Amoeblog

REST IN POWER MIKE DREAM FRANCISCO - 40th BIRTHDAY

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2009 03:55pm | Post a Comment
Mike "DREAM" Francisco 1993 interview @ No Justice, No Peace art opening

Exactly forty years ago today, August 15th 1969, Mike "DREAM" Francisco was born. But instead of what should have been a landmark birthday celebration today, this August 15th is just another sad reminder to those loved ones and friends and fans of the late, great Bay Area graffiti artist of how Mike "DREAM" Francisco's life was prematurely, senselessly halted nine years ago. On February 17th, 2000 on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, DREAM was gunned down and killed, the victim of a random street robbery.  Mike DREAM Francisco

Not only was DREAM (or "King Dream," as he is referred to by many) a gifted and prolific artist, with a passion for hip-hop -- having collaborated with countless hip-hoppers, including Hobo Junction over the years -- but he was also a most outspoken individual, one concerned about his community, and one never afraid to speak out against the ills of society.

Had DREAM been allowed to live today, you can bet he would have been at the front of the protests against the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police earlier this year. In fact, in 1993 he was one of the featured artists in the anti police brutality show No Justice, No Peace at downtown Oakland's Pro Arts Gallery. Above is a rare interview with DREAM at the opening of that show by A Debonair Affair's Melinda Bell which, despite the poor audio quality, gives you a great insight into the kind of person DREAM was: down-to-earth, fun, & witty, but also most passionate about his beliefs. I first met DREAM around 1990 and was instantly struck by what a genuinely good spirited and generous person he was, always upbeat and interested in what others had to say. But what is perhaps most profound about the DREAM interview above is how he defines what "reality" means to some people, like himself, as  "to brothers like us reality is watching people die on the streets everyday!"

AMOEBLOG'S SUMMER GRAFFITI SERIES: PART I, INTRO

Posted by Billyjam, July 4, 2009 11:58am | Post a Comment
DREAM R.I.P.

This is the kick-off post in a seven-week summer series of Graffiti Amoeblogs, focusing on the art of graffiti and running every Saturday from now, July 4th, until Saturday, August 15th, 2009 -- the date that will mark what would have been the 40th birthday of Mike DREAM Francisco, the legendary Bay Area graffiti artist who was tragically murdered nine years ago on the streets of Oakland. Rest in peace, DREAM. Your legacy will live forever.

Included in the numerous blogs in this series will be an interview with DEMER of the longtime NYC Wallnuts crew, who decades later is still making graffiti art, and who currently runs the store Graffiti Comix in Belleville, New Jersey, where he combines his two life-long passions/hobbies -- graffiti and comic books. There will also be an interview with OB, who runs the graffiti supply (and record) store All City in Dublin, Ireland. That same Graffiti Amoeblomiami graffitig will also take a look at the Irish graffiti scene.

James & Karla Murray, the hard working and prolific graffiti photo-journalists (Broken Windows, Burning New York, Store Front, Miami Graffiti), will also be interviewed here and high-quality images of their best New York City and Miami graffiti shots will also be included. Future Amoeblogs will also focus on Cali graffiti and its makers, and of course there will be a whole blog dedicated to DREAM, who was an amazing artist. 

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 08:15:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2008 07:00am | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP FIVE 08:15:08
Elzhi
1)  eLZhi Preface (Fat Beats)

2) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)

3) NaS Untitled (Def Jam)

4) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)

5) Zo! & Tigallo Love the 80's (Hall of Justus Records)


This week's number one seller at the Amoeba Music Hollywood store is the brand new release from longtime bubbling-under Detroit emcee eLZhi (pronounced Els-Eye), who made his introduction to most in the hip-hop world a few years back when he joined Slum Village. Consequently, he has been keepin' active, between touring and appearing here and there on others' releases doing guest shots, including on many records from his Motor City hometown. Many of the Amoeba Hollywood shoppers who made Preface number one this week had no doubt obtained copies earlier this year of elZhi's Europass, his limited edition independently pressed-up CD/ download-able collection, which has won the talented emcee worthy praise from many quarters and also included "Motown 25." But it is the brand new Fat Beats issued Preface that will put eLZhi permanently and deservedly in the hip-hop history annals.
 
Stylistically, eLZhi is a gifted storytelling emcee whose delivery harks back to the more golden age of hip-hop (even the records scratched in are from that classic era in the genre, such as KRS-One) with tales of the hard knock life he has led coming up in Detroit. For samples off the new album and other recordings check out eLZhi MySpace, where you'll hear such great album tracks as "Motown 25," featuring Royce Da 5' 9" and "The Leak" featuring Ayah. Other guests on this recommended new album include A.B., Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Fatt Father, Danny Brown, Fat Ray, Phat Kat, and Fes Roc.

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BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 07:25:08

Posted by Billyjam, July 25, 2008 09:22am | Post a Comment

HOLLYWOOD AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP TOP FIVE:

1) Nas Untitled (Def Jam)

2) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)

3) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)

4) Suga Free Smell My Finger (HMF/Warner)

5) Jean Gray + 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith/Warner)

Thanks to Scott Carlson in the hip-hop department at Amoeba Music Hollywood for this week's top selling albums chart, which includes in the number three slot the brand new release from SoCal's Suga Free, Smell My Finger, which dropped earlier this week. 

Lil Wayne's hot selling new album (#3 on Amoeba chart) has caught the attention of Abkco Music who are suing the rapper, his songwriters, and his label (Cash Money - a division of Universal) for "copyright infringement and unfair competition" over a new Lil Wayne album track that appears to heavily borrow from the Rolling Stones song "Play With Fire" which they own rights to. 

SF rapper Z-Man's group One Block Radius (the alt rock trio he is  a part of when not doing solo stuff or with his Gurp City familia) have signed to Def Jam. The Cali based One Block Radius accurately describe their unique, pop-ready sound as "Pharcyde meets Steve Winwood meets Sublime meets Outkast meets Hall and Oates" and drop their major label debut in September.

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EAST BAY EXPRESS' HELLA FUN BEST OF THE EAST BAY PARTY

Posted by Billyjam, July 14, 2008 06:28pm | Post a Comment
The Uptones @ Oakland Museum, East Bay Express party
"I thought there would be maybe a couple of hundred people here and that it would be a pretty good event but, damn, I didn't think there would be this many people here and that it would this great a party. Hell yeah!," exclaimed Dan K -- one of the many attendees at last Friday's East Bay Express party.

The Oakland biker/hip-hop artist (who a few years back had a feature on him in the East Bay Express) was excitedly shouting over the music coming from the main stage at the Oakland Museum of California, where the independent East Bay weekly was hosting its "Old School" themed "Best of the East Bay" free party. Meanwhile, behind him, one of the hella fun night's many performers, longtime Berkeley ska group The Uptones (pictured above), ripped into their appropriately old school hit "Out to Sea."   

"Crazy....in a good way," laughed Amoeba Music's Naomi about the scene. She and fellow Amoebite Rachael were kept extremely busy tending to the long line of music fans who patiently waited for their turn to Amoeba Music spin-to-win @ East Bay Express 2008 Best-of party spin-to-win prizes including CDs, DVDs, and lots of Amoeba swag, including bags, hoodies, and turntable slip mats. (Amoeba was one of the main sponsors of the event.) A little later, headlining act Flipper was scheduled to sign autographs at the Amoeba table.

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