scratch guitarist" The Genie who like most of the night's guests had collaborated with Qbert. The night, which kicked off at 9pm with a nice hip-hop set from DJ Hard Rich from Thud Rumble, also featured individual sets from P.E.A.C.E. and Bambu (whose 20 minute solo set featured Jus Jones as his DJ), two incredible sets from Qbert's longtime friend collaborator and fellow Invisibl Skratch Piklz (ISP) member DJ Shortkut  who killed it with richly diverse sets that ranged from electro fueled new hip-hop to golden era classics, reggae and new UK garage, plus some nice beat juggling and scratching - including an impromptu quick session with Qbert.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 10.18.13: E-Lit, Black Milk, RJD2, Z-Man, AgentSrikeNine, Special Tech DJ

Posted by Billyjam, October 18, 2013 07:34am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 10:18:13

1) Black Milk No Poison, No Paradise (Fat Beats)

2) Deltron 3030 Event II (Bulk Recordings)

3) RJD2 More Is Than Isn't (RJS Electrical Connection)

4) Devin The Dude One For The Road (E1 Music)

5) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)

Thanks to E-Lit for the above chart and accompanying video of the Amoeba Berkeley hip-hop buyer breaking down some of the newest releases in the genre in both CD and vinyl formats. As E-Lit noted there's new vinyl in Amoeba this week of the recently released album from Oddissee, plus a vinyl version of the instrumentals of the latest Apollo Brown offering with O.C. (Trophies), and Black Milk's brand new No Poison, No Paradise. That LP release is in addition to the CD version of No Poison, No Paradise - the highly regarded Detroit artist's first album since 2010's  Album Of The Year -but not his first recording in that time. The producer/MC has been quite busy over the past three years between touring, working behind the scenes as engineer, in addition to working on such other projects as the Black & Brown EP with Danny Brown, Random Axe (with Sean Price and Guilty Simpson), and Jack White's Third Man single ("Brain" b/w "Royal Mega") to name but some of his musical adventures of late. Meanwhile his own new album No Poison, No Paradise pairs his talents alongside such guests as Black Thought, Mel, Dwele, Robert Glasper, and Quelle Chris. Below is the video for the album track "Sunday's Best/Monday's Worst.      

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