Oaktopia 2014 featuring Aesop Rock w/ Rob Sonic and DJ Abilities, XXYYXX and Immortal Technique

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Oaktopia’s second installment was nothing less than a success. The promo campaign was like none I’d seen in the local scene, including videos, pre-parties and an iPhone/Android App. There were 10 total venues and over 100+ bands participating.

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Side Story: Found out last year after reading a Dallas Observer article about Oaktopia, that my cousin that lived in Denton was one of the founders and also a MC!! Hip Hop runs in the blood I guess. So needless to say, I was more than happy to help and was honored to be somewhat involved.

Weekend of there was so much going on. The Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow were doing a Afrika Baambaata tribute, there was the Oddball Fest at Gexa, all on the Friday Oaktopia Kickoff. I stayed home myself to save my energy. I heard all the performances at Andy’s were off the chain, including Fab Deuce and A.Dd+.

Saturday I received at text from my cousin asking if I could show up ASAP. I got ready and headed out. Met up at “Headquarters” and started…. I did everything from help sort different colored bands to stapling packets for the ticket booths. My job throughout the day was main stage tickets taking cash. I was able to get away a few times to check out the vendors and the square, grab some food and snap some footage and pictures of the main acts backstage.

At the end of the day, Oaktopia was highly organized. There are always ways projects 2 years in can improve, no doubt. Everyone fulfilled their role and then some. The vendors were very eclectic. There was a mobile barber, a photo bus, lots of jewelry, Advocare, art and food trucks. There were shows in between shows with belly dancers, magic and I believe I saw fire maybe…  The people I saw come through the gates ranged in a variety of stereotypes and social types. Lots of young people, even children and even a few people who might be considered elderly… Anyone who came through downtown Denton that day at least stopped to ask what was going on and how much the ticket price was. I would almost say that at least 1000 people came through my line with either presale tickets. Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Abilities were the first ones I wanted to witness.  People starting filling in right before they began and as soon as the cash line slowed down I slipped off backstage. I had on every color of wrist band possible, you know, covering the bases.

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Yellow: Volunteer, Green: Over 21, Blue: Press, Orange: All Access (Backstage).  This was until I was told Aesop Rock’s people didn’t want press onstage. I tore the blue one off and stuck it in my pocket. The ONLY time being “press” was a bad thing. Easily fixed though. I was able to rock a song or two from the best spot at the festival, and even witnessed some drone action. Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic had the whole main stage area bouncing. I’ve been rocking DJ Abilities since 2000 easily, and you can still find “….for persons with DJ Abilities” on rotation on my iPod. Someone said they were upset he didn’t “crush it” and looking back I agree to an extent. I saw him cut a little and I can see how maybe he was less than enthused on stage. I thought it was a dope collaboration none the less and I got my pic with DJ Abilities AND Rob Sonic.

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Aesop Rock, on the other hand, was less than willing to interact with fans after his set. Some artists are like this, I get it. A little sad though, no lie.

Immortal Technique was about to go on and the people starting filing through the ticket lines. He had a +7 at the gates and I found out he gave away at least 4 of those on Twitter, along with backstage passes to meet him. That was pretty dope. He did an amazing, energetic, “Revolutionary” set that the crowd was into.  He said to raise their hands, hands were up. Immortal Techinque put on a very commanding, very energetic performance. It reminded me of a pastor and his congregation at times.

I watched Immortal Technique interact with his fans backstage. He was very gracious, patient, and friendly with everyone. A fan yelled at him from the other side of the gates, claiming “Tech, I need to talk to you!  I have something I want to tell you!” where Tech replied, “Let that guy in. Just him though, not the whole Rat Pack.” He went to the side with the guy and listened to what he had to say and for the next few minutes talked with this lucky fan. I was able to get my picture, of course.

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After turning my cash, paperwork and walkie talkie back in I headed to Andy’s to catch Bodega Brovas. They always put on a great show, they have an energy about them. Keynote told me after that when you’re young you have to prove yourself, but once you’ve done that, you can just have fun sometimes. And that’s what they did. The ladies in the front were digging it, one even tried to take off Headkrack’s pants. A little later, we got word that Immortal Technique was on his way to Andy’s, and sure enough he took at seat on the balcony and caught the last show, Blue the Misfit. It was really crowded so I went outside and socialized. About 2 am I look over and it’s Immortal Tech talking to a few festival goers. I tell one of the guys and he’s like “You have the All Access badge, you go with me.” Of course I did. I sat there and watched while Immortal Tech talked real with these guys about why he gives away his music for free, doesn’t sign with a label, and he even listened while Emeka Ibe spit a few bars for him (after Tech warned him not to spit on him and told a story where he finally hit someone who didn’t listen). Right before he left, Immortal Technique asked who was the last artist that performed. I told him, “Blue the Misfit. He’s with the Brain Gang.”  After I got home that night, I saw Blue post he was getting a bite to eat with Immortal Technique. Props, yo.

The festival was the best I’ve ever been to. Of course when you have backstage access that makes everything better.  Other than that, though, Denton is a very welcoming city for this type of thing. The square is cute with plenty of bars in walking distance. I saw plenty of people from all over the metroplex- Denton, Dallas AND Fort Worth. I kept hearing “Destination Festival” before and I can completely agree that Oaktopia will be in the years to come. I know I fell in love with Denton in the process and am looking forward to more music and events in the little d.

**UPDATE**

After I posted this story, Aesop Rock, who Rolling Stone claims has the biggest vocabulary in Hip Hop (according to a study), not only READ my blog but took the time out to tweet me this: 

So I didn’t get a picture this time. I at least got an explanation as to why!!!  Much respect for #1 not cancelling the performance #2 totally rocking it in the heat while feeling under the weather! I couldn’t tell otherwise!!  

"Rock the House", a Campaign to put Mark Greene in Congress!

imageSteve Watkins came to me a few months ago regarding putting this guy running for Congress, Mark Greene, on the Sunday Soup. It wasn’t Hip Hop, but I’m always looking for a way my product can reach a different audience. So a date was set. Mr. Greene contacted me a week or so before he was to be interviewed, asking about the show, asking to listen to one of the episodes to give him an idea.  I sent him Episode 3, one of my personal favorites featuring Joel Salazar of Too Fresh Productions and Tay Spewcataclism of HH4YN. Mr. Greene called me a few days before his interview to discuss. First of all, he admitted to knowing little to nothing about Hip Hop and wondered if I could send him some links to help educate him a bit. He also kind of wondered about the Rap vs. Hip Hop controversy which I explained the best I could. Then he made a statement along the lines of…Most of the stuff he has heard in the past, might be considered “Rap”, he felt he couldn’t relate to or understand the words. The music he listened to on The Sunday Soup, however, he could understand and relate to and maybe somewhat enjoyed (I think I threw the last part in there). I let him know, what he listened to was just a sliver of the “Hip Hop” out there, not to mention that was all local talent. Mr. Greene is running for the12th District in which Kay Granger (R) has held a seat the past almost 18 years. 

Mr. Greene and Steve Watkins showed at the Sunday Soup on time and ready for a Hip Hop show. We talked a little about his background, AneTix talked politics with him and I discussed Women’s Rights and Marijuana Legalization. If our previous conversations hadn’t made me like the guy, the interview definitely did. It really impressed me how he wanted to study up and really took an interest to understand the Hip Hop audience. How long has it been since someone took that active of an approach to try to understand you? Of course, he was along my lines of thinking as far as Women’s Rights and legalization. He even mentioned how he has spoken to L.E.A.P., Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, who want to make EVERYTHING legal. Not that he necessarily agrees, but he’s allowing this group to state their case. With the status of our government being so disconnected from the popular majority, you need people in Congress that are willing to at least THINK outside the box, if not enact some out of the box legislation. 

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Somehow that interview turned into, Hey Callie it be really cool if you threw a Campaign Event at Shipping and Receiving!  So that’s what I did.

I have to brag on Mr. Greene a little. When I gave him the flyers I started seeing comments like this on my digital flyer: “I was at the Boiled Owl and he came in passing out flyers!” “I was at DFW Norml’s Wednesday Nights and a congressman was handing out this flyer [tell them it was Mark Greene] Yeah that’s him! If I lived in his district I would SO vote for him!”  He even made one of my shows for a bit to hand out pamphlets and give me a T Shirt. The guy is really reaching out.

Night of the event, we had a few hiccups. One of our bands weren’t able to make it pushing the start time to 7pm, and it had kind of been a gloomy/rainy weekend. None the less, Mark Greene and his staff were there with Bells On! Steve Watkins set up a video booth to take snippets for a YouTube channel and even Smokey’s BBQ was there with their BBQ Tacos and Nachos and more! Luke McGlathery, Jody Jones, and Svenny Baby did an amazing job performing. I’d never seen Jody before, so that was a treat. 

During each break, Mr. Greene would get on the mic and walk around asking questions regarding his campaign with the audience. He was very informative (a lot of these questions take A LOT of explaining and back story to why they are there). 

I’m not much into politics. I tend to vote Democrat because out of the 2 parties that win, I tend to agree more along those lines. I understand it’s all a screwed system but I’m given the right to vote. If all of us would pay attention to local politics as much as national, we’re more likely to make changes. I want people who represent ME to be in office, and if you’ve taken a look lately NONE of those people understand or care to understand what it is that I want and need. I finally met someone that basically gives a shit. He understands there’s a water shortage in North Texas and he wants to reverse it. He understands Women’s rights for proper healthcare, among a list of things that I agree with as well. If you haven’t gotten a chance yet, please check out www.MarkGreeneforCongress.org. If you aren’t in his district, you can still donate to the cause!! And if you are in his district, register to vote before October 3rd and VOTE Mark Greene so he can ROCK the House!! 

Check out the Sunday Soup THIS Wednesday for a Rebroadcast of Mark Greene’s interview on the Southside Pirate

PreTopia at The Cellar featuring Playdough + Sean P

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If you don’t know what Oaktopia is you either a) live under a rock or b) aren’t in tune with the Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth Music scene. I got to give it to the guys in Denton for creating one of the most organic, independently run festivals in the metroplex. The energy this festival has behind it surpasses Index and Untapped, in my opinion.  I’m a #SupportLocal kind of girl and I know Spune is “local” but… they feel really corporate. Not to mention they’re bringing Headliners like Immortal Technique, Aesop Rock w/ Rob Sonic, DJ Abilities, XXYYXX and locals like Bodega Brovas, Brave Combo, Blue the Misfit and A.D.d.+. I’m super impressed. All nestled in little old Downtown Denton. 

So now you know what Oaktopia is, one of the creators came to me asking if I wanted to throw a “PreTopia” featuring Fort Worth artists that might not have made it on this year’s festival line up. I hit up a couple of my Fort Worth spots, Lola’s, The Grotto, The Cellar and found an open Wednesday that fit into DFW’s already booming schedule and BAM! Pretopia at the Cellar featuring Playdough and DJ Sean P as the Headliner. We had Oaktopia tickets to give away and some really dope supporting acts in the mix for a FREE show by TCU, the ingredients were definitely there. Not to mention, it was Scott Johnson’s Birthday and his last chance to rap in his 30’s! 

Night of, I got there way early and did my normal pace back and forth dance. My little brother runs sound at the Cellar so I really wanted to impress him. This is probably the only way I’d get him to one of my hip hop shows :) People started piling in, Sean P set up the tables, music started playing and drinks flowed. 

First up was T-Wrex. This guy is a positive force to be reckoned with. He shows up to events, he networks online, and he shows nothing but love for the scene and the people in it. Plus, dude is dope. He has something to say and a way of catching your attention long enough to listen. He brings an energy to the room and on a personal note, I’m glad he moved to Fort Worth. Ace Way High came up next, another act I found at Open Mic. They have a fresh new sound and I’ve been trying to integrate some of the New School/Old School artists. After that was Sivion, one of my favorite local emcees with a positive message and smooth rhymes. Right smack in the middle of the line up, Dielex Kemposed. These guys have probably one of the most rehearsed, crowd pleasing sets I’ve seen. I know I’ve said in the past I’d like to see some of their newer songs, but they added Beast to the end of the their set with some of their top jams and it made for a solid hip hop performance. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? After that, That Craziac showed out. I’m really digging his lyrical content and almost felt that he got warmed up and the crowd’s attention when it was already over. Won’t be the last time you see him on a RRP bill, though. Last before the big performance but certainly not least, Scott Johnson. He’s already rocked a few open mics with some mad visual and equally as pleasing bars. This guy has continued to amaze me and I see why he always brings out droves of people to come support. This guy has a hunger, a need, a last shabang if you will and it translates in the energy of his performance. Not only that, but he’s a positive influence and pretty humorous at that, great people to have at a show! 

The featured performers, Playdough and Sean P, took the stage after an enthusiastic introduction from T-Wrex. These guys are definitely my favorite duo.  I’ve worked with them on a few shows and Sean P always brings mad skills to the turntables and Playdough works a crowd like a pro. He performed all my favorite tracks off Gold Tips, complete with his N!ce Orange Two Liter. Sean P even took the mic and spit a few bars, and of course Playdough showed everyone why he’s the King of Freestyle in the DF-Dub. 

Bilal took the decks at the end of the night spinning nothing but vinyl. This guy is on point with his vinyl and scratching skills!! 

During the bar payout at the end of the night, the Manager and staff mentioned how when they heard it was a Hip Hop night they were less than enthusiastic.  Actually, they were pissed. However, they were pleasantly surprised at how respectful the artists and supporters were, that everyone had valid ID, that we weren’t trying to sneak in minors to a 21+ show, and the bar sales and tips were actually better than one of their weekend dates. It was one of the better Wednesday nights and they looked forward to having more of “This” type of Hip Hop there in the future….just spread out. It’s just nice that I have a product where everyone enjoys themselves, including the venue’s staff.  

Side Note: It felt like the Paparazzi was there, Oaktopia sent their camera guy, DFW.com’s Steve Watkins videoed the last two performers, and a few people had cameras and video cameras.  Excited to see some footage other than my own, which you can find at Right Round Productions.

It was another win for Hip Hop in Fort Worth!  Thanks to all involved!!! 

Vinyl Fridays at a little spot off Elm St.

imageLast night was just another reminder why I love Dallas and Deep Ellum! This venue wasn’t quite IN Deep Ellum, but go a little east on Elm Street, there’s a warehouse decked in Graffiti with a HUGE open back area. Throw up two sets of turntables, Tape down some linoleum, Caution Tape a Boxing Ring and you have Vinyl Fridays in full effect. This go round was BYOB and I came prepared with an 18 of Bud Light in the bottle, tip the bartenders $20 to keep it cool, and started networking.  

What I like about this event is there’s a mixture of scenes. You have some of the die hard hip hop supporters, the battle rap scene and the Bboy/Bgirls. I was able to network with people I may not normally see at one of my or Too Fresh Productions’ events. 

I’m definitely not knowledgeable in any kind of battle scene. All I know is Bboys/Bgirls are the shizzzz and I love watching it. I want them at my events ALL THE TIME and I’m trying to figure a way to bribe them…. Totally worth $/bartering to get this element of Hip Hop out! YOU HEAR THAT???!? I BRIBE BBOYS! haha

Now, the DJ Battle…DJ Tums and DJ Buddha Fingers are both some hard competition, yo. I love them both. Tums can spin vinyl like a boss and scratches with the best of them. He’s not part of The KutThroats for nothing. Buddha on the other hand is one of the best DJs and part of one of the best Hip Hop groups in DFW. He sold me on the Michael Jackson mix but it was hard to choose between the two (Buddha won).  

The Battle Rap stuff on the other hand, I mean…it’s like a sport. I’m not really into sports but I appreciate the skill it takes to “win” a battle. I tried to pay attention but I don’t follow the history of these cats like some WWE stuff so I’m sure there’s a lot I’m missing. Because its like some Soap Opera type boy stuff and….I’m a girl. Plain and simple. However, I love to see Bobby Fisha and Kilo Freestyle any day of the week, and I think both should have won (Bobby did, Kilo did not). 

It was a great event.

SIDE NOTE: In the future, I would like to see toilet paper, soap and paper towels in the ladies bathroom.

Shout out to Pawflo for doing something a little different and getting the community involved! 

For videos check out Callie Dee Presents FB page

Open Mic Night at Lola’s Saloon

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I’ve envisioned a Hip Hop Open Mic in Fort Worth for a while.  After a few trial and errors, we have one at the #1 Live Music Venue in Fort Worth, Lola’s Saloon.  Add Host Romio No e and Deejay Mike B on the Audio visuals and you have a recipe for a dope night of Hip Hop in the Funk. The Open Mic had been getting some good buzz so this night promised to be killer.

Shortly after 9pm there were several new faces through the door ready to sign up to perform, including a flutist.  We had Fifth Dimension (5-D) with a table set up selling records and Record Clocks too! (I scored the Wu Tang Record Clock and I love it!!!) Mike B played a few videos and the first performers went up. Each performer had a different style.  Some were street, some were more lyrical, and only one rapped over his vocal tracks!!  Doug Funnie did his Nerdcore thing for the midnight featured performance, complete with videos. I have to say it was one of the best performances I’ve seen him do yet!!  He’s had a lot of practice since he recently just got off tour. Scott Johnson finished the night with a video set and let me tell you, this guy is super creative. He impresses me each time.  The last song he even had a collage of different people in the scenes picture with one of my favorites of me and Ariel from Crown & Harp with my “Got Wax?” shirt.  My all time favorite, I have to say, was The Craziac.  Straight from Aggtown, this fool can spit. So much so, I can’t wait to put him on a line up before anyone else does!! Honorable mention is definitely my young friend, ElitheDyl, who not only performs well but brings a gang of people to every show!  PROPS ON THAT!!! As a promoter how can I not appreciate that?  And of course Scott rolls through with a crew every time too. 

Romio No E never fails at hosting. He stays on tops of things, has good suggestions and ideas, and even brought a few performers out this night too!  Mike B is definitely a professional when it comes to this DJ game, and since he’s started doing the visual tip…he’s gone up several notches.  He played a trap song with a video of girls on a stripper pole that had the whole place in awe. He brings his A game each and every Open Mic.

And of course the bar staff at Lola’s are my loves.  Wednesday nights at Lola’s would not be complete without Tim, Joe and Graham!! 

To see video of performances check out Right Round Productions FB Page. Be sure to check us out next Month, October 1st!!

#TheMastersTour feat Freestyle Fellowship, A-Team and Haiku D’etat @ Crown & Harp

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This was one of those tours that you can’t pass up, however, a few promoters did. After a few months of negotiations, another solid month or two of promotion, the night finally arrived!  I always like to take advantage of the fact we have three thriving cities in this Metroplex, each with some dope hip hop acts.  So, I booked two artists from Dallas (Year of the Ox and Flotation), two from Denton (Muenster and Wild Bill), two from Fort Worth (Romio No E and Spewcataclism) and a local headliner that reps all of DFW (Grey Matter). The line up isn’t complete without a DJ and this night I had Tape Mastah Steph. The local line up itself was stellar and worth the $15 door fee (in my opinion).The day Freestyle Fellowship started the tour, I was informed by a promoter in Austin that PEACE and DJ Kiilu would NOT be on the tour, but Abstract Rude would take their place. Can’t say that disappointed me at all!!  Abstract is definitely a favorite of mine and a few people I know in DFW. It was going to be a fantastic show.

Night of I scooped my homegirl, Corie, and we headed to meet the guys at the hotel.  I’ve been putting artists up at Value Inn on the East Side of Dallas, and this day it was kind of packed with rough looking guests…but the rooms are nice and reasonably priced with free wifi and breakfast. I kind of rushed the guys to eat and do soundcheck because we had a date with EZ Eddie D on KNON between 8 and 10.  So rushed, in fact, that I jumped in their van without noticing we were missing someone- Aceyalone. Oops. We left him at Crown & Harp while Self Jupiter and Myka 9 did the interview.  

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By the time we got back to Crown & Harp around 10:15 or so, the place was FILLING UP!  Spewcataclism had already hit the stage and Flotation was up. I didn’t get to see the local acts very much because a few artists were pushing lateness *ahem* and I was helping the host, Spaceship Ohayes, stall and figure out where they were.  So needless to say, I was running around like a crazy lady most of the night.  

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I noticed that Blaze Won was in the building, so during one of those “Stall” times, I had him and Romio No E do the #SweatChallenge.  If you don’t know what it is, look it up because it’s some funny stuff. Basically, you record yourself singing a Keith Sweat song and hashtag it. Tape dropped the beat to “Make it Last Forever” and Spaceship Ohayes, Romio No E, and Blaze Won serenaded the crowd. I wasn’t the only one into it, there were people all up at the front singing and dancing. Easily one of my favorite moments that night.  You have to check out the video either on Blaze Won’s page or mine. While you’re at it, complete the #SweatChallenge and tag Blaze in it!!  

All night I saw so many familiar faces that usually don’t make it out to Dallas,  and that was a plus! Not to mention, A TON of faces I didn’t know!! That’s how you know a show was properly promoted (Shout out to my team!!!)

Freestyle Fellowship took the stage and Crown & Harp was PACKED.  People were standing on the booths just to be able to see over the sea of heads. I took a spot near the back of the stage in the corner, not trying to fight the masses to get a front row seat. The energy these cats have even just introducing each other was through the roof. Aceyalone doubled as MC and DJ (he had a Pioneer Controller) and didn’t miss a step! Self Jupiter did an a Capella piece that gave me goosebumps. Myka 9 jumped around stage, really getting into the performance and Abstract Rude was the cherry on top. These guys are legends and their performance just proves that. They functioned as a cohesive unit, and you can tell its been a well oiled machine for many years, maybe a couple of decades :) The energy in Crown & Harp could have probably powered a small city.

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Afterwards, we went back to the hotel. This is where the “rough” side of the hotel came in handy because we stayed out on the balcony until 5 or so in the morning without a complaint one. 

When it comes to groups with this amount of fame, or this LENGTH of fame, you never know how they’ll interact with you and the audience.  Crown & Harp is a pretty intimate venue with no green room so the whole night the crew was mingling. Muenster even contacted Ptero Dacto from Project Blowed to do a set with him and Jose made a point to ask when’s the last time Dallas has seen so many of the Project Blowed artists under one roof.  Answer- never. Self Jupiter’s sister resides in Dallas and she brought a few friends out with her as well. There was a sense of family in the air all night,  and everyone was having a good time.  The guys of Freestyle Fellowship are some really cool cats, down to Earth, humble and just soaked up all the love Dallas had to give. They REALLY felt that crowd! As a promoter/talent buyer, these are the shows that give you a deep sense of satisfaction. The audience got to see their favorite hip hop act, some even the Hip Hop group that helped them fall in love with the culture, and Freestyle Fellowship/A-Team/Haiku D’etat got to connect with their fans on an intimate level. As Keith Sweat says “Make it last FOREVERRRRRR!”

Another shout out to everyone involved on this show. You really did Dallas proud!! I’m steadily working on a Project Blowed Tour so ya’ll watch out.  Bigger venue next time is a MUST!!!! image

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Check out Right Round Productions for more video as well as Def 1’s Youtube channel. 

#ZuWednesday at Lola’s Saloon/ Romio No E’s Birthday Bash

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I love it when shows just fall together.  This was the case for this #WuWednesday.  Last month, we didn’t have many people out so it was REALLY important to have heads through the door this month if we wanted to continue this night.  I knew performances were a must and also knew that Romio No E had a birthday the next night.  After a little brainstorming and Romio agreeing to turn it into a #ZuWednesday, the night was set.  Right off the bat we had people down to perform, the bill was set, Deejay Mike B was scheduled to spin some videos, graphics were made and we had a pretty bad ass show.  I liked the Wu/Zu graphic SO MUCH I had to order shirts for the night.

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They came out fabulous too.  Shout out to Tay and 5DZN. 

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Scott Johnson took the stage first.  He did a great job of bringing his own crowd.  I know a lot of people hate playing for “an empty room” when they open.  Problem solved if you can get your friends and family out to support you!  Scott has a real boom bap sound with precision lyrics that actually say something.  He did very well, must admit I was a bit  surprised at his skill. I like surprises.  Skip the VM came on next, green slime and all.  He had Tape Mastah Steph backing him on the decks, a really good look since Tape is well connected to labels like Stones Throw Records and has an OG status when it comes to Turntablism. Next up was Kye Yote who has a really mainstream almost R&B sound.  He puts on a great performance and even tried to dance with me on stage while I was trying to talk to Deejay Mike B.  Nice try, Callie doesn’t do stage stuff….Doug Funnie rolls on stage complete with visuals for our entertainment.  Doug is part of a hip hop genre called “Nerdcore” where they rap about video games, toys, cult movies and such.  While spitting to “I’m a Big Kid Now” he had old school Mario Bros playing on the projector and even performed a song about Reading Rainbow complete with visuals from the show.  Good stuff.  Pac Manson took the stage with a Dead Presidents Mask and did a killer set with Romio No E joining as well as Mallie G.  Weight took over, another great performance from someone I haven’t seen before. 

Side Note: When I post specific instructions like “Message me if you want to perform” that means MESSAGE ME not Comment on the post.

Weight got on my good side quick by following instructions. 

Spewcataclism did a beat set that I wasn’t able to pay attention to because I was running around trying to get Romio’s act assembled and introduced…..but he always does a good job in EVERYTHING he does.  So I’m sure this night was no different.

Then the performance we had all been waiting for, Romio No E.  He and I had been secretly working on putting a band together for this performance.  Zach Tucker of many top bands and Matt from Burning Slow had already performed off the whim at The Grotto.  We wanted a little more well rehearsed set and Zach suggested adding Christian of Bomb Quixote.  Tracks were shared, a rehearsal was made, Romio put together some nice visuals and of course came in costume.  What happened was a great performance where the band added that special “umph” to the tracks.  The visuals were on point, all old videos Romio has put out in the past few years.  When he performed “Immaculate” he made the projector the chalk board from the video but edited him out so he could “write” on it live.  Good stuff.  And on “God Bless You”, Romio even came into the crowd to serenade the ladies.  Romio outdoes himself at each performance, kind of makes you wonder if he’ll run out of ideas.  I guess everyone has to attend every show to find out, right? Smart marketing. 

Last but not least, Alsace Carcione, who is easily one of my favorite MCs in the area.  She got on the video tip too and had her own videos playing on the projector.  Alsace put on a great performance and a lot of people who were on their way out the door turned around to stay.  I like that shit. 

All the performers were 100%.  Bilal did a great job starting off the night with all vinyl. At one point he even mixed a Wu-Tang track with Amy Winehouse “You know that I’m No Good”.  Mike B has the visual/Music stuff on LOCK!  Wu-Tang tracks for the ears while the eyes take in Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Speed Racer and more.  Makes me reminisce about my days of psychedelics….And let’s not forget about Smokey’s BBQ Truck and the bomb $1 BBQ Street Tacos.

Lola’s is always a great spot.  Sound is superb, the bartenders always take care of us and I just love the sound guys and Tim the door guy <3  I hope this will be a Bday that Romio No E remembers forever!!   I know I had fun!!!

HH4YN Presents: The Return 2014 AND #BEATKRATE Session 1

imageIf you haven’t heard of HH4YN (Hip Hop 4 Your Noodle) and Tay aka Spewcataclism, you have definitely been hiding under a rock or are not involved in the DFW Hip Hop Scene AT ALL!  If Tay isn’t throwing the show himself, usually its a bet that he’s involved somehow.  Whether its promo, performing, graphic design or providing band merch, Tay has his hands on nearly every GOOD show rolling through the DF-Dub.  This last week, he outdid himself with 2 shows, The Return 2014: Music+Art+Music and #BeatKrate Session 1.  

The first show, The Return, was held at a place we dubbed “The Chome” which is an old church off the Eastside of FW that’s been converted into a home.  We’ve had a few events here already that were a success.  Collective eARTh put a collection of art from over 2-3 dozen artists all over the walls.  The art is a blog in and of itself.  Lets just say that Collective eARTh runs with some VERY talented people.  My favorites were the skateboard art and the paintings with half Lee Harvey Oswald half JFK and the Selena and her killer counterpart.  Very dope.  The first act I caught was Kree23.  She’s a female MC from San Antonio with high energy.  Birds Eye Blue and Beast represented DK.  At one point, Peno’s daughter, Chloe, joined them on stage and you could just tell she was on top of the world.  ”My daddy’s famous,” she told me later.  Cute stuff.  Hologram Dagger + Grimp did an amazing set.  They never fail to impress a crowd.  Hunter’s violin skills against the beats Hologram Dagger and Grimp churn out makes a classic yet innovative sound that any music lover can enjoy.  Alsace got the house jumping and Grey Matter finished off the night with such high energy it seemed wrong for the event to be over!  Good people, GREAT Pho, and some amazing art made for a night everyone will remember.  

imageThen come Wednesday it was #BeatKrate Session One.  Now when I saw this line up, I KNEW it was going to be a great night for Hip Hop in Fort Worth.  Sean P, M Slago and Remode are easily some of the top producers in DFW.  To see all three on a bill together with Tape Mastah Steph made this girl happy :) Night of things were running a little late.  Tay had Buddah Fingers hook up a professional looking recording device to the sound board to record the nights awesomeness.  Tay also had someone videoing and Skip the VM taking snapshots to record the night in full.  He’s putting out some kind of series with interviews and audio/visual recordings of each #BeatKrate Session for youtube.  Gonna be dope.  There were a few new faces this night, a lot of familiar faces coming out to support.  Each producer went up and really put on some great sounds.  Some sampled, some didn’t, but all VERY talented with their own style.  My favorite of the night, DJ Remode.  Super talented beat maker, would love to see him on some more local projects.  He ended his set with a track he produced with Aceyalone last year.  Like I said, all the producers did an amazing job and I saw some Emcees get inspired with some lyrics and project ideas.  THAT’S what this is all about.  Love it.

I got to give a huge #SALUTE to Tay Spewcataclism.  Every event he does is well thought out, well planned, and well executed.  I’m honored to have been given the chance to work with him and make no secret that he is the person who helped break me into the Hip Hop Scene with the Funkytown Showdown last November.  Thank you Tay and keep it up!!  

Vans Warped Tour 2014 #YoBringItBack

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Through out the year, I have kept in contact with some of the production crew for the Yo Bring It Back tent at Warped Tour.  This year when they announced the Dallas date, they asked me if I was going. I got in with the guys from Dielex Kemposed last year because it was my birthday.  This year, I jokingly asked if I was “with the band” again and Fritz the Tour Manager said “Of course!”  Man, it was such an honor to be included.  

Day of I showed up, found a gate to park at, found certain pleasure in telling the gate keepers “I’m with the Bring It Back Tour” and let in for NO parking fee!!  As soon as we parked, I heard, “Callie!” and look over to see Dubb Sicks with a Tour badge on.  No need to wait for our bracelets, he takes us straight to the tent.  Bracelets are passed out, schedule is written up, and the day begins promptly at 11am.  

First up, the Bring it Back Cypher where all the artists take a turn freestyling over instrumentals.  Not to dis any of the other performers, but when Kilo Artifact gets on the mic to spit, he shames most MCs.  This was no different, he stuck out as a top performer.  Vel the Wonder took the mic with DJ Lala from California.  This short, cute, hispanic chick with stretched lobes probably surprised a lot of concert goers, including myself.  She was witty, precise, able to paint pictures with her lyrics, and far more than just a “cute girl” on the mic.  Her DJ (also a female) did a great job backing her, even scratching a bit.  Got to love a female duo.  Then Slop Musket got on, a three piece band with two MCs.  They put on a highly energetic and animated performance.  Their band teetered the line of punk rock and hard rock with some amazing guitar riffs and a 6 string bass guitar.  Totally great performance.  Last but not least, the Slop Musket band joined The Lie Show for another on point performance.  One thing I love about the Yo! Bring It Back Tour is a lot of these guys don’t look like your typical Hip Hop MC.  Lots of surprises.  

The Beatport Stage was the main attraction in this area, the tent taking over the show between the 15 minute tear down/set up this stage needed.  The genres of music ranged from alternative rock to electronic, Nerdcore to hip hop/trap.  DJ Nicola Bear was the first performance I was like “wow”.  She’s a UK native who has a residency in Ibiza and plays all genres of music depending on the crowd.  Ocelot told me he had a deal with her that she’d play a new Beastie Boys song each tour stop and on day 3 it was “Intergalactic” which spawned a dance circle in the crowd.  She was easily my favorite performer on the Beatport stage.  MC Chris came on and….man….  This little short guy with a voice like a 5 year old spit some “rhymes” about being a ninja, eating pizza, and Peter Venkman aka Bill Murray of the Ghostbusters.  Like that dude made Warped Tour and Doug Funnie didn’t??  Where are we going wrong, Fort Worth?  Then of course Crizzly did a set this year that definitely out did last year (he just stood there and played last year) complete with a hype man or “jump man” who would go in the crowd and just get them jumping pretty much.  Not bad.  The Crizzly Bear even made an appearance and danced in 100 degree weather.  

As far as our tent was concerned, my favorite parts are always the Cyphers.  We even had a Bboy/Bgirl Cypher which is ALWAYS a good way to get a crowd.  One dude even did some power house moves!  Pat Maine put on a very uplifting set, Grey Matter of course wrecked shop, Guilla Muenster was a nice duo, Dubb Sicks did his regular “Head in a Hoopty” with a very willing female participant who shook her ass for the audience and everything.  Amplified and Spliff put on a nice act with a harmonica at the end.  While all of this was going on, Todd Bot was by the tent painting a one of a kind piece and a few bodies for donations :)

My ALL TIME favorite thing at Warped Tour this year (besides the people at our tent of course) was the REVERSE DAYCARE.  I saw this and was curious….  There was a very young man standing outside the entrance who smiled as we walked in.  In a 20X20 tent (or smaller) were a bunch of chairs facing a TV, highly air conditioned with cans of Monster.  It took me a minute to realize……  these were parents of concert goers.  I walked out and busted out laughing, trying not to let the parents know.  Young man at the entrance goes, “Funny, right?  They drop their parents off and are like, ‘Ok, we’ll come back and get you when we’re done!’”  Most genius idea I think I’ve ever heard of!!!  After this, I saw a link on Warp Tour’s site saying “Free Parent ticket with admission of a minor.”  GENIUS, Vans!!!  Props on that one.  Romio No E got an interview with the tent I’m hoping he puts on YouTube soon *ahem*

I had a blast.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to make these type of connections and KEEP them.  This is a field where relationships make or break you.  The more good relationships you have, the more good relationships you’ll make and vice versa.  Thanks again, Yo! Bring It Back for having me out again this year and I can’t wait to build with you in the future!!!