Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

R.I.P. - The legendary Rammellzee died yesterday!

Checking out Twitter today I saw that Stones Throw and HVW8 posted links to pay respects to Rammellzee who died yesterday. There's no update on the cause, but he was only 49 years young!

Like a lot of folks, I was hipped to Rammellzee by Charlie Ahern's "Wild Style" film. Then, I got myself a copy of the "K-Rob vs Rammellzee" 12" vinyl on Profile Records via mail order from collector. That tune was produced by Basquiat! I paid about $18 and at the time Huw, from Mr. Bongos in London, reckoned it was worth $75. Who knows now. Later in Japan, I found a re-issue of the K-Rob joint with the original Basquiat picture cover!! What a prize.

When I used to dig for tunes I also came across the Death Comet Crew that released some tunes with Rammellzee in Europe which were a bit too "Tackhead" for my liking. Very industrial electro. Most recently, in 2004, Death Comet Crew released “Bi-Conicals of the Rammellzee,” Rammellzee's first full-length record.

A New York Times' article pays tribute to Rammellzee and explains how complex this hip hop pioneer was.

"He cast himself as an urban philosopher whose overarching theory, which he called Gothic Futurism, posited that graffiti writers were trying to liberate the mystical power of letters from the strictures of modern alphabetical standardization and that they had inherited this mission from medieval monks...

He legally changed his name to Rammellzee — which he described as not a name but a mathematical equation — when he was younger, Mr. Ahearn said. As to the name he was born with, Mr. Ahearn said that he knew it but would keep it to himself, as his friend would have wanted. Ms. Zagari Rammellzee likewise declined to reveal it: “It is not to be told. That is forbidden."

Rammellzee's distinctive rhyme style is captured in this rare Jean-Michel Basquiat video.

Toxic cuts up Billy Squier "Big Beat" in 1983 (around the same time Randy Murray recorded the Run-DMC performance "Live at the Funhouse.") Check out the ski googles...pure b-boy! Love the vibe. Check out Basquiat three minutes into the video: "Jean-Michel rocking that gangster bass!"

Legendary performance at the Wild Style amphitheater 1983

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kaws goes solo

I'm not a big fan of Kaws' work, but I thought it was worth mentioning this first solo museum exhibition opens today at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut.

The exhibition runs through until Jan 2nd, 2011 and features Kaws' most recent paintings, sculptures, and drawings along with a retrospective of his highly recognizable street art, clothing, and graphic designs.

"KAWS’s first aesthetic influences came from skateboarding, as did his familiarity with New York City. 
Around 1991, he started marking his name in different areas of New Jersey and Manhattan. By the time he finished high school, he was mostly focused on graffiti and started intervening on advertising billboards. While exploring new strategies and locations for his work, he obtained a tool for opening bus shelter advertisement boxes. This allowed KAWS to seize the posters, integrate his work, and then replace them. 
He added an inflated skull with crossed bones and X-ed-out eyes; sometimes the skull was part of a serpentine-looking body that wrapped around the models, a blend that was humorous and daring. Word got around, and when it came to the point where the posters were pulled down and collected almost as soon as KAWS had replaced them, he decided to move on. 
Next he channeled his creativity into his studio practice, as well as products he developed and distributed on his own and in his boutique in Tokyo, OriginalFake, in partnership with Medicom Toy." Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The new b-boy stance?!

The World Cup isn't the only game in South Africa! This past April the Red Bull Street Style competition final was held in Cape Town.

Check out the guy with the windmill football moves...Waaaah!

"Sixty freestyle footballers from all four corners of the world battle it out in Cape Town (South Africa) at the Red Bull Street Style World Final 2010. In Norway Anders Solum, 27, tricked his way to gold in front of a huge crowd in the city. South African local hero Kamal Ranchod, 21, progressed all the way to the Final before finally having to admit defeat. Superstars George Weah (LB) and Edgar Davids (NED) presented the trophy to the proud winner in front of journalists from over 30 countries."

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pimp out your ride with Snoop Dogg GPS

Fancy cruisin' with Snoop Dogg ridin' shotgun? Well, now you can. For only $12 (£8) you can load Snoop's Westside street venacular into your TomTom GPS.
"Big Snoop Dogg remains one of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable figures, with a captivating voice that earns him love all across the board. And now he can be on your TomTom device. Prepare to be directed by one of the musical greats. Bow wow wow!"

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Palm gets my vote with this Mos Def 'collab'

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Seen tours the Bronx with Ricky Powell

The inimitable Ricky Powell brings us his own flavour of interview chatting to the legendary Seen thanks to Upper Playground. I've been saving this post for the summer ;)

Watch it for some history and how the Bronx gangs influenced Seen as a youth. See the inside of Seen's studio and his sketches for pieces and installations that are 'work-n-progress.' Here him talk about his 3D series that he's making in fibreglass!

"NY prankster and photographer, Ricky Powell, interviews graffiti legend Seen about growing up in the Bronx, monster trucks, urban environments, and the pitfalls of emerging technology. Ricky also gets an inside look at a then in-progress series of sculptures in the massive Seen Studios, reflecting the increasingly tactile direction his work was taking. Watch the interview from "Dithers," available for the first time to the public for free, on Walrus TV."

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

B-Boy vs. World Cup

Is it wise to clash with the U.S.A. vs. England football match? I'd think not, but Miracle Mile ArtWalk has got a whole day of activities planned from 10am.

If you rush after the match to LACMA you might catch some of Justin Bua's (USC Fight On!) Urban Art Studio conversations with some of hip hop's leading lights!
Join us in the Plaza Level of the Art of the Americas Building, where BUA's Urban Art Studio will feature original paintings and drawings as the artist himself hosts conversations with leading artists, musicians, dancers, and more:
1–2pm: Mear One and Camille Rose Garcia
2:30–3:30pm: Mr. Wiggles [Rock Steady Crew, Zulu Nation]

4–5pm: Flea and Mixmaster Mike
5pm: BUA Poster Signing
6-8pm: Special Performances by Mr. Wiggles, Mixmaster Mike, The Beat Freaks, and more.

*Free tickets for each interview session will be available at the LACMA Box Office one hour before the program.

5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6010

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Friday, June 11, 2010

U.K.'s Inkie and Insa take it thru' Europe

The Fool's Gold Tour shouldn't be mistaken with the hip record label of the same name (founded by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs.) But, this is 'hip' in a 'hop' kind of way!

Scotland's Recoat Gallery is taking Bristol old skool graffiti artist, Inkie, and his graffiti fetishist partner, Insa, to hit up four European cities. It seems Scotland doesn't have any graff talent?! ;)

This past week the tour hit London, UK, Brussels, Belgium and Berlin, former east Germany. Next and final destination is Warsaw, Poland.

1st London Paint for Fool's Gold from Recoat on Vimeo.

Guest list? If you're near Warsaw tonight go check out the afterparties happening: the Fool's Gold launch party and the "Tights and Leggings" mixtape (inspired by Insa no doubt) official afterparty.

Listen and download the mixtape below from Poland's production duo, Supra1.

Tights and Leggings Mixtape Volume One by Supra1 by Pigeon Promotions

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mr. Cartoon plays for U.S.A in the FIFA World Cup 2010

The ultimate sporting event is nearly upon us! Yes, the FIFA World Cup is here again, but the training and competition isn't all about the football (soccer) pitch. It's about the world's brands, that are underwriting the sporting event, winning your hearts and minds too!

On June 11, eight groups (A-H) and 32 national teams will begin competing for the World Cup trophy in South Africa. And the toughest group G comprises of Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast and...North Korea?! (Don't miss U.S.A. vs. England on June 12th 11.30am PST!)

Nike x Street art Nike (Sportswear) kicked off its True Colors Artist Collaboration with artists from around the world designing their national football team emblems. For the U.S., the privilege goes to Mr. Cartoon from Los Angeles. For the World Cup 2010 project Cartoon approached it as a sign painter:
"For the crest, I wanted it to be real official looking...yet people would want to rock it...
When I approach a project like this I want to look back at it in 10 years from now and say that was cool, that was dope! Doing the U.S.A. logo, doing the eagle icon...putting the U.S.A in a shield that really made it look official, but still had a feel of...a street artist did it instead of a airbrushy-looking. I wanted it to be hard, solid. Mad business, you know what I'm sayin'?"
"I've been asked why me? I don't know...I think it's real, real  edgy for them to do that man, being that I'm heavily tattooed and I'm graffiti plus being Chicano, being Mexican to be able to do the eagle and snake was outta control!"

The Last Laugh Cartoon has his The Last Laugh store (with photographer Evan Oriol) in downtown L.A. which captures his love for low-riding, tattooing and graffiti. It also has some of his sneaker collaborations for Nike and Vans. Check out the opening here back in 2008.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Park jam reprise...looking forward to more in 2010

The park jams in New York every summer organized by Tools of War are an inspiration to every b-boy and b-girl as they bring the old skool hip hop vibe back to the block.

I went to my first one last summer to see D.J. A.J. and got to meet Christie Pabon. Recently, she hit me up about Noisemaker Media who's been filming unique moments in hip hop for a little while now. This video really captures the love!

Afrika Bambaataa, Kool DJ Red Alert and DJ Jazzy Jay / The True School Park Jam Series / 7.16.09 from Noisemaker Media on Vimeo.

"Afrika Bambaataa, Kool DJ Red Alert, and The Original Jazzy Jay reunite on the wheels of steel for the first time in over 25 years. Many have neglected the fact these individuals are primarily responsible for the genesis of hip hop culture...The True School Park Jam Series is made possible by Christie Z Pabon [Tools of War, DMC USA] and Fabel Pabon [UZN, RSC, Tools of War]. Their hard work and dedication to the preservation of DJ and hip hop culture allows for once in a lifetime moments like this."

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