HIP HOP SLAM
SCRATCH ATTACK NEWS
• Cigarette and Beer Companies
Underwrite Hip Hop Culture + More in Hip Hop Slam NEWS Roundup
• American Idol or Asian Sambo? Munkifunk Weighs In on the
Fascination with William Hung
• Acid Scratch: Bay Area DJ Peaked on LSD During the 1993
DMC DJ Battle in New York.
• Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. 5 is Now Receiving Submissions
from Artists of All Genres
• Too $hort's Born to Mack Was the First Record Sake-1
Bought — Bay Area DJ Profile #021
HIP HOP SLAM NEWS ROUND UP
by Billy Jam
Mr. B from the 4
One Funk crew won the Kool Mixx DJ battle in San
Francisco April 16th at 550 Barneveld. Earlier that evening in
the MC battle Infinite from Felonious
took the emcee title. Snayk Eyez, who came in a close second
place in the DJ battle, commented that the free event was jam-packed
with 1500 clubbers who didn't seem to have much patience or respect
for the DJ or MC battles section of the evening that preceded
the real reason most of them showed up there: a free Slick
Rick and Wu Tang Clan concert. Ladybug Louie,
who said she enjoyed the entire evening's entertainment,
reported that the WU set was the clear highlight and that the
Clan, whose lineup included Raekwon, Capadonna,
Ghostface Killa, RZA, and Takeitha, ran through
all their classics including Protect Ya Neck, Method Man
(even though he wasn't in the house), C.R.E.A.M., It's Yours,
and All I Got Is You. This last song she said was
a really "touching and emotional point" in the show
as Ghostface prefaced his performance of the blues-fused rhyme
by noting that song's dark imagery were far from fictional: that
life for him growing up in New York in his poverty ridden family
home was just as shitty as it sounded. (Check it fifteen
of us in a three bedroom apartment/Roaches everywhere cousins
and aunts was there/Four in the bed two at the foot
two at the head/I didnt like to sleep with JonJon
he peed the bed). After the show Louie noted that "Everyone
in the crowd I talked to were very vocal about the fact that they
hated the Kool cigarette company who sponsored the free concert
but were 'happy to let them spend their money' on hip hop!"
Bay Area female emcee/vocalist Mystic has licensed her
hit single The Life to a large American beer company for
a TV commercial. For today's artist licencing one's music to TV
spots, video game soundtracks, extreme sports DVDs, and mobile
phone companies for use as ring tones have all become more lucrative
ways to make money than the traditional selling records route.......Longtime
Bay Area emcee Z-Man's Dope or Dogfood album is
well worth picking up......Legendary Bay Area hip hop DJ Kevvy
Kev, who we recently reported suffered severe flood damage
to 5000 records, is still in the slow process of trying to piece
back his valued collection. The good news is that many of these
12" records are salvagable but Kev needs anyone with spare
record sleeves to give hook a brother up. (email@example.com).....DJ
T-Rock will be dropping his rock band album project Graffiti
Death Threat sometime this summer....Z-Trip and
DJ P will be doing a one-off live reconstruction set of
their wildly popular Uneasy Listening mix CD at San Francisco
club The Grand on May 15th......We hear that Future
Primitive are working on a new compilation titled "A
to Z" as in Azeem to Zeph that will
be coming out in conjuction with Wide Hive the label that
just dropped the triple-dope Mayhemystics by Azeem
featuring the backing of Variable Unit (VU) whose
lineup includes the aforementioned Zeph and DJ Quest......Speaking
of Quest there is still time for DJ/producer submissions for the
Livehuman Breakseven remix project (details listed
in last HipHopSlam.com
Another album project currently accepting submissions (of all
types of new music) up until the end of May is the Amoeba
Music Compilation Volume 5 - the latest in the ongoing
Amoeba Music/Hip Hop Slam, collaborative series which has
jointly produced four compilations to date (All That Glitters
Isn't Platinum: Amoeba Music Vol. 1, Just Payin The Rent: Amoeba
Music Compilation Vol. 2, Independent Sounds: Amoeba Music Vol.
3, and Amoeba Music Vol. 4). Scroll down to the end of this
NEWS for exact entry details on this fifth CD compilation.....Much
props to Sake-1 of the Local 1200 DJ collective
who has been putting it down in da Bay for many years. Too
$hort's Born to Mack was the first record he ever bought.
Read what his all time favorite records are and much more on him
in this NEWS' Bay Area DJ Profile (scoll down).....As
it becomes increasingly clear to everyone, even his former supporters,
that Dubya really is the bumbling fuckin' idiot that many
of us figured out early on, the content of the Hip Hop Slam
release, WAR (if it feels good, do it!) compilation,
becomes more relevant and timely each day. Consequently it continues
to get getting heavy airplay on radio stations such as Radio
Ciutat Vella 100.4 fm. in Barcelona, Spain and KFJC
in Los Altos, California (#2 this week on CMJ charts).....In the
1998 archived Bay Guardian article reprinted below ("Turntable
wizards....") read which Bay Area DJ was peaking on LSD at
the 1993 DMC DJ battle.
"WHY SHOULD ASIANS BE CONCERNED WITH WILLIAM HUNG?"
- asks DJ Munkifunk. "How does America's stupid obsession
with a tone-deaf yellow chipmunk affect me more than Dubya's
war on my civil liberties? You tell me" Read below what DJ
Jester and other Asians had to say on da Hungsta. Also Munkifunk
invites you to email him (if you even give a damn) with your feelings
on the topic.
AMERICAN IDOL OR ASIAN SAMBO?
William Hung...the man, the myth, the American Idol. No
matter how hard you try to ignore the phenomenon, it just won't
go away. Fifteen minutes of fame have inexplicably turned into
a CD/DVD release, an appearance on The Today Show, and
a recurring half-time performance for the Golden State Warriors.
But while thousands of white Americans cheer for the tuneless
pop-star, there is a growing backlash from his fellow Asian brothers
and sisters who see him as the butt of a very tired joke. In the
current SF Bay Guardian, Kimberly Chun wrote: "I have
a sneaking suspicion that a large, unsung portion of his appeal
centers on not only his comical vocals and appearance but also
some sort of residual racism. Hung plays into mainstream America's
mocking derision of that goofy Chinese guy...."
DJ Jester told HipHopSlam
NEWS that he worries about the negative implications on the
rest of the Asian population: "In my heart it pisses me off
because when do Asian-Americans (okay, I'm gonna go there) ever
have real role models in the mainstream media (besides QBert
and a grip of scratch djs)? When are we not gonna be looked at
as just novelties? Why does it have to be taken to this level
for an Asian American to sell some hit records? How can we overcome
stereotypes if stuff like this is fed into the American psyche
night and day?"
But not everyone is rushing to denonunce Hung as the next yellow
peril. Oliver Wang wrote on
his website and in the Bay Guardian: "The protests
against him can be so overstated --one pundit called him an Asian
Sambo-- you have to wonder if some male critics aren't dealing
with their own self-image issues, ironic given that Hung seems
so unburdened by his own."
Americans may be laughing more at William Hung than with him,
but in the end when this has all blown over and William Hung has
faded from everyone's consciousness, those fools will still have
a copy of his CD in their pathetic music collection.
If you give a damn and have an opinion on the American media &
public's fascination with William Hung hit us with an email.
BAY AREA DJ PROFILE #021: DJ Sake-1
DJ Name: DJ Sake-1
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Trademark saying/philosophy toward music/your life:
"Return to the Source" -Amilcar Cabral
Groups/collectives you have been a member of:
(((Local 1200))); SoulDeluxxe Sound System
How would describe the music you spin?
360 Degrees of Soul
Is there a style to the way you put your music sets together?
I try to be a crowd motivator -- both in terms of my party-rockin
(rather than scratch attack) emphasis and my belief that music
and culture can and should reflect the best aspirations of the
human race, rather than the worst.
Discography (inc. mix-tapes, compilation contributions etc
etc): SoulDeluxxe Vol. 1, 1.5, and 2.
The first record you ever bought: Too
$hort, "Born to Mack" LP
Most influential record(s) in your life:
Ultramagnetic MCs, "Ego Trippin" ... Roy Ayers, "The
Third Eye" ... Boogie Down Productions, "Criminal Minded"
... Nina Simone, "Mississippi Goddam Blues" ... John
Coltrane, "A Love Supreme" ... Mac Mall, "Ghetto
When did you first DJ? High school house
What made you want to be a DJ? My thing
was bein a hip-hopper.... i could never dance.... I was a graffiti
writer but i got arrested hella times.... i liked to write raps
but i froze up like Rabbitt in front of the crowd.....so the last
option was DJing. I backed into it and i bet ima back out of it....
Most memorable performance of your DJ career:
DJing at June Jordan's birthday party in 2000 (Rest In Poetry,
June...). Spinnin some Queen Latifah track while June and Angela
Davis got they boogie on.
How do you transport your records and/or gear to gigs?
I use my car in SF but am open to suggestions
Do you play CDs ever at gigs? i might
maybe if its a song i GOTTA play and it aint on vinly but nah
i aint a CDJ or nothin....
In your opinion, who is the best DJ of all time?
To me, its Larry Levan. But i gotta also mention CASH MONEY, JAZZY
JAY, AFRIKA BAMBAATAA, APOLLO and SHORTKUT, and JAZZY JEFF. There
are some cats i never heard spin before that i know are dope but
i gotta base it on dudes i have actually heard rock
because that's what it's all about, yaoming??
Best website or Email to find out more about you:
Turntable wizards Eddie Def, Mixmaster Mike,
and DJ Disk are turning Bay Area hip-hop on its ear.
by Billy Jam (originally printed
in the Bay Guardian in 1998)
'FOR the 1993 DMC [Disco Mixing Championship] battle in
New York, I was on acid," chuckles San Francisco's DJ Disk
as he kicks back in his poster-covered home studio. "I had
taken a hit about two hours before, so during the actual battle
I was peaking. It was intense." Having a psychedelic experience
in the middle of a performance isn't that unusual for Disk --
though the psychedelia is usually recorded rather than chemical.
At 27, the self-described "phonosycograph" DJ
has collaborated with, among others, Rancid, MCM
and the Monster, Primus, and Bill Laswell's Praxis.
In April he ventures even farther into the sonic stratosphere
with The Album: Ancient Termites (Bomb).
Its 13 tracks offer a wild, warped trip that draws from hundreds
of manipulated live and recorded audio sources, including John
Coltrane, Laurel and Hardy, Tchaikovsky, Jimi
Hendrix, and old Disney film soundtracks.
Disk isn't the only Bay Area DJ getting freaky on the turntables.
Turntablist-producers Mixmaster Mike (with whom Disk was
once a bandmate in the Invisibl Skratch Piklz) and Eddie
Def (with whom Disk is collaborating on a multiartist recording
project called Stew) share his nontraditional approach
to hip-hop. Their aesthetic, like Disk's, is based on a childhood
diet of early '80s rock, rap, comic books, TV cartoons, and science
fiction. Today the walls of their bedroom-studios are altars to
their heroes: Metallica, Star Wars, the Beastie
Boys, Biz Markie, Kiss, Nirvana, the
X-Men, Ultraman, Batman, Gang Starr,
Run-D.M.C., and many, many others.
For Disk, Mike, and Eddie the smorgasbord of found sounds and
twisted breakbeats they create on record are aural autobiographies.
"I'm just re-creating my whole life on tape," says Mixmaster
Mike, laughing. "It's what I grew up looking at and listening
to, from cheesy sci-fi to all types of music. It's all the things
that scarred my brain growing up." Besides his solo career
-- he has released 20-plus mix tapes since 1984 -- and his membership
in the Skratch Piklz, Mike has also done his share of guest stints,
including recently traveling to New York to add his scratching
expertise to the Beastie Boys' next album.
Most kids simply watched the visual antics of their pop heroes;
Disk, Mike, and Eddie were equally fascinated by the soundtracks.
Among the recordings that Mike -- who calls himself a "sound
archaeologist" -- has used in his popular mix tapes: sundry
Kojak collections ("It's good sinister mafia-type
music from the '70s"); the soundtracks of Enter the Dragon
("All music composed by Lalo Schifrin is great")
and Taxi Driver; various works by Sun Ra ("Back
in the day, I wanted to be an astronaut, and when I listened to
Sun Ra I felt that he had that same vision, too"); and Mike
Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Stephen Stills's
Super Session ("It has some good strumming and guitar
The listening selection at Eddie Def's home studio is equally
eclectic. The 26-year-old Def -- a member of the Space Travelers
DJ crew and a prolific solo artist who has made some 300 mix tapes
since he started DJ'ing 13 years ago -- stocks his shelves with
'80s-era Sega games (for the noisy effects) and lots of records:
Beethoven, theme music from The Green Hornet
and other TV shows, and albums by the Wu-Tang Clan, Nine Inch
Nails, the Beach Boys, and ABC.
Eddie's television is his favorite sample source. "Oh man,
TV is the best; I'm always jacking it," he enthuses, pointing
to a tangle of "line out" stereo cords snaking from
the back of his TV set. He also culls material from the streets
around his Mission District home. "I might take my tape deck
and go to a gas pump, record the sound, and then come home and
loop it." Mixmaster Mike, too, practices the art of DJ vérité;
he recently sampled his personal beeper and pressed it onto a
record to use as a scratch tool.
Sound traffic control
Give Mike, Disk, or Eddie a familiar noise and they'll manipulate
it beyond recognition. Boasts Eddie, "I'll take the sound
of a horn, a snare, a scream, a guitar, a moan, a cartoon, an
orchestra, or even someone popular like the Foo Fighters,
spin it backwards, and get some crazy sound. And no one is gonna
know what the hell I used." DJ Disk, whom fans have acclaimed
as the Jimi Hendrix of turntablism, has made distortion his specialty.
On "Disk Drisks," a track from his upcoming
album, he bends and scratches a Hendrix record while simultaneously
miking it through a speaker in another room to cause a feedback
effect. Disk also likes to scratch spoken phrases, filter them
through an effects pedal, and then use a vintage '80s Vocoder
to add a layer of old-school robotic vocals. "I like to advance
turntablism by doing totally different things," he says.
"Otherwise it's just boring."
The process of making music from existing sources is a meticulous
one. Mike, for instance, composes "new" songs by carefully
piecing together scraps of old ones. He says, "I'll take
a sentence from, say, a Dylan record and make it rhyme with the
last sentence that I used off of another record, and then build
out from there to make a whole rhyming verse." On a particularly
inspired segment of his 1997 tape Mix Masterpiece:
Muzik's Worst Nightmare, Mike blended the Doors'
"Riders on the Storm" with Method Man's "Release
Yo' Delf" to create a cut-and-paste song that somehow
makes perfect sense. "It's a match-up game I'm constantly
playing in my head, and I don't always know how it's going to
come out," he says. "But often by taking a sound out
of context you bring it back to life. It's like I'm building a
Lego house of bits of deconstructed samples that all intertwine
and take you on a journey. It's sound traffic control." Though
their fan base is growing, Disk, Mike, and Eddie are still considered
outsiders by hip-hop's more traditional DJs. "I always had
a hard time making people understand what I was doing," sighs
Mike, whose early critics usually demanded something they could
"dance to." "I tried to explain that this is something
you listen to with your headphones. People would complain, 'Why
don't you just leave the record alone, or why can't you just play
the song?' I would say, 'But this is the song!' "
On the other side of the popularity coin, Eddie worries that
the current trendiness of DJ music will sap its innovative energy.
"I'm starting to hate the whole formulaic, scratch-trend-Vestex-mixer
little universe that relies on breakbeat records for sounds,"
he says. "It's taken away what was the main element of DJ
culture in the first place: being creative."
"Look at that record," he says, pointing to a copy
of the Moody Blues' In Search of the Lost Chord
among a stack of 25-cent LPs stacked on the studio floor. "I
could take a loop from it and make a damn hit, and no one would
know it. But if I take a loop from the most popular breakbeat
record out there, they'd know that I jacked it. That ain't creativity!"
If there's a secret to the collective creativity of Eddie Def,
DJ Disk, and Mixmaster Mike, it might be that they go out of their
way to follow neither trends nor rules. "I make music to
please no one but myself," says Disk, smiling. Hendrix, wherever
he is, couldn't have said it straighter.
MAY 31st DEADLINE FOR AMOEBA MUSIC COMPILATION
The Amoeba Music Compilation Volume 5 is accepting submissions
until May 31st, 2004. Amoeba Music and Hip Hop Slam,
who have jointly produced four compilations to date (All That
Glitters Isn't Platinum: Amoeba Music Vol. 1, Just Payin The Rent:
Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. 2, Independent Sounds: Amoeba Music
Vol. 3, and Amoeba Music Vol. 4) are currently in pre-production
on this fifth CD collection in the new music showcase series.
As with the previous four compilations this one will also feature
a diverse range of new music from all genres with contributions
from Amoeba Music staffers and non-staffers -with an emphasis
on artists from LA and the Bay Area.
GUIDELINES TO SUBMIT MUSIC
• Open to all genres of music as well as spoken word.
• While any length song is accepted, desired time is four
and half minutes or less.
• Should be new or recent recordings. (Note: Can be from
a forthcoming, new, or recent release as goal of project is to
cross-promote new releases as well as promote individual artists)
• Submissions can be previously released, so long as they
are on an indie label.
• Format: CD, CD-R, or Mini Disk
• Mastered tracks are preferable but not necessary.
• Include (if available) bio, photo or art, and contact
• Official Deadline: May 31 but due to Memorial Day Holiday:
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004 @ 5PM.
• Mail to: Hip Hop Slam, Attn: Amoeba 5 A&R, PO BOX
5124, Berkeley, CA 94705
MORE ABOUT THE AMOEBA COMPILATION SERIES
The idea of the Amoeba Music Compilation series is to present
a cross section of some of the best indepenent music being made
today that deserves to get heard by a wider audience. To attain
this end these budget priced compilations, which contain bio &
contact info. on each of the artists, are sent to a long list
of radio, press, labels, promoters etc. across the country. They
are also heavily promoted in all three Amoeba Music locations
and included in the weekly newspaper Amoeba Music advertisement
spreads. The music selected for the compilation is done by an
A&R committee, independent of Amoeba Music, with the goal
of presenting the best possible cross section of music drawn from
submissions by both Amoeba staffers and non-staffers.