Born in Aztlan, San Jose Zulu King Apakalips Speaks on Chicano Contributions to Hip Hop

Another interview from the Breakdown FM Vaults.. We broke bread back in 2009 with San Jose Hip Hop Zulu King Apakalips who gives us keen insight on Hip Hop in the South Bay, Bay Area Hip Hop History and the important contributions Chicanos have made to Hip Hop..

Respect the Lyrical Prowess of Hip Hop Zulu King Apakalips

by Davey D

When we talk about Bay Area Hip Hop we often focus on what is happening in Oakland which is considered Ground Zero. It is in ‘Tha Town’, that we find the likes of Too Short, Digital Underground, Keak da Sneak,Hiero, Blackalicious, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Saafir, Zion I, Mistah FAB and so many more.After Oakland, the spotlight usually turns to neighboring San Francisco which is home to Bay Area legends like San Quinn,Rappin’ 4tay, Paris, Michael Franti,DJ Q-Bert, DJ Apollo and in recent days artists like Big Rich.

Sadly many overlook San Jose which is actually the largest city in the Bay Area and the epic center to high tech Silicon Valley.Perhaps its because San Jose is 45 minutes away from Frisco and Oakland which are just minutes apart or perhaps its because companies like Apple, Google, Oracle and other high tech giants dominate the news and overshadow SJ hip Hop. Whatever the case, make no mistake San Jose and the South Bay region has had major impact.

San Jose and the South Bay is or has been home to some notable folks who we all know and love. DJ King Tech of the Wake Up Show, producer Fredwreck, producer Kutmasta Kurt, DJ Peanut Butter Wolf and his Stones Throw record label started out of San Jose.DJ Kevvy Kev who is headed to his 25th year on the air, pioneering graph writer Scape One, female dance pioneer Aiko, Grand Diva Kim Collete, prolific writer AdisaBanjoko, Hip Hop Congress president Shamako Noble are some other names that also come to mind when we talk about folks who put the SJ and the South Bay on the map.Anyone from this part of town recalls the legendary b-boy battles that were routinely held at the Hank Lopez Center with the full support and cooperation of the city which was step up from San Francisco and Oakland.

This is the conversation we had with Apakalips a long time fixture in the San Jose rap scene who just released his masterpiece of a solo album called ‘The Otherside‘ Originally from Southern Cali, this community activist/ school teacher started out around 2002 with a group called Tributairies .They were best known for blowing up the Iguanas Cafe in downtown San Jose where they sparked off Lyrical Discipline.This was a weekly Friday night gathering which attracted emcees from all over the South Bay who would come through and test their skills.It was done in the same vein as the Lyricist Lounge in NY, the Good Life in LA or the now legendary underground parties and freestyles sessions at 4001 Jackson street in Oakland put together by Mystik Journeymen and the Living Legends crew.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX83L8w3sNo

Apakalips later went on to join the Universal Zulu Nation and eventually became the president of the Gateway chapter and quickly made it one of the more active chapters in the country. Apakalips would routinely hold unity meetings as he’d gather the heads of key Hip Hop and community organizations and tastemakers in the San Jose community to find common ground and to collectively work on projects impacting us all. He was tapping into the fact that San Jose had some of the pro-active heads who have some well heeled Hip Hop organizations around that have done incredible work. Shout outs to Hip Hop Congress, D-Bug, MACLA, Funk lab and Miese to name a few.

During our interview we talked about the release of his new album ‘The Other Side‘. It has been critically acclaimed and for many its a throwback to a date and time where people allowed their creativity to roam completely free without fear of violating some sort of record company politics or copyright laws. The Otherside has unexpected samples that give this an album your traditional boom bap sound on one track and a Latin tinged sound on another. Still on other songs you will hear the influences of drum and bass. No two songsare alike, yet the album has a consistent theme in terms of being gritty and lyrically sound.

The ‘Otherside‘ covers many topics including, California’s unique contributions to Hip Hop and its b-boy, b-girl tradition and its cultural influences. During our interview we talked about how Hip Hop is a form of communication and within it cultural expressions and activities like dance and rap go way beyond Hip Hop, and in fact are deeply rooted in traditional Mayan, Aztec and African traditions. Apakalips felt that it was important that we view Hip Hop with a larger historical and cultural lens.

We talked about the social and political movements that proceeded Hip Hop and how they impacted Hip Hop culture in the past and today.We particularly built upon the legacy of the Black Panthers and Brown Berets.Aakpalips reminded us that during the hey days of those organizations in the late 60s and early 70s we had Hip Hop expressions in the west coast with pioneering groups like the often overlooked Black Resurgents dance crew who were strutting and roboting long before Michael Jackson, dancers on Soul Train or the word Hip Hop was coined.

West Coast pioneer Julio G

West Coast pioneer Julio G

We talked at length about the important role Latinos played in Hip Hop, specifically the role Chicanos here on the West Coast. Apakalips lays out the long history and reminds us that just like their Puerto Rican counterparts on the East coast, Chicanos were down with Hip Hop from the very beginning especially in the areas of graf. He noted that here in the west Chicano writers, taggers and muralist had a big impact on Hip Hop. We talked about the early emcees and deejays and the influence that icons like Julio G and Tony G who were part of the legendary KDAY Mixmasters in LA had on West Coast Hip Hop culture.

We also talked at length about the long social and cultural connection that NY had with LA. Long before there was some media driven East-West coast war, early Hip Hoppers were routinely going back and forth and building with one another. It was all love throughout the 80s. Apakalips talked about how pioneering Hip Hop and Latino figures like Hen G, and Prince Whipper Whip and Zulu King Afrika Islam hooked up with Ice T and helped set a tone for things to come.They set off famous Hip Hop club nights like Radiotron Water the Bush and Club United Nations and formed groups like Rhyme Syndicate and the Zulu Kings.

We ended by talking about some of the challenges facing San Jose’s Hip Hop community.One thing that is being addressed is the homeless problem. Apakalips and many others feel like the city hasn’t been doing enough. They are also addressing issues facing San Jose’s growing migrant worker population. In recent days they have also been dealing with an oppressive promoters law which requires anyone promoting an entertainment event to pay a 500 dollar fee and get a license which will allow one to put their name on flyers and pass them out.

written by Davey D

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

We sat down and talk with San Jose rapper, activist, teacher & Zulu King Apakalips. He’s one of the Bay Area’s best kept secrets. Listen to the Breakdown FM Interview w/ Apakalips HERE:

Download and listen to Breakdown FM Intv

Download and listen to Breakdown FM Intv

Breakdown FM-Apakalips Interview

 

Breakdown FM: ’91 2Pac Intv About Juice, the Police, Oakland & the State of Hip Hop

2Pac scene from Juice

2Pac scene from Juice

One of the most interesting and intense interviews, I’ve ever conducted was with Tupac Shakur back in 1991. He had just hit it big with the movie Juice and everyone wondering was he just acting or putting forth his real life persona in the movie.. Although I had known him for a couple of years it was hard for me to tell.. because during our interview he had a loaded gun sitting besides him as we spoke…If I recall it was a ’38….

In our interview 2Pac explains his then recent encounter with the Oakland Police Department which resulted in him getting beat up pretty bad.

I had run excerpts from this interview in a newsletter I used to publish back in the early 90s. I had completely forgotten about this interview and had misplaced the tape. A couple of months ago while working on liner notes for Digital Underground‘s Greatest Hits which recently came out on Rhino records, I came across a tape that had an old interview I did with Shock G. I flipped to the b-side and to my surprise I discovered the missing 2Pac interview from 1991.

Tupac Shakur considers himself the ‘Rebel of the Underground’ [Digital Underground] and for good reason. He stirs things up and does the unexpected. Such a person is bound to generate excitement because they have impact on both the people and situations around them. 2Pac in 92 promises to have major impact in the world of hip hop. He’s kicking things off with a sensational acting debut in the movie ‘Juice‘ where he stars as the character Roland Bishop.

His debut lp ‘2Pacalypse Now‘ is beginning to cause a bit of a stir on retail shelves around the country. And if that’s not enough Tupac is branching out and signing new acts to his production company including his older brother Moecedes who raps in the Toni Tony Tone song ‘Feels Good. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this out spoken and very animated individual at his apartment where he told his tale.
Davey D
c 1991


tupac-juiceredDavey D: Give a little bit of background on yourself. What got you into hip hop?

2Pac: I’m from the Bronx, NY. I moved to Baltimore where I spent some high school years and then I came to Oaktown. As for hip hop…all my travels through these cities seemed to be the common denominator.

Davey D: 2Pac… Is that your given name or is that your rap name?

2Pac: That’s my birth name and my rap name.

Davey D: You lived In Marin City for a little while. How was your connection with hip hop able to be maintained while living there? Was there a thriving hip hop scene in Marin City?

2Pac: Not really..You were just given truth to the music. Being in Marin City was like a small town so it taught me to be more straight forward with my style. Instead of of being so metaphorical with the rhyme where i might say something like…
I’m the hysterical, lyrical miracle
I’m the hypothetical, incredible….
I was encouraged to go straight at it and hit it dead on and not waste time trying to cover things…

Davey D:Why was that?

2Pac In Marin City it seemed like things were real country. Everything was straight forward. Poverty was straight forward. There was no way to say I’m poor, but to say ‘I’m po’…we had no money and that’s what influenced my style.

Davey D: How did you hook up with Digital Underground?

2Pac: I caught the ‘D-Flow Shuttle’ while I was in Marin City. It was the way out of here. Shock G was the conductor.

Davey D: What’s the D-Flow Shuttle?

2Pac:The D-Flow Shuttle is from the album ‘Sons of the P’ It was the way to escape out of the ghetto. It was the way to success. I haven’t gotten off since…

Davey D: Now let’s put all that in laymen’s terms

 

2Pac w/ Digital Underhround

2Pac w/ Digital Underground

2Pac: Basically I bumped into this kid named Greg Jacobs aka Shock G and he hooked me up with Digital Underground and from there I hooked up with Money B... and from there Money B hooked me up with his step mamma… and from there me and his step mamma started making beats…[laughter]

Me and his step mamma got a little thing jumping off. We had a cool sound, but Shock asked me if I wanted a group. I said ‘Yeah but I don’t wanna group with Money B’s step momma ’cause she’s gonna try and take all the profits… She wants to go out there and be like the group ‘Hoes with Attitude’, but I was like ‘Naw I wanna be more serious and represent the young black male’.

So Shock says we gotta get rid of Money B’s step mamma. So we went to San Quentin [prison] and ditched her in the ‘Scared Straight’ program…[laughter. After that Shock put me in the studio and it was on..This is a true story so don't say anything.. It's a true story. And to Mon's step mamma I just wanna say 'I'm sorry, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I'm sorry but it was Shock's idea-Bertha.. but don't worry she can get her half of the profits from the first cut after she finishes doing her jail time. [laughter]

Davey D: What’s the concept behind your album 2Pacalypse Now’?

2Pac: The concept is the young Black male. Everybody’s been talkin’ about it but now it’s not important. It’s like we just skipped over it.. It’s no longer a fad to be down for the young Black male. Everybody wants to go past. Like the gangster stuff, it just got exploited. This was just like back in the days with the movies. Everybody did their little gun shots and their hand grenades and blew up stuff and moved on. Now everybody’s doing rap songs with the singing in it.. I’m still down for the young Black male. I’m gonna stay until things get better. So it’s all about addressing the problems that we face in everyday society.

Davey D: What are those problems?

2Pac: Police brutality, poverty, unemployment, insufficient education, disunity and violence, black on black crime, teenage pregnancy, crack addiction. Do you want me to go on?

Davey D: How do you address these problems? Are you pointing them out or are you offering solutions?

2Pac: I do both. In some situations I show us having the power and in some situations I show how it’s more apt to happen with the police or power structure having the ultimate power. I show both ways. I show how it really happens and I show how I wish it would happen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gugEUpjIT2k

Davey D: You refer to yourself as the ‘Rebel of the Underground’ Why so?

2Pac-hoodie2Pac: Cause, as if Digital Underground wasn’t diverse enough with enough crazy things in it, I’m even that crazier. I’m the rebel totally going against the grain…I’m the lunatic that everyone refers to. I always want to do the extreme. I want to get as many people looking as possible. For example I would’ve never done the song ‘Kiss U Back’ that way.I would’ve never done a song like that-That’s why I’m the rebel.

Davey D: Can talk about your recent encounter with police brutality at the hands of the Oakland PD?

2Pac:We’re letting the law do its job. It’s making its way through the court system.. We filed a claim…

Davey D:Recount the incident for those who don’t know..

2Pac: For everyone who doesn’t know, I, an innocent young black male was walking down the streets of Oakland minding my own business and the police department saw fit for me to be trained or snapped back into my place. So they asked for my I-D and sweated me about my name because my name is ‘Tupac’. My final words to them was ‘f— y’all’ . Next thing I know I was in a choke hold passing out with cuffs on headed for jail for resisting arrest. Yes.. you heard right-I was arrested for resisting arrest.

Davey D:Where is all this now?

2Pac: We’re in the midst of having a ten million dollar law suit against the Oakland Police Department. If I win and get the money, then the Oakland Police department is going to buy a boys home, me a house, my family a house and a ‘Stop Police Brutality Center’ and other little odd things like that..

Davey D:In the video for the song ‘Trapped’ do you think that would’ve had the police want to treat you aggressively? After all, the video is very telling especially in the un-edited version where you have a cop get shot.

2Pac: Well the ironic thing is the cops I came across in that incident didn’t know about that video. The second thing is that everything I said in that video happened to me. The video happened before the incident. In the video I show how the cops sweat me and ask for my ID and how I can’t go anywhere…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCEmTaWSPTk

Davey D:Let’s talk about the movie ‘Juice’. How did you get involved? Where’s it at? and what’s it about?

2Pac: MMM what led me? Well, we have the Freaky Deaky Money B and Sleuth [road manager for DU]. Money B had an audition for the movie Sleuth  suggested I also come along so I went. Money B read the script and said to me’ this sounds like you- a rebel. he was talking about this character named Bishop. I went in cold turkey, read, God was with me…

Davey D:Have you ever had acting experience before?

2Pac: Actually I went to the school of Performing arts in Baltimore and that’s where I got my acting skills.

Davey D:Ok so you weren’t a novice when you went up there… So what’s the movie about?

2Pac:The movie is about 4 kids and their coming of age.

Davey D:Is it a Hip Hop movie?

 

2Pac Scene from Juice

2Pac Scene from Juice

2Pac:No, it’s not a hip hop movie. It’s a real good movie that happens to have hip hop in it. If it was made in the 60s it would’ve depicted whatever was ‘down’ in the 60s…My character is Roland Bishop, a psychotic, insecure very violent, very short-tempered individual.

Davey D:What’s the message you hope is gotten out of the movie?

2Pac: You never know what’s going on in somebody’s mind. There are a lot of things that add up. There’s a lot of pressure on someone growing up. You have to watch it if it goes unchecked. This movie was an example of what can happen…

Davey D:Can you explain what you mean by this?

2Pac: In the movie my character’s, father was a prison whore and that was something that drove him through the whole movie…

Davey D: This was something that wasn’t shown in the movie?

2Pac: Yes, they deleted this from the film. Anyway this just wrecked his [Bishop's] mind. You can see through everybody else’s personality, Bishop just wanted to get respect. He wanted the respect that his father didn’t get. Evertyhing he did, he did just to get a rep. So from those problems never being dealt with led to him ending four people’s lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj2hBPsoNpg

Davey D:Do you intend on continuing making movies?

2Pac: It depends on whether or not there are any good parts. I want to challenge myself.

Davey D:What is your philosophy on hip hop? I’ve heard you say you don’t to see it diluted?

2Pac: Well when I said that, it made me think. It brought me to myself. Now I have a different philosophy. Hip Hop when it started it was supposed to be this new thing that had no boundaries and was so different to everyday music. Now it seems like I was starting to get caught up in the mode of what made hip hop come about. I would walk around and hear something and start saying ‘That’s not Hip Hop’. If someone started singing, I would walk around and say ‘That’s not Hip Hop’. Well, now I’ve changed my mind. That could be Hip Hop.As long as the music has the true to the heart soul it can be hip hop. As long it has soul to it, hip hop can live on.

Davey D:I guess my question would be, how do you determine what’s soul and what isn’t?

2Pac: Well you can tell. The difference between a hit like ‘Make You Dance’ [C&C Music Factory] and ‘My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me’ [Geto Boys]. You have to ask yourself, ‘Which song moves you’.

Davey D: Well actually both. Both songs move me

2Pac: Really? well… ok there you go

Davey D:So they both would be Hip Hop, right?

2Pac:I guess so, at least in your opinion. ‘The Make You Dance’ song didn’t move me. But the Geto Boys song did move me

Davey D:Well for the record Bambaataa says both of them are Hip Hop. I asked him what he thought about groups like C&C Music Factory. He said they were part of the Hip Hop family…But that’s his philosophy on things. So what’s your plans for the next year or so?

2Pac: To strengthen the Underground Railroad. I have a crew called the Underground Railroad and a program called the Underground Railroad…I wanna build all this up, so that by next year you will know the name Underground Railroad

Davey D:So what’s the concept behind The Underground Railroad?

2Pac:The concept behind this is the same concept behind Harriet Tubman, to get my brothers who might be into drug dealing or whatever it is that’s illegal or who are disenfranchised by today’s society-I want to get them back into by turning them onto music. It could be R&B, hip hop or pop, as long as I can get them involved. While I’m doing that, I’m teaching them to find a love for themselves so they can love others and do the same thing we did for them to others.

Davey D: How many people in the Underground Railroad? Is it a group that intends to keep constantly evolving? Also where are the people who are a part of Underground Railroad coming from?

2Pac: Right now we’re twenty strong. The group is going to be one that constantly evolves. The people that are in the UR are coming from all over, Baltimore, Marin City, Oakland, New York, Richmond-all over.

Davey D: What do you think of the Bay Area rap scene compared to other parts of the country?

2Pac: Right now the Bay Area is how the Bronx was in 1981. Everybody is hot. They caught the bug. Everybody is trying to be creative and make their own claim. New York just got to a point where you could no longer out due the next guy. So now you have this place where there isn’t that many people to out due. Here you can do something and if it’s good enough people will remember you. So that’s what’s happening. here in the Bay Area, it’s like a renaissance.

Davey D: In New York the renaissance era got stopped for a number of reasons in my opinion. What do you think will prevent that from happening in the Bay Area?

2Pac: Well at the risk of sounding biased, I say Digital Underground. They are like any other group. I’ll give that to Shock G. He made it so that everything Digital Underground does it helps the Bay Area music scene. It grows and goes to New York and hits people from all over the country. That helps the Bay Area. Our scene is starting to rub off on people. We want everyone to know about Oakland. When other groups come down, like Organized Konfusion or Live Squad and they kick it with Digital Underground, they get to see another side of the Bay Area music scene. It’s a different side then if they kicked it with that guy… I don’t wanna say his name, but you know who he is he dropped the ‘MC’ from his name [MC Hammer].

Davey D: So you think Digital Underground will be more strength to the Bay Area rap scene because they help bring national attention. What do you think other groups will have to do?

2Pac Juice2Pac: What we have to do is not concentrate so much on one group. We have to focus more on the area. It’s not about just building up Too Short, Digital Underground and Tony Toni Tone and say; ‘That’s it. They’re the only groups that can come from the Bay Area’. We have to let the new groups come out. Nobody wants to give the new acts a chance. Everybody wants to only talk about Too Short and Digital Underground…We have to start talking about these other groups that are trying to come in that are coming up from the bottom.

Davey D: When you say ‘come up’ what do you mean by that?

2Pac: It’s like this. Instead of letting them do interviews where nobody ever reads them, let a good newspaper interview them. Instead of putting them on the radio when nobody is ever going to hear them or where nobody is going to hear them, have them where people can hear them and get at them where they had a better chance, just like if they were Mariah Carey.

Davey D: Do you find the Bay Area sound is being respected? Do you find that people are starting to accept it around the country?

2Pac: I feel that the Bay Area sound hasn’t even finished coming out. It’s starting to get respected more and more everyday.

Davey D: Your brother Moecedes is a rapper for the group Tony Toni Tone. What’s the story with him? Are you guys gonna team up?

2Pac: He’s in the Underground Railroad. He’s also about to come out with another guy named Dana.

Davey D: Who produced your album and are you into producing

2Pac: I co-produced it with the members of the Underground Railroad which is Shock G, Money B, Raw Fusion, Pee Wee, Jay-Z from Richmond, Stretch from the Live Squad. It’s really like a life thing-this Underground Railroad. It affects everything we do.

Davey D:Is there anything else we should know about Tupac?

2Pac: Yeah, the group Nothing Gold is coming. My kids are coming out with a serious message…NG is a group coming out that I produce.. All the stuff I say in my rhymes I say because of how I grew up. So to handle that, instead of going to a psychiatrist, I got a kids group that deals with the problems a younger generation is going through. They put them into rhymes so it’s like a psychology session set to music. It’ll make you come to grips with what you actually do..

Davey D: What do you mean by that? Are they preaching?

2Pac: No they’re just telling you straight up like Ice Cube or Scarface. They’re being blunt and it comes out of akid’s mouth. If you’re a black man, you’re going to really trip out cause they really call you out and have you deal with them…NG will make us have responsibility again. Kids are telling you to have responsibility…

Davey D: What do you think of the current trends in Hip Hop like the gangsta rap, Afrocentric Rap, raggamuffin and the fusion of the singing and rap? Some people call it ‘pop rap’.

2Pac: I think all the real shit is gonna stay. It’s gonna go through some changes. It’s going through a metamorphis so it will blow up sometimes and get real nasty and gritty, then the leeches will fall off and Hip Hop will be fit and healthy. Hip Hop has to go through all of that, but no one can make judgments until it’s over.

Davey D: What do you think the biggest enemies to Hip Hop are right now?

2Pac: Egotistical rappers. They don’t wanna open up their brain. Its foul when people are walking around saying things like; ‘Oakland is the only place where the real rappers come out. New York is the only place where the real rappers come out. They booty out there or they booty over there…’ All of that just needs to die or Hip Hop is gonna have problems. Its gonna be so immature. That’s just conflict in words. We can’t be immature we gotta grow.

Davey D: Cool I think we got enough out of you 2Pac.

2Pac: yes I think you got enough

Davey D: Peace.

 

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2pac ’91 pt1-BDFM-Young Blackmale-

2Pac ’91 pt2-BDFM-Rebel-PoliceBrutality

2Pac ’91pt3-BDFM-Juice & theState o fHipHop

Breakdown FM: A Conversation w/ Chuck D of PE & Brother J of X-Clan

This is a classic interview straight from the Breakdown FM vaults..It was done in December 2006, when Chuck D of Public Enemy rolled to our studious with Brother J of X-Clan to talk about the landmark tour these two seminal groups were doing… Below is the story we wrote…

Brother J

Brother J

No Disrespect to Nas, but somebody tell that man that Hip Hop is alive and well”. That was the sound advice given by Brother J of X-Clan from the stage of the packed out Mezzanine Nightclub in San Francisco the other night. The crowd roared with approval as Brother J sans his mentor the late Professor X and his best friend the late Sugar Shaft carried on the legacy of one of Hip Hop’s all-time greatest groups.

The audience was assaulted with song after song and hit after hit –from ‘Grand Verbalizer’ to ‘Ways of the Scales’ to his new hit ‘Weapons X’. It was a moment to behold as the audience was brought to fevered pitch by 10:30 that night and Public Enemy had not even touched the stage. Brother J and X-Clan were on fire.

As you looked around the crowd you saw an accurate reflection of the Hip Hop community. You saw folks ranging from their early 20s to well onto their 40s. Believe it or not I saw a few folks in attendance with their adult kids. I saw a lot of women. I saw b-boy and b-girls, thugs, squares, cultural activists, academics, Nation of Islam members, revolutionary types, former Panthers, Hippies types, whites, Latinos, Asians, professional types and lots of women.

Flava Flav

Flava Flav

Some came for the political message the groups offered. Others came because they yearned to see and reconnect to the hey day Hip Hop’s famed Golden Era of the late 80s and early 90s. Others came because they like the new material put out by both acts over the past couple of years. A whole lot of folks came to see the TV phenom we call Flava Flav.

When he stepped on the stage that night in the middle of ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’ the crowd erupted and an already amped up crowd took it up a notch. In spite of the controversy Flav has caused with the VH1 TV show, and fellow band members like Professor Griff speaking out, what was clear was that once on stage, every member absolutely needed to be there. There was no denying the chemistry and more importantly the friendship and love they all have for one another and for their people. This was especially telling when Griff and Flav were on stage as the two clearly showed that despite the differences they have genuine love and support for one another.

Professor Griff

Professor Griff

You felt secure seeing Professor Griff and the martial arts trained S1Ws holding it down. Griff also doubled as band leader which included stellar musicians like his step son Kyle and longtime legend Brian Hargroove on bass. We also want to offer our heartfelt condolences to Griff who lost his sister to cancer just two days before. In spite of the loss he brought his love and charisma to the stage and it was felt. You felt at home watching the long-time camaraderie of Chuck D and Flav as they went to and delivered a non stop energized 3 hour show that will go down in the history books. It was Hip Hop at it’s best. And so in many respects while Nas has a point in the fact that corporate media has ruined a lot of the music, it was more than apparent that they could not kill off the culture. There was no denying the infectious vibe that PE and X-Clan brought to the stage.

Earlier that day, I along with my radio listeners in the Bay Area, Atlanta, Portland, Fresno, Sacramento, Seattle, Anchorage and all around the world via satellite and internet got a chance to experience that vibe with a historic meeting of the minds. For the first time in their long histories Chuck D and Brother J did an interview together. We had an in-depth, memorable conversation about everything under the sun ranging from Hip Hop and politics to the art of emceeing to the anniversary of Crip co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams’ execution at San Quentin in part 1.

In part 2 we continued our discussion touching on topics like; Cointel-pro and the character assassination many Golden era political groups suffered. We talked about Hip Hop around the world and how the US is perceived. We talked about how Hip Hop went from being a subversive-secret code based communication that inspired and liberated people to one that came to be an extension of the dope game. We also talked about this insistence by forces outside the Black community to keep labeling Hip Hop as young people’s music. Lastly we talked about the importance of valuing our history.

ChuckD-performing-225We talked about the significance of these two legendary groups touring together for the first time and why it never happened during Hip Hop’s Golden era in the late 80s a/early 90s when both acts were arguably in their prime. Chuck D explained that there was never any rivalry or funk between X-Clan and PE despite their slightly different political approaches and philosophy. PE was influenced by the Black Panthers and were rooted within the Nation of Islam, while X-Clan were rooted in Black nationalist philosophies of the Blackwatch Movement headed by the late Sonny Carson.

Chuck D noted that by the time X-Clan hit the scene PE had already started touring outside the US and that the two groups simply weren’t on the same page in terms of being able to hook up a tour. However both him and Brother J spoke to the importance of groups and people within the Black freedom struggle being able to come together and work for a common goal. The sense of history behind a Public Enemy and X-Clan tour was not lost on either man.

Adding to this importance was the fact that although absent from the tour, Brother J and KRS-One who once traded barbs over records around their political outlooks had buried the hatchet and become good friends. In fact some of KRS’s Temple of Hip Hop members are on tour with Brother J included KRS’s road manager Non-Stop who is serving as tour manager for Brother J.

In this particular segment we focused on how X-Clan and KRS-One deaded their once storied rivalry which centered on Black Nationalism vs. Humanism. It was interesting to note that Brother J was touring with several members of KRS’s Temple of Hip Hop. He went into detail as to how that came about and how important it was for folks to know that the pair get along. It was the first time that Brother J had publicly addressed the issue. Also on the new X-Clan album ‘Return to Mecca’, he and KRS did a song together called ‘Speak the Truth’.

public-enemy benchWe spoke with Chuck D about the art of emceeing. He explained how Brother J made him step his rhyme game up in a major way and that he was blown away by J’s clarity and precision.

Brother J noted that he came out of a Brooklyn based tradition which was personified by artists like Big Daddy Kane and the late ODB. J explained that for years he was a battle emcee who basically refocused his energy into political topics. Lastly in this segment we spoke about Black leadership and the anniversary of Stanley Tookie Williams. Both J and Chuck spoke about how we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on issues of mass distraction like the 50 Cent vs. Oprah and the Michael Richards calling Black people ‘nigger’ at a comedy club. Chuck noted that it goes beyond name calling and into the types of treatment we receive at the hands of people who don’t care about us including the recent police killing of Sean Bell.

Also of note is Brother J’s take on Nas doing a song addressing the police shooting. He challenged him and others to be more consistent with their activism and not leave people confused by doing songs like ‘Ochie Wally’ that seemingly undermine their credibility as being conscious.

Original air Date 12/06/2006

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BreakdownFM-ChuckD-Brother J pt1

BreakdownFM-ChuckD-Brother J pt2

Breakdown FM on ADP: Do U Wanna Soul Clap?

Breakdown-FM-Neo-82-500

Yesterday on Breakdown FM heard weekly on All Day Play (ADP), we took it there with a nice soul mix.. Many of y’all like to call the music we rocked, Neo-soul, but I’m gonna honor the wishes of artists like Erykah Badu who insists that we not separate what she and others do from the cannon of soul..

So what was rocked yesterday was a retro mix with everyone  from Rapahel Saadiq to Q-Tip and Janet Jackson to Mary J Blige w/ Smif & Wessun.. all coming across my turntables.

Do U Wanna Soul-Clap?.. That’s the theme of the mix.. How can you not when what we drop is so funky.. Enjoy

Download or stream Breakdown FM Mix HERE-

http://www.alldayplay.fm/episodes/episode-87-12

01-Rakim ‘Remember That’

02-Alicia Keyes ‘ If I Was Your Woman’

03-Malcolm X America Doesn’t Love Us’

04-Janet Jackson w/ Q-Tip Till Its Gone”

05-Davina ‘You and Me’

06-Sunshine Anderson ‘Lunch and Dinner’

07-Mary J Blige ‘I Love You w/ Smif and Wesson’

08- Akrobatik ‘Remind My Soul ‘ Jesse Jackson remix

09-Erykah Badu ‘Otherside of the Game’

10-Eric B & Rakim I Got Soul ‘Neo soul remix’

11-Rashann Patterson ‘I’m Trying to Get Into You’

12-Mantronix ‘Gotta Lotta Love’

13-Rebirth The Movement’

14-Blackalicious First in Flight’ Eldrigfe Clever Mix)

15- Rapahel Saadiq ‘Never felt this Way’

16-Joi I’m Not Gonna Be Weak’

01-Raphael Saadiq ‘Tic Toc

02- If I let You take Me Home

03-Sunshine Anderson ‘I Heard It all Before’

04-Clipse ‘Everyday Made It’

05-Raphael Saadiq w/ Q-Tip

One of my Favorite Rappers is Killer Mike.. One of My Favorite Albums is R.A.P. Music..Our Intv w/ Him

It’s always a pleasure and enlightening to sit down and chop it up w/ Atlanta emcee Killer Mike. He’s never at loss for words and he pulls no punches when speaking on political situations. Our recent sit down w/ Mike was no exception.. We talked at length about his new album R.A.P. Music which was produced by EL-P of Def Jux fame. Many would not associate the pair because on the surface they appear to be on opposite sides of the musical spectrum, but in reality they have lots in common.. The album they created is a hard-hitting masterpiece that seriously bumps and lyrically is a breath of fresh air and a much-needed nourishment shot for the dome.

During our interview we started off talking about the album’s lead single ‘Reagan’. This is an excellent scathing critique of one of the worst presidents this country ever produced who in recent years has seen millions of dollars poured into campaigns to sanitize his image. Killer Mike accurately reminds us that Reagan was a criminal who answered to a powerful cartel who ultimately controlled him. Mike goes in on both the song and interview about Reagan.

He also pulls no punches on other Presidents including Barack Obama who he famously stood up for and supported in 2008. In fact during the 2008 Ozone Awards, Killer Mike sitting on a panel pushed his rap colleagues to clean themselves up, put on their Sunday best and not allow any industry rap BS be the downfall of than candidate Obama.

In our interview, Killer Mike explains that his position on Obama didn’t ‘evolve’, it was part and parcel of what one should do when you elect someone to office. He noted that all politicians need to be pushed and held accountable and his responsibility as someone who is active in voting and helping get folks in office is to speak up, be loud and make sure they understand there will be political consequence fr not doing right by the folks who support him/her.  So, yes he supported Obama. In 08 he was the best man for the job, but the nature of the Presidency is to do the bidding of those who push him the hardest, and hence Mike brings heat in challenging Obama and anyone who is in office.

In our interview Killer Mike lays out what he says should be top priorities for any President seeking his vote as well as many within the Black Community. He details a job program in which folks coming into the community must partner with residents. He also talks about expunging the record of those who were incarcerated and returning home. Mike talks about the importance of providing programs and opportunities so one doesn’t return to prison which ultimately impacts the larger community.

During our conversation we talked about standout songs like the melodic ‘Anywhere But Here‘, where Mike gives us a thoughtful and compelling view of New York City and Atlanta. In the first part of the song, he talks about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Stop and Frisk and the ghost of Sean Bell and others who are victims to police terrorism. He talks about the importance holding police accountable via the Mayor and other politicians who control them. He explained that anyone who allows the police to be out of control  don’t politically punish the Mayor for allowing this to happen, has missed the mark in a big way..

New York City is contrasted w/ Killer Mike’s hometown of Atlanta which he describes as a Black male heaven because of its abundance of opportunity, Black office holders and beautiful women. In the song Mike notes how in a city of such abundance, Black blood is still being spilled, with young brothers playing the role of villan vs the good guy who many feel never win.

It’s a powerful cut and during our interview Mike expands upon the political and social dynamics of Atlanta and its relationship to the rest of Georgia. He noted that one day he may actually run for office because he feels that strong about his city and wants to see it improve.

Just is just a short summary and doesn’t do justice to Killer Mike’s passion and love for his community and this music we call Hip Hop.. We divide this interview up in two parts..

Click links below to listen to our interview w/ Killer Mike

Killer Mike pt1

Killer Mike pt2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPyjJ1MMUzQ

Big Daddy Kane.. Setting It Off & Still Getting the Job Done (Breakdown FM Intv)

Got a chance to build with Hip Hop legend Big Daddy Kane who is on his way to San Francisco this weekend to perform at Yoshi’s Jazz Club.You have to marvel at a guy who’s been putting in work since 1986, when Kane first hit the scene as a member of the Juice Crew and still manages to keep himself and his music relevant 26 years later…

In our interview we talked about his longevity in Hip Hop.. Kane explained it was always his intention to stand the test of time. He noted he never approached his music or any of his performances in a lackluster way. It was always about leaving a lasting impression and having folks one day wanting to mimic everything from his rhyme flow to his overall steeze.

I asked Kane why he never took his music career into acting the same way many of his peers had. Kane was often dubbed the leading man of rap aka Dark Gable, a play upon the famed actor Clark Gable. He also was dubbed Blackanova a play upon Casanova. Kane said he was open to doing more acting, he just hadn’t been offered good roles. At the same time he noted he hadn’t pursued things as hard as he could. Nowadays he’s open and wants to step into the acting arena and really give things a try..Thus far kane has appeared in movies like; Posse, Meteor Man, Dead Heist, Brown Sugar and Gunmen.

In terms of music, Kane explained, that he’s been working with singer Showtyme, who we know for the work he does w/ Pharoah Monch.. They have assembled alive band are currently working on an album. Kane didn’t say when it would drop, but noted they were putting down the finishing touches.

We also talked about the art of freestyling vs writing a good song. Kane explained that a true emcee takes time to create pictures and those pictures get perfected when you write. There’s no getting around it. He noted that the term freestyling initially meant to rap without form, meaning that you may touch upon a variety of subjects in song. he explained that song like Raw was him freestyling. The term ‘coming off the dome’ meant spitting rhymes on the spot. He said its a good when doing a show and you forget a lyric and have to change up for a few bars, but ultimately an emcee takes time to craft vivid pictures. Coming off the dome doesn’t allow that with any sort of regularity

We concluded our interview by talking about Kane’s favorite song.. He went into detail explaining why Set It Off was his best work. He noted he was trying to mimic James Brown‘s sex machine..

Kane will be appearing at Yoshi’s in SF this Saturday August 11th … for more info click this link

http://www.yoshis.com/sanfrancisco/jazzclub/artist/show/2771

Listen to the Breakdown FM Intv w/ Big Daddy Kane

 

ADP: Fear of All People Being Free in America…July 4th Holiday Mix

This week on All Day Play FM we come at you with a nice little mix to remind you what Independence Day is really about… Should we be shooting off fireworks and singing God bless America? Only after we have true justice and everyone is free of persecution, inequality and oppression, not just here in America but all over the world.. Until then we must remember the struggle continues.. We must never forget the sordid legacy of our so-called founding fathers.. Many of them massive slave owners.. Right Tommy Jefferson? Click the link above to peep the mix..

01-MLK Meets Dr Dre.. ‘America Is Just a Dream’

02-Piper & Flipsyde ‘US History (original mix)

03-Public Enemy ‘Ain’tNuthing Butter Song’

04-Pete Rock & CL SmoothAnger in the Nation

05-Gil Scott-Heron ‘Winter in America’

06-Rev Wright Meets Euphrates ‘America Lied’

07-I Was Born w/ Two Tongues ‘Excuse Me America’

08-Michael Franti & Spearhead ‘Its a Crime to Be Broke in America’

09-Lupe Fiasco ‘American Terrorist’

10-Immortal Technique, Killer Mike  & Brother Ali ‘Civil War’

11-Danny Glover ‘Frederick Douglass July 4th Address’

12-Goapele ‘Red, White & Blue

Today the Beat Junkies Celebrate 20 Years …Here’s Our Vintage Intv w/ DJ Mr Choc

Today (June 30th 2012, the Beat Junkies celebrate their 20th anniversary.. If you live in LA and know nothing about this legendary crew of deejays which includes names like Rhettmatic, Shortkut, Babu, founder JRocc, Symphony What?! Icey Ice..etc, then you been missing out.. From the radio to the streets, beat junkies have been everywhere and have yileded a tremendous amount of influence on West Coast Hip Hop..  below is a throwback interview we did w/ Mr Choc who at the time of this interview a few years back, was holding it down on Power 106… Enjoy and salute to the Beat Junkies

One of the most underrated but influential deejays here on the west coast is Mr Choc who hold’s it down every afternoon and Friday nights on Power 106 here in Los Angeles. He also holds it down in the nightclubs as a member of one of the world’s most influential deejay crews The Beat Junkies.

We sat down with Mr Choc and picked his brain about the current state of music, the history and contributions of west coast deejays and the challenge he has in terms of balancing mainstream demands with his underground passion.. We spoke to Choc about how he went from a b-boy and graf writer to joining the World Famous Beat Junkies.

He spoke on the type of proving ground the BJs made him go through. They wanted to make sure he was truly committed and had the skill level to hang…

Choc also talks about how he made the transition into commercial radio where he is now the mixshow co-ordinator for LA’s number one station Power 106.

We also chopped it up with Mr Choc about why he and other west coast deejays have not gotten their full props and recognition. he humbly replied that he prefers to focus on his love for the music and his day in the sun will eventually come.

We dug deep with Choc and we spoke about why we don’t see more African-American turntablist type deejays other than a small handful. We also asked him to break down the specific contributions that the west coast has made to deejaying. Choc noted that the West elevated scratching.

He talked about the legacy of the mixmasters including Joe Cooley, M-Walk, DJ Aladdin, Julio G and Tony G to name a few. Choc also talked about the divisiveness that exists within Hip Hop with regards to underground vs mainstream. He spoke about how he manages to balance the two worlds in his day-to-day work. he also spoke about how he keeps battle ready and stays competitive in a crowded field..

Listen to the interview w/ Mr. Choc by clicking the link…

A Dope Emcee & Singer w/ a Revolutionary Spirit; Meet Maimouna ‘Mumu Fresh’ Yousseff

Baltimore native Maimouna Youssef is a breath of fresh air at a time when far too many are stale with their desire to be good marketers and packagers, reality TV stars or an over-the-top controversial figure vs being a damn good artist.

Because Maimouna who is best known via her nickname Mumu Fresh, stays focused on exploring and highlighting her art as opposed to marketing herself, there are many who are reading this who will note they never heard of her.. That’s ok, its time to get familiar because the sista is no joke.

First you should know she’s a songwriter and producer. Yes, she gets busy behind the boards. Also, she’s a dope singer with a soulful angelic voice.

If that’s not enough she’s nice on the mic as an emcee and will definitely take your lunch money if you step to her wrong in a cipher.. She’s been nominated for a Grammy, Best Rap song for her contribution on the song Don’t feel Right by the Roots.. That’s her you hear flipping the hook.. We thought you knew

Over the years Mumu Fresh has performed and worked with everyone from Nas to Talib Kweli to Big Daddy Kane, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Eryka Badu, Zap Mama, dead prez, and Cody Chestnut to name a few..On top of all that Maimouna ghostwrites for quite a few folks..She’s definitely well respected and sought out by her peers.

Those are just few highlights.. What really shines about this sista is the fact that she comes hard on the cultural and political tip. She doesn’t preach or get all up in your grill telling you how you need to act or what and who you should believe or follow, but her presence is strongly rooted in the tradition of revolution and freedom fighting. You hear that in songs like title track featuring Zap Mama of the Blooming album..or in tracks like Wake Up which takes on Monsanto.

The fact that Maimouna has remained independent by choice speaks volumes about where her head is at. In our interview featured below, she talks about the importance of positioning oneself to have true artistic freedom..With respect to her music, it goes beyond way beyond cheap sloganeering. Its nurturing for both the mind and soul and defies all industry labeling limitation. On her new album the Blooming, you have songs that are rap, songs that are bluesy and others that funk oriented.. Mumu says at the end of the day, its all Black music and as an artist she goes deep and takes us on an incredible journey through all types musical genres connected to the African diaspora.

Listen to our Breakdown FM/ All Day Play interview below w/ Maimouna Youssef

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw5s0Klmu84

Breakdown FM: Checking the Crates for Educated Fools… Episode 66

 

We had a great set this past week on All Day Play FM..as we continued digging in the crates and playing some great jams spanning all types of soul and funk genres..   We went digging in the crates and kicked things off with a classic joint from Berkeley based Digital Underground affiliated Mod SquadI Want U 2 C‘. Its off the hard to find ‘People’s Park’ album…I wonder what ever happened to those guys, they were way ahead of their time.. They reminded me of Digable Planets keeping in mind I heard them b4 DP..  Rocked another crate digging classic ‘Educated Fool‘ by crooner Billy Storm of the Valiants..Don’t sleep on Mr Storm..

Bronx River Parkway, Ray Barretto and Sound Defects continue to be staples in my most recent playlists.. Nothing beats timeless music.

The highlight for this week was my remix of Jimmy Ruffins classic ‘What’s Become of the Broken Hearted‘.. In this remix we rocked the eulogy for Malcolm X as recited by the late great actor Ozzie Davis..

Finally found good digital copies of former Def Jam acts Downtown Science..featuring Sam Server and Boscoe.. It was a relief to finally rock a few songs of their one and only album that wasn’t on an overplayed, low sounding scratchy vinyl..

Here’s this weeks playlist and link to the show Enjoy

http://www.alldayplay.fm/episodes/episode-65-12

01-Mod Squad  ‘I Want U 2 C’
02- The Bamboos – The Witch
03-South Central Blues Band – Soul Of Bonnie And Clyde
04-The Braceros – Spanish Moss
05-Isaac Clark  – Do The Dog Funk
06-Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease
07-Busta Funk – Black Sugar (High Quality)
08-Bronx River Parkway – Bronx River Parkway El Resbalon
09-Billy storm – The educated fool
10-Ray Barretto – New York Soul (HQ Audio)
11-The Button Down Brass – French Connection
12-Soopasoul – Brand Nu
13-Global Deejays feat. Rozalla – Everybody s free-192
14-Quadrant Six – Body Mechanic
15-Crazy Elephant – Pam Remix
16-Young Holt Unlimited – Young Holt Unlimited – Pusherman
18-Parliaments – The Parliaments-Good Old Music
19-Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (Malcolm X remix)
20-Soul Searchers – The Soul Searchers- If it Ain’t Funky (Original Version) .wmv
21-Sound Defects – The Sound Defects – Take Out
22-Black merda – Black Merda — Take A Little Time
23-Menahan Street Band – The Contender
24-Downtown Science – Out There But In There (Instrumental) 1991
25-Downtown Science – Radioactive
26-Immortal Technique – Ultimas Palabras
27-Sir Ibu-The Peacemaker