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Breaking The Ice
03/14/2018, 7:19 PM
Filed under: Random

This project with DJ Platurn has literally been 10 years in the making (more if you count his lifetime’s worth of sourcing these records). The project is out at the end of the month on San Jose’s Needle To The Groove Records.

The mix is an astounding collection of obscure Icelandic funk, proto-rap, rock, soul, and disco, all expertly put-in-place by Platurn. The release comes with liner notes (by yours truly) and is limited to 1000 CDs with a booklet of awesome ephemera. To gain a bit more perspective on the BTI, here are some past blog posts which aided in the realization of the project. Peep the nice mini-doc (by Kicker Dixon) above and kindly purchase HERE).

 

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The Late Great Paul C
03/14/2018, 6:49 PM
Filed under: Random

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I helped edit this very thorough, very detailed piece on the mythical– and perhaps rap’s most underrated producer ever– Paul C. If you’re curious as to why Ultramagnetic MCs’ Critical Beatdown (and a few other notable records of that era) sounded so hard and so advanced, it’s all due to Paul, his extensive record collection and forward thinking engineering techniques. This piece examines his history and tragic death, exploring more of what became huge hip-hop lore. Written by my dude and upcoming music journalist Gino Sorcinelli. Read it HERE.



PREEMPTIVE POST: DJ SHADOW COVER
10/11/2017, 1:00 AM
Filed under: Random | Tags: , , ,

I wanted to get this post up since it’s been days since an update: The current issue of Wax Poetics (in print! on newsstands!) features my story on the venerable DJ Shadow. I don’t think I’m over speaking by saying this is the deepest piece ever on him, his history and catalogue-. It’s not only his origin story but has so many deep, fascinating tangents of other eras, particularly Bay Area DJ history and Mo Wax’s early days of dominance.

Check out some rad pictures and order it HERE.

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BADASSSSS SOUNDTRACKS
10/11/2017, 12:06 AM
Filed under: Random | Tags:

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I had a lot of fun writing about this a few months back for The Guardian. They wanted a list of the Top Blaxploitation Soundtracks to coincide with the reissue of Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song’s soundtrack. Have a read HERE.



Homecoming King: PB Wolf Q&A

(Editor’s Note: I interviewed Chris Manak (PB Wolf) for a couple local websites before his big show in San Jose a few weeks back. We talk a lot about his early history, specifically his start in San Jose. Take a look Stones Throw fans! – DM) 

HOMECOMING: PB WOLF PLAYS FIRST SAN JOSE SHOW IN DECADES W/ EGYPTIAN LOVER 

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Stones Throw is a defiant panoply of inventive music, a cadre of artists whom flout convention while making some of the most varied, artful projects in recent memory. It’s all due to Chris Manak, who helms the powerhouse label which he founded in San Jose, his hometown and early base of operations.  Continue reading



THIRD SIGHT: AN ORAL HISTORY OF RAP’S RELUCTANT LONGSHOTS
02/13/2017, 11:31 AM
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , ,

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Iconoclastic rap group Third Sight has stealthily built a resume over the last two decades as one of the more prolific and consistent backpack-style acts left. They have effectively outlived the two genres with which they were initially associated— Underground Hip-Hop and Turntablism. By staying true to their core aesthetic, they have developed a dedicated fan base that is entirely too small, a committed group of record collectors scattered throughout the group’s home turf of California’s Bay Area, Japan, and Western Europe.

Is this is all that can be expected for a group that refuses to be anything but itself? Their records are defined by dark, minimal beats, virtuosic rapping and scratching, and a macabre sensibility tinged with scatological subject matter. Before embarking on this project, we knew Third Sight was a niche group, but I don’t think any of us realized how underrated and underrepresented they actually were among even hardcore hip-hop heads. They’ve never been signed to a label. None of their lyrics are transcribed on Genius. Their most-played track on Spotify has barely more than 10k plays. (For comparisons’ sake, note that Ka, an artist mining a similar minimal aesthetic, has more than 10 times as many.)

As we approached several seasoned rap bloggers, the type of dudes whose vocation is to champion lesser-known MCs, we soon learned many had never heard of them. Perhaps this is by design yet their records draw consistently high prices on sites like Discogs due to the confluence of extremely high quality music with extremely low number of units pressed.

Perhaps they are best suited to their role as perpetual underdogs, as their output is by definition not for everyone. Let’s begin with the simple fact that the lead MC, a thoughtful and charismatic rhyme animal with a unique flow, has chosen for himself the moniker Jihad, a word fraught with horrible political and ideological connotations. As a switch-up, he will sometimes refer to himself as the equally problematic (though for completely different reasons) Captain Cum Stain. Every Third Sight album features long spoken sections from the pimp-ish character Sir Limpdic. Every release is filled with the kind of dense, dizzying polyrhythms, both vocal and scratched, that are somewhat difficult to comprehend upon first listen.

So, this 10-Piece Oral History is for Third Sight fans worldwide. Enjoy the thoughtful and detailed descriptions of Jihad the Roughneck, DJ D-Styles, and the rest of the folks who’ve had a hand in this unique and engaging career so far. 

THE CAST:

JIHAD – MC

D-STYLES (Invisibl Skratch Piklz) – TURNTABLIST / PRODUCER

DU-FUNK – DJ / PRODUCER

JERRY D “DA HERMIT” (Tone Freq) – SOUND ENGINEER / PRODUCER

ROB SATO – ARTIST / ILLUSTRATOR

 I. PRE-VISION: FROM OUTTA NOWHERE

Let’s start with foundational benchmarks in your history: How did everyone meet? Had you previously already knew of one another? You two met at junior college, correct?

Jihad: I was in another rap group before Third Sight called Un-Cut Poets and we broke up over creative differences around 1990, maybe ‘91. Continue reading



Who Got Da Props???
02/04/2017, 4:21 PM
Filed under: Random | Tags: , , , , ,

fullsizerender-27fullsizerender-28Over 2 years in the making, and after tons of orchestration, we’re proud to announce that Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage, a record that arguably changed the landscape of ’90s rap releases that followed, has been given the full reissue treatment. I was asked by Fat Beats to write extensive liner notes for which I am honored and thankful for the killer efforts the entire team did to bring this to fruition. Check it out and pre-order HERE. PROPS!