Tag: Afrika Bambaataa

Grandmaster Flash Joins Upcoming Netflix 1970s Rap Series “The Get Down” as Associate Producer/Adviser

Grandmaster Flash and Mamoudou Athie
Grandmaster Flash and actor Mamoudou Athie (Photo: Netflix)

 Hip-hop icon Grandmaster Flash is set as an associate producer and adviser on The Get DownBaz Luhrmann’s upcoming Netflix series about the 1970 NYC music scene and the birth of rap. “I can’t tell you just how much joy and great spirit we are getting from working with some of the founding fathers of the form,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “Not only in music, dance and graffiti but the culture of the time in general. The whole team is absolutely thrilled to have Grandmaster Flash on board.” Netflix also said today that newcomer Mamoudou Athie will play the DJ legend on the show (see photo above). Best known to mainstream audiences for the 1982’s “The Message,” Grandmaster Flash emerged from the ’70s Bronx scene along with fellow DJs Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa as a pioneer of the fledgling genre. “Flash developed a host of specific techniques that allowed DJs to move seamlessly from one break beat to another,” said author-journalist Nelson George, part of The Get Down writing team. “Flash’s innovations, developed in his Bronx apartment bedroom, are the bedrock of club spinning, even in the age of (vinyl emulation program) Serato.”

Flash’s involvement with Get Down follows VH1’s announcement last month of The Breaks, an original movie and potential backdoor pilot about the 1990s NYC hip-hop scene. Gang Starr’s DJ Premier will serve as music producer for that project, becoming the latest music great to oversee soundtracks for TV series including Timbaland on Fox’s Empire and T Bone Burnett on ABC’s Nashville.

article via Erik Pedersen via Deadline.com

Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music

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“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is by far one of the most important records known to man.  A “total knock out of the park” as Public Enemy’s Chuck D once told Rolling Stone, the 1982 record marked a pivotal moment for hip-hop.  The first of its kind, at seven-minutes rapper Melle Mel and co-writer Duke Bootee traded clear-cut lines about the everyday struggle and decay in America’s ghettos. From the ubiquitous “broken glass” to the “junkies in the alley” and how the kids that are “born with no state of mind” end up succumbing to the live fast, die young statistic. It’s an monumental piece of recording that perfectly demonstrates the foundation on which hip-hop was founded.

Beyond that though, it’s also the very record that Mickey Bentson, co-founder of The Universal Zulu Nation, and Ice-T brought up during a phone conversation with REVOLT. “Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel made one of the hardest records ever: “The Message” with no cursing. Wow. That’s unbelievable,” Bentson exclaimed.  “Where you gonna get all this stuff at? Nowhere but at the Art of Rap Festival baby.”

In 2012, Ice-T chronicled the rich foundation and importance of the hip-hop into a one hour-and-a-half epic, better known as the critically-acclaimed documentary, “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.” An intimate journey that uncovers the layers, elements, and science of hip-hop, the film took it back to the essence, while bringing along famous faces like Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chuck D and many more for a discussion on the art form. Three years since he opened the conversation, Ice-T,  joined by Bentson, has added another layer (and new meaning) to the “The Art of Rap,” with an inaugural event he is calling “the most prolific and essential hip-hop festival ever.”

The Art of Rap Festival, which will take place over the course of two days in California, features a dream team line-up of emcees that range from Big Daddy Kane to Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, EPMD, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Melle Mel, King T, Kurtis Blow, Biz Markie, and more. Just like the film, the festival, which will feature co-headliners including Game and Ice-T at its July 18th Irvine date and Ice-T at the July 19th Mountain View show, takes it back to the essence.

Speaking about the summer must-attend festival, Ice-T and Mickey Bentson hopped on the phone with REVOLT and discussed just how and why this event came together.

In 2012, Ice-T, you released this film and now it has transformed into a full blown festival. How did you two come together for this?

Ice-T: Well, [The Art of Rap] happened for me, I was sitting around and for a while when you would say you an emcee, people actually had this heavy respect for you. Well the point that when you would say ‘rapper,’ people would kind of look at you like a clown. Rappers were kind of acting up and I didn’t like that, so I said you know what I want to make a film that makes people really respect the art of rap. It’s not a game, it’s real stuff. I worked really hard on my music, I grew up with [Big Daddy] Kane and Rakim and people like that, and I said this is serious business. So we shot the film, it did what it was supposed to do, make people understand that it is an art form and the next obvious move was to take it on the road. The Art of Rap Tour is meant to be about the craft and the culture of hip-hop, so we go all the way from The Soulsonic Force to somebody like The Game.

As you mentioned, this festival is about the craft and culture. Why is this such an important element for this event? 

T: We want people to take pride in what they do. If you take pride in your music, you’re going to do good music. If you look at music as just a way to get paid, then you might throw up any ol’ shit, and you also ain’t gonna represent it right, [because] when you get interviewed you gonna say any ol’ s*** — and that bothers the artists. That’s like me coming into jazz and not knowing who Miles Davis was, and there’s going to be people who’s going to have feelings about that.  Continue reading “Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music”

Ice-T Announces Art of Rap Music Festival Kicking off July 18 in Irvine, CA

Ice T

According to bet.com, Ice-T has announced his very own music festival for this summer. The first-ever Art of Rap Music Festival kicks off July 18 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, Calif., followed by another show July 19 in Northern California at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

Keeping in line with his critically acclaimed Art of Rap documentary from a few years ago, the festival lineup is jam packed with influential rap artists including Ice-T himself, Afrika Bambaataa, Melle Mel, Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, The Game, Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony, Doug E. Fresh, Warren GKurtis Blow, EPMDXzibit,  Biz Markie, DJ Quik and Slick Rick.

Art of Rap FestivalThe Art of Rap Music Festival will feature two stages with more than 25 different artists, as well as break-dancers, graffiti artists and vendors. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 24 at 10 AM PST.

Visit www.ArtofRapFest.com for more information.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow@lakinhutcherson)

Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum to Open in NYC in 2017

hiphop-225x180Decades after hip hop music hit the streets of New York, and later, became an cultural phenomenon enjoyed by listeners around the world, it’s all coming back to the Big Apple, as a Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum is set to open in 2017.

“This will be the home of hip hop history,” museum Chairman JT Thompson told the NY Daily News. “People need to understand the importance of hip hop, the elements, the DJs, the B-boys and B-girls and the graffiti writers.”

The museum will open to the public at its location on 125th Street in 2017 and exhibits will feature memorabilia such as jackets, turntables and posters donated by artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Outkast, Young Jeezy, Common and Eminem. There is also a planned juice and coffee bar, TV studio, shops and a dedicated youth media program.

article via hiphopweekly.com

James Brown is Celebrated in “Get On Up”, Opening this Friday

Chadwick Boseman as Brown in the new biopic “Get On Up.” (Credit: D Stevens/Universal Studios)

It’s just the kind of movie clip YouTube was made for. In the 1965 Frankie Avalon vehicle,“Ski Party,” James Brown and his backing vocal group, the Famous Flames, enter a ski lodge after rescuing a frozen reveler. Resplendent in a white-and-red sweater, tight black slacks, black pointy-toed shoes and a regal pompadour, Brown performs “I Got You (I Feel Good),” giving the lily-white crowd of clapping skiers a taste of the showmanship that had made him a star on the so-called “chitlin circuit” among blacks. Even in a movie as disposable as “Ski Party,” Brown turned a corny scene into genuine entertainment.

In the biopic “Get On Up,” opening Friday, the filmmakers recreate this moment, trying to see it from Brown’s point of view. While he glides through his steps, we see slow-motion shots of the listeners as if they were creatures from another, whiter planet, one Brown is reluctantly visiting in hopes of reaching a wider audience. In that scene, Brown dances off the set. In the new film, he does a split but doesn’t come up, apparently having ripped his pants. The new moment is slightly comic but undercuts Brown’s mastery.

Depicting James Brown on screen has always been a seductive proposition. As one of the greatest stage performers of the 20th century, he has inspired documentarians, playwrights, comedians and other artists who see the outlines of his greatness. But capturing the man inside, and the meaning of his life, is a tricky business.

Brown at the Roseland Ballroom in New York in 2004.CreditFrank Micelotta/Getty Images

There was a fluidity to his identity that was reflected in his many stage nicknames: Mr. Dynamite, the hardest working man in show business, Soul Brother No. 1, the Godfather of Soul and the Original Disco Man, as he variously billed himself. All enduring pop stars have the ability to shift with the culture, but Brown’s moves — from staunch integrationist to proto-black nationalist and back, from civil rights role model to wife beater, from disciplined bandleader to drug addict — suggest an inner turmoil that belied his outer confidence. Shortly after his death, I helped edit a collection of articles that spanned Brown’s long career, and in reading the pieces was struck by how many journalists saw the contours of the man but struggled to truly penetrate his psyche. With a feature film about to arrive and a coming documentary, it’s time to take stock of this imposing figure.
Brown, who died on Christmas Day 2006, began his career in the ’50s under the spell of Little Richard and ended it as a major influence on current singer-dancers like Usher and Chris Brown. Michael Jackson and Prince, of course, were acolytes. Reared on gospel, blues and jazz, Brown was a dominant force in the soul ’60s, created funk, inspired disco and laid hip-hop’s foundation with his beats.

As important as Brown was on vinyl, his stage show and personality are legendary: Tilting a mike stand far forward and, before it hit the stage, pulling it back via the cord. Dropping into and rising out of splits. Feigning exhaustion and donning a regal cape before returning to sing again. Executing every new dance from the ’60s to the ’80s with deft steps and body control made Brown a dominant figure during an explosive era for pop music.

Continue reading “James Brown is Celebrated in “Get On Up”, Opening this Friday”

Afrika Bambaataa Gets Vinyl Record Collection Archived for Cornell University Library

Afrika Bam

One of the most important vinyl record collections in the history of hip-hop will be on display to the public when archivists sort, organize and even play music from the crates of DJ Afrika Bambaataa – the godfather of hip-hop culture and an instrumental figure in the rise of electro funk. Gavin Brown’s enterprise and Johan Kugelberg/Boo-Hooray Gallery, together with Afrika Bambaataa, the Universal Zulu Nation and Cornell University Library are organizing the records for the Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records vinyl archive, which will permanently live at Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection in fall 2013.

From July 11 through Aug. 10, Kugelberg and his team will be organizing, cataloguing and documenting Afrika Bambaataa’s peerless vinyl collection on business days between noon and 5 p.m. at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, 620 Greenwich Street, Manhattan. Visitors are encouraged to stop by, hear some great music and see how the cultural artifacts of this important strand of American history are preserved.

Please join the Afrika Bambaataa vinyl archive mailing list at afrikab@gavinbrown.biz and follow Gavin Brown’s enterprise on Facebook and Twitter for announcements of visiting DJs playing selections from the archive during the sort.  Originally from the South Bronx, Afrika Bambaataa is among the most influential American DJs. He is considered the godfather of hip-hop culture and was instrumental in the rise of electro funk and break-beat deejaying beginning in the 1980s.

Continue reading “Afrika Bambaataa Gets Vinyl Record Collection Archived for Cornell University Library”

Afrika Bambaataa Named Cornell University Visiting Scholar

ITHACA, N.Y. — Hip hop pioneer DJ Afrika Bambaataa (pictured) (bam-BAH’-tah) has been appointed to a three-year term as a visiting scholar at Cornell University. Continue reading “Afrika Bambaataa Named Cornell University Visiting Scholar”