Last month VH1 aired a very retrospective documentary on the origins of Hip Hop in Atlanta, GA. As somebody who’s been in the city for almost 20 years now it was great to see not only the story of the music, but the story of the community and how all these things shaped what Hip Hop in ATL sounded (sounds) like. I caught this on TV the night it aired. Shouts to executive producer Chaka Zulu and all the other folks involved with bringing this to life. If you missed it when it came on, feel free to check it out in it’s entirety here.
Un-earthed documentary “80 Blocks From Tiffany’s Re-released after nearly 25 years.
Five Day Weekend and Traffic Entertainment are proud to announce the release of 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s, director Gary Weis’ 1979 documentary about the South Bronx and its gang culture. The previously unavailable film is now out on DVD, marking the first time it has been offered to the public in decades, and is accompanied by a handful of exciting bonus features.
Director Gary Weis was still working as a short film creator for Saturday Night Live when he came up with the idea for 80 Blocks after reading a Jon Bradshaw article, “Savage Skulls.” Published in a 1977 issue of Esquire Magazine, the piece centered on two gangs based in the South Bronx at the time — the Savage Nomads and the Savage Skulls. Weis became infatuated with the story and, soon after striking up a dialogue with Bradshaw, he convinced SNL producer Lorne Michaels to help him produce the film. Just two years later, in 1979, Weis and Bradshaw brought a camera crew to speak with members of both gangs, along with police officers, community activists, and civilians.
Despite its role as an important and unflinching portrait of a profoundly interesting time in New York and, as pointed out by The New York Times, hip hop’s cultural history, 80 Blocks was, for many years, impossible to find, only briefly available as an educational VHS release in 1985. In the time since its initial release, the documentary has gained an overwhelming cult status. With little to no news coverage over the decades since its release dedicated fans continue to buzz about the film, especially now that the internet has provided fans common ground to fondly look back not only the documentary itself, but the era that it captured so vividly. The Times, in their recent coverage of its release, noted that copies of the documentary have been known to sell for up to $300 on eBay, a seemingly staggering figure until one considers the depth of its reach.
For the first time in 25 years, the film is easily available to the public on a DVD including interviews with producer/filmmaker Weis and director of photography Joan Churchill, as well as a 40 page book comprised of the original “Savage Skulls” article, an essay by David Hollander, and artwork by Julian Allen. Publications such as New York Press and the Amsterdam News have called the film a “time capsule,” but even without the element of nostalgia, 80 Blocks holds up as a portrait of a subculture that might have otherwise been forgotten, as well as an important moment in cinema.
Definitely a great movie to check out if you’ve never seen it and a great movie to own on DVD if your are familiar. Check out the trailer below.
Growing up, I used Hip Hop as a way to learn about the world around me. From politics, to culture, language, geography, history, all this could be heard in your rap record of the late 80′sa and early 90′s. Then something changed in the late 90′s. Rap records talking about something other than partying and using drugs, became “underground” and labeled conscience. There was a shift, that continues to live on today. Listening to your radio or reading your popular Hip Hop zine all you hear and see is the same stories of niggativity.
With that said. Salute to emcee and homie Homeboy Sandman for taking the time to put this great piece together addressing the connection between Hip Hop and the prison for profit system. HS wrote this article for Huffington Post who refused to post it recently. No worries… It’s right here for you to digest. It’s a great read I definitely suggest checking it out. Thanks to Homeboy Sandman, and make sure you check out this new LP “First Of A Living Breed” out now via Stones Throw Records.
GoldenUndergroundTV recently released an interview I did with them late last year. I got a bit animated at the end. Only so many interviews in a row I could handle being asked about Chief Keef.
My tirade wasn’t really about Chief Keef. It wasn’t about Gucci Mane or Wocka Flocka or any of the acts spontaneously catapulted into stardom by synchronized mass media coverage despite seemingly universal indifference (at the very best) regarding their talent. Whose arrests, involvement in underaged pregnancies, concert shootouts, and facial tattoos, dominate conversation for weeks at a time, with their actual music a mere afterthought, if thought of at all.
My tirade was about marketing. It was about media powers seeking out the biggest pretend criminal kingpins they can find, (many of whom who shamelessly adopt the names of actual real life criminal kingpins like 50 Cent and Rick Ross), and exalting them as the poster children for a culture. It was about an art form reduced to product placement, the selling of a lifestyle, and ultimately, a huge ad for imprisonment.
This is not my opinion.
Last year Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the biggest name in the private prison industry, contacted 48 states offering to buy their prisons. One stipulation of eligibility for the deal was particularly bizarre: “an assurance by the agency partner that the agency has sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90% occupancy rate over the term of the contract.
What kind of legitimate and ethical measures could possibly be taken to ensure the maintenance of a 90% prison occupancy rate?
Back in early June the poster for the A Tribe Called Quest documentary hit the net. Here’s a larger image of the poster that was sent my way recently.
If you’ve been paying attention to the Blog lately you’ve probably been hearing about the new A Tribe Called Quest documentary: “Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest” that documents the story of the group. Tribe along with the Fugees may be one of the biggest enigmas in Hip Hop that I can think of. Their both loved, sold tons of albums, have fans all around the world, but can’t seem to get along much to put out a new album. This new movie is said to give viewers a behind the scenes peek of the group interacting with one their last tour a few years back.
As a Tribe fan, and a fan of Hip Hop period, I must say this is the movie I can’t wait to check out when it hits theaters. The homie 4-Ize told me he recently got invited to check out a sneak peak of the new film before it’s released. Not long after is seems as if the movie has hit the streets.
I’ve bumped into a few people who have confirmed, the bootleg has hit the streets and is circulating around FAST. From what I’m hearing this is a version of the movie that was shown at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. If movies are made like albums, than that could easily mean the version that hits the big screen varies a little from the one out now.
Either way, I have NO interest in seeing it early. I’ll be in the theatre on July 22nd to see this one live and direct. I suggest you do the same. Don’t cheat yaself. Treat yaself.
Speaking on Sundance, here’s a video clip of Phife speaking after the movie was shown back in January 2011. Apparently he was the ONLY one from the group to show up for the screening.
There has been a LOT of controversy over this new A Tribe Called Quest documentary / movie. Originally in the trailer it was said to be titled “Beats, Rhymes, and Fights,” but now all the press has it being titled “Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Story Of A Tribe Called Quest.”
There has been SO much going on in fact, that when the trailer was originally uploaded via You Tube it was removed only a few days after. It just resurfaced recently so I’m finally getting a chance to post it.
Jimmy V from the TSS fam recently caught the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC and reviewed it for The Source.
Here is the official trailer for your viewing pleasure. OH and two more things.
1. This movie was funded/directed by actor Michael Rappaport
2. The ATL will be able to see this movie on July 22nd when it hits theaters. The movie is said to be screening in two locations (Midtown Arts Cinema and Phipps Plaza AMC).
A Tribe Called Quest Documentary (Trailer) by PayeTaChatte
This will the Summer Blockbuster of the summer for The Kaos Effect famalams. Click Here to see the full listings of when/where this movie will be showing across the U.S.
Production team The Dynamite Brothers (J Haze and Amond Jackson) orchestrated the Beatz & Lyrics 2 Go (A3C Mixtape) RV Edition which features contributions from over 70 different artists and producers. Artists like Camp Lo, Artifacts, J-Live, Aleon Craft, and Sha Stimuli recorded tracks inside the customized mobile RV studio during the three day hip hop festival in Atlanta. Other notables such as 9th Wonder, DJ Toomp, and DJ Evil Dee also appear on the mixtape with cuts provided by DJ Precyse.
Shouts to AJ, J Haze, Jayforce, and Unique Squared.
1. Beatz and Lyrics Intro (Prod. By Focus)
2. Mount Everest – Punchlyne, J-Live and Trek Life (Prod. By King I Divine) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
3. Get Back – Dillon (Prod. By Paten Locke) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
4. Dumb Down – Arablak, Headkrack (Prod. By Amdex) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
5. Sankofa – Isreal (Prod. By Locsmif) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
6. Sing for a Living – Phene, NessLee, and Illmaculate (Prod. By King Hannibal) (mixed by LeroyBrown)
7. Emcee for NC – Kooley High, Edgar Allen Flow, Sean Boog (Prod. By Dj Ambush) (mixed by LeroyBrown)
8. The Present – Sha Stimuli (Prod by Rhettmatic) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
9. Respect & Honor – Blctxt, Nova (Prod by Tall Black Guy) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
10. Special – Aleon Craft (mixed by Denny Lavish)
11. STL – The Force (Prod. By Black Spade) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
12. The Maschines – Senor Kaos, Homeboy Sandman, Buff1 (Prod. By D.R.U.G.S.) (mixed by DennyLavish)
13. Checking In – DJ Evil Dee (Prod. By Amond Jackson) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
14. Beware – Binkis Recs (Prod. By Amond Jackson) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
15. Grey Skies – Gods’ Illa (Prod. By Locsmif) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
16. Lift Off – Camp Lo, Boog Brown (Prod. by Dave West) (mixed by Denny Lavish)17. Star-Struck – 4ize (Prod. By Tall Black Guy) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
18. Big Deal – Artifacts (Prod. By 44th P) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
19. Shout-tro-lude (Prod. By Grussle) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
20. Cookie – Boog Brown (Prod. By The Dynamite Brothers) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
21. Bear Witness – RE (Prod. By Tone Beatz) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
22. Breeze – The 3rd, Rashad, Nemo, L.E. (Prod. By DJ Seven) (mixed by Leroy Brown)
23. Same Ole Nova – Tommy Nova (Prod By The Beat Medic) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
24. Check it Out – Azage (mixed by Research Deluxe)25. My Legacy – Fokis (Prod. By King I Divine) (Mixed By Research Deluxe)
26. Legalize It – Singapore Kane (Prod. By D.R.U.G.S) (mixed by Leroy Brown)
27. Ride Out – P.So (Prod. By DJ Pocket) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
28. @$$hole – Draft (Prod. by Tone Beatz) (mixed by Amond Jackson)
29. Knock Knock – Amdex (Prod. By Locsmif) (mixed by Denny Lavish)
30. Just Us Code – The 5ive (Prod. By DJ Shakim) (mixed by Denny Lavish)31. I Am – Chosen (Prod. By The Dynamite Brothers) (mixed by Denny Lavish
This joint is better than most albums that dropped this year!
So earlier today I received a phone call to tell me the news that mainstay Hip Hop record store “Fat Beats” is about to close. A lot of people don’t really know, but back in the late 90′s we had a Fat Beats location in Atlanta. When I was 16 I would go to Fat Beats, to see what was new, to see what concerts/shows were coming up, and it was also the place to see and be seen. Fat Beats Atlanta is where I met people like Jax (Binkis Recs), Cognito (Mass Influence / Frolab), Dj Boom Bip, and also bumped into Talib Kweli, MF DOOM, Dilated Peoples, The Arsonists, during various in stores.
They always had the latest vinyl, CDs, and also sold Merch items like T-Shirts, Books and Magazines, and if you were a sticker fiend like me, Fat Beats was the place to pick the latest promo stickers (Which I still have a massive collection of to this day).
Later on Fat Beats became a place to sell my music as well. When I started pressing my music on vinyl, Fat Beats in New York became the place where heads in NYC would pick the music after hearing it on CM Famalam Radio Show with Bobbito. I still have a copy of the check the Fat Beats sent me. This was my FIRST check made out to my company for anything music related.
Just a few weeks ago while I was in NYC I made it a point to stop by Fat Beats (as I normally do whenever I’m in town) and purchased the homie Homeboy Sandman’s new album. Needless to say when I heard the news, angered by it at first. I have been saying for a while that technology has killed the music game in many ways. (Bad music plays a part in that as well). But years ago, before file sharing became the norm, and Dj’s still used vinyl, and stores like Fat Beats were the #1 place to find it.
Phonte said earlier on Twitter: In order for todays Hip Hop fan to understand the importance of Fat Beats closing, just imagine if all the Blogs (where you get music now a days) were gone. I couldn’t agree more.
A brief history of Fat Beats: Video
Take a tour of Fat Beats NY with Dj Eclipse
Here’s the official press release that went out earlier today:
(August 18, 2010 – Brooklyn, NY) After 16 years, Fat Beats has announced the closing of the legendary label’s two remaining retail locations in New York and Los Angeles. Fat Beats will celebrate the legacies of the stores, which are scheduled to close in early September (New York: September 4th, Los Angeles: September 18th) by throwing a series of blow-out sales and tribute parties open to the public during their last weeks. Fans can check www.FatBeats.com for updates.
Fat Beats’ longest running and most famed location is at 406 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. Since the 1994 opening of Fat Beats’ flagship retail location, hip-hop fans have traveled far and wide to visit the iconic store. With locations soon following in Los Angeles (7600 Melrose Ave.), Atlanta, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, the record stores were a place to experience hip-hop culture and its legacy, which became a global phenomenon. “The closing of Fat Beats is just like one of my friends passing away. They promoted vinyl at its highest degree for the culture of good music and that makes it more difficult to say goodbye,” says DJ Premier.
The announcement of the closings is a reflection of the woes that have been plaguing the industry for years. Global chain HMV closed their last US location in 2004. Tower Records shuttered in 2006. Last year saw the close of the last Virgin Megastore, and the story is no different in 2010. For Fat Beats, maintaining two stores well into 2010 is a testament to the stores’ importance to the music and to fans and consumers continuing to support independent hip-hop.
While news of the stores’ closing marks the end of an era, the future is not doom and gloom. Digital sales continue to increase industry-wide; for Fat Beats, currently operating a profitable and growing online retail store, this has provided a boon to business as fans continue to order mp3s, vinyl, and CDs from FatBeats.com. Although digital sales continue to grow, executives at Fat Beats understand the importance of independent retail stores and are planning to re-open a brick and mortar hip-hop lifestyle location sometime in the near future.
The future looks just as bright for Fat Beats Distribution and the label. Fat Beats Distribution, which has been renamed FB Distribution, continues to strike noteworthy distribution deals with independent and major labels worldwide and is now working with different genres of alternative music. Fat Beats Records will continue to release notable albums from their own impressive roster of artists including ILL BILL, TruMaster/KRS-One, Black Milk, Trinity, Sha Stimuli, Q-Unique, and more. Fat Beats owner and President Joe Abajian says, “This is the start of a new era for Fat Beats. We’re adapting to meet the needs of our demographic by revamping and improving our existing systems. While our website, which stocks everything available in our retail stores, continues to do very well, we’re still exploring our options for alternate retail locations in the future. We’re proud of our legacy and will continue to re-invent ourselves. For now, we’ll see you online at FatBeats.com”
This is a sad day in Hip Hop. Fat Beats slogan was “The Last Stop For Hip Hop.” With the last stop closing on the retail side of things, many people feel perhaps Nas was right, and maybe Hip Hop really is Dead.
If your looking for quality Hip Hop in Atlanta, chances are your not going to hear it on commercial radio. But look no further, every Thursday night from 9pm – 11pm the good folks at the WREKroom at WREK 91.1 FM are representing for you. If your in ATL tune in on 91.1 Fm. If your elsewhere listen live on the Internet at www.wrek.org
Also you can follow the playlist via Twitter at @Wrekroom
Just in the past month alone artists such as Tez McClain, Mikkey Halsted, and most recently Sean Price have made appearances on Wrek Radio. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, when you start looking for Hip Hop on the radio. Make sure your looking in the right place.
Shouts to A Dot, Dj Enchantd, Black Daniels, Dj Rasta Root, Dj Grandman, Dj Fudge, Dj Ghost, and all the other guest Dj’s who come thru and get busy.
Can you hear the righteous music bumping on your eardrums? Yeah that is David Banner and 9th Wonder in the zone doing what they naturally do. I can’t wait to here this project in it’s entirety. The other day you heard 9th talking about the project “Death Of A Popstar.” Well let the truth begin to shine with this snippet we have here.
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