1: A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here,... Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)
2: De La Soul and the Anonymous Nobody (A.O.I. LLC) (also on 2 LP vinyl)
3: Homeboy Sandman Kindness for Weakness (also on LP) (Stones Throw)
4: E-40 The D-Boy Diary Book 1 + The D-Boy Diary Book 2,
(Heavy On The Grind)
5: Mr. Lif Don't Look Down (also on LP) (Mello Music Group)
This is a good week for Bay Area fans of hip-hop DJs with lots of must attend turntablist events in the week ahead in the San Francisco Bay Area. These include the return of legendary SF 90s DJ club Deco, DJ Quest (pictured left @ Amoeba) curating a stage at next weekend's Carnival on day two May 29th, and Maryland DJ ALF flying out to SF for various events including the monthly Skratchpad and teaming up with Mista B and others including the aforementioned Quest and Six Kutter and DJ Zobe at DJ 2Fresh's new spot Gallery 1317 for session and screening of Positive Omen (see flyer below for info). Additionally in Bay DJ news long time Bay Area True Justice releasing an album on Paris' label, and the return of the mighty ISP.
The much heralded recent return of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz (ISP) has been taking full effect this weekend with the pioneering Bay Area turntablist crew's reunited members representing at the the Maker Faire in San Mateo. The official reunited ISP lineup, who recorded the new 2016 ISP album The 13th Floor, is the trio of DJ Qbert, Shortkut, and D-Styles who are pictured above this afternoon along with former ISP member Yogafrog who handles more of the business and management areas these days. In fact it is Yogafrog who, along with Qbert and others at their Thud Rumble company, that masterminded the turntablism meets high-tech collaboration with Intel that landed them a spot at the Maker Faire a year ago exactly.
DJs and cyclist-enthusiasts Toph One and DJ Marz are the organizers behind tonight's AIDS benefit concert at the Elbo Room in San Francisco that will feature sets by Bullet Proof Space Travelers / Scratch Hamsters (DJs Quest, Cue, Marz and MC Eddie K), Mista B, Luke Sick & Brycon, Lady Fingaz, B.Cause, DJ Baysik, and DJ Ewock of The Morph Life. Hosted by Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves (SF punk group that Marz is sometime member of), the night will also include standup comedy from Frankie Quinones and Mike Evans Jr. plus live painting by Snow Monkey (Lords Crew) and Chris Micro (Trash Life). All of these artists will donate their time and talent for free. There'll be a raffle too tonight with prizes including an Amoeba gift certificate. The requested minimal $5 donation for admission go toward the upcoming annual AIDS/LifeCycle that takes place from June 5th to June 11th when 3,000+ cyclists will take on the long bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Nowadays Friday is new release day. And last Friday, Feb 26th, was the day that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released their new album This Unruly Mess I've Made (Macklemore), which is the long-awaited follow up to the Seattle duo's 2012 release, the break-out surprise hit album The Heist. Unruly Mess's title no doubt refers to the mess as he sees it in Macklemore's life since he blew up huge and became more popular than everyone, and most likely even he, ever anticipated. In his personal life he's faced demons too, famously relapsing. The mainstream pop rap star has struggled with maintaining the respect of hip-hop fans, no matter how hard he's tried. Everyone recalls, following the 2014 Grammys in which The Heist spun a ton of awards, how the "Thrift Store" rapper publicly shared his private text to Kendrick Lamar, telling the Compton rapper he was "robbed" for not getting Best Rap Album of the year for his good kid, m.A.A.d city. That Instagram share of his text to the Compton rapper backfired in the court of public opinion. Hence it wasn't surprising when, after this year's recent Grammys in which Lamar eventually won in that category for To Pimp A Butterfly, many could not pass the opportunity to take to social media to joke how "Macklemore was robbed." Getting so much grief from hip-hop fans for not being true to the genre has to sting Macklemore since the guy obviously loves hip-hop to the core. And with the new album he has gone out of his way, it seems, to demonstrate his respect for hip-hop culture and its pioneers. This began with the new album's lead single and its accompanying video from last summer, that featured the three hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, and Kool Moe Dee on the track "Downtown." Note Big Daddy Kane was in the video but not on the track. That video ended up getting over 100 million YouTube views and has likely given more deserving shine to these hip-hop icons (especially the largely slept on Caz) that they've received in their respective careers. Of the 13 track album, another love letter to hip-hop's history is the head-nodding song "Buckshot" in which Macklemore reached out to two other hip-hop heroes of his. Hip-hop legends KRS-One and DJ Premier collaborate on this track that is an ode to graf art and hip-hop culture.
Since they formed back in the 1990s, the pioneering San Francisco turntable jazz three-piece Livehuman (comprised of DJ Quest, bassist Andrew Kushin, and percussionist Albert Mathias) have been performing all over and at all kinds of venues from underground hip-hop clubs to outdoor jazz festivals. At those concerts the critically acclaimed modern jazz ensemble, who are heard everyday as theme music on San Francisco NPR outlet KALW, would do their part by performing at their very best. However how that would translate into the final mix heard by the concert goers in these venue was beyond their control since the mix was dependent on the club's sound-person. With fingers crossed, the musicians would hope that the sound person would know how to properly mix together the unique trio's individual sounds. Unfortunately, it rarely did happened that a sound man would get the Livehuman mix and blend of their three instruments just right.
Until very recently that is, thanks to new electronic gear and a whole new approach in concert for the turntable-based jazz trio. The solution to getting just the right mix desired was simple enough: they simply had to channel everything through DJ Quest's mixer. In comparison to the sound of old, the new way is a clean, clear, pitch-perfectly balanced, final mix of both Andrew's bass and Albert's various percussion sounds.