Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eminem, Black Thought & Mos Def Cipher @ BET Awards

The Mount Rushmore of Hip-HOp right here.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Interview: Warren G (transcript)

I got a call from a strange area code Thursday morning, and picked it up to hear a familiar voice on the other end:

Caller: Hey, it's Warren.

Me: Warren G?

Caller: Yeah, what up.

Apparently, he was looking for a reporter to talk to for a scheduled interview. I informed him that I was not the right reporter, as we had talked two days prior and taken care of our interview then. He laughed, apologized and mentioned the need to figure out who was supposed to talk to right quick. It was pretty funny.

Warren plays tomorrow night at Planet Gemini in Monterey. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Here's the transcript from our interview:

On Nate Dogg suffering a stroke and his condition:

I see Nate all the time. He's progressing, man. We're praying for a quick recovery. He actually had two strokes. He's progressing, man and he's recovering. We're just praying for a fast recovery. That's it, we're praying on a fast recovery ...He's in therapy and stuff like that. He's just trying to get himself well. Tre Songz did a great, great job paying homage to him (during the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show), letting the world know that Nate Dogg was incredible. That was a good thing. I really appreciate him doing that because we needed that.

On his weight post-“Celebrity Fit Club”:

I weigh about 218 lbs. When I left the show, I was 191, I think, 193 or something like that. (The show) helped me a lot. It helped me learn how to eat (right). Because of the show, I look at how I eat a little different. Some of the things I do, I've been working out, that's why I'm up to 218. But it's all good man (laughs). I ain't fat.

On his decision to be on the show even though he wasn't obese:

The show is an exercise show. It's not just for fat people and just about getting themselves in shape. Some people was big in some of the earlier versions of it. That's how it was (previously). The version I was in, it wasn't like everyone was big and overweight and obese. It was just a workout show.
At first, I wasn't gong to do it, but after they explained it to me, and tole me what it was all about, I was like ‘OK, I can do this.’ I had some of the most fun I ever had in my life doing that show. It was a great show, and it was the biggest season they ever had (ratings wise). That was what was so crazy about it.

On his most vivid memories of the show:

When we went to Denver and we was skiing, that was a great experience. Being out there in the snow and just doing, I forgot what they called the skiing with like you shoes. That was a hell of a work out and the experience of that was incredible.

On the myths/rumors of his ghost production on “The Chronic” and “Doggystyle”:

I mean, we did help with doing “The Chronic.” I helped with doing “The Chronic.” I'm not trying to take credit for that record. It was a family thing with all of us. We all put in our issue with the records, you know. I wasn't really trying to take credit for the whole record. Dr. Dre is an incredible producer. We did it and it was all a family thing. That's my brother and I'm riding with him. We did it together.
(more after the jump)

On the success of “Regulate”:

It really tripped me out. It ended up being No. 2 on the Billboard (hot singles chart), you know. That's when I was like “This song really blew up.” I mean, I was just happy that it happened. I was just happy.

It felt real good and I'm just happy to still be in heavy rotation on radio stations and people still love my music and what I do.

On the experience of producing his latest album, “The G Files.”:

It wasn't different (Than recording his previous albums). It's the same, just going in and getting in there and pounding out good records. That's what I did. It ain't no pressure or nothing. I just go in there and do it and go in there and work and have a good time with it and have fun, because when you have fun, good feelings come out. That's what I try to do, just go in there, have fun and just relax and do the record and be creative. When you do that, that's when you come out with a good record.

On being a multi-platinum artist and finding a challenge at this point in his career:

It's not a challenge. I'm independent now. Actually, it is a challenge. It's the challenge to see if I can do it independently, if I can still have the same success being (on an independent record label). This is probably my first round, real round test in the independent market. I'm going to try it again and see where it takes me. If it turns out to be a good thing, I'll stay indy. If not, then I'm going back to a major (record label).

On his label situation:

I have a one-off with a company called TTL Records. They're out of Modesto, actually. I'm just doing that and it's distributed through Koch (Records). After my obligation is done with them, I'm a free agent. I don't know if I want to go back to a major or stay independent.

On whether or not his step-brother Dr. Dre's album “Detox” is ever coming out:

It's definitely coming out. I heard some records up off of it. It's incredible. He got some great songs on there. It's going to be a great record. They just got to keep looking out for that, because it's going to be nice.

On any brotherly competition between him and Dre:

He calls me, you know, sometimes, when he's trying to reach through. It's all good man. We just, we folks man. We put it down, you know.

On coming out to Monterey:

I came out there I think it was with Snoop. It was live man. Live, live, live.

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Sublime reunion under heat from family of Brad Nowell

A newly reformed version of Sublime is scheduled to take the stage Saturday evening, as part of the 2009 Cypress Hill Smokeout show in San Bernardino.
But it looks like the band, with original members Eric Wilson and Floyd "Bud" Gaugh joined by vocalist Rome Ramirez, is re-uniting without the consent of the late Bradley Nowell's estate, which includes his widow, son and father. The official statement is below, with more after the jump.

Update: It appears that Gaugh has issued a statement of his own on his Web site, which you can view here. Now back to the original post:

“It was recently announced that Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and Sublime drummer Floyd ‘Bud’ Gaugh are ‘reuniting’ and teaming with singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez in a band they intend to call ‘Sublime.’ Prior to his untimely passing, both Bud and Eric acknowledged that Brad Nowell was the sole owner of the name Sublime. It was Brad's expressed intention that no one use the name Sublime in any group that did not include him, and Brad even registered the trademark ‘Sublime’ under his own name.

As Brad's heirs, and with the support of his entire family, we only want to respect his wishes and therefore have not consented to Bud and Eric calling their new project ‘Sublime.’ We have always supported Bud and Eric's musical endeavors and their desire to continue to play Sublime's music. We wholeheartedly supported Bud, Eric and the many talented members of the Sublime posse that formed the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, soon after Brad's death, to honor him through their original recordings, live performances and Sublime music until they disbanded in 2001. But, out of respect for Brad's wishes, we have always refused to endorse any group performing as ‘Sublime,’ and now with great reluctance feel compelled to take the appropriate legal action to protect Brad's legacy.

Our hope is that Brad's ex-bandmates will respect his wishes and find a new name to perform under, so as to enhance the ‘Sublime’ legacy without the confusion and disappointment that many fans have expressed upon seeing the announcement.

Peace and Love to all,
Troy, Jakob & Jim ‘Papa’ Nowell.”

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Friday, October 16, 2009

RICKECHE of Euthnasia wins Week 6 @ Jammin 97.9 Open Mic

Just learned that a friend of “The Beat,” RICKECHE (aka Ricky Amaya), won Week 6 of Jammin' 97.9's Open Mic, Season 4. (Shout out to my cousin Mousey for giving me the heads up:).

RICKECHE (pronounced Ricochet) will duke it out with other weekly winners for the final
round, scheduled Oct. 29 at the Hippodrome, 321 Alvarado St., in Monterey.

A rundown of the weekly winners so far:
Johnny Rocks(week 1), P.I. (week 2), Whosta The Mac (week 3), Chill Scrill (week 4), Ph.D (Week 5).

Congrats to all the winners. You can get more details and sign up for the Oct. 22 open mic at Jammin 97.9's Open Mic Homepage.

RICKECHE will perform Oct. 25 at Zen Lounge in Mountain View. More info @ The Euthnasia MySpace Page.

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Interview: Brother Ali (transcript)

Brother Ali performs tonight at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Below is a transcript of his interview with “The Beat” :

On working with Atmosphere producer Ant on all of the Brother Ali projects:

I've had Ant for the albums and the EP's. I did a mixtape and had some other people contribute to those. I've done some guest appearances with other people. But all the Brother Ali projects are produced entirely by Ant.

I think that our friendship is so powerful and important to both of us that when we get together to make music, we start out. .. We both tour. He tours with Atmosphere, I do my tour, so when we see each other, we catch up. We talk about this is what's going on in my life, what I'm going through, what I'm celebrating, what I'm suffering through. Those conversations bleed right over into the music. I don't know if I'd be able to make music as powerfully as I do without Ant. (More after the jump)

On the “Fresh Air” tour that he is currently on:

It's really incredible so far. The energy of the shows has been amazing. A lot of the shows have been sold out. I got a really amazing team with me. We put together this whole night. I choose my people who I bring out with me. I really try to give people an experience, so I choose the people that are going to be on my team.

I got Toki Wright, he's a part of Rhyme Sayers. He used to help me on stage, with my background bovals. Now he's setepped on his own. I've got Evidence, who did a lot of legendary work with Dialated Peoples, he's with us. And BK-One is releasing his solo album.
It's a lot of new, creative energy. It's called the Fresh Air tour because we all got new material and we're starting with something fresh. It's really amazing.

On the tour's name:

That's the name of a song on my new album. It's such a celebratory thing, because there's so much fresh air. It's like a new beginning. It's a new beginning for me, making this new album. Everyone on this tour has brand new work they're presenting. It's just exciting new energy.

On former Roc-A-Fella Records MC Freeway joining RhymeSayers artist roster:

Rhyme Sayers, we're old school hip-hop people. We've always embraced hip-hop in it's totality. We love the artistry of it. We love the raw truth in it. To have Freeway is somebody I've been a fan of since he first came in the game. Me and him started putting records out at the same time, in 2003

He's in a unique situation where major labels once had a place for street music, but now if you don't have a single for 14 year old girls, you don't have a place in mainstream.

It felt like the best thing for him to do would be go the indie route. He still has a loyal fan base, but he was trying to go the indie route. That's what we specialize in. We've been perfecting that over the years. Music is music, hip-hop is hip-hop, and he's an incredible MC. I'm proud to be associated with him in any way. We're becoming friends. It's a great thing.

On visiting Santa Cruz:

I just love it out there. I've always loved Santa Cruz, since the first time playing there. I played there with Atmosphere back in 2002. I've always loved it.

Santa Cruz is a place where I've been able to play with bigger headliners and been able to steal the show and it makes me feel a special way about the people there.

My wife and I went on vacation in the Bay. We took a day to go down to Santa Cruz, that's how great I feel about it. I don't go out there to do shows and work. I've spent time on vacation out there.

His message to fans coming to the show:

Just come out, hang out with us. Come early. There's no openers on this tour. Everyone performing on this show is part of the show, so you're missing an important part of what we're presenting to you if you come late. Come early, everybody brought CD's and shirts to sell to the fans. Come prepared to be a part of it. Don't come to just watch. Come to be part of it. Get dressed up, bring a lady firend with you. Come to dance and come prepared to have an experience.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NYT: “New” Michael Jackson song originally recorded in Carmel

The New York Times reported in today's Arts Beat section that Michael Jackson's posthumous single, “This Is It,” was originally recorded with Paul Anka right here in Monterey County.

According to the story written by Ben Sisario, Anka sought proper credit after the song's initial release failed to recognize him as the co-author. The story says:

For Mr. Anka, the song has a long and painful history. He said that he and Jackson wrote and recorded it in 1983 in Mr. Anka’s studio in Carmel, Calif., and that it had been intended as a duet for Mr. Anka’s album “Walk a Fine Line.”

But shortly after it was recorded Jackson took the tapes, Mr. Anka said. He threatened to sue to get them back, he said, and now has the original multitrack tapes in his possession, along with documentation that the copyright for the song was held by both men. “It’s exactly the same song,” Mr. Anka said. “They just changed the title.”

You can view the full story here.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Video: "Synth Love" PLG w/ Alex Lee

I'm so proud of my people!

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Cancelled: Sean Kingston/FloRida Wednesday concert in Salinas

Local promoters announced the cancellation of the Sean Kingston/FloRida concert scheduled for Wednesday at Fox Theater in Salinas.
Fox Theater owner Anthony Lane confirmed the cancellation Monday, saying Kingston cancelled all but one of the remaining dates on his tour.
Lane said anyone who bought tickets will receive a full refund either online at www.vallitix.com, by calling the ticket box office at 758-8459, or in person at the ticket box office, located at 241 South Main St., Salinas. Rest of post here

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"Precious" director Lee Daniels & Paula Patton @ CFAF; Daniels: “I'm a resiliant MF!”

Director Lee Daniels and actress Paula Patton spoke Friday night at the screening of Daniel's film “Precious,” part of the inaugural Carmel Film and Art Festival. The screening was held at Golden State Theatre in Monterey.

Daniels, whose previous credits include “Monster's Ball” and “The Woodsman,” led most of the discussion, with Patton providing some thoughts and the pair sharing a couple of emotional moments on stage together.

Really, it was Daniels show. He proved himself a determined, fiercely heartfelt artist with a clear vision and work ethic. “Precious” is a brutal, entertaining, original portrait of a world no one has been brave enough to bring to the screen until now.

A partial transcript of the discussion is posted below (with more after the jump):

On casting Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey:

Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey are both friends of mine. (Daniels said Kravitz is godfather to one of his children). Me and Lenny are planning on working on something pretty soon. I felt this wasn an opportunity for him to see how I was on set.

On casting Mariah Carey:

Mariah Carey is also a great friend. I offered the role to Helen Mirren, but she got a real job that payed. A few hours after that, Mariah Carey called. I said to myself "If I pull this off, it would be a lot more interesting and unpredictable.

With Mariah, she trusts me. If you trust someone and I trusted her, I said this iswhat I need (to play the character wearing no make-up). She really came in with a gusto.

On casting On casting Gabourney “Gabby” Sidibe in the title role...

She was found in Harlem. We had auditioned, I stopped counting after 400, but we auditioned for the role and she came and auditioned, and she was Harlem.

Paula Patton: Gabby is a prodigy. I called her the young Jodie Foster on the set.

She's really more like the the girl in the fantasy scenes than Precious. We would be in the make-up trailer between takes and she would talk in a more high-pitched voice, her regular voice is more high-pitched, and talk like “Have you seen ‘The Hills?’

I think actors can work their whole life and not come up with this (quality of) performance.

On attacking taboo subjects like rape, abuse and incest in his films:

The films I do are not for my family. I'm from the ghetto. They don't watch hard films. My mom said to me once “Why don't you do films like Tyler Perry?”

I learned it is a universal story, by simply telling the truth. Everyone is precious.

And, I have Tyler Perry on the film as a producer so I know my mother will see it (laughs)”

On resilience in his female characters:

My earliest memory was my mother and me... my father (who was physically abusive) put us both in a trash can. I remember both of us sitting in the trash can, and I was thinking “I don't care about me. I only care about what happens to my mother.”
I can't stand to see a woman touch or abused in any way. So I heal every time I do a movie.

On casting Mo'Nique:

Mo had worked with me on “Shadowboxer.” I like working with friends.

Paula Patton on working with Lee Daniels:

It was the most artistic, creative experience I've had on a film. It was the most creative work I've ever done. Lee Daniels is a genius and I'm very blessed (the pair then shared a long, emotional hug).

Lee Daniels: I didn't mean to take it there... especially in front of all these white people (laughs).

On the film's distribution:

It will start small, in a couple of cities, and by the second or third week it will be everywhere.

On screening at the Cannes film festival:

It's not just a movie to me... When we did Cannes and walked down the red carpet, and I saw Gabby walking the red carpet, it was one of the highlights of my life. It was art imitating the movie. She represents all of us. Everybody is precious.

Daniels on whether he wavered on telling the story:

I never, ever wavered. I did ‘Monsters Ball’ and noone said it could be done. They laughed me out of Hollywood. It won an Academy Award.
I'm used to being laughed at. My dad did it. Hollywood has done it. I am a resiliant motherfucker!

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John Cooper speaks @ Carmel Film & Art Festival

“The Beat” was in the house for the Friday night screening of “Precious” at The Golden State Theater in Monterey, as part of the Carmel Film & Art Festival.

Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper hosted the screening, introducing the film and moderating the Q&A with “Precious” director Lee Daniels and film star Paula Patton.

Here is a brief excerpt of Cooper's introduction (with more after the jump):

On why he chose to be curator of the Carmel Film & Art Festival:

“I really like to be at the beginning of something that is starting. That is what this feels like. You have so much opportunity to create something for yourselves.”

On his impressions of the Golden State Theater:
“This is like the best kept secret in California (applause). It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.”

On the movie “Precious”:

“We cull through close to 1000 American Films prior to selecting the finalist. We choose16 otal... This film came to us last year in January, and it won the Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award... We're looking at it to see what the new mythology of indie films is. It's a rigorous film. It even left me a little awe inspired... Experience this film for how it was meant to be experienced.”

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"Precious" Movie Trailer; Playing Friday @ Carmel Film & Art Festival

I will probably go check this out his weekend. Looks pretty intense. Co-signed by Oprah and Tyler Perry (if that means anything to you). Mo'Nique looks extra mannish in this one.
What do y'all think? It's playing 9 p.m. Friday night @ The Golden State Theater in Monterey.

Rest of post here

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Tickets still on sale for Sean Kingston; Pitbull rescheduled in Salinas

Tickets are still on sale for the Sean Kingston show, scheduled for Oct. 14 at Fox Theater in Salinas. Ticketmaster announced that a number of the remaining dates on his U.S. tour, including three California dates have been cancelled, with no official explanation. Tickets are still on sale for an Oct. 16 show in San Diego. More after the jump.

Promoters for the Oct. 14 show are working to secure Kingston's scheduled performance, and are moving forward with plans for the show. No word yet on when any official decision will be made. Tickets can be purchased at the Fox Theater, 241 Main St., Salinas, by calling 888 -825-5484 , or visit www.Vallitix.com .
Also, the cancelled Sept. 27 Pitbull concert has been rescheduled for Dec. 18 at Fox Theater, it was confirmed by owner Anthony Lane.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Video: Q-Tip, Norah Jones "Life is Better"

Five years ago, I would have never guessed Norah Jones would be the new school Vinia Mojica. Funny how that works.

This is one of my favorite songs off "The Renaissance." Jones seems to be lost in love on the hook, but Q-Tip uses the song's theme to give praise to hip-hop pioneers old and new. The video is pretty cool too. Enjoy.

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NPR "All Things Considered" w/ Brother Ali

I'm working on my Brother Ali feature this week. I hope to have a transcript of my interview with him, as well as my interview with his tour DJ BK-One. Brother Ali plays The Catalyst in Santa Cruz Oct. 16.

NPR released a segment from its "All Things Considered" program featuring Ali. You can check it out after the jump.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Working with the Kids

Next week, I'll be starting Slam Poetry workshops at Cesar Chavez Library in Salinas. The workshops will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 21, and Nov. 4, 18. They are open to children age 12-18.

I'll post more details in the near future about the workshops themselves. In the meantime, mark your calendars.
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