Friday, December 05, 2014

Cali Roots Festival Round 3 Announcement

Cali Roots Festival is expanding its wings for 2015.
That means more jam bands and live hip-hop, while staying true to the reggae-based acts that have made it popular with its loyal fan base. 
Today’s third round artist announcement included popular festival veterans SOJA and Iration, along with fellow reggae bands Pacific Dub and Soul Majestic.
They will be joined by some first-time festival acts, including Australian roots jam band the John Butler Trio, SoCal hip-hop icons Cypress Hill, the Ethan Tucker Band, Cas Haley, and KBong.
The Cai Roots Festival takes place May 22-24 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey. 39 artists will perform, including The Roots, Slightly Stoopid, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Tribal Seeds, G.Love and Special Sauce, Dirty Heads, Steel Pulse, and Dilated Peoples.
The festival has leaned toward reggae-inspired acts during its first five iterations. Festival producer Dan Sheehan said there was a conscious effort to broaden the festival’s musical lineup while staying true to fan tastes.
“With the lineup this year, we wanted to stretch our wings without alienating the core audience that helped us build this festival,” said Sheehan. “We don’t want to do things our core audience doesn’t like. We were conscious of that.”
That core audience has helped the festival out weeks in advance the past two years. Last year, the festival drew 11,000 fans per day, utilizing the main arena stage.
The festival has built anticipation by revealing the artist lineup in tiers. With the third lineup announcement, Sheehan said the festival is entering new territory.

“It was important for us to expand our wings. We get lumped in as a reggae festival, and yes, the core of our bands are reggae driven,” said Sheehan. “But we don’t’ want to be considered just a reggae fest. We want to be considered much more. It’s music, a conscious music festival. Just music, good music. From top to bottom, that’s what we have on this lineup.”

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Saturday, November 09, 2013

20 Years Later: "Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers" and "Midnight Marauders"

I remember Nov. 8, 1993 fairly well because that was the night I was able to purchase A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders," a full day before it went on sale to the public.
The rest of the world is celebrating Nov. 9 as the 20th anniversary of the release of two classic hip-hop albums, the aforementioned "Midnight Marauders" and Wu-Tang Clan's debut "Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers." Two weeks later, Snoop's "Doggystyle" was released, making November 1993 a pivotal time for hip-hop music.
But Nov. 8 was special for me because as a holiday employee at Sam Goody, one of the job perks was the opportunity to purchase new album releases a day before they went on sale to the public. We had to wait until the end of our shift to buy it, but there was some cache in having the tape ahead of the rest of Salinas.
In the pre-internet days, this was the closest I ever got to an album leak, and it was glorious.
Both albums had an immediate impact on me and my circle of friends. We would go back and forth on the Wu-Tang "torture" scenarios like rounds of the dozens. We would recite "The Killer" skit to one another as if it was secret code. And even the east side cholos I grew up with could get behind the oldies samples on "Can It Be That It Was All So Simple."
Midnight Marauders was special to me because it was one of the first albums I analyzed critically. There were subtle mysteries to unlock, the first one being 'what was the hook really saying in "Electric Relaxation?'
Later, when I learned the "Lyrics to Go" sample was actually a Minnie Ripperton vocal loop, it was an eye-opener. So much texture to the production. So much innovation.
These albums had instant appeal to rap nerds like myself, at a time when rap nerdom was relegated to a die-hard few.
Reflecting 20 years later, I feel old, but happy that my 17-year-old self was forward-thinking enough to appreciate classic hip-hop music. I have yet to outgrow these albums, and I will have to give them a listen sometime soon to enjoy them all over again.

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