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Articles on Mika Sun and Slamfest

I've had another pair of articles in our local paper, the Times Standard. Today they published an article on local hip hop star Mika Sun. Two weeks ago, they published my preview (now a review?) of Slamfest, HSU's annual sustainability and music fest. I appologize for the cheap banner ads if one comes up when you click a link. I'll copy and past the text soon so it won't happen.
max at patricks point park

January 29 and Feb 4 Humboldt hip hop mix tapes

Last week I went ghostface all the way. The superstar from the Wu-Tang and Theodore Unit has always been a talented emcee. But I think his albums Fishscale and the recently released More Fish are freaking brilliant.

So I put together an NC-17 style mix called BEST OF THE GHOST for the Nu-Jacks crew.
1. Ghostface From The Pretty Toney Album is a necessity. I think Ghostface is the best emcee alive on a fast loping beat. He can kill those up driven funk beats. This leans toward disco, but the rhyme is incredible. The don.
2. Shakey Dog From Fishscale, a prequel to a Biggie Smalls tune with the great gangsta storytelling style.
3. Tush (Featuring Missy Elliott) The Pretty Toney Album. Um so nasty, so good. How can you doubt Missy & Timbaland on the beats and hook with Ghost on the flow. One of the reasons this mix came w/ an NC-17 warning.
4. Poisonous Darts From Ironman. This old school nasty track was a must.
5. Grew Up Hard With Trife Da God on More Fish. Slower soulful tune about poverty and class struggle.
6. Beat The Clock From The Pretty Toney Album. Holy smokes this is a great song. He just floats across the horns and strings. Killer.
7. Be Easy Ghostface Killah & Trife Da God Fishscale. Cranking it up now. I figured they’d want one of the hits from Fishscale. Too quick.
8. Run (Featuring Jadakiss) From The Pretty Toney Album, I think this is a great example of the homoeroticism in hip hop. In the break between verses Jadakiss explains to Ghost “I might have to take my shirt off kid. . . .” It is also one of the greatest descriptive pieces of poetry as they talk about running from cops.
9. Criminology Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It was on Raekwon’s album that I first saw the brilliance of Tony Starks. So I chose this classic. I imagine Ghost waiting to get on for his verse and just stunning everybody.
10. Daytona 500 Ghostface Killah Ironman. From the first solo album – hungry and fast. Class and crime. The best emcee to rhyme about parquet floors.
11. Biscuits (Featuring Trife). Good ghost. Better Trife!
12. Glaciers Of Ice Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Production by the RZA, verses by Raekwon and Ghostface. Frozen.
13. Guns n' Razors From More Fish scorching over a track from MF DOOM.
14. Wu-Gambinos Raekwon RZA Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Um classic Wu-tang trouble. Great ghostface verse.
15. The Mask (ft. Ghostface) DangerDoom The Mouse & The Mask. DOOM and Ghostface explaining why they wear the masks. Hip hop history players.

This week I was inspired to make a mix by a Lauryn Hill song. I was hiking the Dunes on Sunday with the headphones on. I was walking through the desert-like zones and suddenly the song “Every Ghetto, Every City” came on. It made me think about growing up and playing outside. Walking around everywhere and messing with everything I could find. I was inspired to run up the tallest dune I would fine and kung-fu kick my way down in full ninja style.

Since the weather has turned warmer here a bit, and it seems like bike riding, popsicle, playing outdoors I figured I’d gather my hip hop soundtrack. I call it CHILDLIKE INNOCENCE.

1. Candyland Part 1 by Soul Position From 8 Million Stories. The emcee from Soul Position, Blueprint just rhymes about his childhood pop culture in one phrase lines in alphabetical order. 80 percent hit me. A-team, batman, bugs bunny, ghostbusters, giantor, Johnny quest . . .
2. Every Ghetto, Every City by Lauryn Hill from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. What a great uptempo track about having fun as a kid. Just awesome.
3. Youthful Expression A Tribe Called Quest People's Instinctive Travels And Paths Of Rhythm. Perhaps it is just that my childhood starred this Tribe Called Quest album, but I love this tune and this band.
4. Some miscellaneous song about childhood by Atmosphere. I don’t know where I got this song, but I really like it. Slug explains that as a kid he rode around on a dirt bike, “before your kool-aide got diluted with goldenseal.”
5. Children's Story by Mos Def & Talib Kweli Black Star. This is a send-up of the Slick Rick song about pop-star beat jackers. Funny and child-like.
6. Children Play With Earth by Arrested Development on 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of... This tune is a good interlude for childlike reflection.
7. Joy by Talib Kweli Feat. Mos Def With a beat by Ayatollah and some great rhymes about becoming a father, this song is heartfelt.
8. Children's Story by Slick Rick. If I’m gonna put the copy on, I should put the original on, right? A few summers ago, Mark Swier and I went to the hip hop education summit in New Jersey. At the park jam afterwards we got to see Slick Rick, a first for me. A moment only chilled by the discovery of a smashed window and missing stereo at Mark’s ride.
9. Brooklyn Public Part 1 by J – Live on The Hear After. I love J-Live and this tune is a great tribute to the public school where he is a teacher.
10. 10 Fingers, 10 Toes, 10 lbs, 10 oz Zion I & The Grouch Are... Heroes In The City Of Dope. This album is so good. This song is such a great discussion of what it means for him to have a kid.
11. Wear Clean Draws by The Coup Party Music. Elena complains that whenever she enters the room I’m playing this song. It is true that it seems to come up a lot. But it is a great feminist tribute to Boot’s daughter.
12. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo A Tribe Called Quest on People's Instinctive Travels And Paths Of Rhythm. The roadtrip . . . a classic part of lost youth.
13. Hey! MF DOOM Operation Doomsday. This track uses a Scooby Do sample and the sound of the old Scooby cartoon to build the beat. Over it DOOM talks about his childhood through a few layers of metaphors. I watched a lot of Scooby do as a kid.
14. Whip You With A Strap Ghostface Killah Fishscale. Perhaps not fully within the theme of “childhood innocence,” this tune describes Ghostface getting whipped by his mom for not going to bed.
15. The Now - Mr. Lif from I Phantom. Also in the dark end of our mix theme, this song is a great El-P beat with gives Lif a chance to break down the failings of parents. I had a lot more in this vein, but decided to pull out before I put El-P’s “Stepfather Factory” on this mix.
16. Young Godz (Featuring Young Justice, Young Dirty & Young Lord) on Lord Jamar’s The 5% Album. How about Lord Jamar, Old Dirty Bastard and the GZA’s son’s rhyming on a track. Average age 13. Yeah!
17. Daddy Loves you by Stic.Man & Young Noble on Soldier 2 Soldier. On the difficulties of raising a revolutionary child.
18. Candyland Part 2. Soul Position. The outro extreme.

For all the musicians and fans – stay free.
max at patricks point park


KRS-ONE will be speaking at Humboldt State University in Natural Resources 101 on Wednesday January 31 at 5pm. This event is free or low cost. Sponsored by the Nu-Jacks hip hop collective.

Thursday February 1 kicks off Humboldt State’s Black Liberation month with hip hop radical Ise Lyfe for FREE in the Kate Buchanan Room at 7pm.

Thursday February 1 KEET-TV is showing Byron Hurt’s fantastic documentary Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes at 7pm. After the viewing, I will be moderating a discussion about the film. The event is free. At the Morris Graves museum in Eureka.

Tuesday February 6 the Nu-Jacks kick off their first cipher hosted by Mr. Funk with DJ Chico on the turntables. Big Pete’s Pizzeria in Arcata. 7pm. I suspect a lot of talent will be in the audience, plus they have two kinds of vegan pizza! This is going to be a weekly cipher on Tuesdays, so get ready for the impact!

Friday February 9th, the Nu-Jacks host local superstar J the Sarge and DJ Fat Jack in the Kate Buchanan Room. This event is $3.00 and begins at 9pm. The event marks the celebration of J the Sarge’s new album “Head Music.” I’m pretty excited to hear DJ Fat Jack spin. The sound behind much of the Project Blowed folks and a nuts producer – it should be hot.

More to come folks . . . stay tuned for the hip hop union, Amde Hamilton, Dirty Rats, NAC-ONE, dance workshop, DJ workshop and much much more more.
max at patricks point park

Weekly mixtape: Elite volume 8

For the last year or so, I’ve made a mixtape every week to share with friends and members of the Nu-Jacks, our hip hop collective. Usually I just make a few copies and give them to the first few people to show up to meetings.

I love mix tapes – there is something awesome about someone who crafts a whole album out of great tunes for a few people. Since sixth grade I’ve taken mix tapes seriously and since they usually come out from what I’m listening to, I figured it isn’t a bad thing to write about.

So here is Elite volume 8, the latest in a series of up-tempo, dance-friendly rocking hip hop tunes. I try to include a little conscious music, but generally it is my favorite tunes of the moment without much thought of content. Collapse )
max at patricks point park

Enter the Dirty Rats

I’ve seen the Dirty Rats a handful of times now – I’ve never questioned their talent, but something always seems to work against them. I sort of imagine them as sort of the blues brothers of local hip hop – a band that could turn goat piss into vinegar if all the stars aligned but who lurch from crazy show to crazy show.

Things might be changing for those Dirty Rats. I got a chance to see them rock a Eureka nightclub and was impressed with their crew, ethos and style. I also copped their new album and have been suitably pleased with the beats and the rhymes coming out of this Humboldt hip hop posse.

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max at patricks point park

Eureka vs. Arcata Round One: Vast Aire and C-Rayz Walz

Any week where two Def Jux stars roll through town is destined to be a good one. I was especially excited to see Vast Aire who I consider to be one of the best emcees alive today. I collect Vast’s stuff – I have every album and mix tape that has come out. I’ve driven miles to see him live – I’m a FAN.

I also love C-Rayz Walz, a dedicated battle rapper whose energy is legendary. His album, Year of the Beast was fantastic – a monument to rhyming skills. In my head I envisioned a battle between these two sweet rhymers (who in real life are friends). The C-Rayz show happened in Eureka at the Red Fox Tavern and it was nuts. The Vast Aire show happened in Arcata and was fairly wack. Collapse )
max at patricks point park

ethical b-boy

For this last semester I’ve been part of an incredible collective of hip hop aficionados. Called the Nu-Jacks, we are a diversity and hip hop collective whose purpose is to help support youth hip hop culture and forward justice.

We’ve hosted nine formal events plus a half dozen informal movie showings, discussions and debates. It has been really amazing to hang and bump heads with this crew of intense hip hop fans. And to create new opportunities for people to experience hip hop at the same time is radical.

One of my great hip hop inspirations has always been my friend Mark. Not only had he turned me onto a lot of key music, but he embodied the notion that hip hop was about building. If you went over to his house you’d be likely to find him working on his dance steps, or drawing in blackbooks, or practicing on the turntables in his living room.

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