Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oakland's DLabrie Says 'Krush Groove' Changed My Life and Explains Bay Universal Movment

After years making a name for himself as the fierce, witty, and energetic emcee from the Bay, DLabrie a.k.a DLabrozia is set to drop his official debut album, MR. NETW3RK (RonDavoux Records/Selecto Hits) this spring. The 23 track LP features M1 of dead prez, Mistah F-A-B, San Quinn, The Jacka, Zion-I, Adisa Banjoko, among others. Production on MR. NETW3RK is shared by Traxamillion, Sean T, MG, Infinate, and EQ.

And if you think the guest artists are an eclectic mix, it's because they are. Labrie's style is a fusion of many types of hip-hop and represent the different parts of his personality. "I don't affiliate solely with the hyphy, political, or back pack movement. I dig a lot of music from all over the globe. I call my music  Bay Universal!" 

Born and raised in East Oakland in the 80's, Labrie came up during the golden age of hip-hop. "In `85 my mother took me to the Eastmont Mall to see "Krush Groove"," states the emcee. "And that was it." Labrie also attributes his knack for writing to his mother, a singer, clothing designer, hair stylist, and community advocate. She also suffered from Schizophrenia.

"I had to grow up fast," explains Labrie. "I had to call a neighbor when she went into psychosis and sometimes had to get her to a hospital so I spent a lot of time with doctors and nurses chopping it up about different philosophies and life."

At 13, it was a done deal  and he knew his calling was to be a rapper. He started freestyling, writing, recording on a karaoke machine and passing out mixtapes using fast dubbing on his stereo.

When asked how he came up with the title for his record, Labrie laughs: "My former manager used to call me "Mr Network" cuz I always was connected to all kinds of people and would know cats everywhere. And it just stuck!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Buy Kicks and Play Madden Fight Night with Royal Elastics

Move over Vans and Nike, Royal Elastics, a laid-back, street-style footwear brand is starting to gain momentum. I sat down this week with Global Marketing Director of Royal Elastics, Maurice Pendarvis, in his downtown LA loft and asked him a couple questions about his job, the company and the sneakers.

NB: What do you do for Royal Elastics?
MP: Basically, I make sure we look good and do cool stuff.
NB: Who started it RE and when?
MP: Two guys from Australia started the brand in 1996. A few years later, K-Swiss bought and ran with it for minute. Then last year one of the employees raised the funds and bought the company.
NB: What's the concept behind the brand?
MP: We’re a small, independent company trying to make it happen. Our goal is to make comfortable shoes that look cool for kids like us: independent folks, trying to do their thing--whatever that may be!
NB: Who are you trying to compete with?
MP: Us vs. Them! Honestly, it's kind of hard to say we’re competing with anyone. We’re just trying to get back into our niche.
NB: Where is company based?
MP: The US office is located in Los Angeles but we have offices in China and Taipei.
NB: If you could pick any rapper to rock RE, who would it be?
MP: My first choice would be MF Doom, then Kool Keith and then Raaaaaaaandy--shit is funny!
NB: Where can people cop these shoes?
MP: People can buy the shoes from our street sales guy Manny. Just look for a off yellow 2001 Honda Civic on the corner of 7th and Industrial. He's usually there from 8am to 8pm Mon-Fri and 11-6 on weekends. If he's not there then buying directly from our online store is the best way to go. We'll be opening up a showroom in our office so people can come down buy it from there if we have the stock. If not, they can just order it from there and we can ship it to them. We also have a PS3 and get down on some Madden Fight Night, so if you got some skills...LET'S DO THIS!

To catch of glimpse or purchase some shoes, click here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wanna Catch Zion I Live?

ZION I On Western Canadian Tour

March 24th - Whistler BC - Maxx Fish Night Club
March 25th - Vancouver BC - Fortune Sound Club
March 26th - Nelson BC - Spirit Bar
March 27th - Edmonton AB - Pawnshop
March 28th - Calgary AB - The Republik
March 29th - Saskatoon SK - Cosmo Center

San Francisco Shows
April 1st Rickshaw Stop San Francisco, CA
April 2nd The Independent San Francisco, CA

April 09, 2010 Salem OR - Willamette College feat. Pep Love and Casual
April 14, 2010 Los Angeles, CA - UCLA Mighty Mic
April 17, 2010 Piedmont, CA - Piedmont High School
May 4, 2010 Los Angeles CA - House of Blues
May 5, 2010 Los Angeles CA - House of Blues
May 6, 2010 Aspen CO - Belly Up Tavern
May 7, 2010 Boulder CO - Fox Theater
May 8, 2010 Colorado Springs - Colorado College
May 9, 2010 Denver CO - Cervantes Masterpiece Theater

Photo by Adam Abramowitz

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Germany Imports Hip-Hop, Spiderman, and Blue Jeans

From New York-based independent filmmaker Meaghan Kimball comes Blau Jeans, a one hour documentary showcasing America's influence on Germany over the past 60 years. From Snoop Dogg to Google, Star Wars to George Bush, Blau Jeans captures modern Germany's reverence for America’s innovation--and resentment of its arrogance.

"I met an editor of the German magazine Style who told me that she learned English by listening to rappers like Eazy-E," laughs the NYU and AFI graduate from her apartment on New York's Upper East Side. "She studied the songs, the slang, and the humor! Sometimes the influence was indirect, like I met a lot of kids who seemed to know little about hip-hop music, but took their fashion cues directly from American street culture."

Kimball, who made the film while living in Berlin in 2005, says a documentary wasn't what she intended. "As a filmmaker living in a foreign country, I couldn't resist but to schlep my camera everywhere," she explains. "When I realized the degree to which Germans were conflicted about America and its cultural influence, I thought, this could be interesting. I have a film!"

Click here to view Blau Jeans trailer.

For more info on Blau Jeans:


Since touring the globe from the Czech Republic to Sierra Leone, Bay-Area emcee Rasco is returning to the game
with his sixth and most complete LP to date, Global Threat. Guest appearances include Royce Da 5"9', Planet Asia, Supastition, Concise Kilgore, as well as newcomers Jae Nut, Suryil and Mary Jayne.

Since dropping his ground-breaking LP in 1998, Time Waits For No Man, along with his follow-up EP, 99’s The Birth, Rasco, born Keida Brewer in San Francisco, CA, has redefined West Coast independent hip-hop, winning over fans and critics alike with his articulate wordplay. His second LP, Hostile Environment (2001) and the critically acclaimed third solo joint, Escape From Alcatraz have made Rasco one of hip-hop’s most consistent emcees in the game. In 2003 Rasco released his fourth release The Dick Swanson Theory Pt. 1 and debuted his own label PocketsLinted Entertainment.

In addition to all his solo projects, Rasco’s collabs with partna in rhyme Planet Asia have made him part of indie hip-hops most noted duos. His Cali Agents releases including How The West Was One (2000) and Head of State (2004) remain indie classics. What’s more, he contributed to the remix album, Reanimiation with Grammy Award winning rock-rap group Linkin Park.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Electronic Music Through the Eyes of Amp Live

Amp Live, the producer known for his futuristic beats with Zion I, will drop his second solo record, a hip-hop, dubstep, rock, dance hybrid, Murder at the Discotech. His newest effort is the second in his electroland series and features Mickey Factz, Zumbi (Zion I), Fashawn, The Grouch, Eligh, Yak Ballz, Chris Young and many more. 

Amp Live has worked with a slew of notable MCs, including Zumbi, The Grouch, Too $hort,  and Del the Funky Homosapian. He's also remixed tracks for MGMT, Radiohead, and Linkin Park.

Murder at the Discotech drops May 2010!!! Click here for more info on Amp Live.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moka Only's Cousin Ron Contour Roams Earth and Eats at Will

2010 has already been an exciting year for Ron Contour. Besides obtaining a drivers license and much needed dental work, Contour—the older first cousin of the illustrious Canadian emcee Moka Only—is releasing a third album, Saffron on Fake Four Records.

Ron, the highly erratic, conceited, spacey, wandering, loopy and devastating emcee, got his start in hip hop / surf rock / jazz music scene in the late 90s after Moka Only witnessed Ron freestyling at a family reunion.

“He had skills, so I offered to help him get into the game,” explains Moka Only. Ron’s first self-titled release in 1999 (Underworld Records) was masterminded by Moka. In fact, it was actually billed as a Moka Only release. The album was critically acclaimed— inspite of the confusion as to whether or not it was a Moka Only album or not.

In 2000, contour dropped out of the scene altogether to pursue girls and bee-keeping. Women found him tolerable, and he lost interest in collecting bugs so, in 2007, Ron approached Moka again. In ‘08 Moka produced an album for Ron entitled Hot Dog on Legendary Entertainment.

In summer 2009 Ron hit the studio hard cranking out albums at a furious rate. In the fall he released The Summer of Ron on Domination Records, as well as The Beach also produced by Moka Only. He is also planning on releasing a travel album based on the Canadian Province of Ontario entitled Rontario.

Production on Saffron is compliments of superstar rap producer Factor.