Monday, April 26th, 2004

So April’s my birth month–which I guess means it’s about returns and new beginnings.

Had a lot of both this month. After hiding in my little cave trying to finish the book, I was out in the world more than I’ve been since the beginning of 2002. Got to reconnect deeply with old friends in Storrs and New York, and make lots of new ones in San Jose, Seattle, Madison, and New York.

Humbled and full of gratitude to be part of the first (and definitely not the last) Ghetto Brothers national tour, much love to Oliver Wang, Eric Weisbard and Ann Powers, Justin and Eric Liek, David Muhammad, Nema, Ingrid, and the Hip-Hop Generation crew for helping. But most of all, to Wanda and Henry, incredible traveling companions, and in fact two of the greatest people on earth. (Did I also mention that Henry’s new movie, “From Mambo to Hip-Hop”, is the kind of project that could once again revolutionize how we think of hip-hop history? He’s already done this at least three times!) And Benjy, well, he’s a category unto himself–the axis around which the universe turns.

Best moments: folks cheering in Seattle to Henry’s film as “Ghetto Brothers Power” hit the chorus; Robert Christgau, Josh Clover, and the crowd letting out a collective gasp when Benjy revealed he was actually Jewish; Benjy, Brother Righteous, and Afrika Bambaataa–it don’t get more Bronx than that–posing for a historic photo in a Madison restaurant; hanging at WSMU with the Beat Conundrum crew, Cristina Veran, April Henderson, Freddy, super-fresh David, and Rachel Swan.

Also got to be at UConn minutes before the women won their final–and be saved from the ensuing beer rioting by Dr. Ogbonna Ogbar’s LA-tested sixth sense; attend Jessica Hopper’s band’s NYC debut (they’re called Challenger and they rock); to be witness a sambafied Tortoise bring down the Bowery Ballroom, this tour is a must-see yall; and to have many (but not enough) all-day or late-night bull sessions with the de la creme of the musicritterati and the new hip-hop intelligentsia.

Super shouts to the Hip-Hop Congress at University of Illinois, Todd Inoue, the First Thursdays crew, Yoshi Kato, Marian Liu, Billy Jam, Davey D, Ogbonna, Lizz Mendez Berry, UConn SUBOG, Joe Schloss, Dubs and Sango, Josh Cheuse, J-Shep, Jonny Crack, M.A.N., Karen Good, Raq, Joan, Fabel, Bam, Cashus D, Brother Righteous, Claudine Brown, Roberta Uno, Rha, Lenora, Aya, Van, Upski, J-Hops, C-Ryan, Whitney Joiner, Peter Shapiro, Martha Cooper, Danny Hoch, my Chinese-Japanese-Hawaiian-European blood relations in Madison, my Filipino blood relations in NYC, James and Margarita, and SFJ, Sam, Jonah, and Debra–my surrogate fam for an afternoon. There’s more, it don’t stop. I guess I need to get out more often…

All in all a wonderful month, but I’m very happy to be back with Dez and the boyz, and anxious to see what they’ve done to my American Idols. I’m told I won’t be happy. Semi-related thang: another Will Hung sighting.

More posting in the next couple of weeks, I promise.

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