Why don’t we have a major Hip Hop Hall of Fame ceremony?

November 20, 2022 § Leave a comment

This year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony did not disappoint per usual. So many talented people were celebrated like Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Eurythmics, Jimmy Iovine, JUDAS PRIEST—and rightfully so. They are exceptional musicians and iconic members of the music industry today. But, categorizing all of those acts as rock, I think , is doing a disservice to each genre that should have its own big celebration.

Hear me out.

Isn’t it about time for a big Hip Hop Hall of Fame ceremony of its own? There are so many deserving artists in that category that would be great to see honored in a similar way but more nuanced acts might get overlooked in this genre bending show’s format. Like all of the artists Eminem listed in his award acceptance speech. Salt-N-Pepa—who’ve influenced so many—deserve an award celebration too.

Whatever the formula for deciding who is rock and who isn’t is leaving A LOT of deserving artists out.

Will Link Wray ever be honored for his contributions to rock? His power-chord is widely credited with influencing some of rock’s most distinct sounds.

According to his biography “Wray was the creator of the power-chord and was one of the first musicians to experiment with both distortion and the burning fuzz-tone guitar sound in his instrumental recordings; his harsh and raw, yet potent and effective simple guitar style inspired such rock music genres as heavy metal, punk, thrash, and alternative rock.”

He deserves a nod, but bigger contemporary acts overshadow his historical contributions to the genre.

I love hip-hop, country, pop, R&B—all of those genres and believe they ALL deserve deeper dives into their musical histories. Each contain unique musical legacies and worthy contributors that are overlooked in the mixed event.

If you really want to diversify the show, bring more genre specific hall of fame ceremonies to the stage and our screens. Broaden our musical horizons with more in depth shows celebrating each of those genres. Rock and most of the other genres are made all around the world. The artists deserve to be honored by their respective schools of sound. And we, the masses, would benefit from more music celebrated on the stage and our small screens.

Beats Music: The Latest In Music Pairing Technology

January 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

photo credit: sarmaaye.com

photo credit: sarmaaye.com

Beats by Dre has been working on a new music service that launches tomorrow (Tuesday, January 21) and it stands to rival the services of Spotify and paid music pairing by Pandora.

I love everything out of the veteran rap star’s headphone empire, so I can’t wait to see what his team has done in terms of advancing music algorithms.

Beats Music Technology

Beats Music Technology

According to Wired, “Your age is especially important to Beats Music. Tell it when you were born, and it figures out when you were in high school. The music of your youth — the stuff that was popular when you first got a Walkman or an iPod, the band that made it big when you got your driver’s license, the record that was all over MTV just before your freshman year of college — is the music with the strongest memories for you. It’s a fixed point in time that’s the most culturally and musically relevant to you. And it’s being crunched by the company’s algorithm.”

If that’s the case, I can’t wait to test out its 80’s pop mix.

“Things are coming together magnificently. #BeatsMusic is blowing my mind right now. Its personalized recommendations are perfect,” says Arjan Writes the Head of Pop/Dance Programming at Beats Music.

Give me some Exposé and Taylor Dane, OKAY? In the meantime, do follow all that is relevant to the Beats crew on Twitter.

Have a happy Monday, my babies!

Who is Banksy??

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thierry Guetta's LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL piece on Highland in Hollywood

Cruising through Hollywood late Tuesday night, running errands, this mural pictured here catches my eye. What a great idea. Life is beautiful, really it is. The message rings true in more ways than one, and the symbol of it painted on the wall is expansive and beautiful in its own right.

Like all art, it’s subjective and meaningful to you, to me and to all of those who see it. So, who painted this? I did some investigating and found that this mural is by Thierry Guetta, a French filmmaker who is known for incorporating irony into his pop style graffiti.

Hm, interesting, his work sounds familiar no? Any connection to Banksy, the anonymous graffiti artist that has been underground for years? There is. The documentary film about Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop hints at Guetta being Banksy’s “biggest work of art” and Guetta’s street name is Mr. Brainwash – hint, hint!

In my humble opinion, their work is too similar for it not to come from the same artist.

Guetta is currently in Los Angeles, creating his murals throughout the greater Hollywood area and yes I’m looking-out for the next piece. If you are an art lover too, now is a great time to see the work of the most mysterious and creative artist of our time.

Ronny Morris Talks About the Future of Music

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Who is Morris Music?

The label was originally developed to support the release of singer/songwriter Ronny Morris’ music. Morris partnered with longtime friend and business partner Carsten Lindskog to open the label and its publishing division.After the label’s success licensing music to several films and television productions, Lindskog and Morris decided to open the doors to other emerging artists. The company has grown to include a collected group of five professionals, working together to promote and support local and international talent.

Growing in the industry

“We are a very creative group people, who are constantly sharing ideas” says Morris. “We grow with the success of our artists. We ask ourselves where music can fit a niche, who can be touched by the music we promote, and where certain music has not yet touched ground.”

He goes on, “We are passionate about creating win/win situations and feel it’s about the experience, not just quick decisions.”

The label actively recruits new talent. Morris plans to attend the 2010 SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin to look for emerging artists.

“The artists and the clients we serve are the foundation of our success, and we grow with them. We believe in the quality of music that we deliver, and are always looking for new artists that share that ideal with us.”

Morris on music today

“The music industry is a very exciting place to be right now. The rules have changed. There are a lot of new companies emerging with new approaches to the business, Live Nation being an example, and the industry is rearranging itself.”

Live Nation emerged in 2005 as a start up music label that teamed with Ticketmaster. It has since become one of the largest promotion houses in the country.

“From the business side, we are exploring different avenues to create revenue from the music that we sell. No one can depend on CD and download sales” he confesses. “The live scene is a good alternative, but live shows are not a total resolution. Touring costs, and the audience has to be there, which can be difficult for emerging artists.”

Since 2001, the music industry has taken huge losses due to piracy and peer to peer sharing sites like Kazaa and Napster.

According to ZDNet “the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reports 2.8 million pirated CD-R discs were seized in the United States last year.”

“So many people in music have been laid off as well, which is troubling, but it opens the doors for new collaboration, especially for us independents. New creative partnerships are emerging, and we all have the opportunity to learn from each other and gain from each others’ experience.”

“Even when it’s winter, a wise farmer plans for spring!”

Getting inspired

“Everything about music inspires me. There are simple lyric ideas that pop up in my mind, or a melody line that I think of when I’m riding across town on my bike. There is text that is born from outrage or sadness, or something in my environment shifting.”

He continues, “Recording is a fantastic and nerve-wracking part of music creation, like a chef working on a meal that he’s really excited about. Sometimes you leave feeling tired and used, but can’t wait to come back into the studio the next day, and I think that’s inspirational.”

Morris writes music that is featured on TV shows “The Ghost Whisperer” and “Brothers and Sisters”.

His collaboration with Swedish producer, Adam Kviman, earned him Hollywood Music in Media’s Best Production / Producer of the Year award – making it his second consecutive HMM award win.

“Music is a lifesaver, and I can’t say enough about it. People make love to music, dance to music, get aggressive to music, and cry with music. It’s in delivery rooms when people are born and can be heard at funerals. We are even healed by music. I don’t think it gets enough credit.”

Having integrity

“It’s important to me that music is treated with integrity and an honest approach” says Morris. “A lot of today’s releases and international shows like American Idol dilute the significance that so many of us in the field dedicate ourselves to, and I think it’s unfortunate to twist a gorgeous, emotive medium into something so cheap. I think music has to come from the heart. No one wants it to be an empty package in a fast-food wrapper.”

Morris Music currently represents six recording artists locally and internationally. Its headquarters are in Santa Monica, California with satellite offices in the UK and Seattle. More Morris Music news can be found on their Facebook fan page.

Bay Area Latino Film Begins a New Chapter

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Cine+Mas SF, a new organization producing the San Francisco Latino Film Festival successfully wrapped year two of their September events. A group of ten Bay Area film lovers run this non-profit organization with Fractured Atlas as its fiscal sponsor.

The group pushes messages online, on the streets, via radio and on news stations like CBS5 – all in an effort to keep the Latino film movement thriving in the SF Bay Area. Shows were presented in San Francisco, Marin, Redwood City, the Silicon Valley at The Tech Museum of Innovation and in Berkeley.

The festival showcased 30 films including shorts, documentaries, and features. Eight countries were represented including Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Brazil, and the USA.

Seven filmmakers were in attendance including Florence Jaugey, director of the Oscar nominated film, ‘La Yuma’.

It’s not a festival without parties and there were several including a smash opening night at the new SOM SF in partnership with Latinos a Morir. Other events included Project One closing night at Sub-Mission, and their annual IMAX event at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

“Our mission is to step forth as a new organization with fresh eyes” says their founder, Lou Ramirez. “We were successful in doing so, showcasing two Oscar nominated films in the foreign film category.”

The website contains constantly updated information. View call for entry details, film trailers along with film notes and links their Facebook page: www.sflatinofilmfestival.com or follow them on http://Twitter.com/sflatinofilm.

Does Ethnocentrism Exist in America Today?

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Protesters at Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma

Ethnocentrism as it relates to our society today is still an issue and I can’t help but tie a film I saw last summer into my thoughts on the subject.

I presented a documentary feature film at San Jose Public Library: Hillview Branch during the Bay Area Latino Film Festival’s summer program. The film titled Crossing Arizona is a documentary about the very popular anti-immigration sentiment among several Arizonians in modern day.

Among those interviewed for the film were leaders from the Minuteman Project. The Minuteman Project is a group of militia oriented activists who have devoted their time to patrolling the Mexican – U.S. border.

“If we eliminate illegal immigration there would be no more drugs, no more crime, no more deaths. It’s beyond logical,” a Minuteman said while driving to his patrol site.

The group has been active since 2005 and throughout these years has drawn both negative and favorable publicity to their gun totting, anti-immigration patrol tactics.

Following his commentary, photos of a woman shot to death in the desert flashed the movie screen leaving viewers in shock.

The woman was pregnant.

I was left pretty bothered by the film’s contents. Minutemen are spitting on the very principle of life. Hope for a change that their ancestors had when making the journey to the U.S. – totally forgotten.

Not only are Minutemen textbook ethnocentrics, but they’re breeding generations of hate without consequence in Arizona. This mentality isn’t conducive to civil cohabitation.

Aside from the statements made by the Minuteman, the philosophies of the group are very much blinded by a sense of ownership over American soil. Their view of right and wrong is blurred, so much in fact that a complete abuse of human life is practiced.

They feel referent power over immigrants but not just any immigrants, Mexican immigrants who for the most part come to this country to work jobs that Americans don’t want to work.

Needless to say, I was sickened by the utter disregard for the fact that America is a melting pot and everyone, aside from Native American Indians, has history in immigrating here and Arizona use to be Mexican soil.

Besides all that though, this is a communication issue that still very much contributes to the way people form groups and ideologies. It gave me a lot to think about in terms of where our society is in regard to human rights.


Eva López-Sánchez Talks About La Ultima Y Nos Vamos

November 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

La Ultima Y Nos Vamos

In her latest feature film, Eva López-Sánchez takes us along with three 20-year-olds on a Friday night in Mexico City. Each gets pulled into a different party crowd throughout the film, away from the safety of their bodyguards and parents.

La Ultima y Nos Vamos (One for the Road) made its public debut at the 23rd Annual Guadalajara International Film Festival and its California debut in the Bay Area. The filmmaker attended three Bay Area screenings to entertain Q&A.

Her remarks

“It’s a take on Mexico that isn’t seen by American audiences,” says López-Sánchez. “You’ve only seen a violent and corrupt Mexico City. My film showcases the music and lifeblood of our Friday nights. We’ve all had one of them, thinking ‘what am I doing here?’ Meeting with people who we wouldn’t regularly meet with, the story is universal.”

La Ultima y Nos Vamos toured cinemas in the U.S., France and Mexico before its release onto DVD.

“I love the film. I love how you captured a bird’s eye view of Mexico City in your intro and your soundtrack speaks to me,”  an audience member said in San Jose. “I grew up in Mexico City and your film took me back home.”

“We took six flights over the city, shooting various districts. It’s Mexico City today with its mix of cultural influences.” She filmed the capitol, nightlife, and the dark alleys like only a native could. “The city is full of surprises. I can be anywhere in the city at any time of day or night and still discover a new amazing neighborhood jewel.”

The audience at the Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco responded, “What inspired you to make this film? ”

“My son came to me with an incredible story line about these kids ending up with completely different crowds – in neighborhoods they shouldn’t have been in.” The film explores how people relate with others who are completely different and “can find something human. It’s about relating despite our differences.”

Her writing process

“I told my son to write it all down and we’d make a movie out of it. He told me, ‘I don’t know how to write a film.’ So I told him to write what ever he could and to write it in the first person and I would help him with the rest.”

She attended Mexico City’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, has made six full length films and several short films since. Her directorial debut was with Francisca, a political period drama that looks at Mexico City’s Tlalteloco massacre of 1968, where hundreds of student protesters were killed. Her first three films were documentaries and the latest works have been feature films.

“I didn’t want to write this film because I would write it with all of my experience- through my old eyes. I wanted a fresh perspective. I wanted his young eyes to tell the story.” He brought her the story on eight handwritten pages. “It was fresh and it was fun.”

During a radio interview, Margarita of San Francisco’s Pirate Cat Radio mentions that films from Latin America often emulate their European influences instead of portraying Indo Latinos the way La Ultima y Nos Vamos does.

“The characters have different backgrounds, but they’re tied together by predominant cultural influences. They’re very Mexican in character. They use Mexicanisms. They share Mexican music roots.”

The score

Music in the film complemented each character’s personality. “As a filmmaker, you have to be in the know. I have a network of different artists that keep me up to date with their latest work.” Among the artists are MC Luca a hip-hop artist and Big Metra. “Niña Dioz is a reggae artist who wrote Criminal Sound specifically for the film. She’s from Monterrey, Mexico and is only 20 years old.”

The film’s instrumental music, which is also known as the score,  was a collaboration between López-Sánchez and Renato y Ramiro del Real who are well known music production artists from Mexico City. La Ultima y Nos Vamosis is their second feature film project.

“Film is important because it’s a universal way to communicate facts of life and human nature. You can have the notion of an experience, but by watching it play out on film you can live that experience almost first hand. Film resonates with you and affects you the way that no other medium can.”

Locally Grown Mission Street Eats

October 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Whether you’re a city dweller or coming to the California Bay on vacation, you might want to check out the multifaceted mecca that is Mission Street.

Aside from its culturally diverse population, this major artery through San Francisco has some of the city’s best organic cuisine.

Their major selling point is not just their location, but the fact that their menus showcase only locally grown produce and meat products. I’ve compiled a list of restaurants worthy of checking out while you’re in the city’s Mission District.

AME Restaurant, located in the St. Regis is high end and all fresh. It features contemporary American cuisine with Napa Valley executive chefs at its helms. This award winning spot is perfect for dates and features some of the best California wines. AME is located at 689 Mission right in the SOMA District.

Americano Restaurant & Bar is waterfront and offers American and Italian cuisine. Besides its beautiful waterfront views and locally grown menu selection, the restaurant has a bar from 11-1 am every night.

Blue Plate is a hip-casual stop for medium priced Modern American cuisine. Its menu is completely organic too. Blue Plate is located at 3218 Mission in the Bernal Heights District.

If you like Latin, check out Cha Cha Cha. It’s a hip and fun local favorite. This place serves tapas style cuisine at reasonable prices and is open late. Find it at 1301 Mission Street.

Foreign Cinema is an upscale, but hip place to grab a drink or a bite. It’s outside dinning patio doubles as an outdoor theater where classic films are screened during dinner. Indoor tables are also available. Classic cinema outside and fresh food from local farmers, who can beat that! Foreign Cinema is located at 2534 Mission Street.

Aside from the above mentioned eateries, Mission Street is a perfect district to cruise through if you’re looking for fresh produce. There’s a fruit stand on almost every corner.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Culture category at The Archives of My Mind.