Frisco's Sellassie is one of the artists in the Bay that helps to keep the independent scene together, with his partner Gina Gallo of Inhouse Talent. They are the architects of the "We All We Got" concert series, which moves around from club to club in San Francisco and features some of the hottest underground talent in the Bay.
The Maqusi Towers in Gaza City look a bit like U.S. housing projects. The neighborhood consists of several tall apartment buildings grouped together in the northern part of town. It is also ground zero for Gaza's growing hip-hop community. On a recent evening in one small but well-decorated apartment, a dozen rappers and their friends and families relaxed, danced, smoked flavored tobacco and rapped the lyrics to some of their songs.
One of the definite queens of soul music, folk guitarists and amazing song writers of our time is India.Arie. She has been nominated numerous times for Grammys, but more importantly she has been one of the symbols, within this decade, of dark skinned talented Black women musicians rising to prominence. Mainstream media in America, since its inception, has been about destroying the image of African people.
June 9 we had an up close and personal interview on Wanda's Picks Radio with the great pianist, George Cables. He was at Yoshi's in San Francisco with his friends, Bobby Hutcherson and Charlie Haden and is on to New York for a tribute to Freddie Hubbard later this week. Listen any time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Wandas-Picks/2009/06/09/Wandas-Picks-Special. You will not be disappointed.
Right now, Adimu is working on a new documentary called "Operation: Small Ax" about the POCC: Block Report Radio show and its role in organizing in the terrible but fine year of 2009 in the Bay Area in the eye of the storm of controversies like the murder of Oscar Grant, the Oakland Rebellions, the trials of the Oakland 100, the murder of Lovelle Mixon and four OPD and more. It also includes exclusive interviews with Emory Douglas of the Black Panther Party, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. of the POCC, Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets, rappers Beeda Weeda, J. Stalin, Mahasen and Chela Simone and an exclusive Block Report Radio interview with Angela Davis that was used to promote Mumia's new book.
Damon Jamal is a pioneering force in the Bay Area's media and hip hop markets that has been producing projects that 15 years ago would have only been conceivable with a budget from MTV or VH1. Now he is a very sought after videographer and filmmaker who makes the magic happen on an independent level right from his Mac laptop's Final Cut program, which is sitting on his desk in his downtown Oakland office which he shares with Kaz Kyzah's Mogul Media.
Our beloved Mother Mary Ann Wright passed last month; she was 87. She was soft-spoken when not in the pulpit or behind her bullhorn holding church at her multiple food giveaway sites. I marveled over this woman who'd done so much to comfort the poor, a woman loved by all who knew her.
I have known Umi for a good half a decade and he has been a major supporter of the POCC's Code of Culture all around the country, whether it was assisting now political prisoner Aaron Patterson when he was on the streets with the many campaigns that he was involved in, or whether it is him giving comrades moving through New York a place to lay their heads.
"George and I" is Jahi and producer Korise' Big Tunes' newest creation where Jahi is rhyming to Korise's George Benson remake tracks. It's hot and innovative. I haven't heard a dedication/concept album like this. It feels good to be hearing these guys push Bay Area hip hop to new limits.
Legendary Frisco rapper Black C has out-survived two of his group mates in Ruthless By Law (R.B.L.), Mr. Cee and Hitman (RIP), who were murdered at different times, and still continues to put out good music and has another powerhouse squad under construction, The Malitia.
T-Kash, the former local television star from KRON's First Cut turned internationally known rap star on Paris' political label Guerrilla Funk Recordings, is a very under-rated voice and mind in Bay Area and international hip hop. His international debut, "Turf War Syndrome," is a classic that not many people in the hood are up on.
Hardworking is an understatement when you talk about Acktup, who has released a new album every three months since he started releasing music. All of his albums have sold at least a thousand copies a piece, with "1000 Degrees" selling 3,000 copies. "No Competition" and "King Mentality" is currently in stores, while he is still in the lab cookin' up "Mobbin Like Me," which is due out in August.
Johannes Mehserle's trial begins Monday, May 18, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Alameda County Courthouse, 12th and Oak Street, in Oakland. A strong community presence has been requested by the Oscar Grant family and allies. A teach in to prepare for the trial is Sunday, May 17, 1-4 p.m., at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. And wish Tatiana Grant happy birthday. She turns 5 on May 16.
D.A.T. is one of those artist that have been bending the sound of what hip hop is in the Bay Area kind of like how Digital Underground, Hieroglyphics and Living Legends did in the ‘80s and ‘90s. D.A.T. is currently one of the most well liked performers and he hosts some of the dopest hip hop/live band parties where people are sure to be dancing, sweating and happy.
I love the music of the innovative hip hop group 5 Star Generalz, from Oakland, Cali, because they are funny, creative and push the envelope on what Bay Area hip hop sounds like. They are like a mix between the Luniz, Digital Underground, and Cheech and Chong.
Ras Ceylon is a very unique artist that lives in the Bay. He's politically active, his family is from Sri Lanka, he reps Rastafarianism and has linked with Askari X, Tajai of Souls of Mischief, Chairman Fred, Stic.man and a whole host of others to create a piece of audio art.
Oakland has always been filled wit' a gang of lyrical MC's that "gas" ever since Hip Hop really got started in the Bay. Shady Nate is somebody that I could easily see being the King of Bay Area rap in a couple of years.
Shout out to First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the bust of Queen Mother Sojourner Truth, a woman who experienced first hand the hardships of slavery, yet emerged strong, so strong she had to remind America she too was a woman, a woman deserving all the respect and honor reserved for privileged white women.