Lab Rat .:Feb 05 09:.




[IMAGES COURTESY OF KEEN OF "BEAUTIFUL MUSIC BABY"]

This is my record collection. I've been buying records since '98, and my collection pretty much takes up 95% of that 5x5 cube shelf thing from IKEA. About 5 crates of these are a collection of funk and soul passed down to me from my parents, aunts, and uncles. The rest is a lot of underground hip-hop from 98' to the present; a small collection of classic hip-hop; and a few crates of jazz, funk re-edits, uptempo, midtempo, downtempo, electronica, nu-jazz, etc. And given the diversity of my collection, I'm mainly known as a scratch DJ.  And I only own like 4 scratch records...1 of which I "borrowed" from DJ Argonaut in 2000 (thanks Jay...I gained much skill from that record).  I remember when he used to always tell me to "return your rentals".



These turntables get scratched on at least once a day. For a long time scratching has been very therapeutic for me. Listening to your technique, and mastering it is like learning a new language. The brain waves coming from my mind, translate to sounds, and if recorded, translate visually on screen in the form of a WAV. It has fascinated me for years. When my mind is cluttered, scratching has always been my way of "venting", and focusing my thoughts, and energy. I would share that fun fact with kids sometimes when talking about hip-hop, and they'd look at me all crazy.



Musically with my style, I take a lot cues from jazz, old-school/foundation scratch techniques, and I'll funk it up as best I can if the beat calls for it. There IS a foundation and there IS a vocabulary for scratching...no matter how much you want to say "I don't really follow all that, I just do my thing". Well the elements of "your thing" was probably created by somebody else. If you recognize that, and build on it, then you will ultimately create your own style. "Style" is a combination of technique and personality. Style is a reflection of your influences since the day you were born. This is how I understand art...it's all about style and technique.



I haven't been mixing, or listening to my records as much as I would like too ever since I've been pursuing graphic design as a career. But last night while working, I was listening to my records, and realized how much I've lost touch with them. It was refreshing to hear some of the stuff I got. I need to remember a big chunk of my style came from incubating myself in this room (as much as it has traveled). I am looking forward to what 2009 has to offer. I will definitely be making more music. Now is the time for me to build with new cats, expose myself to new things, and stay inspired.


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Romali on the cut at Jo_iLL's .:Feb 02 09:.


Romali and I spent the whole weekend together.  He comes through to Fremont to get away from his dorm mates, hang out, scratch, and eat all the food that I cook.  We tried recording a podcast but, he kept picking the records I already played, and it's hard for him to stick to the "U Ain't Hip-Hop" format...so, we ended up just recording this vid. Romali can be a beast on the cut.


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The Hustle .:Jan 13 09:.


12 hour work days haven't been uncommon for me as of late.  The clerk at the store was concerned when I bought like 4 of these 5-hour energy drinks.  haha!

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Baile Funk & What the F**k?! .:Jan 08 09:.


First is the Baile Funk. I want to try this one day.  This guy synchronized his drum machine triggers to some pyrotechnics....GENIUS. I have to go to a party like this in Brazil one day....probably won't happen anytime soon.  My a$$ is broke.



...and now "what the F**k"  Pauze put me onto this vid.  I told him to post it...but he's too slow:


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San Diego Trip .:Dec 26 08:.


Made a trip to San Diego last week. HAD to get some Mexican food right when we got there.  That hashbrown burrito from Contija's is THE BOMB!  Later that night, helped out Destijl DJ at DK's birthday party. Best set I've played in a while. 90% vinyl by the way...10% Serato.  Hit up Tajima after that...they got the best Ramen I've had...ever.  Better than any spot in the bay (so far).  Next day was the annual X-mas party with the homies.  Will be back down next month for the B-Boy Jam Romali and I are DJ-ing.

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Hardtimes .:Dec 22 08:.


As some of you may already know, I've been pursuing graphic design as a career for the past year. Went back to community college, had a pretty demanding professor there, got an internship with Nam at Flavorinnovator (www.flavorinnovator.com), and now I'm interning at another studio called 4040 (www.4040exp.com), which will be ending on the 9th. With that said, my days lately at work have been spent looking for freelance gigs on Craigslist.  Came across this posting:



I had previously seen this posting last week, and it was basically asking for poster designs from artists for some major San Francisco festivals. The thing was, they were asking for the artists to create the poster designs first, and they will judge and choose the winner.  Sounded mad fishy.  So I guess the post was pirated, and now it says this. 

The thing is, given the state of the economy and my looming unemployment, I skeptically responded to another ad asking for a logo. At least it wasn't a full out poster to design. I had some free time, and who knows it may be a good look in building my portfolio. I came up with 3 proofs (drafts), emailed them to the guy, along with a legal disclaimer in regards to usage, and he said he didn't think any of them were in the direction he was looking for, and then asked "Would it be a huge deal to see some additional mock-ups?"  I was like in my head, "this guy." 

At this point, my little experiment had been proven successful given all the advice I had received before in regards to this kind of thing.  I went ahead and quoted the guy my rates and told him that's what he has to pay if you want me to work any further. The guy didn't respond back yet.  Then this pirated Craigslisting post came up today. 

Times are tough for everyone I guess right now, but it sucks when being frugal means stiffing art professionals. I couldn't even say that I am a full-fledged "art professional" as of yet, but I better stay sharp. I don't want to be start sliding down that slippery slope of being taken advantage of as an artist. Time to make some changes to the master plan.

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