Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2007 10:39am | Post a Comment
Juan (AKA Wonway Posibul), who joined Amoeba Berkeley two and a half years ago, lives and breathes hip-hop. At the East Bay music store his title is hip-hop buyer. Outside, he is emcee Wonway Posibul with Berkeley hip-hop crew the Secluded Journalists. Additionally, the always busy artist has, over time, collaborated with many other artists on projects including the acclaimed A Tribe Called Quest tribute he recorded with Oakland Faders DJ and fellow Amoeba Berkeley employee DJ Platurn. He is also an in-demand DJ and currently spins at East Bay spots, including Kitty's and Easy Lounge. But it is the unique class that this qualified educator teaches once a week at Cell Space in San Francisco that he finds most rewarding. "Def Ed" is the exact title of the progressive course he teaches on the art of emceeing. As well as schooling his young students on how to effectively write rhymes, Juan also carefully mentors them on how to present their rhymes properly -- how to flow.

AMOEBLOG: How does teaching kids to emcee benefit you as an artist and as a person?
JUAN: I was raised by a community that consisted of family, friends, artists, activists, and teachers. I wouldn't have progressed as an emcee without them. So it's only natural I give back to the community that raised me -- especially with Hip Hop nowadays and the consolidation of images and ideas that's being presented to the youth. I feel like teaching is one little way of fighting the bullshit, and trying to establish a balance. This is my first year teaching, so just making these lesson plans, and breaking down what I feel is important to be an emcee, and for the first time critically looking at what I'm doing, I'm learning a lot and becoming a stronger writer and emcee because of it. The kids also bring an energy along with some new styles that I think are very exciting and inspirational.

AMOEBLOG: A couple of weekends ago your hip-hop group Secluded Journalists performed at the long-running annual Hip-Hop In the Park (conveniently staged immediately behind Ameoba Berkeley in People's Park). Headlining this year's bill was MURS, who you did sound for at his killer Amoeba Berkeley instore several months back. How was the Park event and how did your group's performance go?
JUAN: Hip-Hop in the Park is always fun for me. I've been to all eleven of them. We did our thing. But they always put us on way too early, before the bulk of the crowd gets there. When will they learn we're better than hella of the people they put on after us?

AMOEBLOG: Who is your personal favorite new artist to watch out for? 
JUAN: I like this guy from LA named Blu. He has an album coming out on Sound in Color with Exile of Emanon.
AMOEBLOG: Name four popular hip-hop releases @ Amoeba Berkeley this week :
JUAN:  J Dilla Ruff Draft
             DJ Haylow Soul Brother Productions
             DJ Platurn and E da Boss The Big Playback
             Melina Jones Swearing off Busters
AMOEBLOG: What is the best thing for you about working in a music store like Amoeba?
JUAN: Having access to all this music and people that are really passionate about music. It's like part musicology class, part job. Meeting and networking with other artists, distributors, and labels. Learning another side of the business.
                                                                            AMOEBLOG: What do you see as the future of music distribution? WIll people be buying CDs and records in brick and morter stores ten years from now?
JUAN: The future of music is definitely shifting towards digital and the Internet, but as long as there are collectors, music that never made it to MP3, and those that like to talk and socialize with real people about  music, there will still be people buying CD's and records ten years from now. There'll be like 90% less stores, but the good ones will still be here.