Lyrics Born Rocks the New Parrish

LB Lyric Green micLyrics Born is one of the tightest emcees in the Bay Area.  Formerly known as Asia Born, Lyrics Born is a key member of the Quannum Crew which includes stellar acts like; Blackalicious, DJ Shadow,  wife Joyo Velarde and Lateef the Truth Speaker who Lyrics Born often trades rhymes as a  duo named Latryx.

According to his bio:

Lyrics Born had been a music obsessive since his youth, and in 1993 freestyles among a group of UC Davis classmates that occupied the same cramped radio quarters began to find their way onto paper, and suddenly LB had written “Send Them”. It became the first single on the newly minted Solesides Records, a collaborative venture between himself and his accomplices who would later go on to be known internationally as Blackalicious (comprised of MC Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel), DJ Shadow and Lateef The Truthspeaker, an East Oakland rapper with whom he found a shared affinity for the rapid-fire lyrical volleys that would define the next step. As Latyrx (a combination of their working names) the two MCs released The Album, in 1997. The LP would go on to become a certified classic, selling 100,000 copies, yet would prove to be the tip of an even larger iceberg.

Lateef and Lyrics Born

Solesides was re-imagined as Quannum Projects in 1999. As co-owner, LB used Quannum as a conduit through which he delivered his most realized project to date, 2003’s Later That Day. The album yielded his biggest commercial success to date, “Callin’ Out”, which charted nationally and was featured in several major motion pictures, EA Sports games as well as a Diet Coke spot featuring Adrian Brody.

The remix LP, Same !@#$ Different Day was released shortly after, showcasing the talents of his closest associates and as well as new material. Meanwhile, Lyrics Born began to explore different means of engaging listeners. He kept fans abreast of his work by peppering the internet with The Lyrics Born Variety Show mixtape series whoch he released himself through his website. The mixtapes, as well as ceaseless touring and the creation of his own internet media outlets Lyrics Born TV and LBFM, were elements of a new formula.

LB Lyrics redSince the release of Later That Day, Lyrics Born has averaged over 150 shows a year, and his explosive live energy was captured on the disc Overnite Encore, a compilation of live performances with live musicians from the Australian leg of his 2006 world tour. He followed up in 2008 with Everywhere At Once, a varied studio disk that signaled a departure from the sample-based pieces he had become known for, supplementing the sound with a full band and a healthy does of synthesizers. Hence, he has arrived at well-rounded sound that is classic and yet futuristic. Tom Shimura hasn’t forgotten how he got here, but he’s never been afraid to look to the future, either.

Here are some shots taken during his recent show at New Parrish..

A Look Back at Consolidated & Their Song ‘Friendly Fascism’

Consolidated Friendly FascismThis song Friendly Fascism, comes courtesy of one of my favorite groups Consolidated, who released this song back in 1991 or 1992… The song back then was pretty powerful, although at the time it went over many people’s heads especially with the defeat of George Bush Sr and the election of Bill Clinton..

With the 92 election, many thought that the worse which was personified via 12 years of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr were behind us…Unfortunately the fascist direction this country was headed continued just with a friendly face, starting with Clinton who was dubbed the ‘First Black President‘, followed by George W Bush who was dubbed a Compassionate Conservative and now Obama who is the target of daily racial attacks and threats which leads to many circling the wagon around him while he does serious dirt both abroad and here at home.. To be honest Ronald Reagan aka the Great Communicator with befuddling demeanor also fooled a lot of people which is why he was elected twice.

Consolidated Anyway if you ever get to check out the entire album Friendly Facism by Consolidated, its worth a listen. It was definitely ahead of its time.  Many of the topics covered and the lyrics are relevant today. If anyone ever went to their shows you will recall they were among the first to fuze multimedia with their stage shows.. After each performance they would hold impromptu town hall and discussions with the audience.. Depending on what part of the country they were in, those discussions could get pretty grueling as many would get angry by their messages..

Another nice aspect of Consolidated was their harsh critique of the entertainment and music industry. Some of what they said then may seem like old hat today, but back at the time many groups pushed to be on platforms like MTV and commercial radio. If you got on them, the last thing you wanted to do was dis them publicly.. Consolidated was relentless and was right on time with their critique..  I like this song below ‘Music Has No Meaning’ and appreciated being sampled in it..

Several years later, Consolidated teamed up another Bay Area  artist Paris, the Black Panther of Hip Hop to do this dope song Guerillas in the Mist...Love the way they smashed hard on Tom Metzger and the White Aryan Resistance ..

Queendom Comes Together | Sellassie Speaks on State of Bay Area Hip Hop

Jazz Monique Hudson

Jazz Hudson

 Hard Knock Radio (03-28-14), c0-host Anita Johnson chops it up with long time artist/ activist Jazz Monique Hudson about women in Hip Hop and the upcoming Queendom event featuring herself, Aima the Dreamer, Aisha Fukashima, DJ Zita, Queens D Light, Coco Peila and Shy An G to name a few

Jazz speaks about the current challenges of dealing with sexism within the industry as well as the power moves she and other women are making to remain independent and better equipped. Queendom is taking place on Friday March 28 2014 at Betti Onos and will feature women repppin’ all 4 elements of Hip Hop..

Later in the show,  Anita chops it up with SF artist Sellassie about the state of Hip Hop in the Bay Area. He explains the concept behind his upcoming unity summit he is organizing which is intended to bridge the gap between local artists and club and radio deejays.

He feels that many deejays are not supportive of the Bay sound.. Many deejays feel otherwise and hence this gathering Next Wednesday April 2 between 7-10pm at African American Cultural Center in the Filmore district of San Francisco..

Sellassie also talks about police brutality incidents and what folks should be doing to fight back.. On this show he reveals his new song ‘Cops Keep Firing.’

500 Female Emcees: Meet Diva aka Keldamuzik from the Bay Area

Diva aka KeldamuzikDiva aka Keldamuzik is from the San Francisco bay Area where she describes herself as someone the ‘entertainment industry has been waiting for’. According to her bio, 

she is bringing a dynamic look and sound to a game that has been watered-down as of late. She’s a vibrant Hip Hop artist whose talent will not be denied. Aside from obvious reasons Diva plans to set herself apart from the run-of-the-mill acts that come and go. Her lyrical ability puts her on a plateau most established artists only wish for or try to purchase. .

In January of 2005 Keldamuzik signed a production deal with Squad Music Group and started recording her first album entitled “Shut Up, Listen!” that was released in summer 2005.

In summer of 2006 Keldamuzik started her own imprint, Golddigga Entertainment and began recording her second album entitled “Diva“, released in 2007.

Keldamuzik created and hosted her own reality TV series called “Diva TV” as a promotion vehicle for all of her releases and videos. Diva TV aired on over 25 public access stations across the San Francisco Bay Area, and received 100,000 viewers weekly. The program showcased the life of Diva aka Keldamuzik and her weekly exploits through Bay Area Hip Hop culture, special features and interviews include celebrities such as T.I., Diddy, Young Jeezy, Keenan Thompson, DJ Kid Capri, Biz Markie, Ice T and many more.

In 2009 Keldamuzik had her first taste of Hollywood after having her song “Weight Up” placed in Sony Pictures “Please Give” starring Catherine Keener and Amanda Peete, which was released in theaters nationwide later that year. Going forward Keldamuzik’s “Squash it” an anti-violence song was also licensed in MTV’s Real World San Diego, episode 8 and in Oxygen Channel’s, “Bad Girls Club“.

In 2010 Diva released her third album “Diva TV – The Album” and her hit single “Thirsty” spent 5 weeks on Australia’s Kiss FM’s top 10 chart. Thinking “outside the box” Diva networked and created “The Bay Meets Barbados” tour where she opened for Reggae artist Kirk Brown for several shows on the island of Barbados. Later, she headlined “The Bay Meet St. Maarten” tour for a string of shows; all of the above doing wonders for her Caribbean and International fanbase. In 2011 Keldamuzik started “The Cultural Exchange Tour” in which she opened for Jah Cure at the Heroes Music Festival and appeared on Good Morning Antigua twice.

In 2012 Diva performed and toured with R&B sensation Lloyd in Tokyo Japan for the Summer Music Festival which also featured rappers such as YC, J-lie and Kid Ink. In 2013 Diva’s music was entered into Pandora and to follow up she has performed at Yoshi’s in San Francisco and Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Hotel.

Aside from many of the major success she’s had, a special feature of Diva was published in the She is now an unofficial spokesperson for Oakland’s very own clothing line Skylier Wear and has modeled for start up jewelry company by Bracelet Bizar.

DIVA (Keldamuzik) ft. Eddi Projex – I Don’t Care

DIVA (Keldamuzik) Queen For A Night

DIVA (Keldamuzik) Power Trip

3 Dope Songs from Madlines Making Noise from Seattle to the Bay Area

MadlinesLot of folks have been talking about Seattle as of late and its burgeoning Hip Hop scene. Much of the buzz is due to the success of Macklemore who has had a stellar year.. But folks shouldn’t stop with one artists in exploring the Emerald City which has a rich history and filled with talented emcees.

One of the folks who is standing out is Madeleine Clifford aka Madlines one half of the group Canary Sing which has been on hiatus for a while. She is more than just an emcee, but an educator and activist. As a member of Canary Sing, she along with her best friend Hollis Wong Wear who has sung on a couple of songs with Macklemore, could be found all over Seattle at spoken word events, conducting workshops and hyping up rallies by spitting dope rhymes that gave extra life to the causes they were repping..

The group became fairly popular and released an EP called ‘The Beautiful Baby‘ Standout cuts included the big band sounding ‘Prove It‘, the boom bap inspired ‘Heroine’ and the sultry sounding ‘H206‘ which pays tribute to Seattle.

Madlines albumA couple of years ago Madlines moved from Seattle to Oakland to get her masters degree. In true form she started making the rounds  and has become a fixture here in the Bay Area.. She made some noise last year with the release of a horn laden song called ‘I Need a Moment‘.

This year she put her shoulder to the grind to finish her first solo EP called ‘Love Child‘. Here Madlines pushes the envelope and expands her sound to include nice reggae sounding jams like ‘A Good Thing‘  and ‘Irie‘ which features Hollis. According to Madlines, the sound scape to the peroject reflects her West Indian roots..

The EP has a dope stand out track that reflects her more traditional flows called Blocka which features Madlines trading rhymes with Gigante of the group Brwn Bflo. The pair recently teamed up to do a heartfelt song about mass incarceration and the impact it has on families  called Beyond the Bars

If you happen to be in the Bay Area at the end of the month December 21 2013, Madlines along with fellow Bay Area artists Aisha Fukishima, Coco Peila and Ana Roth will all be performing at the Legionnaire Salon located on 2272 telegraph Ave in Oakland

BLOCKA (Don’t Block My Shine)

I Need A Moment


Zion I Holds It Down For Oakland

This is from the Breakdown FM Vaults.. We did this interview with Oakland’s Zion I in August of 2005.. They had lots to say about a variety of topics.. Enjoy..

Zion I: True & Livin’ Holding It Down for Oakland
By Davey D

Zion I stoop When we talk about West Coast Hip Hop, oftentimes the face to it has been limited to just a few individuals like Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and more recently The Game. When we start trying to expand the vision a little and look to places outside Los Angeles to regions like the Bay Area we still find a limited view. Hence, in 2005, when you say Bay Area Hip Hop, people outside the region still think of groups like Too Short or Digital Underground.

Through all this narrowcasting we as a Hip Hop community has far too often by passed the brilliance and innovativeness of the West Coast’s underground. In other words, everybody in LA is not a ‘gangsta’ and everybody in the Bay Area is not ‘turfed out’ or ‘hyphy’. One such group that does not fit the mode and has been grinding away for the better part of 10 years is Zion I.

Over the years, group members Amp Live and Zion now known as Zumbi have taken their musical journey from Texas to Atlanta and back to the Bay Area. They’’ve been signed to labels like Tommy Boy and smaller boutique outfits like Nu Groove. They’’ve done everything from perform at huge anti-war rallies, teach class in some of the Bay Area’s most troubled schools and do radio mix shows on rock oriented stations that found an appreciation for the drum and bass records they have occasionally released.

Through it all, Zion I although critically acclaimed has not been able to break the confines and stigma attached to being ‘just another regional underground act’ from Bay Area. However, this time around things may be different. For starters, the group has upheld the Bay tradition by establishing their own independent record label Live Up. Second, many are saying that their latest offering ‘True and Living’ is their dopest album ever and will help carry them to the next level.

We sat down with group members Amp Live (producer) and lead rapper Zion to get the full 4-11 on the group’s history and future plans. Here is a run down of what they had to say…:

Breakdown FM- Zion I 2005 Interview


Zion I Breakdown FM Interview pt1

ZionI-largeProducer Amp Live who originally hails from Texas, talks about the first incarnation of Zion I, which was under the name Metaphor and consisted of four members.

They initially formed back in the early 90s at Morehouse College in Atlanta where they went to school. He noted that back in those days the crunk sound wasn’t in and that the Luke-style booty shaking music associated to the south at that time was eclipsed by the large numbers of New Yorkers in the area. The result was Metaphor having more of a New York inspired Hip Hop sound as opposed to one reflective of other regions. The cool thing about Hip Hop back in those days was that it all was in one bucket. You didn’t have all these industry driven sub genres separating the music

Amp talked about how the group became popular and did work in famed producer Dallas Austin’s studio. They also would frequently cross paths with Hip Hop icon Erick Sermon. Eventually Metaphor was signed to Tommy Boy Records

Lead rapper Zion I talked about how the group got played big time by Tommy Boy. He noted that they were young and hungry and did not prepare themselves properly. He speaks about how the four members signed a 20-page ‘pre-contract’, which laid the groundwork for a 75-page contract, which gave the label full authority over the group.

Zion talked about the way Tommy Boy tried to force a new producer on the group even though Amp Live was their producer. Zion talks about how Tommy Boy kept rejecting their music and would send the group back into the studio with strict instructions as to what songs to sample and what subject matter to cover in their raps. He noted that Tommy Boy forced them back in the studio so many times that the group was forced to go over budget and were left to languish with little promotion from the label.

Zion noted that the group took their bad experiences with Tommy Boy and applied it to the independent rap game when they came back to Oakland. Their new song ‘The Bay’ reflects their love for the diversity and independent spirit of the region. He also notes that people sleep on the Bay way to often.


Zion I Breakdown FM Interview pt 2

Zion I pointThe group explains where they got the name Zion I from. They note that it came from their understanding of the Bible where it talks about Mt Zion being a place where everyone gathered before Armageddon. They say they want Zion I to symbolize a place in Hip Hop where everyone can gather to hear some tight music.

They noted that when they first chose the name they had very little knowledge of the political implications that are associated with Zionism. Over the years, numerous people have approach the group thinking they were Jewish or connected to reggae. They talked about one incident where a Muslim group wanted to hire the group but ask to either downplay or change their name because of the political association connected to Zionism

The pair also talked about their stint as elementary school teachers. This is a path followed by several other high profile artists including Mystic, David Banner, Asheru, Defari and J-Live to name a few.

Zion explained that the pair have taught underprivileged kids in some of the most impoverished areas in the Bay Area and as far as Zion was concerned that was good because they got to give back something meaningful to the community while at the same time gaining valuable insight and perspective. Amp Live explained that teaching has also kept the group youthful and that by teaching they had the privilege of seeing up close and personal the essence of what Hip Hop is about.

The pair also talked about the current move to try to make Hip Hop more useful in the classroom. It’s a direction they feel is needed because it allows one to make a variety of subject matter addressed by Hip Hop artists, relevant to the students.

Zion spoke about his Uncle and the work he does with math. He teaches kids math by using rhythms as a way to help children retain information. He says that this technique is rooted in African traditions.

Finally, the group talks about the inspiration behind their new song ‘Luv’. They said they wanted to give their audience something uplifting and they dedicated to all those who are struggling day to day.


Zion I Breakdown FM Interview pt 3

zion-i-true-livin Here, producer Amp Live talks about the Bay Area’s rap sound and how it’s extremely diverse. From the street oriented turf music to underground backpack, he notes that all of this is centered around Funk Music. He goes on to explain the significant role funk plays and how its long relationship to the Bay Area.

Zion expands upon these points by talking about how the Bay Area is made up of so many ethnic groups and people from all lifestyles. He notes that’s going to be reflected in the music. He also noted that as a group, Zion I wants to bridge the gap between Hyphy and ‘turfed out’ music and underground acts. He says he hates the term backpack, which is a label often, attached to groups like his.

Zion went on to explain that his group is from the old school and that they yearn for a time when it was all this was seen as Hip Hop and not divided. He says Zion I is Hip Hop and makes good Black music. He says it’s a challenge for the group to overcome the limiting industry driven definitions that have put the group in a box.

Amp added that he feels the group is like Outkast in the sense that they push the envelope musically and that they manage to get a little bit of everyone that includes the thugs and the back packers.

The group talks about performing at lots of community events and social justice rallies. This too sometimes results in the group being stigmatized as an act that is incapable of laying in the cuts and just kicking it. Once you get to know Zion I, you’ll quickly find that they really don’t hold up to many of these assumptions.

They explain the background to the song ‘What U hear’ which features Del tha Funkee Homosapien. They say it’s a straight up Hip Hop song that took shape once Zion and Del started rapping.


Zion I Breakdown FM Interview pt 4

Zion gives a run down about the art of emceeing. He builds upon the legacy of dope rhymesayers of the past like Hiero, Saafir, Motion Man and Living Legends. He gives props to the modern day bay spitters like Balance, MTV Freestyle finalist Locksmith and Oakland Freestyle King Mista FAB.

Zion explains that he tries not to get into battles. Instead, he wants to build with all these artists and help forge a new Bay Area coalition. Zion also talks about how a good emcee is one that brings new perspectives and styles to light.

Zion I Breakdown FM Interview pt 5

Amp Live talks about his production style. He says that his audience appreciates the fact that he has always pushed the envelope and brought new sounds like Trip Hop and Drum and Bass to the table. He says a true musician knows no boundaries and is all about making good music. He noted that he plays the piano and often replays riffs that he many would sample.

Zion talks about the new album ‘True and Living’ and notes that it’s a reflection of where they are mature wise and that it was important for the group to release this on their own label. He explains that the group wants to celebrate Hip Hop and not get caught up in being angry about the way corporations dominate and exploit the culture.

The group concluded by talking about their new movie which was scheduled for a fall release, but will probably be complete in time for a spring 2006 release. The movie is a sarcastic look at the group’s journey through the music industry. They play caricatures of themselves…




3 Dope Songs from SF’s Best Kept Secret-Hopie: Reflect, Refocus, Reload

HopieAs we continue our series 3 Dope Songs, we caught up with Hopie formerly Hopiespitshard one of San Francisco’s best kept secrets as she just released her 4th independent album called Sugar Water. She explained that this is her first album since completing law school and it reflects a new change of direction for her..

During our sit-down, Hopie explained that the rigors of law school and the cut throat environment which fosters individualism vs community and collaborations took a tool on her music. She noted that her last album Raw Gems she was overly aggressive and not as centered as she felt she should be… She wanted to grow and come back to ‘community’. As she explained in our interview, helping the community is why she went to law school, but the competitive nature of it along with the huge cost can quickly make such a goal be put on the back burner if you’re not careful.

With this new album, she had to time to reflect, refocus and come back home.. She took some bold steps by teaming up with a new production crew called Supernaut. She explained it was an amicable decision between her and long time producer 6 Fingers to branch out. Hopie also experimented with new sounds and concepts.. We found the her approach to be refreshing. Her album is nice..and we give her props for being open and willing to push the envelope vs getting locked into suffocating type of box.. Below is or Hard Knock Radio intv.. along with some past and present videos from Hopie who is fearless, talented and always on point..

Hard Knock Radio logo

This is Hopie’s newest video ‘Breathe’ which is off her new album ‘Sugar Water’–FJMHIcY

This is a fun video with Hopie and Bay Area legend Del tha Funke Homosapien trading barbs ..It was off the Raw gems album

Another cool vid of Hopie w/ Jayne Rio..

3 Dope Songs From Aima the Dreamer

Aima the dreamerFor those in the know, Aima the Dreamer hails from Oakland and has been rockin’ crowds for years as a vocalist and MC with groups such as J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science, The Mamaz, Goddess Alchemy Project and Jazz Mafia’s Brass, Bows and Beats Hip-Hop Symphony. All of this in addition to her own solo project has given her a variety of outlets with which to harness her energy as not only a talented MC and vocalist, but also as a strong, feminine woman who easily holds her own amongst a male-dominated industry.

As a freestyle rapper, poet, singer and versatile MC, Aima the Dreamer brings her array of talents and influences to the masses by way of her mixtape, released August 3rd, 2010. In addition to the mighty J-Boogie, the mixtape features a who’s who of underground and independent artists including Lyrics Born, Bassnectar, Crown City Rockers, DJ Vadim, Bunny Mack, Sola Rosa, Brass Mafia and many others.

check for her at

Below is an interview Aima did with our own Weyland Southon on Hard Knock Radio about her incredible mixtape

3 New Hip Hop Videos from the Bay Area that Hit & We Should All See

Mistah Fab hits us across the dome with one of the better videos that speak to our conditions in 2010

Mistah Fab

Definitely digging the new video from Oakland’s own Mistah Fab This is Cool / Is a great song w/ a powerful message that challenges is and is coming from someone who has been through a lot.. Gotta applaud more songs like this.. Keep it coming such messages are needed..

Another dope song that’s coming from the Bay Area and shot in San Francisco is Razor Sharp Thoughts featuring Shamako Noble and Pasha.

We gonna repost this joint from Oakland rapper AshEL who teams up with Sticman from dead prez to do battle with Monsanto and the food industry.. The song has a great concept and nice wordplay.. Food is a drug.. It can help you or hurt you.. I like the way these cats break it down..

Interview w/ DJ Pam the Funkstress aka the Party Slapper



We caught up with one of the Bay Area’s most enduring legends-DJ Pam the Funkstress. You may know her as the woman who holds down Boots Riley of the Coup as she gets busy on the turn tables.

Pam is a pioneer in the Bay Area Hip Hop scene. She started off back in the mid 80s as producer for a now defunct all female rap group. She still produces but has also become a stellar DJ who rocks parties weekly and a restaurant owner where she herself cooks the food. If that’s not enough Pam has been training with DJ Q-Bert.. Sit back and enjoy as she lets loose about her-story..

-Davey D-

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

DJ Pam the Funkstrees the Party Slapper

DJ Pam the Funkstrees the Party Slapper