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3 DJ Stef Tributes of Past Week Honoring Late Bay Area Hip-Hop DJ Reinforced How Widely Beloved A Person She Was [Photo Version]

Posted by Billyjam, October 24, 2017 08:14pm | Post a Comment

This past week in the Bay Area there were three different hip-hop themed gatherings honoring the legacy of the late great Stephanie Gardner Ornelas, aka DJ Stef: Sunday afternoon at Fabric8 Luna Rienne Gallery, Saturday afternoon at Drake's Dealership in Oakland, and Tuesday last at the Elbo Room in San Francisco. At all three bittersweet events, which also acted like Bay Area hip-hop reunions, the common thread of conversations was the recurring tales shared about the kindness and generosity of spirit of the Bay Area hip-hop DJ who died suddenly October 1st (Amoeblog report). As noted in that report, since DJ Stef's passing three weeks ago there's been an unprecedented outpouring of grief and shock in response to the DJ/writer/hip-hop ambassador's unexpected passing from a heart attack.

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A CELEBRATION OF DJ STEF Elbo Room 10/17 Peter Agoston's Impressive Line-up inc. Zion I, Del, Foreign Legion, Peanut Butter Wolf

Posted by Billyjam, October 16, 2017 03:50pm | Post a Comment
 

Tomorrow night's (Tuesday, October 17th) A Celebration of DJ Stef at the Elbo Room in San Francisco is further proof of just how widely beloved an individual Stephanie Gardner Ornelas (aka DJ Stef) truly was. As previously reported on the Amoeblog there was unprecedented outpouring of grief and shock in response to the DJ/writer/hip-hop ambassador's sudden October 1st death from a heart attack. Tomorrow's Elbo Room party, one of several in honor of DJ Stef this week, is being organized by Peter Agoston of Female Fun.  Agoston  (aka DJ Thanksgiving Brown) is one of the multitude of devoted friends DJ Stef earned over the years via her central role in the Bay Area (and beyond) hip-hop / DJ community. Thanks to Agoston's hard work and his contact with many of the artists that DJ Stef has made a lasting impression on over the years, he's managed to enlist a most impressive list of artists to perform for free for the benefit/tribute event.

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Bonus Hiero Day: Del The Funky Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, Tajai, Phesto, Opio, A-Plus, DJ Toure & Domino - June 25 @ UC Theatre

Posted by Billyjam, June 3, 2016 12:53pm | Post a Comment


It will truly be a Hiero Day on Saturday, June 25th in Berkeley at the UC Theatre. That's when the entire Hieroglyphics hop-hop ensemble will be performing on stage on the one night. Yep that's all the members of the 25 year strong legendary Oakland collective: Del the Funky Homosapien, Casual, the mighty Souls of Mischief (Opio, A-Plus, Phesto, and Tajai), Pep Love, Domino and DJ Toure.  Having all these Hiero acts on the same stage on the same date doesn't even always happen on the official Hiero Day: the annual hip-hop music and culture festival that the veteran crew curate in their hometown each Labor Day weekend. In its five short years Hiero Day has rapidly grown and blossomed to become an institution, and one to be officially recognized as such by the City Of Oakland

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Remembering San Francisco MC African Identity

Posted by Billyjam, September 16, 2015 02:26pm | Post a Comment

Late last night Pam the Funkstress posted a sad social media update to her Instagram and Facebook pages with the news that fellow veteran Bay Area hip-hop artist African Identity, who rose to fame in the early nineties with his firebrand mic skills and hardcore political hybrid style, had died yesterday, September 15th, 2015. In addition to her update, including noting how she had just seen him in the past month, Pam posted the above photo of the late great artist for whom no cause of death has yet been announced. The Fillmore, San Francisco emcee named Hunafa, but known to most as African Identity and sometimes as just Identity, will be remembered for such releases as Ransom Note and You Won’t Come To My Funeral. By the time his debut album You Won’t Come To My Funeral was released in 1995 the microphone master was already a respected mainstay on the healthy 1990's Bay Area hip-hop scene - ever since arriving with a bang in 1992 with his acclaimed single, “Let’s Get It On (Pullin That Trigger).”
 
 

In the capacities of hip-hop journalist, radio DJ, and concert producer I worked directly with African Identity on numerous occasions throughout the decade of the nineties and always knew him to be both a good person and most talented (albeit largely underrated) artist, especially when it came to flexing his freestyle skills. In the first half of that decade I would have him as a regular guest on my KUSF hip-hop radio show on the USF campus, not far from where he lived. I remember how listeners really appreciated his improv rhyme skills and how they nominated him as the “number 1 Bay Area freestyler" on the now defunct San Francisco radio station. Meantime over at KMEL African Identity had been nominated as the first runner up in their heated Battle Of The Rappers. With a now eerie sounding reference to his own funeral, the San Francisco artist's debut album, You Won't Come to My Funeral, was a largely slept-on, talent-packed Bay Area hip-hop gem. It featured an impressive roster of his peers as guests that included Pam the Funkstress' group The Coup, Del tha Funke Homosapien (who also did some production), the GLP's JT Tha Bigga Figga, and D-Moe, Shock G of Digital Underground, Young Woo, Psycho Gangsta, Double D, Cisco The Frisco Mack, Blackbook, and Screwface. Produced mostly by Nick Peace but with some additional studio work by Del and J-Mack, the album defined both the Bay Area sound at the time as well as that of the artist himself. In the period right before its mid-nineties release he summed up the richly diverse 14 track album as “enlightening, tantalizing, sensational, provocative, political, Afro-centric, Euro-centric, it’s everything that we are....”.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Del Promotes Hieros & Freestyles in Rare January 1993 KUSF Clip

Posted by Billyjam, September 8, 2015 11:45pm | Post a Comment

Inspired by Hiero Day, I just digitized and uploaded this old short interview and freestyle from Del who was the Hiero crew's lead ambassador back then. Del, who also created that instantly identifiable Hiero logo, introduced most hip-hop ears to the Hieros via his 1991 album I Wish My Brother George Was Here single "Mistadobalina" 12" B-side only track "Burnt" that featured members of the then unknown Oakland extended hip-hop crew, the Hieroglyphics. In this January 10th, 1993 interview the Oakland artist born Teren Delvon Jones takes the shine off himself and makes a point of giving mad love to his fellow crew members by plugging the 1993 debut album releases from both the Hieros' Souls of Mischief and Casual. Note that this was at a time when really not too many knew much about the Heiroglyphics hip-hop collective, who they all were, nor ever guessed how important they would go on to become two plus decades later. It was also fitting and prophetic that Del would focus so much on those two fellow Hiero albums by both Casual and the Souls since, combined with his post-cousin Ice Cube produced (read totally different sounding), they would define the sound of the so-called Hiero Golden Age.

Originally aired on KUSF during a blunted hip-hop special I produced, I invited Del because I knew he liked to smoke and he could play some exclusive tracks from his forthcoming second album No Need For Alarm. But more than promoting his own album that was expected to drop in the coming few months (it did not finally get released by Elektra until late November of that year), Del was more interested in talking about the Souls and Casual whose forthcoming releases he was clearly excited about. In mentioning the '93 Souls debut album '93 Til Infinity, he said it would be out in the coming few months when in fact it did not get released for another eight full months in September of 1993. Meanwhile the Casual album would be released in 1993 in turned out. It was not until the following year, 1994, when Jive would release Casual's debut album Fear Itself. In the brief clip you will hear Del, who I introduced as Del tha Funkee Homosapien (note later spelling would be Del the Funky Homosapien), say how his name is Del and "the group is tha Funkee Homosapien." He then goes on to spread Hiero love and spit a great freestyle. Hear below.

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