Thursday, February 25, 2010
When we left off on in this discussion, I was reminiscing on the great selections available in college radio in NYC back in the 90s. The show being discussed was the Mr. Magic (RIP) and Mr Cee show on 91.5 FM. Now when that show finished around midnight, there was possibly the most well known show from that era. This show went through a number of iterations beginning with Uptown rapper Kurious being the host. The next version and most well known had DJ Stretch Armstrong holding it down with my man my mellow Bobbito Garcia aka Dj Cucumber Slice (slice slice...). Together they held the flag for underground hip hop on the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito show aka Stretch and Bob aka 89 tech 9.
The show aired from 1am to 5am and caused many bags to appear below my eyes in high school. I can remember sitting up with my mother's old radio with my finger on the pause button. I would cautiously wait for a song to start so I could hit the pause button and get to recording. So many gems would be played on this show as well as some stinkers every now and then. Bob was also prone to playing demos which would be hit or miss.
I have to say the game got real when Lord Sear joined the show. The man previously seen in THIS video singing. With Lord Sear bringing the comedy, Bobbito setting him up and Stretch on the cuts, the die was cast and history was made. There were many classic jokes sessions to accompany the freestyle sessions. This was my favorite time to listen to the radio.
I found this blog (Dirtywaters.blogspot.com) thanks to Bobbito which posts old shows. Go forth and download!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Near the Empire State Building there has been a huge ad for a new Korean chicken restaurant for months now. I'm guessing the place is under construction. To be honest, I never planned on going to this place, even though I enjoy Korean food. With that said after seeing the video I have posted below, they will never see a dime of my money. I make it no secret that once a company shows offensive advertising I completely take them off my radar. This commercial is nothing but offensive to me. However I'm one person, and I still don't eat Burger King from their chicken fries campaign from years back so maybe I'm extreme.
You be the judge.
This is just soooo damn dope. My man Spec took a concept of flipping classic flicks with dope hip hop and calling it SPECFLIX. For more of these videos check the homie's website SPECBOOGIE.COM
Friday, February 19, 2010
This is a Spec Boogie banger right here. Directed and edited by Ali Santana. My beautiful home of Brooklyn. You gotta love it.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
When I started high school in 1993 there were a few albums that came out and completely rocked my world. "Enta Da Stage" by Black Moon, "Enter the 36 Chambers" by Wu-Tang and "Doggystyle" by Snoop were amongst this great new hip hop. Around this time I discovered the college radio shows like Mr. Magic and Mr. Cee's show on 91.5 FM. I used to listen to this show every Thursday at around 10pm. Nothing would keep me from the radio when they started. It was on this show that I would learn about the latest dope hip hop that the major stations like Hot 97 didn't play yet. I discovered cats like Mic Geronimo, Camp Lo and The Alkaholiks. This is the hip hop that I just wasn't used to yet but came to love.
Mr. Cee and Magic would have contests for listeners to call in and receive things like promo single CDs and albums. I once got through on the call in, and won the Cella Dwellas debut album "Realms and Reality". I unfortunately never received that album and called Mr. Cee to tell him. He was very cordial even though I never got the album. Maybe it was lost in the mail. One prize however was received, and it was won by my MOTHER not me. She was listening to the show with me one night and was the winner of a Mary J Blige single. It was the first CD in my household ever.
I was limited on cassette tapes to record from the radio so I would be very careful with what I taped and what I didn't. Space was precious and wack songs along with idle talk had no place on my tapes. I now wish I had those discussions on tape as it was a precious time in my life. Mr. Magic is now deceased and many of the songs I heard back then are either rare or forgotten all together. Look out for part 2 as I discuss another show from that era.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Twas my V Day surprise to the lady and surprised she was. As we walked into the theater I looked around and noticed the festive stage design. It was pretty bright and I could see folks walking around who seemed to be a part of the show, even though the production hadn't officially started yet. The band Antibalas was playing some dope Afro Beat groove. As I sat down I was ready for whatever this show was going to be.
My introduction to Fela Kuti's music started about 8 years ago after a night of clubbing and dancing. I crashed at my brother Tahleim's place and before going to sleep he proceeded to play for me two artists who would alter the way I heard music. One was Fela Kuti and the other was Nina Simone.
As the show started and the familiar Afrobeat grooves filled the auditorium I felt giddy. I'd seen Antibalas before live and hell my boy Marcus is even in the band, however I've never seen them play Fela songs. This was quite an experience. The dancers were excellent both male and female and I honestly felt like the play overall made me feel proud to be who I am. I loved the connection made between Black people in America and Fela. I love that it was the black power movement that helped fuel his return to his homeland to do an important work. The actor who played Fela did a great job as did the woman who played Sandra Isadore. I nearly jumped out of my skin as they went into my favorite Fela song Upside Down.
As the play went on I got a good sense of the respect and admiration Fela had for his mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. She laid the foundation for him to be a rebellious leader for his people. The music moved in and out of the story almost seamlessly. Also the light work was well done in this production. Props to Jay-Z and Jada Pinkett-Smith for backing this play.
Bottom line, if you are a fan of Fela's work/music you MUST see this play. I'll probably see it again if possible (a first for me). See the video's below for a primer on Fela's work.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I just finished this book two days ago and I must say I was very pleased. This was my first Baldwin novel. I previously read a play written by him titled "Blues For Mister Charlie" which made my blood boil. It's a very emotionally charged play to say the least. I was given that play by a woman I would see on the train often on my way home from school. This was during my college years. Fast forward 6 years or so and I'm reading my first novel by the man.
Go Tell It On The Mountain is an excellent book first of all. The way it starts out, I thought the story was gonna go one way. Actually my preconceived notions may have something to do with me knowing a little bit about the author, but alas I was wrong. The book spends a lot of time on digging into each of it's main characters. There were a number of ooh and aahhh moments for me (which look strange when you're on the train, reading). I was happy that the book cover does not discuss any of the plot, so when I read it everything was fresh. I wont go into any of story here, because if you read it I would like for you to have a similar experience.
I give Go Tell It On the Mountain a B+ only because there's a part of the story that I feel was not resolved. I'm sure it doesn't need to be but because it was so juicy I really wanted some closure there.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've been living in New York City all my life. I've gone to public school and dealt with all types of obstacles. When I first heard news of a blizzard possibly hitting the city this week I thought, "cool, we get to throw some snowballs". Then I started hearing people talking about how they can't make it to work. After that, the city declared the schools would be closed before it even started snowing. This whole affair just seems weak to me. I've been through a number of snow storms and I don't remember every having school canceled.
So this morning I wake up and prepare like I normally do to head to Manhattan for work. I look out the window and see the snow falling and I see the streets already plowed. Fine, the city is acting as it should and staying on top of things. Then I get a text from a co-worker asking if I'm attending work today. I reply of course and scoff at the idea of staying home while the trains are working fine. While on the train heading over the Manhattan Bridge I receive a text from the aforementioned co-worker and a second friend telling me to go home, the office has been officially closed. Instead of feeling happy I get a bit sad. To me it just reflects another blow to the spirit of this great city. Now something as common as SNOW has caused the administration of NYC to hit a state of paralysis. It's sad.
I guess a day of watching anime and playing video games will have to make up for it. *kanye shrug*
Monday, February 08, 2010
The MoCADA exhibition opening was a huge success. The place was packed and I ran into a bunch of my old Brooklyn friends, plus made some new ones. There were some really cool pieces on display and some I didn't really get. I gotta say I loved the paintings by Tim Okamura. He's a talent that folks should look out for. My boy Ali Santana put together some really cool videos showing both proud and critical views of Brooklyn. Spec Boogie a rapper from Bed Stuy starred in the two videos.
You can view the video of NY1's coverage here.
P.S. I'm in the video!
Friday, February 05, 2010
Photo by Metromix
*takes deep breath*
Going into this championship I was a little jaded due to the first one. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but then realized that the fun aspect of HHK was all that mattered. With that said, Heeeeeere we go...
Once everyone arrived ready to perform we sat upstairs in the dressing room joking and rapping along to the records DJ Wex played on stage. The homie Dee Phunk told me the crowd was growing exponentially. At one point a group of us started quoting Coming To America for some reason, and in walks Josh Diggs (the host with the most) with someone rocking a thick black fur directly behind him. All talk ceased as we saw it was Big Daddy Kane himself who just walked in. Josh said something to break the ice, and Kane started shaking everyone's hand, exchanging pleasantries. Once he left the room, we started discussing how sharp he still looked and how fresh his fur was.
Once we had the performance order and 10 o'clock hit, the show started. Josh did a great opening sequence and it was off to the races. I gotta say everyone really did a good job. The one wack surprise of the night was Chef going out in the first round. I speculate the drinks in the dressing room got the best of him that night and he just came off too relaxed to the judges. This was especially prominent after K-Dot started the night off with an incredibly energetic rendition of "Slam" by Onyx. I went on after Diego who gave an energetic performance as well. As I stood to the side of the stage my stomach was in knots. When my name was announced, I took the stage and looked out at the crowd. I saw my beautiful Shino in the crowd, I saw my cheering section holding up signs with my name and this all calmed me down. I felt at ease on stage and ready to perform one of my favorite songs period. Once the beat dropped I felt the energy surge through me. From the first verse to the last verse I never lost focus and kept the crowd in my performance. After four verses I received the first perfect score of the night! Buckshot even got out of his seat to salute me. ME!
As I went to the second round I got to perform the song I scheduled to do in the first championship. However due to my poor score it never saw the light of day... until now. Before I went on this MOFO Doni D went out and destroyed the stage. When I saw him backstage I didn't even say anything we just looked smiled and I walked away shaking my head. I purchased a fitted cap just for my performance two years ago and of course I forgot it at home. Shino did me a huge favor by bringing it to the venue for me. Once I put that hat on and, the music started for Jay-Z's "Encore" I felt that energy surge again. I still smile thinking about that performance. All of the judges showed me love for this one and Big Daddy Kane told me I had what it took to be a real rapper.
For the third round I wasn't as sharp as before and my score reflected that. Before I started I told the crowd that I'd already reached my goal. I got to perform all my songs and had an amazing amount of fun. It was never about winning first place for me. As I went into Slick Rick's "Mona Lisa" I had a gang of fun. I got the whole crowd to dance with me by the end of the song. Right when I finished my man Axiom tossed me his big purple crown which I caught and through right on my head as Slick Rick The Ruler. We didn't even plan that. (As I type this Mona Lisa comes randomly on last FM) I'm sure I had the biggest smile on my face.
When it was all said and done, Doni D and I tied for second and Jessica the newcomer from Queens held down the title of champion with her performance of My Adidas. I have to say the judging was VERY fair this time. Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 did his thing and showed his knowledge of hip hop lyrics. I appreciated all the comments from the judges. It was time to wrap up the show and at that point Buckshot took the mic and performed "I Gotcha Open (Remix)". When he finished Big Daddy Kane left the judges table and I proceeded to beg him to let me dance for him. This was always a dream of mine. Damali joined me and we became his modern day Scoob and Scrap. AMAZING.
When Kane finished he told me that he was really impressed with my performance and that I was better than many signed acts he saw on stage. He said he didn't know why I never pursued a career in hip hop because I had... "IT". Yup Kane said that to ME! All of the contestants were on stage at this point. All on the same level with no animosity. We were hugging and dancing together, family again. HHK family.
P.S. After the show I got to talk to Kane for a good 15 minutes about Brownsville history and the fact that he was the first performer I ever saw as a kid back in 88. AMAZING!
Time For Pictures And Videos
Photo by Shino Yanagawa
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
It's that time again. The good folks at Rare Form are putting together a charity event for the J. Dilla Foundation. The name of the affair is Donuts R Forever 4. I can't believe this is the fourth one already. I've only been to one over at South Paw and the event is a gang of fun. It gets packed early every time, and the hosts pass out donuts to those on line and inside the venue.
If you're not in the know, (by now you should be) J. Dilla (Jay Dee or just James Yancey) was a great producer in the hip hop community. He kinda flew under the radar during his time on this Earth. This party is the perfect place for you to learn and get immersed in all things Dilla.
For now check a few of his productions out and I'll see you on Saturday.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
I've been getting the word about this art show from a couple of friends in different circles. It's going to be at MOCADA so it should be really dope. I know my friend Ali Santana is contributing a video piece. If you've been following my writings at all you should know that I'm not a fan of the rapid change that's been happening in Brooklyn. While some things have been to the good, (healthier choices for eateries, more outlets for art) others have not been (displacement of people, higher rents, smug outsider inhabitants).
I'm looking forward to this exhibit providing a unique look into these issues and many more.
I'll see you there.
Opening "Set it Off" Reception
Thursday, February 4, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm Free to the public
MoCADA (80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY)
Monday, February 01, 2010
This is the Hip Hop Karaoke Championship Edition. I hope you all enjoy these videos from either the judges or song performed during the competition.
I used to do the running man all day to this joint.
The original Backpack Karate Champs (peep the moves LOL)
The Ruler himself.
The God Emcee
Oh La La Ah We We
I used to do the running man all day to this joint.
The original Backpack Karate Champs (peep the moves LOL)
The Ruler himself.
The God Emcee
Oh La La Ah We We