Saturday, December 31, 2005

Rail yard graffiti attacks prompt CityRail security fears
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By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney Morning Herald.
December 27, 2005

THE amount of graffiti removed from trains in Sydney has quadrupled, prompting claims by the NSW Opposition that commuters are being forced to travel on "mobile ghettoes".

The Opposition's transport spokesman, Barry O'Farrell, said the increase in graffiti attacks on trains demonstrated a lack of security at stabling yards. "The biggest worry is that if the Government is unable to protect rolling stock from this sort of vandalism, it raises questions about attempts to secure it against other forms of threats," Mr O'Farrell said. "With the holiday season upon us, the Government must ensure commuters aren't forced to travel in mobile ghettoes over the Christmas and new year period."

There were 35,627 recorded graffiti attacks last month compared with 8077 in November last year, figures published on CityRail's website show. The Opposition raised a lack of security at holding yards last month after vandals broke into a bus depot in Port Botany and defaced 56 buses. But the Transport Minister, John Watkins, said security had not declined and the increase in graffiti removal was due to changes in reporting and the use of better cleaning equipment.

"The statistics reflect the effective job its staff is doing in the detection, reporting and removal of graffiti," Mr Watkins said. "In the past, affected carriages had to be taken out of service as seats were painted and were allowed to dry. Now, new cleaning products allow the immediate removal of the graffiti. Intelligence suggests this rapid removal provides a deterrent to graffiti artists." RailCorp has begun hiding closed-circuit television cameras in carriages and working with police to focus on catching leaders of graffiti gangs.

"We don't need more transit officers," said a spokeswoman, Helen Willoughby. "But we do need to dedicate police resources to graffiti and to track down the ringleaders. We know from our CCTV cameras that the graffiti artists are organised and tend to work in groups of three to five. They will have a watcher and then they will come in as a group with spray cans in their backpacks. They spray their tags which can be reported and fed into police intelligence."

Mr Watkins said RailCorp had introduced security guards and dogs to rail holding yards and had begun a 12-month trial of wireless closed-circuit cameras. A spokeswoman said: "In light of recent events in London, I'm advised RailCorp is undertaking a review of its CCTV system. It's looking at security technologies and arrangements which could further enhance the security of their network." RailCorp has more than 6200 CCTV cameras in the CityRail network and spends about $1 million a year on graffiti removal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

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DELTA & MARK B - The OZ/UK combination

It’s almost upon us. Feb the 6th will be that date. Yep, finally the very long awaited album from one of the countries best emcees, Delta’s The Lostralian will be available via Nuff Said. After winning numerous battle comps & skulking around the planet, the lad from Adelaide has finished his album in the UK with Mark B. The first 12” single is the jaws-esque sounding battle rapped Mayday, while The Greater Good is on the b-side. I upped that particular track for our international friends. It’s an amazing track with a beautifully soulful vibe & some guest vocals from Delta’s pal, Mojo the Cinematic. Just a taste to get you over the Xmas /NY’s period.

MP3: DELTA - The Greater Good ft Mojo the Cinematic
Lostralian website

Monday, December 26, 2005

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CANADA EUPHRATES - Stereotypes Incorporated
Iraqi-Canadian crew

This Montreal based crew is made up of UAE born children of Iraqi immigrants, though unfortunately one of the members Nofy Fanaan, also of the production duo SandHill, was injured in a freak traffic accident, went into a coma & sadly passed away in Nov 2004. The emcee of the crew Narcicyst wrote an excellent memorial dedicated to his friend & crew member here. Habbilis is the other member of the crew, as well as the remaining half of SandHill. They released their debut album A Bend in the River in 2003.

Their 2nd album was this years Stereotypes Incorporated & it’s a thought provoking album that definitely has a Canadian feel, but lyrically it is loaded with content that naturally comments on their lives as Arab-North Americans. You know it’s going to explore issues of race, prejudice, war as soon as you hear the rather sketchy racial identifying dialogue from the 1998 nuclear war paranoia film Deterrence at the end of the intro track. Production wise Adam Sampler provides a beat, while Pako throws down 2 tracks, including Aim At Rebuilding in which he also appears vocally with his mate Loe Peshi. This leaves the rest of the music in the hands of Sandhill. They did a fantastic job with some of the samples having been cultivated from their parent’s record collections, used mostly for the appropriately themed songs that would require that particular vibe. They also produced a few tracks for Boston emcee, Virtuoso's upcoming 2006 album WW3:The Final Conflict. Always one to spit anti-govt verses, Virt appears on the track Flow Addicts with Rugged Intellect. The only other guest emcee is fellow Canuck D-Shade.

They should be looked at as a crew that just makes excellent hip hop, I think it would be a disservice to compartmentalize them as a politically minded outfit. Yes, this is what gives them depth, but just like most people they are not one dimensional, so Narcicyst doesn’t go the whole hog & bombard the listener with intense lyrics, he does spread out his views on life in general. I think by default Narcicyst will be looked upon as a spokesperson & definitely a role model for younger Iraqi-Canadians/Americans to look up they should. He's intelligent, insightful & a pretty damn good emcee as well. He keeps a reasonable temperament when exposing his thoughts on the way that his parent’s homeland has been treated. Read his article on their Myspace page. Nice little bio here. They also provided songs for the soundtrack to a documentary called Voices of Iraq as well as contributing a song to the Palestinian themed compilation Free the P. I hope they manage to get a higher profile for they would enrich many people’s lives with their words & be a source of inspiration for others with similar backgrounds.

Definitely one of my fave albums of the year.
It's supposed to be available via thier website, but doesn't look like it at the moment.

MP3: EUPHRATES - Haliburton
MP3: EUPHRATES - Aim At Rebuilding (Featuring Pako & Pesh)
LINK: Interview - Hip Hop Canada

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SADAT X gun crazy?
December 24, 2005

A rapper who describes himself as a "Wild Cowboy" allegedly acted like an Old West gunslinger this week when he waved a large pistol at three teens in Harlem, police said yesterday. Hip hop star Sadat X, of the group Brand Nubian, allegedly boasted "I'm going to kill everybody" as he flashed a loaded .40-caliber black Beretta at a group of 18-year-olds at West 158th Street and Broadway Thursday, according to cops. Police sources said X also told the youths, "I'm looking for a guy with braids."

After cops from the 33rd Precinct were called to the scene, the victims pointed out X, who was still standing across the street with the pistol. When police attempted to arrest the 37-year-old, whose real name is Derek Murphy, he ran. He was tackled quickly. He was arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Supreme Court on charges of criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.

Sadat X and Brand Nubian are most famous for the 1993 song "Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

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The cuddly fella joins the roster of the Melbourne based label, Broken Tooth Entertainment, home to likes of The Hospice, Tornts, Ciecmnate & Newsense. Thsi is his first solo effort & as the title implies, it is a precursor to the forthcoming album A Foot Through the Door. If you want to give him a hug, he's the bigger member of the crew Overproof, which includes his rhyming partnerAbuse & producer Fame. Fame produces 7 of the 9 tracks & also rhymes on 2 of them, Sticks & Stones & the posse track, Act Like You Know with Nick Lupi & Justenuf of the crew Spit Syndicate. The only other producer is Mad Hektik, who provides the beats for 2 including the politically motivated track Believe. I upped the track graffiti dominated track Trains Mission, which is about Swarmy's night on the prowl looking for a place to paint. Though this is basically a collection of older tracks that will not be on the album, it is a sure sign that the Swarmy has managed to keep the underground street aspect tight with an educated vocabulary & which will keep many looking forward to more material. Next time you see Swarmy, ask him for his Adelaide handshake & you'll know what I mean... Ha!

Also coming soon is the Overproof album, The High Life mid 2006.
Broken Tooth website
MP3: SWARMY - Trains Mission

Saturday, December 24, 2005

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Ghostface Killah doll

Looks like the iron man has joined the likes of De La Soul, Master P, Biz Markie, Eminem & MC Hammer to become a limited edition doll himself. The 1,000 hand-numbered 9" Vinyl Figures come from nw urban toy company, 4Cast. Still in production, but check the photo archive for a rough 'pink skinned' version.

Ghostface doll website
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London transit cops to use choppers to catch writers
Um, this would be a tad extreme. I'd say they be whooping about in their funky Eurocopter EC135T (as shown above) with infra-red goggles on looking for backpacks & gas masks. Ooh, sounds like a terrorist to me

Officers have called in the "spy in the sky" to hunt down the vandals who trespass on the railways to deface trains and depots.

British Transport Police (BTP) plans to mount a special operation in New Cross following a huge increase in trackside graffiti in the past two months. High-visibility patrols with dogs in trains, stations and depots in the area will be supported from the air by a police chopper.

BTP's Inspector Gary Clark said: "It's highly important that we all work together to tackle this antisocial crime. Graffiti is an unnecessary, costly and unsightly nuisance".
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THE BUDOS BAND - The Budos Band
Daptone. 2005.

This Staten Island based 11 piece funk band have some serious chops when it comes to making some extremely convincing funk music. They have it all, musically & spiritually, but what works for me the most are the punching horns. Oh my golly gosh, they just hit hard. Any funk band worth a grain of salt would only be selling themselves short without them. They aren't your standard horns. Nope, they scream more than a 70's cop show soundtrack ever could. Just make sure you lock up your damn daughters when they appear. They are that damn attractive with their alluring textures & frantic pacing that they could distract you from your parental authority for a several minutes, leaving the young lasses to sneak out the back window when you aren't looking to make whoopee with some of the sleazier parts of the brass section.

Be warned though, the next threat could come from the percussion section. This mob are like the Russian mafia, ready to ransack a small town to take away all the virgins. The organs, drums, guitars would all jump into the fray if they got half a chance. So there’s no rest in that department either. Many groups could learn how to do it the right way if they heard this album. So if ever you needed convincing that contemporary funk is but a sad Xerox of yesteryear, then snap your bloody head this way & download the track below. I do prefer when they up the tempo & get a little bit of that Afro vibe happening. Then they be taking hostages any which way they liked...with permission of course. Oh & this album took 3 days to lay down. Fuck I like underproduced music. Just get some talent in a room & jam the shit hard. Sweet.

Daptone website
Budos website A bit skeleton at the mo.

MP3: THE BUDOS BAND - Aynotchesh Yererfu

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCOPYRIGHT CRIMINALS - Documentary on sampling
This is pretty interesting...

Creative Commons & film-makers Kembrew McLeod & Ben Franzen have launched the Copyright Criminals Remix Contest asking producers, DJs, and remixers to use audio snippets from the upcoming documentary Copyright Criminals in original songs.

One winner will have his/her music featured prominently in the final edit of Copyright Criminals & the winning track & 11 runners-up will be included on the film’s companion CD.

"This contest, like our documentary, examines what it means to be creative in an age of digital reproduction,” says McLeod. "Artists have traditionally borrowed from each other and have been directly inspired by the world around them. But what happens when digital technologies allow for very literal quotes to be inserted into new works?"

Samples of dialogue by De La Soul, DJ Qbert, Public Enemy, Matmos, Coldcut & Negativland taken from interviews conducted for Copyright Criminals are available online at ccMixter for use as source material.

Entries will be judged by McLeod, Franzen, and author/producer Jeff Chang.
The contest will be hosted at ccMixer from now until February 28.

Copyright Criminals website
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French hip hop comedy, Dans tes Rêves, now on DVD
Directed by Denis Thybaud . Studio Canal. 2005

First time director makes comedy about a fella named Ixe who wants to follow his passion for rapping. Along the way we see him stumble & survive the pitaflls while he tries to live his dreams. Something like that anyway. Kool Shen, a member of famed crew NTM, was the consultant for the film. The most well known actor would be the always lovely Béatrice Dalle. The script was written by French emcee, Oxmo Puccino. So I upped a track he did with High & Mighty & a track that appeared on Kool Shen's new album Dernier. Typical of most French releases...No Subtitles.

French information here, including trailers, snippets & the first 5 mins of the film.

LINK: Amazon France - Dans tes Rêves DVD
MP3: KOOL SHEN ft. OXMO PUCINNO - Dernier Round
MP3: OXMO PUCINNO ft. HIGH & MIGHTY - Dans Quatre Jours

I might as well mention another one...
Le Défi (Dance Challenge)
Directed by Blanca Li. 2002

Dancer/actress Blanca Li wrote & directed this film about a young breakdancer who wants to win the dance competition with his crew, The Urban Cyber Breakers. He has consistent conflicts with his mother, so he decides to run away from home. It's a fairly silly film, but does have some nicely choreographed dance scenes. Though there are a couple of really bad CGI type sequences that suck. Though discard the really rubbishy comedy & you are left with some decent looking b-boy moments. Of note is that American 80s b-boy, Soda Pop makes an appearance & some of the original music in the film is by Matthew Herbert. Naturally no subs with this release either. I saw it on SBS TV & I don't see it getting general release, so I should just tape it next time it comes around.

LINK: Amazon France - Le Défi DVD
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South london writer, Rough
The Icons aka Rough, Part 2, System, Juice126 & Crise have been selected to partake in the 2006 Write 4 Gold event. So lets take a look at one of my faves, Rough. His artwork is magnifico. I'd compare him to a combination of Dondi & She.

Rough website
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The Lonely Island video, Lazy Sunday

These dudes from Berkley, Cali having been posting their skits & songs on their website for a few years now. They have a new video that is pretty damn funny. They are apparently real hip hop heads & it shows. Ironically for a bunch of comedians kinda taking the piss, they end up not dissimiliar to Ugly Duckling. They've scored a slot on the weekly comedy show, Saturday Night Live after Fox, MTV & the Comedy Channel passed on them. Now I remember the incident that Kiether Sutherland was going on about when he was talking to Dave Letterman one night. The clip below is awesome. Music is dope & they can spit better than some emcees. Check their website for loads more, including the pilot for thier 'never picked up' show, Awesometown. A treasure trove of nuttiness from some bloody idiots. Ha ha!

The Lonely Island Website

VIDEO: SNL - Lazy Sunday
LINK: The Kiether Sutherland Incident - Thinks he's saving an old lady

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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EDAN in Australia 2006

Poster I just did for Edan show in Sydney next year.

Edan website

Friday, December 16, 2005

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Q-BERT figure, with QFO deck.

Designed by English born/American resident Huck Gee (read his own story of his impending deportation here). The DJ Qbert Dunny will retail for $19.95 and come in two editions: tan (1000 pieces) and blue (2000 pieces). On sale January 12th.

Vinyl Abuse website
Turntable TV

• Magazine dedicated to Urban Vinyl - PlayTimes

Thursday, December 15, 2005

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OBESE. 2005

Was there ever going to be any doubt in the quality of a new Plutonic Lab album. I mean seriously? Did I expect it to be this good, maybe, maybe not. One tends to avoid thinking about the unknown in case one might become obsessed by the fantasy & then fall into its arms only to be disappointed by the reality. No worries this time around, for this is tip top stuff. We we’re already gobsmacked with the Muph & Plutonic album, Hunger Pains earlier this year, so this is like the icing on an already scrumdiddlyumptious cake.

As with his previous 2 albums, this one is a mostly instrumental affair. Adding to his beats are the talents of keyboardist Drem & guitarist Chris Toro, filling in the gaps without being too bold. I especially love the track Storms that samples Astrid Gilberto’s vocal from her track ‘Gentle Rain’ (which was recently remixed by RJD2 for 'Verve Remixed 3'). Good to find a fan of John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing. He uses it on 2 different tracks, Immitations & on one of the vocal tracks, the tri-versed Waiting with Muph, Ivens & Pegz. British emcee Lotek manages to get a sweet little tune in the form of Echoes & runs with it perfectly. In fact I almost prefer this over his last albums contents. Not a diss, just means this tune is rather good. If he had any sense he would include it on his next album. The only other vocalist is Bondi Beach lad, Kye, who sings solemnly & sporadically over some dark cello, swirling keys & scattery drums on the absolutely exquisite Character Assassination. Bravely they have released this as the main track, with a rather smartly photographed video clip set in bushland. So props to them for not adhering to convention. Recently I saw the clip after another Melb hip hop artist had used every convention & cliche in the book, so the disparity was overwhelming & refreshing.

Shame the general audience needs to be treated like an idiot most of the time. If only they could escape from the tedium that is foisted upon them & embrace the greater world of music. Thankfully at least those who have good taste, or rather a more broad awareness, will find this album blissful from beginning to end. It’s a piece of work that is crafted, not made. Not a skip-worthy track to be found. One thing I do like is that it lacks the clutter that some kitchen sink hip hop instrumental albums can suffer from. To compensate, or should I say embellish, he does use film dialogue, a few appropriate sung vocal samples & the talents from 2 exceptional deejays, Selekt & Bones. Now if only we can get the people in that other hemisphere to also broaden their tastes.

CD & Limited Edition double vinyl. Dope artwork again from Mexi.

Obese website

MP3: PLUTONIC LAB - The Waiting ft. Muph, Ivens & Pegz
MP3: PLUTONIC LAB - Immitations
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The Stones Throw Holiday Mix
Compiled by Peanut Butter Wolf

I recieved this in the mail today on CD, but it is also up on the Stonesthrow website. Just in time for your pudding & family fighting... So gather around the yuletide log, um, er okay the barbie down here in OZ, get joyous & merry & hum along to the Wolf's chosen chrissy tunes. You northerners can have the snow while we get oven baked in the hot 38º sun (that'd be like 150F I think to the old gauge people). Let fat elderly bearded men run around in smelly, sweaty, synthetic Santa suits while we add fake snow to our trees. Aah, it's a wonderful time of year....

1. Hello World – Rudy Ray Moore
2. Peace On Earth – Hopeton and Primo
3. Where Day At Yo – K. Nock feat 24K
4. Rappin Christmas – The Cold Crew
5. Jingle Bells – Dudley Perkins & Georgia Anne Muldrow
6. Seven Days of Kwanzaa – Georgia Anne Muldrow
7. In The Hot Sun Of A Christmas Day – Caetano Veloso
8. My Lovely Christmas – Baron Zen
9. Irie Christmas – Freddie McGregor
10. Christmas Will Really Be Christmas – Lou Rawls
11. Go Power at Christmas Time – James Brown
12. Seasons Greetings – Sound On Sound Productions
13. My Christmas Bells – Hard Call Christmas
14. Broke At Christmas – Jacob Miller & Ray I
15. Broke Christmas In Brooklyn – Baron Zen
16. Night Before Christmas – Rudy Ray Moore
17. Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas) – Free Design
18. Glory, Glory – Al Green
19. What You Want For Christmas – 69 Boys
20. Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boyz
21. Christmas – Beat Happening
22. Got The Beat For Christmas (Breakdance) – Monyaka
23. Sound The Trumpet – Bob Marley & The Wailers
24. Christmas in the City – Marvin Gaye
25. Silent Night – Peanut Butter Wolf
26. Tidings – Phil Spector, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Esquivel

I turned this into a downloadable MP3, as opposed to just a streaming file.

MP3: PEANUT BUTTER WOLF - Stonesthrow Holiday Mix 60MBs
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Old School Wrestler figures

Andre the Giant, Jimmy Hart & Billy Graham.
Only US$19.95 each from Jakks Pacific.

I know crap all about modern wrestlers, but I reckon these new figures of classic 70s/80s wrestlers are much cooler. This is awesome stuff. Forget all that Kid Robot super expensive limited edition stuff, get some of these ugly looking champions for your office. These are from the CLASSIC SUPERSTARS WAVE series. Some of the US toy stores don't send their products overseas, so I found a place that does. seem to be the place.

I thought I'd up the Hulk Hogan dissing title track from Macho Man Randy Savage's 2003 released hip hop album, Be A Man. Produced by The Raskulls.

Action Figure Insider
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THE PHARCYDE - Sold My Soul.

Chock fulla gems. Remixes & Rarities galore. This is like the penultimate collection of the classic 4 membered Pharcyde. I love it when labels do the correct thing & make a release as good as it can be. Naturally some tracks were remixed more than others, so we get 4 versions of Soul Flower, 3 of Otha Fish & Ya Mama & 2 of Passin Me By & She Said. Leaving the rest as tracks taken from 12" single b-sides, compilations, soundtracks or unreleased remixes, Drop, Emerald Butterfly (only available on the 'Runnin' 7" single), Just Don't Matter, Live @ Dodger Stadium, My Soul, Pandemonium (from Streetfighter soundtrack), Pork, Flower & Y?.

Remixers include, Jay Dee, The Beatminerz, Fuzz Face, (Geoff 'Portishead' Barrow), Kenny Dope, Matt Dike, Brand New Heavies & L.A. Jay. Most of them hold up really well, even if some do have those easily identifiable mid-90s drums. Available on double CD or handy Triple vinyl. This will surely be snapped up. For it's a rare day that everyone would have every version that is available on here. I've upped the Rae & Christian remix of Runnin because I've always rated it highly & have had it on white label for years not knowing wether it was ever actually released comercially as a 12". Incidentally it was R&E's first ever remix in 95.

The cover photo looks remarkably like one from the 90s magazine Rap Pages.

Full track listing
MP3: The PHARCYDE - Runnin' Rae & Christian remix

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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THE BOOK OF TAGS: New Italian publication.

THE BOOK OF TAGS is a DROPDROP Agency project, published by KITCHEN 93 and made possible by the collaboration of over 300 world-wide graffiti writers. The project attempts to analyze and also give voice to one of the most demonized yet pure means of expression within the graffiti world, the Tag.

THE BOOK OF TAGS presents the personal signatures of 150 writers coming from 20 different countries throughout the world. This selection includes some of the most influential tags belonging to pioneers in the graffiti world as well as others that represent innovative and experimental calligraphic styles.

DROPDROP's purpose is to create a 1980's style graffiti « blackbook » object, simple and essential in the layout and rich in content. The First Section of THE BOOK OF TAGS consists of short introductory essays by five prestigious individuals working in the fields of design, calligraphy, graffiti and architecture,

Book of Tags website

B-boying Gonzo.
Winter 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine. Too cool. I had to post this insanity up...
Click on image for hi-res version.

Henson website

Monday, December 12, 2005

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PERREALO- New Latin hip hop & Reggaton DVD magazine
Perrealo DVD Magazine Home of Latin Hip Hop, Reggaeton and the Hip Hop culture is dedicated to bringing you the realist interviews, music videos & live performances around with no holds barred. Returning from a triumphant first issue Perrealo DVD Magazine has some of the hottest artists in the genre talking about the trials, tribulations and successes they have had through out their careers. On the latest installment Volume #2 Perrealo has Zion y Lennox the hottest duo in the game walking the streets of New York while talking about their experience & musical careers.

Perrealo Website
Reggaeton Online
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I want a Spinning B-Boy toy for christmas
Yep, a remote controlled spinning breakdancer. Ha ha. Kinda cool though.
Listen to the inept emcees on the website & be prepared. Most of their designs for belt buckles, t-shirts, necklaces are horrible... Who in their right mind would wear this stuff? They have awful bags with ripped off Dondi artwork & other items that all look like they were designed by toys. Their hearts might be in it, but the talent is missing.

The spinning b-boy is the best thing they have in stock.

Kleenhouse Website
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MARC ECKO's 'Getting Up' - The Movie?
From MTV
His first video game may have missed its intended holiday-season release date, but fashion impresario Marc Ecko has new reason to be excited about his interactive graffiti opus "Getting Up."

MTV Films announced Thursday (December 8) that it has acquired the feature-film rights to Ecko's game and that Ecko will serve as a producer. No cast, crew or release dates are set yet for what will be MTV Films' first foray into the sometimes-treacherous waters of video-game-based movies.

The film division's slate has included "Jackass: The Movie," "The Longest Yard," "Hustle & Flow" and "Napoleon Dynamite." Now it will face the challenge of trying to succeed with video games where previous companies adapting games from "Street Fighter" to "Doom" have struggled creatively and commercially.

The game tells the story of Trane, an aspiring graffiti artist who learns the notorious street art and slowly gains the political consciousness to use it to fight the oppressive authorities of his city, New Radius. In the game, Trane is voiced by Talib Kweli. Diddy, Adam West and Rosario Dawson are also among the game's deep list of celebrity voice talent.

Earlier this summer Ecko told MTV News that "Getting Up" has been percolating in his mind since the mid-'90s when he wrote the script for a planned graffiti-adventure trilogy. At the time, he said, he was $6 million in debt (see "Designer Marc Ecko Says Graffiti Game Mixes 'Star Wars,' 'Style Wars' ").

The video game version, which is being developed by the Collective, is expected to hit stores in February for PS2, Xbox and PC. It has drawn fire from critics, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who see it as the glorification of an illegal activity.

This summer, Ecko already had a defense ready for his critics: "I'm not condoning you go out and ruin property," he said. "That's not what this is about. Any cynic that's going to try to just hate on it for that reason needs to dig just three inches deeper and understand the story, immerse yourself in the story and learn about Trane and where his head is really at. He's just trying to flip the script on the system."

Ecko Unlimited website
Atari wesbite

Friday, December 09, 2005

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Once again Sloppy goes in for some heavy duty packaging. Looks pretty styling, not just in looks, but also in track selection. He loves the late 80s/early 90s style of hip hop & he digss for some of the lesser know tracks. Even has some early Rap-A-Lot on this one. So if you like DJ Ivory & Shadow's 'Diminishing Treasures' style of selections then you'd dig this as well. Nowadays these records are all labelled as 'Random Rap'. Basically ones that fell through the cracks, but are still valid & very dope.
Check out the website for a track listing, how to purchase & previous releases.

Sloppy White website

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

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Christmas Raps for you festive freaks
Oh why oh why did I do this. Xmas raps... Oh deary me. Cheeseball city. Though, some are actually pretty cool. Yeah, what am I saying. Some of this stuff rocks. Stick that in ya whiskers while I curdle your goat. Throw a whizbang party for the ladies & put these gems on, so when they walk under the mistletoe they'll be captivated by the crazy seasonal beats. Nah mean?

Except it's like 38º celsius down here. No snow this year... Again.

MP3: SUPER J - Santa's Rap Party
Early boogie rap on the Sound of New York label. 1980.
Uncensored version, with different music than the Beat Street Version.
Censored version from Beat Street soundtrack.
MP3: KURTIS BLOW - Christmas Rappin'
Live version with Grandmaster Flash on the decks. Not that he does much.
MP3: RUN DMC - Christmas in Hollis'
The best track from the Profile Records compilation, 'Christmas Rap'.
MP3: RAPPINSTINE, Lil' STINE & STYLE - Party with Santa
As far as I know it doesn't snow in Hollywood. Where this 1988 release comes from.
MP3: ROOFTOP ALL STARS - Here Comes Santa
Seldom seen posse track from 1988 by some of the artists on the NY Rooftop label. Tony Tee, B-Fats, Rashien, Boom Bash, El Money & Shaleet.
MP3: CUTMASTER DC - The Night Before Christmas
What can I say, it's another gem by Mr Izzard.
MP3: BIZMARKIE & BIG DADDY KANE - Xmas Beatbox live
Hilarious 1:30min live segment. Pretty cool.
MP3: WHISTLE - Santa is a B-Boy
UTFO's mates get all cheerful. Corny, but fresh track that still holds up.
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OMEGA ONE - The Lo-Fi Chronicles

Omega One (Owen Brozman) is a graff writer & a very skillful deejay from New York who produced Coma on Aesop Rock's 2001 debut, Labor Days & the song, Skip Town on his 2002 release Float. As he did with Aesops albums, he also provided the scratches for Blockhead's Music By Cavelight & they teamed-up for a project entitled, We Didn't Invent The Remix. Admittedly they do share a musical similarity & I should really give some props to Block's recent album, Downtown Science as well. Cannibal Ox & I Self Devine have also benefited from his production talent. Devine is one of only 2 emcees on this album. The other being Lo-Deck. I was already to claim Maker's album, Shooting the Breeze as the instrumental album of the year, until this appeared. Though I do rate both equally.

There's something quite magnetic about his earthy style & his lack for any need of pointless production trickery or electronic noodling. He prefers the classic style of laying loops & creating drums from chopped up beats. The cover might indicate that it is alien & spacey & to a degree it is, but more in it's mood & choice of dialogue samples, less in any use of electronic sounds. Omega prefers the more organic use of strictly sampling vinyl to a high degree. Some tracks sound like the end result of a horde of conquistadors raiding villages in search of 2nd hand vinyl. The track Body Double does evoke a sense of dread in that it sounds like the soundtrack to a film like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Them. Check the videoclip for what I mean. It's a rollicking adventure for those who like their instro hip hop, so I implore you to bypass that Ninja Tunes record for a change get something else. It was mixed by Fred Ones of Sonic Sum.

I've upped the track Memento because for me it works on so many levels. The violin loop just kills me. I feel like crying everytime I hear it. It's like I remember the loss of my cat when I hear it. Yeah, a cat. So what! We were connected. And the shuffling drums mixed with the emotionally tugging piano murders my brain. Some people might find it unspectacular because it isn't all about pushing the envelope in regards to technique. Fuck technique, give me something from the heart instead. I love the dialogue sample from the tv show, Six Feet Under ala the Uncle Gunter bit on T.A.B. Cool shit. An album I needed on Vinyl & CD.

And he did the dope cover art as well.

Nature Sounds website

MP3: OMEGA ONE - Memento
MP3: COMMON - Resurrection
From the We Invented the Remix CD.
VIDEO: OMEGA ONE - Body Double
This is basically a cut up of several 50s sci-fi films. Kinda cool if you are a fan of those films.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wow!! A Hip Hop DJ in a film cameo.
I just went to see Terry Gilliam's film The Brother's Grimm. It was full of senseless shenanigans with 2 moronic lead actors & fruity European accents. It was dull, boring, pointless & to top it off, the screen was slightly blurry. Oh & what's with the overkill on the wide-angle lens? The stills & the trailer looked good. What happened?

So I was peeved & annoyed (yeah, both), so I then snuck into another cinema & blindly ended up seeing a romantic comedy film starring Uma Thurman & Meryl Streep set in New York called Prime. It was much better & I probably liked it more because of the turd I just sat through. It's a cool little film in which the main male character was a part-time artist. You could see that he must've done graff at one stage in his life because some of his paintings incorporated tags & throw-ups. What I wanted to say was that 2 of the characters went to a party & the deejay at the house was Stretch Armstrong.
That is all.

You know what is amusing? When I googled the film for some more info I came across this review site. Screen It. Unbelievable..
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ACEYALONE & RJD2 Super combination

I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I was extremely impressed with the 8 tracks I've heard already. Yep, Acey & RJ have teamed up for the album, Magnificent City. After RJ created 3 of the best tracks on Acey's 2003 album, Love & Hate. it was most hopeful that they would work together again. Acey is obviously one of the most gifted emcees that there has ever been & RJ is proving himself again & again with every release he's involved in. To be released Feb 7th, with the almost boogie disco-ish single Fire coming out the 17th Jan, 2006. Awesome stuff. I've upped one track from the promo. Like some promo CDs, it naturally it has Aceyalone talking over it, but not enough to be annyoing. It's incredible. Definitely another contender for album of the year.

Project Blowed website
RJD2 website


Monday, December 05, 2005

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Directed by Liev Schrieber.

Dope flick. Quirky & fascinating. Elijah Wood's character is a collector of things relating to his Jewish immigrant family. One day he gets intrigued by a photograph that was in possession of his recently deceased grandfather, so he decides to go to the Ukraine to investigate the meaning behind the image. There he meets his 'translator' Alex. A goofy looking hip hop loving, Kangol & Adidas wearing nutjob, played brilliantly by musician Eugene Hutz of the NY based gypsy punk rock group, Gogol Bordello. Though it's Alex's grandfather who is the more eccentric, with his dog Sammy Davis Jnr Jnr not far behind. So it starts off as a lite version of an Emir Kusturica film, but then slows the pace down to some more serious overtones, yet it all rolls out beautifully with some stunning visuals, brilliant casting & a message that is as deep as it is wondrous. It's based on a best selling novel from Jonathan Safran Foer. Considering that the book is apparently 600 pages & spans 200 years, the actor/director Liev Schreiber thought it best to focus on just one aspect of the novel. So people who haven’t read the book will be impressed, while those who have will be peeved at this aspect. It was a joy to watch & the music was also great. Lots of weird Ukrainian rock & folk stuff. Oh & a Pete Miser track?? Did I mention that there is even a b-boy scene with a female dwarf as the deejay? Yep, it’s that kind of a film.

Everything is Illuminated website

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The criminally slept on Portland born/Brooklyn based b-boy/graffiti writer/producer/emcee/deejay Chinese heritaged Pete Miser has his song So Sensitive included in the film, though a film dialogue & scratch filled instrumental track with The Con Artists is the one included on the actual soundtrack. He recently won a heat in some MTV band comp. Check for his excellent albums, Camouflage is Relative & Radio Free Brooklyn. Save me yammering on about him just check his website for loads of info, videos & news. He's done it all, yet people still don't realise he's been involved with about 6 albums, the early ones with his crew 5 Fingers of Funk. Find them.

Pete Miser website

MP3: The CON ARTISTS ft. Pete Miser - Ya Tokay
From the soundtrack, Everything is Illuminated.
MP3: PETE MISER - Scent of a Robot
From the album, Camouflage is Relative.
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DJS FOR LIFE Birmingham, England. DEC. 9 & 10, 20

Birmingham-based music organization Punch has announced the launch of DJs for Life, a groundbreaking conference and event celebrating worldwide DJ culture. Taking place in Birmingham on the 9th and 10th of December, DJs for Life is set to be this year’s biggest event in the DJ calendar.

DJs have, in recent years, established themselves as a prominent force in the music industry. Arbiters of taste, superstars of the club scene and global icons for a generation of young music fans, their influence is huge. DJs for Life features discussion, debate, masterclasses and performances from some of the world most influential DJs.

US and UK DJs performing and representing include: The Original Jazzy Jay, GrandWizzard Theodore, Steve Dee, Rob Swift, D-Styles, DJ Quest, DJ Supreme, Cutmaster Swift, DJ Disk, DJ Pogo, Mr Thing, Rapzcallion, First Rate, Mark Rae, Charlie Dark, Normski, Ras Kwame, DJ Woody, DJ Skully, Shortee Blitz, DJ Blakey, Dave VJ, Dodge, Dego, Masterstepz, DJ 279, Tigerstyle, Phil Asher, Diggz, Nihal, DJ E Double D, Sacha Brooks, Captain Boogie, Weetamix, DJ Roc 1, DJ Moyma, Sparra, Wooligan and more!

DJs for Life website
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New JEHST videoclip for Nuke Proof Suit

New clip for the title track of his new album, Nuke Proof Suit, is up on The Beta Brothers website. To be frank, it looks like an Eminem clip on a 1000th of the budget. The similiarities are obvious, fom the Osama visuals, to dressing up as a woman, to the comic book visuals. Though I think I'm a bit daft & it is indeed a parody of Eminem's clips, then that is okay. Ha! Dolt! You be the judge. Whereas their video for Skinnyman's Council Mind of Estate is so much better in its simplicity.

Beta Brothers website
Jehst website

MP3: RHAJHA - Fantastic ft. Braintax & Jehst
From the Spanish artist's album, Tierra Caliente.
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USA: CUNNINLYNGUISTS - A Piece Of Strange. 2006

Now that was unexpected. I've just listened to the 3rd full length album from the Southern US (Georgia & Kentucky) lads & all I can say, is holy friggin crap. This is already up for one of the best albums of next year (due for release at the end of January). I just felt compelled to get the buzz out there early. I have been championing these guys (& the whole QN5 roster) since their first album, for they have been releasing quality since day one. I notice that producer Kno has taken a back seat with the vocals, so they have used the services of a new emcee Natti to help out Deacon The Villain. One listen to the production & you can gather that Kno must've seriously put his head down to create an incredibly impressive musical soundtrack & probably didn’t have time to write any lyrics, or maybe he has just moved deeper into his beats. It's an absolutely beautiful album & it flows triumphantly without any frustrating impediments. No duds on this one at all. The instrumental tracks provide a buffer that only gives us time to soak in the lyrical input. Why do we need this? Well, for one, the content is replete with subject matter that provides room for contemplation. I especially love the track with Tone Deff, The Gates, it evokes a very spiritual aura & the music accommodates the lyrical content to the letter. There's a couple of guests, most well known is Cee-Lo & he puts in a restrained yet convincing performance that connects the 2 different styles. I could go on & on, but you’d best just cop this for yourselves.

When I think of their previous 2 albums, I couldn't have thought of anything more different, so let that be a warning to you. This one is a very serious venture, all the goofy antics have disappeared, so I think their typical listener might be surprised. It’s almost like they have left their teenage years behind & have reached adulthood. I can't hate on that, in fact I celebrate their growth, for I have matured along with it. Lets hope the fans will or can do the same.

Will this be the album that finally enable them to burst out of their underground bubble? Not really sure, it might appeal to some general music critics who appreciate the musicality & the lack of cheese, but I fail to see a general audience gravitating towards the intelligence & sophistication that it contains. I wish I was wrong & hope I am wrong, for it’s not often I get an album that seriously is head & shoulders above the rest & it should be shared with as many people as possible. For this is one of those underground albums that if given the right push, could definitely find an appreciative market outside of the regular heads. Heck, even those who don't like hip hop might enjoy this if given half a chance. 3 dope albums strong. Congrats.

QN5 website
MP3: The CUNNINLYNGUISTS - Beautiful Girl
From the album A Piece of Strange. LA Underground Entertainment/QN5
MP3: The CUNNINLYNGUISTS - Seasons ft Masta Ace
From the album Southernunderground. Freshchest.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

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FUZZ ONE: A Bronx Childhood
By Vincent Fedorchak
September 2005, Memoir, 392 Pages, 6 1/2” x 9 1/4”
Hardcover, 350 photographs, ISBN: 0-9725920-1-6
Published by Testify

Whew hoo. Amazing. That's all i can say. One the best presents I got for my birthday. Man, i cannot express how incredible this book is in its scope, ambition & depth. It's actually quite overwhelming. The presentation & format it is top notch. A lot of love & I presume stories of pain, have gone into this one. Fuzz One aka Vincent proves himself to be quite an accomplished writer, in both meanings of the term, graffiti writer & authour. It certainly does contain some exaggerated embellishments by someone hazily trying to recall a past that was affected by all sorts of intoxicants & paint fumes. Makes great reading, wether it's 100% accurate or not. The faded photographs are invaluable & emphasise the era that the tales are set, specifically from 1970 -1977. One of the main downfalls of most graff books & magazines are their lack of text. Sure it's great to see all the artwork, but personally I am just as interested in the personalities who create the work as I am in their output.

It's another essential book that expands upon previous books about the graffiti sub-culture. The T-Kid book has now been pushed back to the end of February, so gives me plenty of time to dig my teeth into this one.

I love this Amazon readers comment in his rather dim & negative review, 'The photos are amaturish and blurry'. Priceless. Why Fuzz One didn't have a 6megapixel digital camera was a major oversight. The fool. Ha!

Subway Outlaws website

LINK: Buy book here - Amazon

Friday, December 02, 2005

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A Japanese supergroup created by Bathing Ape supremo Nigo.

This is the Teriyaki Boyz 1st album from Def Jam Recordings/Ape Sounds featuring the MC's Ilmari, Ryo-Z (Rip Slyme), Verbal, Wise (M-Flo) & Nigo with sound produced by The Neptunes, Daft Punk, DJ Premier, Adrock (Beastie Boys), Cornelius, Mark Ronson, The Alchemist, Dan The Automator and more.

I’m sorry, but no matter how you look at it, the word contrived cannot stray too far from ones mind. Wether it’s a pisstake, a fashion vehicle or an expensive vanity project, it’s just stupid. How different is this from Australian or American Idol? Is it guaranteed money in the bank? Will the Vice, Dazed & Confused, Fader kids wet themselves over it? Suckers will most likely lap it up or is it seriously too cheesy for even them. Surely they'll have thier own sneakers as well.
And Jay-Z has signed them to Roc-A-Fella???

Things become cool out of happenstance, things that are marketed as ‘cool’ rarely are. It’s that intangibility of the unknown response that make things interesting. Manufactured hipness is just rubbish. Personally, whenever I see group photos taken of the artists all wearing the same clothing, excitedly shouting open mouths at camera, I just think…pop shit.

…but then I heard the DJ Shadow track & well, it's not a bad attempt at trying to emulate the sound of the now termed 'random rap' era of the late 80s.The Cut Chemist is another track trying to sound more old school, circa 1980 hip hop, so them I like. A couple more & that's about it. Most just sounds hell corny.

The things you can do with a shitload of cash...

MP3: TERIYAKI BOYZ - Kamikaze produced by DJ Shadow.
MP3: TERIYAKI BOYZ - School of Rock produced by Cut Chemist
LINK: TERIYAKI BOYZ videoclip - Heartbreaker

Thursday, December 01, 2005

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CULTURE CONNECT - Natural Intelligence EP
The 8 members of this Darwin based outfit truely represent our multi-cultural environment, with countries like Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Holland, Zimbabwe & Ghana amongst its members backgrounds. The Territory should be proud. There’s no attempt to be anything other than they are on thsi debut EP. No feeling of contrivance & no tracks are of the 3:30min or less radio approved length. It just doesn't feel like their kind of vibe. If I could relate them to anything, they’d fit in with a range of local groups, like Reference Point, Upshot, Tzu & in an essence, The Herd. Though you can feel that they would have an affinity with a group like The Roots. All the tracks are equally as good, but The Destructors has the most appeal & displays some excellent mic skills with lyrical content that steers clear of disposability. I’d be interested to hear the emcees flow over some ‘boom bap’ kind of beats, because they do have that ‘live band rapper’ sound.

MP3: CULTURE CONNECT - Destructors
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X-COLOR/Graffiti in Japan Exhibition Oct 1st -Dec 4th
Graffiti art has taken a very long long time to develop in Japan, but is finally beginning to flourish with some very unique styles. The typical New York style is relatively absent, with more of an emphasis on utilising artistic styles & ideas from their own cultural heritage. Magazines like Kaze have helped to foster a homegrown appreciation of the artform. So it's fantastic to see an exhibition like this in Mito (north of Tokyo) totally focused on homegrown artists. Could someone grab me a copy of the book if possible. I'd be ever so grateful...

• In English - Art Tower venue info
• Tokyo Art gallery showings - Tokyo Art Beat

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X-Color:Graffiti In Japan
Format: Softcover, ISBN: 4-902943-11-5
Publisher: © Foil, 152 pages, Japanese text

"And this is Japans first book on it's own graffiti scene.
Includes art work from 38 of the leading graffiti artists of Japan, as well as images capturing the process of creation of the graffiti displayed during the "X-COLOR Graffiti in Japan" Exhibition. With a variety of styles and live excitement of creation – feast your eyes on the "Now" of the Japanese graffiti scene, bound into a single volume for the first time ever!"

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Kaze Magazine website