Wednesday, March 28, 2007

nice one at the dance

A bigger and livelier vibe for surya dub this month than last month. The sound was a BIT better in the upstairs room. I can't believe they get noise complaints. It's the Tenderloin, don't the neighbors have other things to worry about?

I was quite impressed with the guest of honor downstairs: breakbeat Buddha. I kept thinking it was going to turn into standard/predictable breaks, and then it would go all glitchy and wobbly and weird and bouncy.

The crowd was bigger than last month (no horrible rainstorm this time). I think I detected a change in the character.. it seeed a bit more.. indie... kinda.. how can I say it... kinda pitchforkish. Big up the Blackdown for a nice write-up (scroll to the end).

I played after BBB and got a bit silly - but it's nice to be able to play "where my weaves at" mixed with dubstep and the baltimore remix of Yo Majesty. Kid K threw down some classic ragga jungle and ting and then the night was DONE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Surya dub time again!

Global Dubwize Vibes & Dread Bass Culture

Saturday March 24th 2007 @ Club Six

Surya Dub is the next level in Global Dubwize Vibes and Dread Bass Culture. Surya Dub is uniting all Dubwize sounds from Roots Reggae to Dubstep and Ragga to Dread Bass Breakbeat and Drum'n'Bass to Bhangra, South Asian Electronica and Global Bass Beat Bizness.

Check out a video clip of 600 plus folks celebrating the launch of Surya Dub's opening party HERE! And read what the SF Weekly says about this groundbreaking night!
This month Surya Dub welcomes very special guest, UK Sound Boy BreakBeatBuddha, who officially launches his debut album Mind Bombin’ at Surya Dub. BreakBeatBuddha will be covering the bases with glitched up dancehall vibes, mid-tempo & heavy breakbeats, as well as a barrage of his remix and production bombs including collaborations with Lorin Bassnectar, RJD2, and KRS 1.

Also heavyweight selector Stepwise, founder of Holding Firm, brings his deep knowledge of roots culture, original mashups, and top-ranking vibes to the dancehall. Plus special DJ set from the man on the mic, MC Daddy Frank!

Don't miss this month's heavyweight vibes Sat March 24th at Club Six!
Check out the crew and more info at

Sub Hz Den
Dubstep, Dread Bass Breaks & D'n'B, Ragga
Special Guest
BreakBeatBuddha (dancehall glitchhop)
Plus Residents:
Maneesh the Twister(Dhamaal, Dub Mission), Kush Arora, Kid Kameleon (xlr8r), & Ripley (havoc sound)
Pon da mic MC Daddy Frank (Antigua) for his last SF appearance!
We wish Frankie all the best as he embarks back to NY!
Video DJ Ohashi

Inna Yard
Reggae, Dancehall, Bhangra, Global Beats
Special Guest
Stepwise (Holding Firm)
Plus residents:
Special DJ set from Daddy Frank
Ross Hogg & DJ Neta (Ital Selection Hi-Fi),
Jimmy Love (Non-Stop Bhangra)
DJ Amar (Electric Vardo) + SoohzyQ (dumbek) + MC Daddy Frank & Freyja (tribal bellydance)

Flyer Design by Kai-Wen

Club Six
Saturday, March 24th, 2007
60 6th St between Mission & Market
21 + : $7 before 11pm/ $10 after: 10:00pm-3:00am

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thursdays 6-8pm in Berkeley - a weekly!


Well well, thanks to all who came out on thursday. It was a rousing success. A lovely warm sunny day and sweet sunset, folks and dogs strolling by, and the Guerilla Cafe has a sliding door open to the sidewalk and benches on the sidewalk with the music rolling out...

The gig went well enough - they offered me a weekly. Nice one.

I played pretty strictly rocksteady this time - but I will branch out a bit in the coming weeks to more ska and dub as well. But at this gig I'll be keeping it mostly on the truly oldschool side, a chance to stretch out in a leisurely fashion through the other side of my music collection.

The cafe has the best coffee in Berkeley (Blue Bottle), and some seriously tasty food. Their waffles are to die for. A short menu, but satisfying. Rumor has it they are applying for beer + wine license, which may mean an expanded evening, although right now they close at 8pm.
1620 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley

thanks to anonymous commenter from the previous post, and to all who showed up. See you next week, same time, same station!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

a rare (for now) rocksteady, ska, dub set on Thurs 15th

I will be djing a little set at the lovely Guerilla Cafe on Thursday (March 15th) from 6pm - 8pm. I've been missing playing out all my 60s ska sounds (and a smattering of dub and generall Jackie Mitto type soul ska fun), that I used to do in NY every now and again.

The cafe is small but friendly. Killer coffee, tasty food, and nice people. Come out and say hello!

1620 Shattuck Avenue. (You can go by the Cheese Board before coming over and get some damn good cheese, too)

Monday, March 05, 2007

public face

Well, now.. Hello all the folks in the Bay who may be coming here purely due to an article in the Sf Chronicle on Hip-Hop in Academia. As someone who is a dj (though not strictly hip-hop, or even loosely, really), and also an academic, I ended up being a bit of a poster child. What is unfortunate is that I NEVER EVER said "I lived hiphop." I said I was DJ. But the relationship implied by the author between hiphop as I study and hiphop "as I live it" is on the nebulous side. I listen to a good amount of hip-hop, as those of you who listen know, I incorporate it into my sets, but the idea that I live hip-hop is, well, funny. I'll concede THAT much the the concept of authenticity in hiphop (much as I despise the use of the word real or authentic) - it's not something I have, or even something I'm going for.

Ah well. I can say I'm representing one of the ways that hip-hop is making its way into academia, and I was also hoping to mention SuryaDub (at Club Six on the 4th Saturday of every month), I thought the Chron would be a good audience for that. Unfortunately that part got left out of the paper version, though I hear tell on the online version mention will be made. So much for venality.

So, they used a couple of pics of me, which was nice, and combined about a paragraph of words I said into a single-sentence quote that kinda makes no sense and leaves out the main points I was trying to make. I know everyone's on a deadline and overall I think the article is quite good, although of course I wish that my own words represented me better.

My over-arching point (which I think the article represents pretty well) is that on one level, hiphop has to be a subject of academic study to the extent that academics study anything that is a force in society. If you study politics - hiphop is there. Economics, hiphop is clearly there. Media, culture studies, well of course. I don't think that in itself should be much of a newsflash. It would be weird for fields that purport to help us understand society better to ignore huge influences on various groups in that society. That's not to say that those studies are necessarily about furthering hip-hop or will do hip-hop any favors. -But academia needs to be useful, realistic and honest about the world it is supposed to be analyzing.

Beyond that, there are good reasons for people in academia to be familiar with hip-hop (at least in terms of how it is significant to society) so that they can connecting with students who are familiar with hip-hop. I am still in the camp that college does not have to be only about reproducing or enforcing white middle-class heterosexist values. I have seen the transformative effect that college can have on people who have in the past been historically excluded. That kind of effect is helped by a college curriciulum and coursework that accurately reflects the world. In the past, people had to take World History classes that were really about Europe - the rest of the world was made visible only as it came under European domination and exploitation. People studied American history as (as my mom puts it) "a history of presidents and their advisors." But that's not the whole story. It simply isn't an accurate representation of what was going on --and certainly not an accurate representation of what was important to the majority of the world (or Americans). As well as being inaccurate, it had the effect of making students feel they had no place in what mattered. So now, for both these reasons, as we tell stories in history, economics, law, literature, and maybe in some ways the sciences as well, we need to include the voices of people around the world and they way they see it. Of course this includes hip-hop.

The issue of whether academics who write about hip-hop have credibility in hip-hop circles can be a problem, depending on what the purposes of the writing is. It's not like the only purpose of academia is representation, sometimes one is interested in case studies, examples, new ideas, alternate stories about the world. In that vein I'd like to think that studying hip-hop can teach us things we don't already know, to the extent that studying anything well can do that. I don't think it's disrespectful to hip-hop to use it in that fashion, because that's a lot of what academia does with everything. Of course that should always be critiqued, from all sides, but I don't think hip-hop itself is necessarily going to provide the only or best critique for academic practice - hip-hop itself (whatever you think it is) is not necessarily transformative (witness the recurring breast-beating and self-analysis within hip-hop, people trying to "get hiphop back" or revive it), although it can be.. same for academia.

As far as my own quote, what I was trying to get at was that hip-hop artists have an interesting relationship to law - the stories in lyrics and in personal experience often tend to paint law (in terms of its enforcement) in a negative or troubling way, but simultaneously call on the functioning of law in the music industry to enforce their ability to get paid for music.

And nowadays, the role of law in music industry is doubly vexed: on the one hand good musical practice may require sampling, mixtapes, things that appear in a legal gray area, and beyond that *not thinking about law,* in that artists maybe shouldn't have to (and usually don't) start by considering the legal implications of their musical decisions.

On the other hand, people often assume that getting paid for selling musical recording sis a normal occurrence (despite the reality that it is rarely the case, for reasons that have nothing to do with downloading), which assumes that law is set up in their favor, or at least to give them a fair shake. The reality may be different, but regardless I find it interesting.

Looking at that, I'm not surprised that it wasn't easily compressible into one sentence!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

more tunes

There's another radio show of mine floating out there. Much respect to the DJ Cikee for having myself and Kid Kameleon on her awesome radio show on KZSU - The Perennial Philosophy.

you can get a podcast from her (and the set lists are up there)
or from radio perfilo

and here you can get the mp3

Kid K's set is up there as well (there's a link to the mp3 from the perfilo site)