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Amoeba Berkeley's "Checking the Technique" Panelists Brian Coleman, DJ Platurn, Domino, Adisa Banjoko & Eric Arnold Share Picks

Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2017 08:12pm | Post a Comment

Author of the acclaimed hip-hop album guide Check The Technique two-volume book series Brian Coleman will be at Amoeba Berkeley tomorrow, Thursday July 20th at 530pm (free and all ages), when the Boston based hip-hop ambassador will oversee an anticipated panel discussion plus record spinning session fittingly entitled "Checking The Technique." Joining Coleman for an evening of what promises to "celebrate old-school hip-hop, especially focusing on rap’s “Golden Age” with an emphasis on Bay Area and California artists" will be former Amoeba Berkeley staffer DJ Platurn (45 Sessions/Oakland Faders), Adisa Banjoko (Hip Hop Chess Federation & author of Bobby, Bruce & The Bronx), Eric Arnold (Oakulture), Domino (Hieroglyphics), and Prozack Turner (Foreign Legion/The Legionnaire Saloon). In addition to spinning select vinyl and discussing some of their favorite hip-hop records these panelists (comprised of DJs, artists, and historians) will talk about the importance of both documenting hip-hop's history as well as always been attentive to new upcoming hip-hop artists and musical trends.

In addition to the panel discussion and record spinning both Brian Coleman and Adisa Banjoko will sign copies of their most recent books which will be available for sale. In advance of Thursday's "Check The Technique" Amoeba Berkeley in-store session I reached out to each of the panelists to invite them to share some of their personal picks. I asked Brian Coleman and all of his invited panelists to pick their top three records (either albums or singles) from the aforementioned Golden Age.  I also asked them who they each thought was the best artist making music today in 2017. Additionally I asked each of these veteran students of hip-hop what they believed to be the best thing about hip-hop back in the Golden Age versus today and about the other way around: best thing about hip-hop today compared to back in the Golden Age. Below are the responses received.



                       Top 3 Hip-Hop Records from the Golden Age [albums or singles]?

Brian Coleman:
I'm generally not a big fan of ranking, I think it takes away from what the best eras are all about - community, crews, movements, etc. Personally I think people should do less of that and talk about a wider range of things. Maybe that's just me. That being said, Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back is my favorite LP of all time. Of any genre. Beatles? Pet Sounds? Whatever.... And I consider DJ Red Alert to be the most influential DJ of that era (late '80s). To me personally, at least. And I'm not alone.

DJ Platurn:
Pete Rock & CL Smooth  Mecca & The Soul Brother 
De La Soul  De La Soul Is Dead
Public Enemy  Fear Of A Black Planet

Adisa Banjoko:
Only three? I'm so conflicted! OK, okay. Let's go with three albums, and then three singles. Album-wise I have to say N.W.A's  Straight Outta Compton, Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Eric B. & Rakim's Paid In Full. If I have to choose  singles I have to say Freestyle's "The Party Has Just Begun" (because of the role Freestyle played in Bay Area club and car club culture), "Cold Stupid (Remix)" at 3:35 by New Choice at 3 (because the girl rapping on there was better than 90% of the dudes rapping at the time and the bass blew my dad's 15 inch sub woofer) and Skinny Boys' "Get Funky" (because it was a perfect example of party rocking hard core Hip-Hop at the time).

Domino:
 Public Enemy  It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
 Eric B. & Rakim 
Paid In Full
 Jungle Brothers
Done by the Forces of Nature


Eric Arnold:
 Eric B. & Rakim: tie between Paid In Full and Follow the Leader. Both albums were superb.
 Public Enemy  It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
 
Run-D.M.C. Run-D.M.C.


Prozack Turner:
N.W.A  Straight Outta Compton,
Public Enemy  It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
The Beastie Boys  Paul’s Boutique



                                                 Best Artist Making Music In 2017?

Brian Coleman:
The Jacuzzi Boys or Ty Segall. There's a new Shabazz Palaces LP out, that gives me some hope about this year. Best hip-hop guy who no one seems to know, which is very perplexing to me: Nolan The Ninja from Detroit. People really need to stop sleeping on this kid.

DJ Platurn:
Kendrick Lamar

Adisa Banjoko:
Depending on my mood it might Dizzy Wright, Jidenna or Kendrick Lamar. There are a lot of amazing artists in Hip-Hop right now.  Don't let these old bitter dudes get you twisted.

Domino:
Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar.

Eric Arnold:
DJ Q-Bert – still fresh! The one-finger scratch with no fader is super ill.

Prozack Turner:
Anderson .Paak, Oddisee, and Run The Jewels




                              Best Thing About Hip-Hop in the Golden Age Versus Today?

Brian Coleman

I think the biggest difference between then and now, from what I can tell about younger artists today, is having that fire in the belly, that hunger. I rarely hear younger artists trying to make music that hasn't been made before, that is going to f*ck peoples' heads up. Sure, they want it to be good, but ... duh. Innovation and the drive to create it, daily, was definitely a Hallmark of the Golden Era. Today? Not so much, from what I hear.

DJ Platurn
Likely the innocence honestly, cuz the objective wasn't to make any money back then really, but just to be creative and break ground. The money aspect to this rap shit is what killed a lot of the culture

Adisa Banjoko
I feel like our era was way more focused on fun, dancing, and car culture. You could go to a house party and really have an amazing time with total strangers just based on the love for Hip-Hop. You might get robbed too, but that was unlikely. The potential fun always made it worth the risk. I miss the public displays of Hip-Hop expression in all its forms way back. It was just open rebellion everywhere in Hip-Hop. That is when it was the most beautiful and dangerous.

Domino:
High lyrical standards and the expectation of originality.

Eric Arnold:
Originality.

Prozack Turner:
I miss the vinyl. It was standard back then. Also,I think it’s the samples and the high regard for being original in the Golden Era. You could have five groups from the same city, the same summer, and everyone would sound original and distinct.



                 Best Thing About Hip-Hop Today Compared To Back in the Golden Age?

Brian Coleman
I would say,  for most genres, the opportunity that kids have to make music for almost no money, and to get it out there without needing a label to do it. That's pretty exciting. It can also be a double edged sword because that means everyone is a producer. Are kids making the best use of the advantages they have? That's what we'll be debating at Amoeba on Thursday, I guess! I certainly hope that they appreciate it. Back in '87 you had to work your ass off just to get to the point where more than 10 people *could* hear your music.


DJ Platurn
No more rules. I love the fact that you can do whatever the fuck you want, put it online, and have unlimited reach to people anywhere in the world that might be into your shit. That's a beautiful concept.


Adisa Banjoko:
Today, everybody is in their phones or headphones so the courage to go hard and dance at Pier 39 , or battle on Telegraph and Durant is just gone. But I do love the Trap beats. To me that is just a new era expression of Mantronix and Original Concept beats reframed. I love it. The one thing that sucks now though is the news. We had 4080, The Bomb and others others that really went in depth with artists, politics and biusiness of Hip-Hop. Now it is just all gossip.


Domino:
The ability to get music to the masses without a major label.


Eric Arnold:
Kind of a trick question, because hip-hop culture has been so commodified and commercialized it’s not the same thing by any means. But one hugely positive evolutionary development is global hip-hop culture and the international scene - rap from Brazil, Cuba, Nigeria, Kenya/Tanzania, France, Japan, Chile - which in some cases has surpassed today’s American rappers in terms of cultural aesthetic, innovation and musicality. The DJ/turntablist, b-boy/b-girl, and aerosol writing cultures have also gone global, and created all these interesting juxapositions of traditional, indigenous, and hybrid or fused culture which didn’t exist back in the day.

Prozack Turner:
The ease of distribution of content. The whole process is more affordable and attainable.It’s easy to connect with your fans directly.


Relevant Tags

Public Enemy (43), Checking The Technique (1), Domino (7), Eric Arnold (3), Adisa Banjoko (8), Amoeba Berkeleycheck The Technique (1), Prozack Turner (7), Brian Coleman (6), Dj Platurn (46)