Small Actions Can Facilitate Change .:Feb 06 09:.
I met this dude a while ago at a downtown pad off Broadway Street who was kinda loud and overly excited, two things that I usually attribute to people who are fronting. As a usually defensive person towards that behavior I thought this loud guy was especially fraudulent when he showed me his self titled CD. I introduced my CD, Hate Your Way to Harmony: An American Criticism, and we put mine on and he was really excited about some of the instrumental tracks.
I was a little skeptical of the guy after I left that night but thought he was harmless. Over the next year Dulok Shaman and I had some correspondence about collaboration and all of my prejudgments subsided; he was willing to collaborate and work hard at it which in my book were a bigger sense of character than anything else. Dulok is a good dude. So after some time he put some lyrics on a track from my album that I thought was nice and had a strong vibe, something we were both feeling. Us vs. Them was born. He called me one day not too long after completing the track and asked me if he could lace it in honor of the Versus Store in Temecula which sells nice clothing dedicated to an urban lifestyle. I thought it was a good idea and gave it my blessing. In August of 2007 I get a call from Dulok asking me attend a video shoot for the store for the song along complete with many heads from SD and the Inland Empire. The video got a lot of reaction and became an anthem for many which was beyond any expectations I ever had for making the track(with the help of my homie NoS LeRatZ from the Bay, Big Ups!!!).
Fast forward to this year 2009, I went with DJ Argonaut to the Agenda Trade Show in downtown San Diego which showcases independent clothing lines and kept peeping orange stickers with familiar font that I have seen associated with the Versus Store in Temecula which read 'Us vs. Them'. In fact the bottom line is that the Versus Store had changed the name of their design to Us vs. Them, which blew me away. Even though I had no exact input on the decision making for the change, our song had made an influence on a whole style and the nomenclature of a line of clothing. So next time you think that your creativity, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, cannot be influential, think again.
SERVIN' CONVERSATION .:Feb 06 09:.
Come check out our Saturday night spot at Gordon Biersch (5010 Mission Center Rd, San Diego, CA 92108). I will be in the rotation this Saturday, the 24th.
This is a very chill spot, where you can come and listen to some dope beats, have a beer, and chop it up with your fam. Most folks come through here before they start partying Downtown or elsewhere. We play outside on the patio, but I must warn you: dancing is strictly prohibited!!! It is partly covered, so don't let the rain scare you away this weekend...
We have been doin' this gig in conjunction with Mel Kapone of 15West for over a year now.
Big Up to Jo_iLL for designing the vintage flier. That pic makes me want to have a nice cold Blonde Bock from GB, but I gave up drinking beer over a year ago. Love the taste, but can't stand what it does to my spare tire!
So I had to stick with my other favorite drinks instead:
Scotch Whiskey...mmmmmm....My Father-in-Law brought over this Johnnie for Xmas, so I had to introduce him to The Glenlivet. Personally I prefer The Macallan. The best was when I bought DJ Hektik some Johnnie Walker Black and he said it tasted like STEAK! Next time you see Pauze, ask him about the time he kept drinking Glenlivet at a Turntable Lounge gig...
Ketel One Vodka...on the rocks...yeah....so smooth...creeps up on ya. Even my dog drinks it.
I recently tried Effen and it was pretty good. Those Dutch folks, man...
Kona Coffee. Yeah I know, its not an alcoholic drink, but it is just as addicting, yo. I once stopped drinking coffee cold turkey, and it was harder than quitting cigarettes. Kona turned me into a coffee snob, though. Plus I got this French Press now. Sheesh. The beans on the Big Island are hand picked, so only the ripe ones are chosen. That way you wind up with coffee that is so freakin smooth. Other kinds of coffee beans are machine picked so you get all the unripe ones in the mix, making the coffee bitter. My Uncle recently brought me back some Cafe Amadeo from the Philippines. Haven't tried it yet, but I hear its the ish, too...
- DJ Bojo
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.
- DJ Jo_iLL
John Legend Show .:Feb 05 09:.
So I had a chance to see John Legend at RIMAC Arena at UCSD a few weeks
back. It was the second time I saw him live. I usually have this rule
about not seeing an act twice but I had a friend who had a couple of
extra tickets and how can you say no to seeing John Legend. The first
time I saw him was a couple of years ago behind the San Diego
Convention Center. It was outdoors and Corrine Bailey Rae opened for
him. It was dope... we were maybe four rows from the stage. Norv
Turner had just been hired as the Chargers head coach and he was at the
show one row away from our seats. I actually have some old pictures I
took on my phone. John Legend came down into the crowd and he was
literally right in front of me.
This time our seats weren't as close but John Legend was just as good. Estelle opened up for him this time. I had no idea she was the chick that sang that "American Boy" song. She even said during the show that she was sick of the song but she had to sing it. She was actually really good. I ended up picking up her vinyl online after the show. I didn't know that John Legend actually executive produced her album. She was really entertaing and sang this "eff you" song. It was madd funny. John Legend was dope as usual. He played on his grand piano, sang with passion and charisma and had some pretty cool display monitors and lights behind him that had some pretty psychadelic images and lights. The arena was packed. If you ever have a chance to see John Legend, Corrine Bailey Rae or Estelle do it.
- DJ Argonaut
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.