Amoeblog

MISSION DISTRICT CELEBRATED IN BEN STOKES' ANIMATED AZEEM VID

Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment

The brilliant, Ben Stokes-directed video above for Azeem's Air Cartoons' album track "Latin Revenge" (on Oaklyn Records with music production by DJ Zeph) takes place in the Mission District of San air cartoons azeemFrancisco. Inspired in part by Terry Gilliam's work and also by Azeem's music, the animated piece also puts a spin on the role of how police are perceived in society. In the video Azeem gains popularity as he peruses the streets of the Mission (eventually becoming a King Kong-like menace) as meanwhile a host of local neighborhood characters take notice. The police in the video are described by the maker as "enablers and cheerleaders."

I called up Azeem the other day to ask him what he thought about the new video. "It made me a fan and it's my video," he laughed, adding that, "All I can say about that video is that I can really almost take no credit for it. I just made the song. Like you and anyone else, I am fan of the video and I am amazed at the level of artistry that it incorporates." The video's animation was done by Ben Stokes (the video's producer/director) with additional animation by Patrick Siemer, who drew from the thousands of still photographs they shot, then cut up, mixed and matched, and then painstakenly animated using After effects.

Ben Stokes, also a part of Tino Corps, D.H.S.,, &  Meat Beat Manifesto, has been professionally making music videos for about 20 years. The Mission District, San Francisco-based Stokes started out doing videos back in 1990 in his native Chicago where he began directing & producing a lot of the pioneering hometown WaxTrax industrial music artists' videos such as Ministry and the Revolting Cocks.

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Hip-Hop Author Marcus Reeves Discusses "Somebody Scream! Rap Music's RIse To Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power"

Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2008 12:24pm | Post a Comment
Marcus Reeves ("Someboday Scream!" author)
Marcus Reeves
, former editor of the the Source hip-hop magazine and contributor to such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Vibe magazine, recently had his book Somebody Scream! (Rap Music's Rise To Prominence In The Aftershock of Black Power published by Faber and Faber Inc.

Like Jeff Chang's critically acclaimed hip-hop history Can't Stop Won't Stop, Somebody Scream likewise takes an analytical look at hip-hop -- a musical form that, like rock before it, is now all grown up and going through its own kind of mid-life crisis. Cornel West called Reeves' book "a strong  timely book for the new day in hip-hop" and he is right.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the East Coast based author to talk about his new book, Somebody Scream,  and its subject matter: hip-hop. Here is that dialog:

Amoeblog
: First up, how hard is it writing a book on a topic that is still unfolding around you as you report on its subject matter?

Marcus Reeves: Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to write because before I even started I had a beginning, a middle and an end. I’d already picked out who were the most influential rap artists—the ones who lead their particular era—strung their stories together by chapter and let the narrative unfold.Marcus Reeve's book "Somebody Scream!" And the narrative was easy because, like so many who’d watched the story of commercial rap over the last 30 years, it was also the story of my life. All the history and events that the music reflected, and I talk about in the book, were things I lived through and impacted my life. The last chapter of the book, which discusses what events shape the music now, helped capture all those moments that were still unfolding.

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PUBLIC ENEMY BRINGS THE NOISE TO IRELAND: PAUL LOWE REPORTS

Posted by Billyjam, June 10, 2008 09:41am | Post a Comment

In 1988 Public Enemy released their groundbreaking album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Us Back (Def Jam). 

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of this historic hip-hop album (considered  by many to be the greatest hip-hop album ever), Public Enemy did some concerts in Europe as part of the Don't Look Back concert series, playing the entire album.

Don't Look Back is the concert series produced by All Tomorrow's Parties in which established artists perform in concert an album of theirs (generally an agreed-on classic release) from start to finish in its original sequence. Sonic Youth partook in the series when they performed their seminal Daydream Nation and Girls Against Boys did the Don't Look Back series last year when they performed their Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby, for which Johnny Temple of the group was interviewed for the Amoeblog.

For the recent Public Enemy Don't Look Back performances of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, they did a short series of shows, including stops in Manchester, England and in Dublin, Ireland.  Tall Paul Lowe, today's special guest Amoeblogger, attended the group's Dublin, Ireland performance two weeks ago (5/25), which was at the Tripod in the Irish capitol. Paul's report follows, below the track listing to the classic 1988 LP. Note that the photo above and the photos below of Public Enemy in Dublin two weeks ago were all taken by Tall Paul Lowe.

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PAPOOSE, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? + OTHER RAP TALES

Posted by Billyjam, May 17, 2008 08:10am | Post a Comment

Earlier this week upon hearing the news involving the highly emotional but equally ridiculous actions of hip-hopper Papoose, the fiancĂ© of jailed rapper Remy Ma, the voice of Dr. Phil popped into my head and I could just hear the TV psychologist uttering his trademark words to the "Mix Tape King" Papoose: "What were you thinking?" 

Really though! On Monday when he was scheduled to wed his lady behind bars, Papoose (born Shamele Mackie) attempted to sneak a skeleton handcuff key into Rikers Island where he was headed to the New York City jail's altar.

Once guards found the key on him he got ejected from Rikers and banned from the facility for six months.  What a dummy!  Everyone (especially gangsta rap aficionados) should know that whenever you go visit someone in jail or prison that they search you thoroughly from head to toe, and often beyond. What were you thinking, Papoose? 

And if that ain't enough, then the following day when Remy Ma (born Reminisce Smith), who was arrested for last summer outside a downtown NYC club allegedly shooting her former friend Makeda Barnes-Joseph (who she said robbed $3000 cash out of her purse), got sentenced in the New York Supreme Court to eight years in prison, Papoose was in the (court) house and was not happy. "Fuck you. Put me in jail muthafuckers!" and "Lock me up! Fuckin lock me up" were among the impassioned wishes the visibly emotional Papoose shouted towards court officers upon Remy's sentencing.

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