Marc Cabrera has nothing better to do than watch a lot of movies and television, and listen to a lot of music. Luckily, he has a job that pays him to blog about local and national arts, entertainment and pop culture. He can be reached at email@example.com.
One thing that makes the internet so great is the artificial sense of community building that develops at certain spots. Years ago, when I started visiting The Roots Website, okayplayer.com, I had no idea it would become an online community that would spawn record labels (okayplayer records) and propel little known artists (Little Brother) to major label contracts.
It's even better when it happens at the local level, where internet communities can network with real-life community members, resulting in community building. Houston's emergence in the rap world, along with the success of artists like Paul Wall and Chamillionaire, owed a lot to internet savvy. Ditto for the Bay Area.
There are plenty of web sites with local artists (check any number of myspace band pages) to choose from, but these two separate themselves because they aim to connect people and promote all forms of local hip-hop artists through discussion forums and artist interviews.
Saladbowlmusic.com is the elder statesman, having been online for the past few years. Administrator Gabriel "Gypsy" Avalos designed the site, while local rappers Doom the Original and Gemini serve as on-site administrators.
The heart of the site is the discussion board, where local rappers hype recent releases, most produced in their bedrooms or at local studios. Parties, shows, events and various news items are discussed, dissed and discussed some more. Most of the time, the discussion is on local talent.
One recent in-person discussion with Gemini revealed some of the drawbacks of moderating a site that allows locals to discuss and sometimes talk trash about one another. Despite the administrators best efforts, delicate egos can be bruised with each posting. It's a fine line between constructive criticism and straight up dissing.
Overall, the site is a nice look into the local scene and the passion with which a lot of the up and coming artists approach their work.
831dacoast.com is fairly new. Launched a few months ago by members of the Seaside-based crew Tha Undahoggs, the site is a nice companion to Saladbowlmusic.com.
Artist interviews are the main highlight, giving folks like Doom and Gemini, along with other local rappers, a bit of star-treatment. The coolest thing on the sight is the streaming collage of album artwork from locally-produced artists.
A quick scan of the album covers revealed one of the first local albums I ever hear, a maxi-single by the group Seaside Posse (I had a copy of that cassette in high school!). There were at least two dozen album covers, and possibly even more than that, on display. The non-stop stream gives an impressive view of the quantity of product being pumped out of the Central Coast.
Equally impressive was the streaming radio, which features dozens of songs produced by Monterey County residents. Songs from artists like Tha UndaHoggs, Mista English, DEA, AK, Fury, Billy Bud Toker (the site's administrator) and others are bumped non-stop, giving folks a chance to sample the 831 funk.
With the abundance of underground talent looming along the Central Coast, Websites like saladbowlmusic.com and 831dacoast.com are helping to bring that talent to a wider audience, one that appreciates the efforts of local do it yourself-ers.