It’s only been a few months since our prison strike took place throughout the United States. Although many of our brothers and sisters have made reports of being arbitrarily subjected to reprisals, I assure you that our small “KAGE cadre” in California hasn’t faltered but is standing firm against injustice and broken promises since the agreement known as Ashker v. Governor intended to end indefinite long-term solitary confinement.
G-Val, born and raised in Bayview, is an artist who spits dope lyrics that young children in inner city communities, especially Bayview, can look up to. G-Val is not just an artist; he is a dream. His smile and positive attitude causes him to be loved by his community and communities nationwide. Check out what G-Val has to say about staying focused and committed to being successful and making it out the hood …
Right out of the musical lineage of Parliament Funkadellic, Georgia Ann Muldrow, Dudley Perkins and the Dungeon Family steps Bay Area bred producer Oji and his crew, the Ascension Team. Oji’s music is on some futuristic other level type of space vibe. He is like an Andre 3000, on a production level conjuring sound chemistries not ever heard before in widely known rap music. Check out Oji as he talks about his craft.
One of the fathers of political Hip Hop on the West Coast is still at ‘em and getting ready to strike again with the Sept. 11 Guerrilla Funk release of “Pistol Politics.” The rapper Paris’ career has survived through three generations of political Hip Hop. Paris has been and still remains at the front line of revolutionary culture that actually makes it to average everyday people in the streets.
One of the most anticipated documentaries playing in the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year is “Mac Dre: Legend of the Bay,” which is about the short and productive life of the legendary Vallejo Hip Hop pioneer. Filmmaker Zachary Butler has rare footage given to him by Mac Dre’s mother of Mac Dre’s first performance as well as an interview with the one and only Mac Wanda, the mother of Mac Dre talking about her son.
Tribute to the Jacka TODAY, Sunday, Feb. 8, 3-7 p.m., on KPOO 89.5FM or kpoo.com , hosted by The People’s Minister of Information JR. On Monday, Feb. 2, ‘15, one of the Bay Area’s most beloved and well known rappers was killed in East Oakland. In 2009, the Jacka told me in an interview: “They don’t want us here. You just gotta do whatever you gotta do to get that positivity in while you’re on the planet and while you’re breathin’, man, and get it right, because you never know what’s going to happen. They got a plan for us. They tryin’ to take us out.”
It has been a few months since my release from 20 years of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison (SHU) to Step 5 of the Step Down Program (SDP). I thought I should pen this communique with an update on my travels from one place to another – the new location, experience, encounters and situations – as everything has unfolded.
Phesto Dee, a quarter of the membership of Souls of Mischief, is arguably the most vicious and complex lyricist in the whole Hiero camp. Phesto’s respect in the game has recently been documented and highlighted on the new documentary, “’Til Infinity,” which is set to premiere on April 6 at 9 p.m. at the Black Repertory Theatre, as a part of the Oakland International Film Fest.
The story of Souls of Mischief and their crew Hieroglyphics is the story of how Oakland became respected for its lyricism in a genre that was dominated by East Coast wordsmiths. It is a story told by Shomari Smith in his new documentary, “’Til Infinity,” which is about the 20th anniversary of the Souls of Mischief classic album. “’Til Infinity” will be premiering at the Oakland International Film Fest on April 6 at 9 p.m. at the Black Rep Theatre.
Anita Woodley is one of the hidden treasures of Oakland’s drama community. Though she no longer lives in Oakland, Oakland very much lives in her. She has recently jumped onto the international scene with her two popular one woman plays, “Mama Juggs” and “The Men in Me.”
I came into contact with Madam T’s music first through Facebook, although we both live in Oakland. I was impressed with her business sense off of the mic: sound, production, lyricism, marketing and her street hardened demeanor in her music. I brought her on the Block Report Music Show – every Friday midnight-2 a.m. on KPFA 94.1FM in Northern Cali – and the callers loved her.
Professor A.L.I. has been making a name for himself over the last few years in the Bay Area’s indie and conscious rap scenes. A Muslim by faith, Sri Lankan by nationality, Professor A.L.I. is one of the brothas who is taking Bay Area sounding music to an international audience.
Lil’ D aka Darryl Reed is one of the biggest hustlers ever born on the streets of Oakland. In Oakland, his name is right up there with other local legends like Ricky Henderson, Huey P. Newton, Felix Mitchell, Micky Moe, Mark Curry, Gary Payton, Hook Mitchell, Reggie Jackson, Tony Toni Tone, Too Short, Askari X and the likes.
There are a lot of artists in the Bay that I like for different reasons, but I have to say Mac Mall is one of my favorite all around artists. He was 16 years old when “Illegal Business” was released, his debut on Young Black Brotha Records out of Vallejo, who also brought the Mack, Mac Dre, Ray Luv and Young Lay to the world. Actually, this is the record company that put Vallejo on the Bay Area hip hop map. The lyricism and swagger of the young teenage Mac Mall on songs like “Illegal Business,” “Sic Wid Tis,” “Ghetto Theme” and “My Opinion” made him a legendary rapper out the gate.
On other coasts, you could just put on a red, black and green bandana or arm band and be talking to all white people but call your yourself a Black conscious or political rapper. Conscious of what I don't know, but the Jacka, on his new album "Tear Gas," shares the knowledge that he has with what revolutionary theoretician Frantz Fanon called "The Wretched of the Earth" instead of thinking that the information that he has makes him more elite, or better than someone else.