Friday, February 24th, 2006

I Want My MTV Chi

The VJs of MTV Chi:(from left) Simon Yin, Angel Tang, Gregory Woo, Xiao Wang

Did a big story in today’s SF Chronicle on Asian American TV and the launch of MTV Chi. Check it out…

posted by @ 7:35 am | 2 Comments

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Amde of Watts Prophets On Tour!

If you’re in Los Angeles, don’t miss Father Amde of the Watts Prophets, who will be doing dates on February 24, 25 and 28th. Go here for all the details. You can get his new poetry anthology–collecting 40 years of his powerfully influential poetry there also.

If you haven’t copped Things Gonna Get Greater, the collected works of the Watts Prophets, then your hip-hop collection is woefully incomplete.

posted by @ 11:10 am | 1 Comment

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

How New Orleans Now Is Like The Bronx In The 70s

A great editorial by Roberta Brandes Gratz in the New York Times comparing what city officials tried to do to the Bronx in the 70s and what city officials are now trying to do in New Orleans:

The experts said that investing in neighborhoods where few people remained was throwing good money after bad; those areas were unlivable. Restoring old, deteriorating buildings was a waste of limited resources; the city was getting smaller. We should focus instead on populated neighborhoods and healthy commercial districts.

The experts, of course, were wrong. And the thousands of New Orleanians fighting experts’ recommendations to shrink the city should take heart from New York’s experience.

This is a must-read.

Don’t forget Jordan Flaherty’s essential on-the-ground reporting, available all here.

posted by @ 8:25 am | 1 Comment

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Copyright Criminals Remix Contest extended; New Chuck D and George Clinton samples added!

Great news for all you producers, DJs, and remixers: the Copyright Criminals Remix Contest over at ccMixter has been extended by two weeks, ending on March 14. Additionally, new vocal samples from influential rapper Chuck D (of Public Enemy) and pioneering funk musician George Clinton (of Parliament-Funkadelic) have been made available for use in the competition.

Winners will be chosen according to the same criteria as originally announced; no other contest details are changed.

The Copyright Criminals Remix Contest encourages producers, DJs, and remixers from around the world to use audio snippets from the upcoming documentary film Copyright Criminals in new, original songs. One winner will have his/her music featured prominently in the final edit of Copyright Criminals.

The winning track, along with 11 runners-up, will be included on the film’s companion CD.

Drawing from more than fifty interviews with prominent musicians, artists, scholars, lawyers, and music industry representatives, Copyright Criminals looks at the development of sound collage (also known as sampling). It features artists like QBert, Pete Rock, Miho Hattori, Matt Black of Coldcut, Saul Williams, Bobbito Garcia, and Paul Miller, and commentators like Greg Tate and Harry Allen.

The film explores the complicated impact that copyright law has had on the creative practice of sampling and studies the conflicting opinions artists and others have about appropriation. Check the trailer here/

Samples of dialogue by artists like De La Soul, DJ Qbert, Matmos, Coldcut, and members of Negativland – all taken from interviews conducted for Copyright Criminals – are available online at the popular remix community for use as source material to be included in entrants’ songs. Entries will be judged by McLeod, Franzen, and your boy right here.

About the judges who aren’t me:

Kembrew McLeod is a professor at the University of Iowa and an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. McLeod has written music criticism for Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, and MOJO; and has authored two books, most recently Freedom of Expression®: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity (Doubleday).

Ben Franzen is an Atlanta-based artist who owns an independent production company called Changing Images LLC, which specializes in video, photography, and multimedia. Franzen edits the animated TV program Squidbillies, which appears as part of the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim line-up.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works by empowering authors and audiences. It is sustained by the generous support of the Center for the Public Domain, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Hewlett Foundation.

posted by @ 7:39 am | 1 Comment

Friday, February 17th, 2006

R.I.P. Ray Barretto

Hard Hands Barretto straight from the ghetto…Rest In Power.

Here’s a great profile. What it won’t tell you is how influential he was on all the sounds that flowed into hip-hop. He practically invented bugalu with “El Watusi”. He is the one of the links between mambo and salsa and the breaks. It’s hard to imagine Johnny Griggs’ massive solo on JB’s 1970 version of “Give It Up Turnit A Loose”, or King Errisson period without Hard Hands.

UPDATE (WITH MUSIC): O-Dub and I have collaborated on a tribute to Ray. Go check it out now at Soul Sides.

posted by @ 7:20 am | 0 Comments

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Just Shoot Me

Note to self: next time hit the Quayle!

Lots of hilarity last night.

Plus, here’s Molly Ivins on Cheney and that good old family value: “Responsibility”.

Johnny Cash-“Folsom Prison Blues”
Cypress Hill-“A To The K”

Meanwhile, in the real world:

+ The U.S. is about to give oil companies $7 billion. You read that correctly. We’re saying, here, take $7 billion of our money, you don’t make enough as it is.

+ Oh, and all of you Katrina evacuees? Get back on the street.

I’m sure that bill is much less than $7 billion.

posted by @ 10:25 am | 1 Comment

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Republicans Shooting Republicans

“And before he falls to the ground he sez to me: was that a rifle, boy, or was you just happy to see me, skeet skeet?”

Trigger happy? You betcha! I mean this story is like a dang parable. (Soundtrack–Mission of Burma: “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver”)

posted by @ 5:25 pm | 0 Comments

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

Got It Bad (Meaning Bad)

It’s touch and go. Uh oh oh.

OK. I know it’s not nice to kick something when it’s down. But show me somebody who likes the SF Bay Guardian’s redesign and I’ll show you an employee contract. This week’s cover looks especially nostalgic, with the cliched Pop Art and the new wave typeface. All future cover subjects may be required to wear pink-and-black-checkers with a white skinny tie.

Look, there wasn’t an alt-weekly in the country more in need of a makeover. Yes, compared to the website, it’s a step forward. In fact, now that you have competing aesthetics–the 1967 Haight-Ashbury-for-kids-from-Concord/Gay-Pride-at-half-mast-color-bar-overkill lingers like a wine-cooler-induced hangover–the online thing is a complete mess.

But even though The Cars first album is one of my favorite covers (and favorite albums) of all time, what looked good in 1978…

Ah well, you get what you pay for.


posted by @ 9:58 pm | 1 Comment

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

A Great Day At Mavericks

Tyler Smith tells em when to go.

Matt Ambrose rides the yellow bus.

While I was working on my garden, Mavericks was blue-sky, offshore, 20-feet, glassy and classic. Congrats to South African Grant Baker for the win. Local boy Brock Little wuz terd, brah.

Super sick-wid-it video here!

posted by @ 7:52 pm | 1 Comment

Monday, February 6th, 2006

E-40 Vs. Trouble Funk: The Go-Go/Hyphy Connect

E-40 (featuring Stressmatic) :: Da Dummy
From E-40 Presents The Bay Bridges Compilation (Sick-Wid-It 2005)

Tilt :: Arkade Funk (B-Side Mix)
From 12″ single (D.E.T.T. 1983)

First of all, thanks to all of you who’ve fallen through the blog in the last couple weeks. I’ve been on the road keeping an unbelievable sched. Back in the house and playing catchup, so this one’s a gift to say thanks.

Now yall who know me know that I make some crazy leaps of logic sometimes, stuff that doesn’t always hold up on scrutiny, at least not in the details even if I’m good on the big picture. But stay with me on this one.

I realized the reason I have such a visceral love for hyphy isn’t just due to the fact that I call the Bay Area home (A’s, baby!), but that I like what’s happening with hip-hop musically these days…which is that the tempos are going back up, and the rhythms are getting more slippery, more polyrthythmic, and interesting again. Whether it’s Missy going back for “Clear”, Amerie mashing up with Ziggy, or whatever, these are the sounds that got me hot-footing back then, and sound extra-futuristic right now. Plus, who doesn’t have nostalgia for the days when videogames only cost 25 cents?

So check this little thing out. Here are two incredible tracks: one from last year’s brilliant Bay Bridges comp, and the other a go-go B-side by DC champions Trouble Funk from 20+ years ago done under the pseudonym Tilt.

The first is E-Feezy’s club-friendly shout to his New Bay offspring, The Frontline and Mistah F.A.B. And it works, not least because it’s a Droop-E./Pharmaceuticals production. E-40’s flesh-and-blood offspring is the truth, the Lebron James of hip-hop. Nuff said.

The second is a rare track that has been cited by lots of electro and vocoder fans, let alone go-go heads. It’s not that rare, but has taken on a helluva rep over the years, based on the sheer immensity of the groove. It was done during the whole “Trouble Funk Express” phase, a way for T-Funk to catch up with the post-Planet Rock club audiences.

The record actually has a history among Yay Area funkateers. Back in 1987, when I was an apprentice to the funk historian Rickey “Uhuru Maggot” Vincent, I was dispatched to find this record for him in Washington D.C. I scoured the bins for weeks before turning this up. It was that popular. Now you know why. Anyway, he played it for months and months afterward.

I’m not gonna argue that the links between “Da Dummy” and “Arkade Funk” were conscious–it’s not clear that there’s a direct sample going on, and who knows if Droop E. ever heard this track? He was born quite a while after it was made.

(Also, I know I’ve gotten some producers in trouble over the years for making comparisons that were more fortuitous than note-for-note-beat-for-beat exact, and I’m sorry for that!)

But here is the beauty of black music, the way that rhythms and textures circulate in the diaspora like memes, traveling over thousands of years and thousands of miles.

So mix ’em together and go dumb!

BIG CORRECTION 2/14/06: Tapan at Youth Radio corrects me–Bosko, not Droop E, was the genius who produced “Da Dummy”. Portland transplant Bosko is old enough to remember “Arkade Funk”!

posted by @ 10:37 am | 4 Comments

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