2014 Dallas DMC DJ Battle at Green Elephant

imageIf you’ve known me for too long, you know I LOVE the Djs.  There’s just something about the movement of their hands on that fader, manipulating old tracks into new music, the scratching, the mixing, the use of effects….ALL OF IT.  I LOVE IT!!!!  So, when I heard that the 2014 DMC battle of this region would be held in the Big D, I got super extra excited because I KNEW Dallas was going to bring its own talent to the table.  We have loads of talented DJs.  Then I heard my favorite vinylist, D.J.P., was a guest judge and this was a no brainer.  I just HAD to be there!!!  

The week before, one of the producers of the event, Joel, asked me to play host to D.J.P.  Duh!  So I took Friday off and played chauffeur from airport to hotel to venue.  One of my of my favorite things about having a DJ in my car?  Sharing our love of music!  I put on some local stuff (like I always do), ya know, some Grey Matter, a little Beast, mixed with some Hologram Dagger (loved you by the way).  I even turned him onto Prof after having a discussion about how boring today’s hip hop is, even some of the underground (in his opinion).  At one point, I was going to show off Beast’s song “Shots,” which to ME sounds like SPM.  So I start out, “You know who SPM is, right?”  to which he replies “No.”  

Me: South Park Mexicans

D.J.P: Nope.  I told you I don’t know a lot of the new stuff.

Me: *trying to find an SPM song on my ipod, which wasn’t on it* They’re not new!  Dudes been in jail a while….

So, the intro didn’t have the same effect this time, but doesn’t change the fact that its a good song.  (Someone mail DJP an SPM record, please?)  

After I took D.J.P. to dinner, we hung out in the lobby of the hotel with DMC organizers, Christy and Mia, and DJ Swamp.  I’m telling you, sometimes you can’t judge a book by its cover.  Christy is a small in stature woman with her head wrapped in traditional Islamic garb, and her body covered except her hands and feet.  If you saw this lady on the street you’d never thing she’d be rubbing elbows with the most talented DJs in the world on the regular.  I love surprise packages like that.  

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The preliminary started, and I knew it was going to be a close call.  Each DJ had his own distinct style.  I watched the judges reactions, trying to see if ,I could figure out who would go to the next round.  I wasn’t too far off, I was rooting for DJ Spiderman and DJ Tums who made it.  

The first guest judge, D.J.P., took the decks.  Watching him perform is poetry in motion, like watching a ballerina float effortlessly across the stage.  He’s beyond a pro and there is no doubt he was born to spin vinyl.  The crowd watched in awe, some dancing, some hooping and hollering.  D.J.P. knows how to work a crowd, reminding us that he’s only using vinyl as he throws his records to the side of the tables and digs for the next beat.  I’ve been watching videos of him for a while now, and I never grow tired of watching a D.J.P. set.  

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Next guest judge, DJ Swamp, took the decks.  His aura was a huge contrast to D.J.P.’s party rock style.  He lit 4 candles around the decks, making it feel almost like an alter to the DJ gods.  The music wasn’t the only thing amazing in this set.  Periodically, DJ Swamp would disappear behind the table, coming up with one record.  With slight of hand, it turns to 2 records, then 4.  He starts juggling records, spinning them like a top on his finger passing them around the back and over his head.  At one point, he brought a record up in a sleeve where you could see the middle circle showing there was a record in there.  Another few slight of hands and *POOF* record gone.  DJ Swamp is the Chris Angel of DJ’s.  And then there was fire…..  He disappears behind the table again, comes up to start scratching the record all while sparks flew from his hand.  He points to the audience and WHOOOSH!  Fire explodes from his finger tip into the audience like a flame thrower.  At one point, he banged out the beginning of “Smoke on the Water” by picking the stylus up and dropping the needle strategically on the record.  WHO DOES THAT?!?!  DJ Swamp does, that’s who.  His performance was super intense and nothing like I’ve ever seen before.  I cannot wait to get him back to Dallas, and I’ve already warned my teenager, he’s going to that show!  

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I got caught up socializing with a few girlfriends on the back patio that I hadn’t seen in a while, so I missed the semi finals.  Thanks to Too Fresh Productions and Kutthroat Ent, there were speakers in the back area so I heard it all.  Each of the DJs were amazing!!!  I love how they make beats inside of beats that switch to a new track with a new set of beats and SOMEHOW it all comes together for nothing less than pure awesomeness.  The winner was announced, and it was none other than Dallas and Kutthroat Ent’s own DJ Spiderman!  Can’t wait to see how far he goes in Nationals.  

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This was my first DMC experience.  I’ve never seen anything like it and I will definitely be making it to a LOT more of these.  

For more pictures, check out \/ /\/\ Photography.

Check out my Facebook for videos of the guest judges posted by the lovely Teena Garcia.

For mixes by D.J.P. click here

DJ Swamp here

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"We From Dallas" Premier at Angelika Theater (Dallas International Film Festival)

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Back in September of last year, I went to my first Too Fresh Productions event at the Crown and Harp, Fresh Cuts.  This was also the first night I met Teddy Cool and Joel Salazaar and learned about this documentary that they had been working on.  You know, being a fan of the culture of hip hop, I thought it was bad ass that someone would be documenting the culture right here in our own backyard.  The next day, Teddy sent me a link to the trailer, and I was blown away.  Whoa.  This was going to be HUGE.  I could just FEEL it.  So I started paying attention…

And I wasn’t the only one.  Here are just a handful of the write ups and interviews about the film:  

D Magazine

Trailer

DIFF

knowshi.com

Dallas Observer

Interview with Teddy Cool

Grass Root Salute Interview

The more I got to know these guys, the more respect I had for them.  In these interviews, it is completely transparent that this team made this film for Dallas.  Not for themselves, not to get rich, but to give Dallas something to be proud of.  To show people WHY they SHOULD be proud of the Hip Hop scene here in Dallas.  

Weeks before the screening, it was all a buzz.  Everything in my news feed was “We From Dallas” with people giving accolades and being excited to see 3+ years of hard work and research FINALLY!!!  It was highly anticipated.  The show sold out online almost a week out.  I’m not one of these that “sleeps” too much in any sense, so I had my ticket first day and even scored a press pass (Thanks again, Jerad!).  I wasn’t missing this film.  

It’s not too often you get a red carpet event that revolves somewhat around the Dallas Hip Hop scene, so day of, my butt was at the salon.  My bestie gave me the perfect do, a faux side shave with curls.  Between my hair, my awesome shoes and new blazer, I was ready to rock the red carpet with my lovely date, Danielticia.  We weren’t the only ones dressed up either, I’ve never seen Hip Hop look so good!!!  Even Islam wore a button down shirt.

Around 5:30p, DJ Priest started up the tune while Bboys took turns on the laminate floor that was set up in front of the cinema.  The who’s who of Dallas Hip Hop were definitely in attendance.  Doors opened at around 6:30p and the seats started filling up.  Some late couples wondered aimlessly, trying to snag 2 seats together with no luck.  

King Hollis, Tech and Teddy did an introduction followed by applause.  One quote Teddy said stuck with me.  ”Hip Hop changed my life.”  I’m sure a lot of us in that room could agree with that.

Then the movie: 

Wow.  The editing, the titles and subtitles, even the FONT of the titles and subtitles, the interviews, the music that went with it…it was all perfect.  Each story flowed into the next.  The interviews were edited with precision that it felt like the people were all in the same room just rapping about the past.  Teddy did an excellent job of capturing the essence of each person’s character, building the back story to go with the story that leads into the next story…  I sat there the entire length of the film mesmerized.  My favorite part of the film, which I’m sure many people will agree with, is the dedication to Minus Won.  I didn’t know him, but I had definitely heard about him.  The way Teddy wove Minus’ story throughout the film was beautiful.  Capturing mostly his hands, videoing him from behind while he works on a piece, hearing his voice over shots of him drawing gave Minus a larger than life persona that fits with the legacy he left.  The movie ended with a standing ovation, and rightly so.  

After the movie, we headed to Strangeways for the after party.  DJ Jay Clipp and my favorite, DJ Love, were setting the mood on the decks.  Everyone was in good spirits, as they should be.  We were all just part of something historic in Dallas.  The movie itself broke box office records for the Dallas International Film Festival.

I did what I do best and went around asking questions.  I asked Joe Skillz, who was one of the Bboys filmed, what it felt like to be a movie star.  ”Nah man, it’s not like that,” he tells me.  ”It was a movie about the homies and I just helped out.”  I asked DJ EZ Eddie D what he thought of the movie, “Wonderful!  I’m glad it was so widely accepted!  It was a beautiful thing.”  I heard people say they learned a lot, they knew some of that history but came away with more knowledge.  A whole lot of “I had no idea!!!”  

I had to ask those directly involved how it felt to see their movie on the big screen.  

Jon Huffman aka “Tech” said, “I loved the reaction.  It was long overdue.”  He talks about how, in his line of business, people come to him with ideas.  ”I love being able to help talented people with great ideas.  This was one of them.”  

King Hollis tells me, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to tell this story.  I feel like I’ve come full circle.  I used to be one of those guys pulling the crates, and now I get to give back to our culture.”  Even though he travels all over the world, Dallas will always be his home, and it was important for people to know the history of Dallas Hip Hop.  

Joel tells me, “I was amazed at how people accepted this movie and hyped it up beforehand.”  I could tell he was still a little mind blown because that’s about all he could say about it!  

Teddy of course, being the artist painting his story, had a more technical answer.  ”The colors were good, the picture was clear on even the stuff we pulled from the internet.  I was satisfied with that.  There’s a few things I’d tweak, and before distribution I’ll probably edit some things, shave a few minutes off.”  I asked him if this was one of those projects where he finally came to a point and said, “Ok, I can’t edit this any more to make it perfect.” or was It more of a “Times Up” type thing.  ”Definitely ran out of time.”  An artist’s painting is never perfect to the artist.  He also talked about different features they might do after the movie, expanding on some things they weren’t able to.

The best quote had to be from Islam.  I caught him toward the end of the night, I’m sure he had a few drinks in him, so excuse the language :)  When I asked how he felt to see the movie on the screen, his eyes lit up.  ”My favorite thing was seeing Minus’ parents, and being able to tell his story.  His mom started crying at the beginning and didn’t stop throughout the whole movie.  I was happy that I was able to show them, Your son was a bad ass motherfucker, and he did bad ass shit.  And we live in a bad ass fucking city.”

On behalf of the DFW Hip Hop scene, I want to say thank you to these guys.  Your film couldn’t have come at a better time.  Since being active in this scene, I’ve seen 3 separate cities (Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton) unite, sharing shows, and sharing support.  And even though the film is called “We from Dallas”, each of us in the other respective cities came out to support.  I feel like now we’re building a tight knit community that involves the whole metroplex with Dallas being its epicenter.  Thank you for helping us unite under one love- the love of Hip Hop.  

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For more pictures check out \/ /\/\ Photography

Deltron 3030 @ Trees, Dallas

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I missed Del the Funky Homosapien show at Oaktopia last year, so I was very happy when the Deltron 3030 show was announced.  I bought my ticket fairly early, even lost it twice in my car between flyers before keeping it in a safe spot (whew)!  The show was all a buzz especially after SXSW.  

Night of I go to park in my normal spot and the machine wouldn’t take my money.  So I drove to the parking lot behind Trees and it was full….luckily I found a FREE spot right nearby.  SCORE!

I think I arrived at around 10 or a little after and the place was packed both upstairs and down.  Trees is not one of my favorite venues.  Even though there are two levels, the tree beams in the middle of the venue make it hard to find many spots upstairs to see clearly to the stage.  I meandered around, looking for my photographer and friend, Jerad.  Instead I found DJ Assasinate, King Kush Knox (thanks for the drink), Issac and Sean P.  My group finally found each other upstairs just as the show started.  

Deltron 3030 consists of Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automater, and Kid Koala with a full band backing them up.  Trees is a good venue as far as light show and sound goes and this was an amazing set.  You had the full band playing some boom bap with a touch of jazzy bass, Kid Koala on ALL VINYL and a synthesizer behind him, and Dan the Automater walked around stage most of the night with a beat pad doing live production.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  

Deltron is not your normal Hip Hop Emcee.  Its a mix of Higher Thinking, Futuristic, Cosmos kind of music.  You almost feel smarter after listening to it, Del’s vocabulary is not lacking.  One of my favorite parts of the whole show is that Del brough his skateboard on the stage while he rocked the mic.  Most of my guy friends in High School were skaters, my little brother even sponsored by a few local skate shops.  Not to mention all his friends, also very good at skateboarding, who have become like family to me as well.  So to see an old school legend like Del sporting his board…. new level of respect.  He just propped it up at the beginning and snagged it before he left.  I have a feeling he doesn’t go many places without it.  

After the show, we hung outside and Dan the Automater and Kid Koala happened to come out.  They were nice enough to take some photos with fans, Kid Koala even chatted with people for a little while before leaving.  I happened to go inside to look for a friend an noticed Del doing ollies by the merch table.  I took the chance to snag a thumbs up pic and let him know I work for DFW Norml.  ”What’s that?” he asks.  ”National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,” I reply.  He immediately starts nodding his head.  ”Yeah, I don’t smoke because it makes me paranoid but I fucks with that.  I’m not a hater.”  Another non smoker who still believes in legalization.  

I sat and observed as he took pictures, signed records and just chatted with his fans.  At one point, someone gave him a Rhythm deck and he immediately took out a tool from his pocket and put his trucks and wheels on the new board and did a few jumps on it.  True skater to the core.  

I ran into DJ Eazy Eddie D and M_Slago during the night and I have to say, I always love talking with Eddie!!!  M_Slago is a little quieter, but I took the opportunity to let some people in Del’s camp know about his latest achievement, producing an album for Homeboy Sandman.  I pointed Slago out and the guys were like, “Can you introduce us???”  It’s what I do…make connections.  They exchanged info so now just MAYBE you’ll see Del on a M_Slago beat in the future.  You’re welcome :)  

I’ve got to say, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at Trees.  #1 the crowd was more chill, not so rowdy.  #2 I missed Booty Fade (why did they go on so early?) but usually the openers for Hip Hop at Trees are wack, and I suspect Pay to Play going on…. Props to those that organized this!!  Hope to see more like it at this venue.

100th Blog Post!!!!

I felt a need burning in my innermost self to be something great.  Like REALLY great.  A world changer.  That somehow, through my work, I can change people’s life for the better.  

I had no real talent.  Ok and not great at anything.  I was in choir, our Choir was top in the State and we even sang at Carnegie.  By myself I was “ok”, just barely making regionals.  I did dance team.  Again, I was good but not GREAT.  Sports, the same.  Had a lot of UMPH but I lacked in talent.  It disheartened me.  My idea of self and real self were conflicting.  So I settled into married/mommy life, being the executive administrative business lady in Corporate America and felt unsatisfied in every way.  I thought being a stay at home mom would solve that, which it did until that became a non reality.  

Fast Forward to August 2, 2012, my 30th birthday.  I had gone through some major life transformations on many levels and had started visualizing greatness again.  This night I attended my little brother’s new project at the time, Open Mic at the Wherehouse on Hemphill.  It was like no place I’d ever been.  It was an old burnt down restaurant re purposed into a music venue and half ass bar with mural painted walls.  More importantly, it was the first time I saw Michael Todd Bridges perform “Lisa Sawyer”, a song about his mother.  That fire inside stirred.  I used to write poetry as a youth, pretty good stuff.  It helped me through a lot of hard times.  The desire to write overcame me and I went home that night and wrote these:

Needles and Sin 

Lord, It’s Me, Callie Dee

and didn’t stop.  I was hooked on the open mic scene and became a regular attendant.  The poems flooded, some better than others, some I thought of while driving and by the time I went to write down…escaped me.  I started surrounding myself with creative people.  

Through some silliness, I decided to throw a few events.  First one was a semi success, the rest…meh…

And then….someone gave me this book to read:

Changed my life.  It taught me how to use social media to cash in and become an expert on my passion.  First step, write  a blog.  By the 100th blog, it says, you will become an expert in that field.  

Well guys: 

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Just today I was quoted in DFW.com.  

I by no means consider myself an expert.  I consider myself a good listener, someone who creatively visualizes situation to fruition.  How some of the opportunities and accolades have come my way, I still can’t wrap my brain around.  Why stop a good thing?  

So what is this great thing I’m suppose to become?  Maybe it’s to be an inspiration to others. A girl with no discernible talent, from a really horrid background, with no solid foundation, with a stack of odds against her, is living her dream.

100 Blog Posts.  Do you think I could be considered an expert?

Beast “Anti-Hero”

Joseph, aka Beast, performed at one of the first DK shows I attended.  Since then, he has kind of slipped into the shadows…  And now we know why.  He’s been quietly plugging away a his album, Anti-Hero.  I’m glad he took his time to craft it because this album is enjoyable from beginning to end.  The track list has a great progression and will turn into one of those that sits in your CD player on repeat.  I’ve had it in mine since the beginning of March and have been jamming it since.  

The first song, “The Thorn”, is his mission statement.  A 35 second piano solo starts this ballad, then Beast says “I do this, because I do this well.”  ”I do this for my grandchildren and the BBoys.”  ”I do this just to see a smile,” among many other knoble reasons to do “this”, assuming he means his music.  ”I am a thorn upon the rose, even though I’ve been to hell and back, it’s the path I chose.  I am a thorn upon the rose, even though I brought so much pain, I brought meaning to this world,” he sings in the hook (very nicely I must say).  Great track.  You’d think it would be a hard one to follow up with, but that’s just the first of many gems on this album.  

The album’s namesake, “Anti-Hero” is a definite classic.  ”If I had super powers, and I could save the world, I still wouldn’t save you girl.  If I had super hearing and I could hear it all, I still wouldn’t come when you call.”  Oh, snap!  No Captain Save a Hoe here!  In some commentary, he mentions “Man, Hoes don’t deserve to be saved!”  I’m sure we all know females like this….  Ladies, learn to be independent.  

One of the collaboration tracks on this album, “Night Poets,” has a sample by the Alan Parson’s Project “Eye in the Sky” that goes “I can read your mind,” with Beast interjecting between. This is one of those songs our parents could dig, because Alan Parson’s was their ish.  The lyrics are laid back, not in your face, just chilled.  Perfect car, running, anywhere music.  Each emcee on this track have a different style, fluctuation, and even speed of their rhymes but it all blends nicely behind the sample and beat.  

The definite club hit is “Shots.”  Had I heard this on someone else’s iPod I would have sworn it was Carlos Coy of SPM, which happens to be one of my favorite Texas Rappers and no one has yet to fill that void since he got stupid with an underage girl….  Possibly Beast can resurrect Dope House Records or at least emulate their platinum selling sound with the tag line, “In the Dirty South we get Filthy.”  Already…  Try to listen to this one and not bob your head or do a little dance.  

And then he ends the album with “Music is the Sweetest” which has a hook of “I will take you to where the Music is the Sweetest.”  Perfect ending to this album.  

Usually I say anything over 6 songs on an album is overkill, but in this case it’s just right.  I could talk about each one of the tracks, each one was a hit in my book.  The tracks are well written, well sampled, nice beats, nicely mastered, sound good on the pressed CD and has a nice even flow throughout the album.  5 out of 5 stars, no lie.  So, go here to get your copy.  Promise you won’t regret it!!! 

Beast “Anti-Hero” 

Callie Dee does SXSW Saturday

imageI got a nice little surprise late last week, a 24 hour pass away from mommy duties to go live it up at SXSW in ATX.  One of my younger brothers lives there, so I had a free crash pad as well.  Saturday, my friend Jazmin and I headed south early evening with really no set in stone plans for South by.

Parking was a little crazy, but we paid the $25 to get a safe and secure (and hopefully we remember where) place to park.  I had a few friends out, had sent the word, and headed to Red 7, our first spot.  There was a line around the block and it looked like they weren’t letting anyone in.  Two of my homies were each performing and neither were answering their phones.  So I headed to where I knew a few other familiar faces would be, Beats, Rhymes and Relief’s shin dig at Krave.  

 Austin was NUTS!  There were so many people everywhere, walking was more like moving with the flow of traffic than going your own pace.  I said whats up to Joe Skillz, his girl Jenn, Joe C., his girl Erica, grabbed a drink and scoped the place out.  Downstairs was EDM type music.  I watched as a skinny guy in gold boy shirts showed some girl how to twerk…or something like that.  She awkwardly tried to repeat it…Damn you, Miley.  Upstairs showcased Hip Hop artists from DC, NY, Dallas and Chicago with DeeJay Mike B on the decks spinning hip hop videos in between and Teddy Cool capturing the event on video.  

We attempted to hit the streets to meet up with Word Life and Accomplice at Cheers Shots bar.  We arrived to a HUGE line, luckily the boys weren’t feeling the place and decided to go back to Krave with us.  After a few round of shots and beers later, I found myself discussing possibly managing one of the best branded and a favorite Dallas MC.  Who goes to SXSW without discussing business?  

The Wordlife Crew decided to go back to Red 7 to get a picture with Curren$y, we couldn’t get in without an artist pass, so we opted to stay at Krave to catch Talib Kweli.  Talib didn’t go on stage until almost 2:40 and put on a so so peformance til 3am.  I’m sure he had been busting rear all week performing, I know for a fact he performed a few minutes before this set, and I’m sure he was super tired.  There was one or two outstanding tracks he performed with a bunch of new stuff featuring a female counterpart.  Wasn’t what I had envisioned for the show.  

When it comes to festivals of this nature, I feel a bit overwhelmed.  If there’s an all day festival with one or two stages, I’m kosher.  Shoot, throw a third and I can handle.  But when you have so many options and surprise appearances and celebrity sighting….I just can’t decide!!!!!  And one’s a free show or $15 for that one, this artists is performing at three spots through out the night and these artists will be in Dallas in a few weeks…AAAAGGGGHHHH!  Too many factors and choices!  I tend to stick to what I know, I knew there were some familiar faces and I felt “safe” at Krave.  So my butt stayed there and missed out on some great performances elsewhere, oh well.  If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.  

Next year I plan on going for the whole week and having a better, more solid “plan”.  At least a road map to semi guide me along the way.  Or link up with someone like Fritz and Andrew who were hopping all over and just let them decide where to go for me :)  That’s the easy way out!!!  

How did you like SXSW? 

Too Fresh Productions Presents: Fresh Rhymes

imageEvery 2nd Thursday Too Fresh Productions Presents a showcase of regional Emcees.  This week, I was happy to see Fab Deuce as the featured performer with Hunter the One, Flotation and PS the Rebels as well. I’ve been trying to find the perfect line up to put the Rebels in, love me some Hunter, I totally think Flotation is a performer who’s getting slept on, and Fab Deuce Crew are a new favorite of mine.  It’s like Joel can read my mind sometimes with these line ups!! 

V.H.s. stepped to the mic first, which was a pretty dope female emcee with a male counterpart.  She spit most of the lyrics, and the dude mostly did back up.  I noticed large “X” marks on her hands, so not only was she a female, but a YOUNG female.  Girls got a decent career ahead of her.  The beats were borderline EDM, which is all the rage right now.  Her lyrics and style a mix of club and street raps.  A few ladies were up at the front doing their version of a twerk during V.H.s.’s set.  I dug her style, and so did most of the people there judging by their bobbing heads. 

I listened to a few of the other acts, but took this time to network a bit.  The place was getting packed and I get little bouts of clausterphobia when I can’t just BE instead I’m having to move to let this person by and watch out for stepping on that persons shoes….screw it.  Smoking section outside it is.  I came back in to catch Hunter the One.  Always a great performance mixing her songbird voice, spitting some precise lyrics to beats and a Capella.  Girl has talent, no doubt.  

Next up, PS the Rebels.  Each started with an A Capella introduction which got the crowd PUMPED!  They did a nice 10 min set over a mixture of different beats.  Some were boom bap, some were a little electronic, and one had that African tribal flair to it.  I’ve known Samuill and Pihon for a solid 9 months and have yet to see them perform.  I’ve seen a few well done videos and tracks, glad to know that they can bring it live.  

One of my favorite locals, Avery “Flotation”, took the mic.  Now this guy sent me his album a while back and it took me a minute to listen to it.  He was nice enough, though, kindly reminding me when he saw me.  So finally, I took a listen and first thought was, “Why did it take me so long?!?”  I still look at my iPod sometimes and I’m like “Who is this???”  Flotation.  Why he’s not booked more and why he doesn’t have a larger fan base is beyond me.  He has fantastic word play, a mesmerizing voice that spits in perfect sync to banging beats with just the right amount of bass.  Not to mention, he has a fairly decent stage presence and he’s a pretty cool guy.  I always enjoy talking to him.  

Last but not least, Fab Deuce.  Talk about taking over a stage!  There’s 4 members of the official group with Wild Bill having a song of his own and interjecting here and there.  Each member got a chance to shine, and I have to say each one holds their own in talent and skill.  I was a little sad for the guys for the fact that most of the people at Crown and Harp had already left, and only us die hard hip hoppers were in attendance.  But no worries!  I, personally, have them booked for the Gold Tips Album Release party April 12th at Bizheard and I’m sure this won’t be the last time I see them at a show in Dallas or Fort Worth.  

I got to give it to Joel at Too Fresh.  Each month he does a fantastic job of organizing the monthly events.  He brings in new talent along with veterans, giving each a chance to build while giving the rest of us a spot to network.  I never leave a Thursday at Crown and Harp disappointed and without a few new friends on Facebook.  For that, I salute you, Joel!! 

Monday Nights @ Embargo Fort Worth

Embargo has a special place in my heart.  Almost a year ago I read  ”Crush It”, a motivational book about using social media to live your passion and make money/become an expert in that field.  I decided, hands down, my passion was music, people, and events.  One of the first things it instructs one to do is start a blog.  So, one Monday night, I visited two open mics, Embargo being the first.  That was my first blog almost a year and 95 posts ago!  Take a look here.  Since then, Embargo and I have had a very close and amazing relationship.  

Fast forward to the end of last week- my favorite bartender at Embargo calls me to let me know he quit and that I should call and make contact with the owner and GM regarding the nights I promote.  So I did, and they were more than happy to continue working with me, mentioned if I knew any bartenders, please send them their way.  I mention I have my TABC and BAM! Before you know it, I’m bartending Open Mic Night and my Tuesday Hip Hop night as well!!  SCORE! 

There was some sort of communication problems and possible triple booking (not my doing), so the night started out intense while everyone tried to schedule it out.  Wes Word stepped in and took over the role of lining the bands out.  He did an amazing job, whoever helped booked the bands did an amazing job because from about 6pm on we rocked the mic!  I know SXSW is going on in Austin, but it felt like we were kicking it off right here in Fort Worth.  

One band in particular, Koo Koo Karoo, had a huge set up and very kid friendly show.  That didn’t keep all the adults in their chairs though, they were up dancing and mimicking the pre school moves, all while laughing and having a good time.  The Manager and I chatted with them a bit at the bar, and sure enough they do an elementary school tour.  However, they’ll also perform at bars and “It’s the same,” he says.  The adults like it just as much as the kids.  They’re on the their way to Houston and Austin, we’re hoping they stop back in before heading home.

Bobby Dade took over hosting, played a few tunes while the Open Mic-ers came up one by one.  Toward the end of the night, the crowd thinned out and those a little less brave in need of some coaxing started to take the mic.  The audience lovingly encouraged these nervous performers until they came out of their shell and shined.  

I’m honored to be a part of this.  I have seen Embargo’s Open Mic Night flourish in less than a year and it has become one of my favorite nights and spots to hang out.

If you haven’t been out to Embargo on Monday night, it’s about time you come see what all the fuss is about!!! 210 E. 8th Street (on the corner of Calhoun and 8th).  From 7pm to 2am we have opening bands and open mic starts at 9pm!!  $3.25 Claude Simpsons (PBR and a shot of whiskey).

The Rhyming Gosling Tour with Ecid & Louis Logic @ Crown & Harp

Another show on Right Round Production’s Promotion Resume’.  Tay booked this show which was at my favorite spot (Crown & Harp in Dallas) and my favorite DJ (DJ Love).  

I got there a wee bit late, barely made \/ /\/\ aka Jerad Akin’s set.  Guy has bars!  He set the tone for the night, full of energy and thought provoking word play.  One of favorite lines, “Forget the lights and the camera, focus on the action,” or something like that.  Most of us worry about how we are SEEN and forget that our actions speak a lot louder.  You’ll see this guy rocking the mic in Dallas on the regular, bet that.  

Next up, Birds Eye Blues.  These guys always come with an entourage, and tonight was no different.  The people in the DK crew are loyal and love their performers!  I love these guys, but if you’ve seen one performance, you’ve seen most all of their performances.  The songs they chose for this infinite set are really good and get the crowd involved.  Definitely a banging set for newbies.  BUT, I’ve been watching them for almost a year now, and I’m ready to hear some of those new releases on stage.  Just saying.

Sixo and Heir Max took the stage.  I’ve downloaded some of Sixo’s beats already and was somewhat familiar with his talent.  Tonight he added an Emcee and they called themselves “Deep Rest”.  Apparently they (Sixo) were a little rusty.  Heir Max smashed his lines, Sixo had a little more trouble. The beats were sick, the rhymes were fresh.  Good set after a good polish for sure.  They had good chemistry between each other, bantering a little bit on the mics, Sixo talking smack to the audience playfully.  It was good to finally see these two perform.  Sixo gave a shout out to all the people who “Make Hip Hop their first love,” and admitted, it was like his 5th love.  ”But I treat it better than some people do their first love.”

Better late than never, Alsace steps up to perform.  She always comes with energy, bouncing on stage, waving her hands in the air.  This performance she had a back up singer.  This took her performance up a notch!  I always love it when you get a songbird behind a good emcee, it’s almost always a win.  Alsace has great rhythm and stage presence, her words are thoughtful and well laid out, the beats always gets the crowd bouncing.  Top notch performance, as always.

Up next, Ecid sporting a “Ryan Gosling” like hair cut and skinny jeans.  Not your typical hip hop look, but I always like a good surprise.  His set up was a mic, a beat pad, and his apple computer.  Before each song, he punch the beat pad getting that loop in.  First time I’ve seen this done at a performance and I dig it!!  Got to love multi talented artists.  If you make you own beats, saves time, hassle and money, right?  Loved this performer, definitely my favorite of the night.  He has smart ass lyrics, who doesn’t love that?  One of my favorite: “All I need is weed, sex and yoga.”  How’s that for hip hop?  Love it.  I bought a couple CD’s, bumped them in my car, and I’m officially an Ecid fan.  

Last but not least, Louis Logic.  Now this guy just got done with throat surgery and continued his tour!  That’s dedication.  I bought a CD and T shirt before his set to show support.  I had researched Louis Logic before the show, and he came up on a few Underground Hip Hop charts in the top 10.  His set up was an Apple Computer (industry standard it seems) with a keyboard and a mic.  The first few songs were pretty decent.  I’m not sure if he’s just not my cup of tea or what, because everyone else around me enjoyed it.  It wasn’t bad, but I lost interest and decided to go socialize outside with the smokers.  I’ll have to listen to the CD, apparently I missed some of his best tracks.  At one point, he pulled out a keytar, so guy has skills no doubt.  Different strokes for different folks I guess, and I think at this point I was just done and ready to go home.  

People turned out for Hip Hop on a Sunday night, mostly familiar faces.  DJ Love played a whole 2 seconds that I saw, he did an opening set that I missed.  I got to catch up with him and found out he’s not moving to New York City just yet (yesssssss!!).  Chatted with a few heads, took some pics, dranks some brews.  All in all a good night in Dallas.  

Ariano in Fort Worth

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Finally a show I’m “involved in” with no investment, just straight promotion.  Tay, with HH4YN, lined the show out, made the flyer, and I helped secure the spot and promote.  #Teamwork.  Most of the artists on this show I hadn’t heard before and I always look forward to being turned on to new talent.  We even had special guests from Houston driving all the way up on some love in the hopes of breaking into the DFW market.  The night felt low key but strangely awesome all at the same time.  It didn’t disappoint.

Beginning started off a little slow.  DJ Priest set the tone of the night for the first hour, then a comedian came on stage.  I’ve been saying for a minute we should incorporate some comedy with Hip Hop.  I’m glad someone else is on the same wave length.  I came in on the last few minutes of it and I’m sure I missed a huge lead in because, well…  It was aight.  Then Character took the stage.  I’ve seen this guy OFF stage and I can tell you that these are two different people.  He definitely becomes a “Character” while performing, at one time lying on the ground acting as if he’s being riddled by bullets while the noise of machine guns flowed from the speakers.  He had a whole lot of energy, a whole lot to say, and had the audience hanging on every word as he acted it out on stage.  If you haven’t checked Character out, he’s worth a listen and a look. 

Next up, Skeletor who has a double personality, Antelive.  This guy isn’t from Texas.  That’s apparent in a lot of way.  For one, my goodness he has some spunk!  He talks fast, he explains things in long sentences, and everything seems to take an explanation.  Like why his name was Skelitor vs. Antlive on Facebook but he’d rather have it “Skeletor” because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  “Facebook made me do it that way.”  Um…ok.  He had sent me his information, explaining he’s from Detroit but lives in Houston and wants to rock Dallas.  I did what I do every time someone requests a spot on a show, I pass him along- This time to Tay.  Obviously, Tay liked what he heard and put him on this show.  Skeletor shows up rolling about 5 deep, planning on seeing what we had then rolling right back to H Town.  Now that’s dedication.  I found out the story on Antlive, that’s his producer personality.  He did some work for Wu Tang at one point among other accolades so when he says “Skeletor vs. Antlive” it’s his Emcee Persona performing over his own beats.  Dig it.  I got to say that his energy translates on stage! Dude had nice beats, nice lyrics, and nice flow.  Everything was fresh with a bit of nostalgia.  A little boom bap with a little electronics.  His homie, Genocide, took the mic and brought it.  I was very impressed by both of their performances, but even more than that, their attitudes.  These guys are hungry for their goal.  They are skilled performers who are willing to do the work involved to get in on some big shows.  I explained to them the process I go through and why I “passed” them off.  I don’t have an ear like Tay, or Joel, or RJ or any of the other guys out there.  I’m not a performer myself as these guys have been and are; and to me, a lot of people can sound good on tape.  I have an eye.  I see performance, I see attitude, audience participation.  That’s my expertise.  So I “pass” people along to be picked to perform and then that’s where I do my job.  Dig it?

Another one I hadn’t heard of took the stage, Wild Bill from Denton.  He and his compadre were wearing Fab Deuce Crew shirts, and it just so happens Playdough asked us to book them for the Gold Tips Tour.  Nice little surprise.  Honestly, when this guy walked in I thought maybe he was just one of those Lola’s regulars that happen to be in tonight.  I hadn’t seen their shirts (we all had jackets on, it was a cold night).  I didn’t recognize any of his crew, shows you how much I get out to Denton (Bad Callie).  This guy… Like the young white slightly smaller version of Biggie.  His flows were smooth with great word play.  He had a huge presence on stage, and one of my new Houston/Detroit friends kept saying, “This guy can rap,” in astonishment.  All I could do was nod in agreement.  Made me super stoked to rock Gold Tips 4-12 at Bizheard.  I copped a Fab Deauce Crew shirt, yellow on black, and totally rocked it the next day.  Officially a fan.  Catch them at Too Fresh Productions: Fresh Rhymes this coming up Thursday at Crown and Harp in Dallas. 

Last but not least, The ANTHM.  These guys are something else in the Hip Hop scene.  Cedric is the MC, other dude plays Piano and sings.  It’s like Linkin Park meets LL Cool J.  Very mainstream and something I see crossing over into the Indie Rock scene a bit too.  I already have ideas…  It’s always nice seeing Cedric, he’s a very personable guy and works really hard to put his music out there. 

Ariano was stuck in Arizona and couldn’t make it to the show.  Too bad. 

In between performances, I was able to talk to The Beast.  He handed me his new album which he says was 20 years in the making.  He semi apologized for not performing and not coming out a whole lot, says “I’ve just been working on this album.”  I told him never to apologize for working on your craft.  There’s something to be said about having NEW material.  But not only having new material, being able to PERFORM new material.  You can push out bangers all day every day, but if you perform the same set over and over people get disinterested.  I had already promised to review the album and got a little excited.  It’s been a while since I reviewed an album.  It’s time. 

There were at least 30 people in attendance that night.  Not bad but not what anyone ever wants.  However, it was definitely quality vs. quantity in this situation.  Cliff Watkins, Drama the King, Mallie G, Da UA were just some of the heads in attendance.  It was a great night to network and really get to know some of these performers.  I enjoyed it completely.  Tay always chooses a stellar line up.  He has yet to put someone on that I’m like…eh….one of the main reasons I trust his opinion so much.

Another one for the books in #817HipHop.