Friday, May 29, 2009

Vibe "Best Rapper Ever" competition

The results of Round 1 were announced earlier in the week. Per my own predictions, I got 56 out of 64 correct (not counting the play-in bracket, which I also got correct).

You can view the latest brackets at right now. Sorry, I'm feeling pretty ill right now (flu got me down) and I'll have to post on the round 2 results next week. Have a good weekend y'all.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And Now I'm In The Funnies

Local cartoonist Bridgett Spicer is a great secret talent whose comic strip, Squid Row, appears daily on her web site,

I wrote a feature on Bridgett that ran a couple of Sundays ago. During our interview, I subtly mentioned it would be funny if our interview somehow wound up in her strip. I wasn't angling for anything, it was just a fun thoght. Little did I know she'd drop the above strip.

I'm speechless. I am without speech. Thanks Brig.

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Beastie Boys "So What 'Cha Want" w/ The Roots!!!

Last week, I posted a decade's old clip of the Beastie Boys performing on the Arsenio Hall show with Cypress Hill. How could they possibly top that? By performing the same song 17 years later with The Legendary Roots Crew.
Thank me later.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Throwback: Beastie Boys/Cypress Hill on Arsenio Hall Show

B-Real (@B_Real420) tweeted this link, on some throwback, raw hip-hop tip. I used to watch Arsenio Hall every night (another post for another time), and I remember missing this one because everyone at school the next day was coming up to me and asking if I saw it. This is fun to watch.

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My proudest-est moment

Above: That's Dream Hampton RT (re-tweeting) the tweet on my blog post. 
Dream friggin' Hampton. Leading folks to my blog. 
I can die now. 

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dream Hampton Tweets on Notorious B.I.G.

Dream Hampton (@dreamhampton) was one of my absolute favorite hip-hop writers from the old school Source Mind Squad. She had a particularly tight rapport with Pac and Big (her stories on Pac were a big reason why I wanted to be a hip-hop journo in the first place).

Today, in honor of B.I.G.'s B-day, she is tweeting several favorite memories of B.I.G. You can peep them all at

A few of my favorites:

On Big & Pac's relationship, pre-beef:

On Big's beef's with NYC rappers:

On the morning after BIG was killed:

On one of the more iconic images of B.I.G.:

Happy Birthday Big Poppa.

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Theater Review: "San Burguesa & The Pixie Chicks” @ El Teatro Campesino

Fresh from the lab, El Teatro Campesino associate artistic director Kinan Valdez uploads a mind tweak production that feels familiar and unfamiliar at once.
"Sam Burguesa and the Pixie Chicks," written and directed by Valdez, is a musical cabaret deeply steeped in the company's Chicano teatro tradition. It plays through May 31 at the Teatro in San Juan Bautista.
The production is part of the company's new "Teatro Lab," an experimental vehicle designed to produce new work in the now 45-year-old theater.
Under Valdez's watch, this latest work promises an updated swagger to the farmworker's theater formula.
The tale of "Sam Burguesa and the Pixie Chicks" revolves around the delusional Sam (Anahuac Valdez, charasmatic as ever), a 30-year-old malcontent crushed under the weight of his failed dotcom startup.
That was 10 years ago, when Sam had ambition and what his madre Eva (Rosa Escalante, charming and tormented) likes to call "vision."
Of course, those visions are fueled by the combination of his inability to mature beyond the fairy tales his mother baked into his head, and the drugs he takes to appease his personal demons. This lands him first in the looney bin, then in his parents garage.
Eva fights Sam's delusions of the past and his penchant for playing with dolls and the desire of her second husband Nestor (Jesus Huerta) to be rid of his stepson's neuroses for good.
It's at night, when everyone's asleep, that Sam's delusions come to life, when his Lil' Buddy (Christy Sandoval) shows up with a pack of gangsta pixies in tow.
When the struggle for Pixieland ensues, Sam's condition turns chaotic, challenging his sanity and even the love of his own mother.
The play travels into the realm of magical realism, a staple of Teatro productions dating back to artistic director Luis Valdez's "Zoot Suit."
The pixies are draped in colorful rags and vivacious transvestite wigs, a nice touch courtesy of costume designers Lupe Trujillo-Valdez and Zoa Lopez.
They sing and dance, as pixies are wont to do, but these ain't no fairy tale pixies. Under the tight musical direction of Stephanie Woehrmann, with songs written by her, Chas Croslin and Kinan Valdez, the numbers animate Pixieland like Pixar.
These pixies also have chops. Yellow pixie Fairly Brite (Jillian Mitchell) puts in a solid performance during her solo. Trixie Trickster (Michelle Valentyne) is deliciously deviant as Sam's femme fatale.
The play fancies itself as dark because the pixies cuss and sing off-color, and Sam molests his dolls, but it's all played for laughs.
Never taking itself too seriously pays off for the most part, although the family secret of why Eva never turns her son away (or, for that matter, seeks professional assistance for him) loses a bit of its bite as a result.
That goes away when the Pixies sing a song about how corporate America has commodified Pixieland.
Taking shots at the system is another Teatro standby, one that raises the stakes in any production.
When the pixies sing it, they go for the throat:
"We'll tell you 'bout society/Right now it's all anxiety/Enforcing clean sobriety
So f--k pixie propriety/You'll sense a bit of piety/It's 'cause of the economy /The fear has shifted gears in pixieland."
Valdez also has some fun with the economy, aiming at corporate hustlers and thieves. When Sam goes on Pixieland trial for his business improprieties, he defends corporate kickback allegations as "retention bonuses to keep the top talent."
Valdez's script is rife with plenty of these clever allusions, but strays when it shoehorns revolutionary rhetoric into the festivities.
Those missteps are minor, and in fact welcome in this experimental staging. While the themes are familiar, the style feels brand new in the Teatro.
Even the staging, taking full advantage of the room's parameters and stretching the stage almost into the audience, is a departure for the company.
And those small elements give the production and the company a sense of upheaval. Props go out to Kinan Valdez, his cast and crew for recognizing the need to modernize the Teatro template.
If "Sam Burugesa" is any indication, the Teatro Lab's experiments could bring new life to the aging company.


• What: Teatro Lab production of "Sam Burguesa and the Pixie Chicks"
• Where: El Teatro Campesino, 705 Fourth St., San Juan Bautista
• When: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May 31
• Tickets: $20 general, $15 students and seniors, $12 children (under 12). All seats are $10 on Sundays
• Information: 623-2444 or www.elteatro
All contents ©2009 MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD and may not be republished without written permission.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Karma Loop TV w/ GZA

It's been a minute since Chelsea from Karma Loop TV holla'd @ the beat, so I got a pleasant surprise today when she dropped this nugget featuring GZA of Wu-Tang Clan. 
In my bracket, I got GZA over Ras Kass in the first round, something I'm sure my boy Mike J wouldn't appreciate all that much. Sorry Mike J, even though this was a tough one, I had to go with GZA just based on his solo and group album work (although Rassy is nice, no doubt). 
Anyway, enjoy for now. 

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Monday, May 18, 2009's "Best Rapper Ever" reader predictions

So here are my reader predictions for the "Best Rapper Ever" online competition:

Bracket I: Eminem, Will Smith, Juvenile, Redman, Melle Mel, Nelly, Heavy D, Cam'ron, Too$hort, Trick Daddy, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliot, 50 Cent, The Game, Prodigy, LL Cool J.

Bracket II: 2Pac, DJ Quik, Raekwon, Ludacris, Lauryn Hill, Treach, Scarface, Xzibit, Kool G. Rap, Mac Dre, KRS-ONE, Kool Moe Dee, Rev Run, Posdnous, Young Jeezy, Lil' Wayne.

Bracket III: Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim, Eazy E, Eve, Big Pun, Bun B, Chuck D, KMC, Q-Tip, Kool Keith, Nas, Jadakiss, T.I. Big Boi, Cee-Lo, Ice Cube.

Bracket IV: Rakim, Mos Def, Ice-T, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Chamillionaire, Bizzy Bone, Busta Rhymes, ODB, Andre 3000, Black Thought, Kanye West, Common, Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z

Read more! "Best Rapper Ever" by bracket -personal favorites

I'm breaking down the "Best Rapper Ever" online competition, bracket by bracket, and I'm going a little nerdcore on it.

I'm breaking it down into two areas: personal favorites and reader predictions. The personal favorites is my own analysis based on the field of who should win the competition.

The reader predictions is based on who I believe the readers will pick, kind of a bookie handle on the contest.

Here's the first breakdown, personal favorites. These are the guys I believe should advance to the second round based on my own personal opinion:

Bracket I: Eminem, Will Smith, Juvenile, Redman, Melle Mel, Ma$e, Big Daddy Kane, Cam'ron, Too $hort, 8-Ball, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, DMX, Prodigy, LL Cool J.

Bracket II: 2Pac, MC Eiht, Raekwon, Kurtis Blow, Lauryn Hill, Treach, Scarface, Kurupt, Kool G. Rap, E-40, KRS-ONE, Kool Moe Dee, Run, Posdnous, Fabolous, Lil Wayne.

Bracket III: Notorious B.I.G., Queen Latifah, Eazy-E, MC Lyte, Big Pun, Bun B, Chuck D, Guru, Q-Tip, Del, Nas, Jadakiss, T.I., Big Boi, Cee-Lo, Ice Cube.

Bracket IV: Rakim, Mos Def, Ice-T, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Slick Rick, Bizzy Bone, Busta Rhymes, ODB, Andre 3000, Black Thought, RZA, Talib Kweli, Masta Ace, Jay-Z.

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Vibe's "Best Rapper Ever" online competition

So is hosting it's second online fan voting competion, this one for the title of “Best Rappeer" They previously hosted a "Best Rapper Alive" reader competition, which went to Eminem. (Click on the pic above to get a larger shot of the brackets).

The brackets are interesting, for the most part well-thought out and likely to incite ire amongst rap nerds. I'll be filling out my bracket and releasing it later today. To participate, visit and click on the "Best Rapper Ever" link.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

“Sam Burguesa & The Pixie Chicks” @ El Teatro Campesino

Playing @ El Teatro Campesino through May 31, "Sam Burguesa & The Pixie Chicks” is the latest offering from the good folx in San Juan Bautista.

I'm reviewing the play this weekend, going in with high expectations. Director Kinan Valdez and co. always put in good work. Press release below:

SAM BURGUESA AND THE PIXIE CHICKS is a hilarious, provocative, and original new musical now on the stage at EL TEATRO CAMPESINO. Set in the place where so much of the 21st century has been invented – the family garage! At the heart of it all is the touching story of a Mom trying to save her “genius” son from losing his ball bearings. Meanwhile, Sam plays with dolls, outrageously flirting and cavorting with the Pixies in his mind. A tale of boom and bust, with a happy ending!

So if you have ever had an adult child move back home into the garage, or if you have ever been a rebounding genius yourself (white, black, Asian, Latino or what-have-you), this is the show for you!

Come see the sexy Pixie Chicks dance and sing in living colors. Running weekends until May 31st at El Teatro Campesino Playhouse, 705 4th Street, in historic San Juan Bautista. Thursdays thru Saturday nights at 8pm, Sunday Matinee at 2pm.

¡Se Habla EspaƱol but the show is ALL IN ENGLISH!

For tickets, special discounts and more information call 831.623.2444 or visit

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"Kidney Now" from 30 Rock, featuring a cast of 1000's

This is my new joint. I'm gonna have to get an mp3 of this for the iPod. Kweli and Beasties come correct. Only thing I was waiting for was Adam Levine to punch Elvis Costello in the back of the neck. I really love 30 Rock and Tina Fey is my geek momma.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

As if I needed another reason to watch the season finale of 30 Rock

Kweli on 30 Rock? For real? This is my favorite show of all time.

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Got more music than time...

The roll call for new albums on my list this week looks like this: "Wilco The Album," by Wilco, "Crime Pays" by Cam'ron, "Relapse" by Em, "Are You In Nike + Original Run" by De La Soul, "Brooklynati" by Tanya Morgan. That's not counting other recent stuff from P.O.S., Zion I, Asher Roth and G&E.
So basically, i gotta get my review game back up, but there's no way i'mma get through all of these. Anyone wanna do a guest review? No pay, but you get your words read by a couple hundred readers a day. Gotta be worth something, right? Holla back.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Delirio coming to Monterey Live

Those strappin' lads from Delirio are coming back to the Monterey Peninsula next week. Looks like they got a new publicity shot too! Strappin' indeed. Info is on the flyer (I'm a bit lazy today and fishing for content with nothing coming back to shore).

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Tech N9NE Tweets on Salinas, signs Brotha Lynch Hung to his label

Tech N9ne Tweeted briefly about his Salinas experience,calling it a “cool first show.” Apparently Glasses Malone and Seaside Stretch of Thizz Entertainment came through. Very cool to hear.
But the more exciting news was Tech's announcement that Brotha Lynch Hung was now signed to his Strange Music imprint. That's a good look right there. Brotha Lynch is one of the most original and influential Northern Cali rap artists out there, and linking up with Tech at this point in his career makes sense for both parties. Here's hoping a new Brotha Lynch project surfaces soon. Locc'd to the brain!

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MURS Tweets on Salinas

Wow. That was exciting.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Mi Otro Yo (Whoa)

My fellow-fellow Teresa Annas hipped me to my other self. Apparently, I'm huge in Alaska. Who knew (besides Sarah Palin, of course).
The book review is for an actual book by an Alaskan poet named Marcos A. Cabrera.
To clear up any confusion, I'm known professionally as Marc Cabrera, but my government name is actually Marcos A. Cabrera. So this dude in Alaska is an impostor!
Actually, it's pretty funny and semi-thrilling to think there's another Marcos Cabrera out there spitting poetry.
I love the part where they say I, er, he, is “a student of the human condition.” So true.
I might even have to buy his — er, my — book to check it out. Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Bo-Pah!!!

She's barely 1/3 the legal drinking age, but she will knock out most drummers three-times her age.
Little Bo-Pah Sledge is 7 years old today, and "The Beat" would like to extend a hearty Happy Birthday to the best 7-year-old all-girls rock/funk band drummer in Monterey County! And we can't wait to see and her your growth on stage and record.
Oh, and Bo-Pah will celebrate with a big birthday bash Saturday at Giovanni's in Salinas. I'll be posting up my weekend roundup tomorrow with all the deets.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Just wrapped my interview with Tech N9NE

All I gotta say is that it was one of the most intense and heartfelt interviews I've ever conducted. Tech really puts everything out there and was absolutely fearless talking about everything - his success, the aftermath of Mac Dre's murder in Kansas City (where Tech is from), his ailing mother, his drug addictions, etc.

I've got to trim down the 40+ minutes I got, but I may just throw it all up there for the heck of it. It's that good an interview.

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Video: MC Cambio featuring PLG, "Who I Am"

For reals, this is my joint right here. Cambio really brings it on this song, and the video is just absolute greatness. Big up to Javier Goin for directing this great piece.
PLG plays The Planet in Monterey on Friday night. More info on that to come.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Coming Soon to Salinas: Tech N9NE & MURS, Baby Bash, and Cypress Hill

Got a lot of stuff coming through Salas-town, starting this week.
Sunday, Tech N9NE and MURS swing through town. Show starts at 3 p.m. at the Fox Theater in Salinas. I should have an interview up with Tech later this week, stay tuned.
On May 16, Baby Bash will headline "The Bash," a community youth festival that will also include local youth musicians and talent. That will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sherwood Hall in Salinas.
Finally, no confirmation on this, but I was at the boy-boy Young POME's MySpace page, and he was promoting a June 11 Fox Theater show with Cypress Hill and Mellow Man Ace. Nothing firm on the time or anything else, but stay tuned.

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"The Beat @ Wave St." w/ Ricochet of Euthnasia

"The Beat @ Wave St." returns to center stage with a new installment featuring local affiliated MC Ricochet of Euthnasia.
In this ep, Ricochet talks about his music, his work in Brazil, and breaking through as a backpack rapper trying to enter the mainstream. We've also got some clips of his Wave Street Studio performance. Click in the media player to the right to check out the full interview.

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