on the dot
03/31/2010, 12:27 pm
Filed under: hi$panic, hip hop don't stop, shero, subvHERsive

Serious big ups to Juan Data from SF (good to chat last week) for this piece on rap-en-espanol + it’s limitations in the US market + solutions.  A lot of these topics have been swirling my head + conversations this past week with Chilean-EMCEE Anita Tijoux in town, so props to Juan for laying it down on paper.

It was touching that though Anita and I were from two completely different places, we could both get so emotional to hear ‘Stakes is High’ and start rhyming to each other in unison.  This is power.

What I do know…there are SO MANY people to reach who will feel this music – this I know in my bones.  I see it happening RIGHT NOW.  It’s not IF it will happen…but WHEN.

I must, must highlight this – because I AGREE:

So, what to do to overcome all these obstacles?
Record labels take note: Try to get the product reviewed on English-speaking specialized media. Try to get record stores to place the album in the hip-hop section of the store, not in the reggaetón or Latin pop/rock subdivision where actual hip-hop diggers will never go. Print vinyl. Once again, print vinyl! Real hip-hop listeners still cherish vinyl over all other formats. Pay for a remix from a respected hip-hop producer (Pete Rock, El-P, MadLib…) and release it in 12 inch single vinyl (most hardcore hip-hop heads will definitely buy a record based on the producer, even if they don’t understand the lyrics, and that’s a good way of introducing them to a foreign artist). Pay for a guest appearance by an underground respected English-spitting MC (Talib, Chali2Na, Del…). Cross your fingers from both hands and pray for a less segregated market.


SXSW 2010: stream of conscious austin recap
03/27/2010, 3:31 pm
Filed under: artist news, bomba estereo, conrazón, inspiration archives, shero

Here goes my stream of conciousness recap of SXSW:

Drive to Austin with new friends.
Heard so much ‘new’ music I felt out of the loop.
Philosophized on the craving to be hip + hear the new shit all the time.
Really liked Ra Ra Riots though.
Get to Super 8.
Did not sleep all night.
The reunion!
Negotiate a crazy cheap van for Bomba Estereo w/ citywide’s Joe – THANKS JOE!

Bumped into Ozomatli’s Wil-Dog + SXSW’s Alicia Zertuche.
Also David A + Chico Mann.
Antone’s w/ Bomba Estereo, Choc Quib Town, Maldita Vecindad.
Convo w/ Goyo/Tostao (of CBT) + Li Saumet (of Bomba Estereo) about Latin America’s hip-hop invasion and how to collab w/ folks.
Goyo loves Decon’s Nneka like I do.

Tostao digs Nas.
Wonder how to make that happen.
Li indecisive about outfits.
CQT have great energy + presence during their show.  They sound great.
Bomba’s show slowly builds to a frenzy – ends well.
Two big guys from Memphis approach and can’t get enough of Bomba Estereo – want to bring the band to Memphis.
Heart warms.
Bear hug from Rich Garza. Hi Andrew Casillas.
Reunion w/ Tomas Cookman @ Merch table.
While on Jager run for post-show celebration, fat, sweaty man-boob to the face in Maldita mosh.
Love connecting with people who love music.
Gustavo Santaolalla
hugs band as they leave the stage + raves.  Collab?
Maldita love Li.
Early night for big next day.

Wondering why I only brought one pair of socks.
Figure no one will know.
Load-in. Best production team ever @ Fader Fort.
Carrera gifting suite goodness.
Met Theophilus London + band in sun w/ tacos.  He wants to visit Colombia.
Fader Fort gifting madness w/ the good folks at Levi’s and Cornerstone.
Hi Andrew from Remezcla.
Bomba Estereo RIP Fader Fort.
Memphis guys back to continue raving about how the last great band they saw like this was The Clash.
Read Colombia’s Bomba Estereo Made White People Dance Their Hipster Asses Off.
Intro to Taxi Cab Sessions.
Celebration ensues.
Load-out back and forth taxi madness.
Security guard says ‘I don’t know what the cot damn you’re saying, but I danced my ass off’
Heart warms again.
Quick detour to Iron Gate for Tormenta Tropical for Maluca.
Thanks Geko Jones, Uproot Andy, etc.
Cool kids.  Hips shake.
Dinner in a train.
Sick and in bed early.

Pressure off.
BMI brunch.
Friends abound like Remezcla’s Nuria Net, Systema Solar, Polen’s Felipe Alvarez, Gustavo Fernandez, etc.
Grassy hill sunshine siesta.
Make it official.
Press w/ Elaine Garza.
Real meal.
Finally meet Anita Tijoux after knowing her virtually for about 5 years.  Hermana!
Off on my own w/ crew to catch Mayer Hawthorne, Black Joe Lewis, and Raphael Saadiq.
Haven’t had normal digestive cycle in 3 days.
Convulsions and loud singing as Raphael does ‘Dance Tonight’ –>into ‘Be Here
Stop by Colombian showcase @ Speakeasy to give Quantic a CD.
Phone charge/drink break.
Meet up w/ equipo for Redman + Balkan Beatbox.
Redman is a no show – boo Jersey City!
Dance my ass off to mid-90s hip-hop hits w/ Jose Galvan from Sala de Espera + Alex from Move Forward Music, BE, CQT, P Dryddy.
Off to the xx @ church w/ P Dryddy and Areti.
Singers have glassy eyes and I’m mesmerized.
Semi-fall asleep. But not bc it’s bad.
Quickie hi to Evidence + Peter of Decon.
Momentary stay @ c3 house to charge phone – met some cool folks.
Caught ‘the very best‘ w/ Bragin + P Dryddy @ emo’s.
Where the hell is everyone?
Make it home safe.

Bye bye Bomba Estereo.
Drop stuff off at P.Dryddy’s.
Bop around town w/ Josh W.
Say hi to Nuria y Gustavo @ Maika’s showcase.
Nice walk through East Austin (past Victory Grill) to Mochilla’s ‘Timeless’
Meet up w/ Timo + Anita Tijoux.
Bumped into Wonway.
He smells good.
Amazing screening/live edit of Timeless by J. Rocc.
Rapped w/ Anita to De La’s ‘Stakes is High‘ during screening.
J. Dilla in the building.
Told composer Miguel Atwood Ferguson he’s the best thing in hip-hop right now.  He’s all smiles.
Met LA’s Mochilla’s Rocio, B+ and Quantic.
Sleighbells @ Fader Fort.  Get me outta here!
Pitchfork party @ Scoot Inn
Walk with stranger to town – way to pass the time.
Caught Blue Scholars @ Emo’s.
Find Outernational at Street Sweeper Social Club (Boots Riley + Tom Morello).
May have been best thing I saw all trip.
Run to New Orleans’ Sissy Bounce/Katie Red to see Bragin, Alex (Trouble WW), Dmitri (Rock Paper Scissors), others.
NYT’s John Pareles put his hands on the floor and his ass in the air.
Saw it with my own eyes.
Watered down Patron=fail.
Missed Get Busy Committee, but two-stepped to Kurupt.
Felt like LA for a minute.
Hi to old friends.
Charge phone/drank at c3 house — thank god for charging station.
Defended Tina + Chris Weymouth of Tom Tom Club from bigot doorman @ Maggie Mae’s.
Conversation w/ Police.
Sneak into the back to catch last couple of songs from Anita Tijoux.
Reunion w/ Rod Starz of Rebel Diaz + DJ Ethos.
Run off to Vice party.
New friends. No sleep.
Sunrise over Colorado River on Congress.
8 AM drive back to LA w/ new friends.

Saw a lot.  Missed a lot. Built a lot.  Kicked ass.  And…had fun!

Bomba Estereo team: Lucas (Sound), Simon (Director/Bass/Programming), Li (Vocals), Kike (Drums), Julian (Guitar) [Photo by Natalia]

A veces quisiera tener alas como pájaro

I’ve been a fan of Ana (Anita) Tijoux‘s since I heard La Rosa de Los Vientos at a very crucial developmental point + personally, I think she’s got the best verse in Spanish, period (read ’em here).

Tengo sangre indigena, mejor, por que es hermosa || ‘I come from indigenous blood, what’s more, it’s beautiful’

It’s really exciting to see where her journey and HARD WORK has taken her + will continue to; come witness this intimate performance, her first in Los Angeles.  Her new album, “1977” comes out April 27th on Nacional Records (you can grab it on iTunes now).

Peep this feature in the LA Times about her debut performance TONIGHT @ Little Temple.

“Tijoux expresses reverence for what she calls the “golden age” of rap, exemplified by albums such as Wu-Tang Clan’s “36” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauder.” And she makes no bones about her distaste for the braggadocious, jewel-encrusted, pistol-packing, penthouse-strutting rap that came to dominate the airwaves in the late 1990s. ‘Bling makes me laugh, because we don’t see it in Chile,’ she said. ‘Hip-hop was born as an art of daring, celebrating, struggling’.”-LA Times

sxsw 2010: pheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew that was fun
03/22/2010, 11:00 am
Filed under: bomba estereo, conrazón

will post up a re-cap soon.

Sunday Spin – Holly Miranda
03/14/2010, 3:27 pm
Filed under: inspiration archives

Detroit raised, Pentecostal-run away, Brooklyn-made, Holly Miranda.  Covering Lauryn Hill, “Ex-Factor” – you better be GOOD to cover that song.  So pretty.  She has a hell of a story too.  I’m a sucker for female vocalists with rich voices like Sia, Esthero, Sarah White, etc.

“Every time she sings, you’re convinced,” Mr. Sitek (of TV on the Radio) said. “It doesn’t matter what instrumentation, what genre.”

“Hearing Nina Simone sing other people’s songs had a huge impact on her,” Mr. Sitek said. “Knowing that the human voice is one of the most flexible mediums in the world, the most immediately identifiable instrument.”

(Thanks P Dryddy)

From Soft Issue to Security Issue
03/13/2010, 2:37 pm
Filed under: en vida real, subvHERsive

“I have to confess that when we started our Food Security Initiative, I did not know that most food was grown by women. I remember once driving through Africa with a group of distinguished experts. And I saw women working in the fields and I saw women working in the markets and I saw women with wood on their heads and water on their heads and children on their backs. And I remarked that women just seem to be working all the time. And one of the economists said, “But it doesn’t count.” I said, “How can you say that?” He said, “Well, it’s not part of the formal economy.” I said, “Well, if every woman who did all that work stopped tomorrow, the formal economy would collapse.” (Applause.)” – Hillary Clinton

Click the link to see Clinton’s remarks at the UN Commission on the Status of Women this past week.  Read this article about Clinton pushing to move women’s issues from a “soft” issue to a “security” issue in the White House.

Indeed, I think a pretty good argument can be made that the reason the Islamic world is disproportionately turbulent and has “bloody fringes,” as Samuel Huntington put it, doesn’t have to do with the Koran or religion in any direct way. Rather, it has to do with the fact that women are more likely to be marginalized in such countries.” – Nic Kristoff

U-N-I-T-Y: Chequear las dos!
03/08/2010, 1:24 pm
Filed under: future roots, hi$panic, la raza cosmica

Came across this video by the Afro-Latin@ Forum (thanks Bryan Vargas).

If you’re Afro-Latino, surely you’ve encountered this dilemma at some point.  Maybe your parents told you to check off “white” or you never thought to identify with being “African-American.”  I wish the video went into more detail about WHY it’s important for the census and what benefits would arise from it – but it’s an important visual + hope it gets to the community.  This issue is so unique/nuanced depending on where you live, whether uptown in NYC, or in Miami, Chicago, North Carolina or South Los Angeles, as you can read in the article by Ed Morales referenced below.

For more information about the Afro-Latin@ Forum, read this article by Miriam Jiménez Román:

Our focus is on Black Latinos in the U.S. and their relationships with other communities of color. By looking at the new face of this country, we recognize that some “Browns” are browner than other Browns, that some Blacks are also Latinos and that many Latinos are victims of racial—as well as cultural—discrimination.  We are questioning the facile Black versus Brown paradigm and proposing a unifying Black AND Brown paradigm.

She referenced another article by Ed Morales in The Nation, “Brown Like Me?” from 2004.

What do you think?