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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en...graffiti style...Galo, Los Angeles

Gruesome Galo'ween 2010

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Graffiti legends hit the more week is exhibiting its new graffiti show, "Map Quest", online until November 7th...You have one more week to check out artwork from REVOLT, T-KID, COPE2, EWOK 5MH, GHOST, CRIME79, CES ONE, PART ONE, KR. ONE, YES2.

Map Quest is the closest these old skool graffiti greats will get to hitting the MTA (aka New York City subway!) In this collective show each artist has used a NYC transit map as a canvas for his graffiti. Check out the pics above.

If you have a few hundred bucks you can get yourself a piece of subway graffiti history.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snoop Dogg gets into comedy - Gibson Ampitheater, Los Angeles

Mike Epps and Snoop Dogg, Imagine That!
Snoop Dogg is used to being up on stage, but his Imagine That! show takes things in a new direction.

Collaborating with comedian Mike Epps Snoop's created a multimedia comedy stage show about two night club performers who get arrested, sent to prison and then attempt to break out. Now, I'm not a fan of Epp's style of comedy, but I hear the show blends in live performances of Snoop Dogg's biggest G-Thang tunes which sounds nice to me!

“Imagine That” has played in San Diego; Indio, California and is now in Gibson Ampitheater, Los Angeles.

We’ve worked together in the past on some projects and knew that our audiences would love to see us bring Hip-Hop music and Hip-Hop comedy together on stage.” Snoop Dogg talking about his partnership with Epps

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Bristol's finest graffiti artists showing off

In west London this week, Bristol's self-proclaimed finest graffiti artists are exhibiting their talents at Graffik gallery in west London's Notting Hill area.

This is a rare event for Bristol talent to have a collective exhibition in London. Hopefully it ruffles the feathers of a few established painters and helps put the Bristol boys on the map.

Graffik is no stranger to graffiti since it currently represents Inkie and Insa, two artists I have on my walls. This past summer it also hosted a "NYC Subway Battles" exhibition with Long Island City's 5 Pointz curator, Meres, and his crew with support by Bristol/London-based Inkie. But truth be told there hasn't been a subway battle in New York for probably two decades ;)

See below for some pics and video (sound disabled due to copyright issues.)

Inkie, Bristol/London

Meres, New York

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Inkie represents in London...Kanye

Inkie and Kanye, Jezebel, London. Pic by bigbadbanshee
This blog isn't about star-spotting, but I saw a picture of my mate, Inkie, hugging Kanye West in London it had to be shared....

Earlier tonight Kanye tweeted: "JUST TO LONDON!!! YOU KNOW I HAD TO PUT MY CAPS ON! I DON'T TYPE IN CAPS CAUSE I'M MAD I TYPE CAUSE I'M LAZY" Then he turns up in these Twitter pics at Jade Jagger's joint.

Small world! And we will never hear the end of this escapade! ;)

Pic by bigbadbanshee

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Stephen Forbes interviews Warren Buffet and Jay Z

Another story that's been lingering in my Inbox. Sorry it's late.

Forbes special edition cover, Oct 2010
I was surprised as the next guy to see Jay-Z on the cover of Forbes magazine with Warren Buffet. But not because Jay's black, a rapper, or an entrepreneur (aka ex-drug dealer.) No, it was seeing Jay-Z in a suit! Has anyone seen Jay-Z so uncomfortable as in the video below?

Why the cover story? Jay-Z was being welcomed to the first "Forbes 400 Summit" and joining the ranks of the likes of Bill Gates. I didn't know the stats, but here they are, "Jay-Z is one of the top recording artists in history, having sold approximately 40 million albums worldwide. In 2007, he tied Elvis Presley for the most number one albums by a solo performer; he went on to break the record in 2009. Today, only The Beatles have more number one records –19 to Jay-Z’s 11."

In the video below, Jay-Z compares his art with Warren Buffet's analysis of stock tickers when he's seeking the truth about a business' value.
"The key to being a recording artist is telling your story and finding your truth." Jay-Z

Lunch at the Hollywood Diner, Omaha
This serious interview by Stephen Forbes, an outsider of entertainment and non-fanboy is refreshing and gives us a different insight. We learn more about Jay Z in the  video interview than 100x Complex articles!

Why has Jay Z continued to be so successful after so many years?
" is like stocks too. There's the hot thing of the moment...the hot auto-tune voice.... people make emotional decisions....jump on the next hot thing when it's not for you. So for me,...having the discipline and confidence to know who I am." Jay-Z

Jay Z's Genius When did the penny drop for Jay Z and his empire-building streak?
"We were forced in the beginning...I wish I could say we were geniuses and say we were going to start our own company. That's not what happened. We went to every single label and every single label shut their door on us. No, The genius thing we did was we didn't give up...we used that 'what do they know' and started selling our own CDs and created our own buzz. Then the record company came back to us...It wasn't the same artist label relationship negotiation. Now we retain ownership of our own company." Jay-Z

Corporate myopia When Jay Z stepped away from his position as CEO of Def Jam
"I wanted to work with them, but I wanted a fund...The music business for a long time a hit record solved all your problems...that model still exists to just put artists out and see what a music business we were releasing 100s of albums every year...I wanted to bring the entire culture into it. I wanted a fund so I could do other things aside to by a television station, to buy a night club to develop these artists. I don't think at the time they could get their mind around it. So, I thought I would be a waste there, so I set up my own thing's publishing company, its a recording company, a touring company..." Jay-Z

Watch all 52 minutes of the interview hosted by Stephen Forbes. And learn about Jay Z's cold sweat moment when he lost his iPod with his latest un-released album on it...just as he was about to pay $5 million to buy his contract from Def Jam!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

L.A.'s Retna goes old skool with one-off monotype prints

Rivera & Rivera has shown Retna's work in the recent past in its downtown Los Angeles gallery. But, this time it has stepped up the game with something unique and limited.

Imagine Retna's lettering and brushwork painted onto glass and then "pressed" to paper. This is monotyping which dates back to the 17th century! With monotyping only a single print - a monotype - is produced because most of the ink is removed during the initial pressing. Anyone who's seen Claudio Stickar, (who has worked for Frank Gehry, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg) will be able to vouch for how good these prints will be.

"RETNA really needs no introduction. He's fresh off an explosive 15-page feature and cover of September's Juxtapoz magazine with a glowing introduction by MOCA's new director- Jeffrey Deitch. Last week, RETNA finished a commission at the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan towers alongside of Kenny Scharf and Shepard Fairey, and, this week, he's in Detroit painting alongside of Richard Colman for the Juxtapoz x Power House restoration project. RETNA is also slated for a solo show at Primary Flight during Art Basel Miami. Needless to say, he's staying quite busy ahead of his participation in the 2011 MOCA exhibit (See recent Financial Times coverage here)." Rivera & Rivera

Raid the piggy bank If you have $1,800 spare you can get your hands on one of these monotypes at 1200 PST tomorrow, Friday 22nd October.

Just head over to Rivera & Rivera. The price covers taxes and insured second day shipping within the continental United States. All orders are fulfilled from Los Angeles, California

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Risk collaborates with Wild Ones

L.A. graffiti legend, Risk, has collaborated with The Wild Ones to create a two-piece limited edition t-shirt set.

My favourite shirt is a print of a dope full-color graff piece RISK painted for The Wild Ones. The back features his "The Wild Ones" tag. Did I say I heard these t-shirts are very limited.

See the video below where Risk talks about his graffiti journey including influential L.A. writers like "Soon" and the development of LA graffiti style. He also talks about his lucky chance to hit the last of the illegal New York subway trains and his encounter with New York legend, Lee Quinones.

Cut N Sew And of course, Risk is no stranger to the clothing game since he founded the clothing label "Third Rail" way before The Wild Ones ever contemplated selling shirts! For those who haven't heard about The Wild Ones, this clothing company has taken hip hop classics like "Wild Style" and Beastie Boys' "Licensed to Ill" and film references like "The Wanderers" and applied them to t-shirts.

The Wild Ones has developed comic book style through a series of the white Mickey Mouse gloved images and extended this with the launch of its stylish comic here starring the bandana-wearing graffiti phantoms fighting with the pig cops and throwing doughnuts at them! The pig cops are a bit cliched and kinda done by Seen, but still the imagery is eternal.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Star-spotting in West Hollywood...Die Antwoord

I was out getting my phone fixed and on Third Street wandering down the street were Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er (no sign of DJ Hi-Tech) of Die Antwoord, Cape Town's export to the electro/rap world.

I was a bit in awe even though they didn't want a picture taken by the world-famous Stevio ;) They were in town for a show last night at Henry Fonda Music Box which I didn't check out. But I found this wicked little video on Amoeba's blog - and they performed a free in-store set in San Francisco too! Man, check out that video too...Dope!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

TONIGHT: Breakestra and Music Man Miles, San Francisco

If you've heard (or seen) Breakestra you'll know how funky this band is! It's worth a trip across town.

And if you're in San Fran tonight, Breakestra is playing including Afrodyete the "African Goddess of Soul & Love." Rhythm section will be held down by "funk drumming god" Pete McNeal and "turntable percussion" will be dropped by none other than Mix Master Wolf!

579 18th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Subway: 19th St. Oakland BART

Every jam is intimate and filled chock-a-block of funk and hip hop fans whether you're in London, San Fran or Los Angeles! To see one in full effect check out my (may be rare) blog footage from The Root Down in Los Angeles in the summer 2009. I got the poster off the wall at home too for my collection ;)

This Vimby video is a rare insight into Miles' creative process. How talented is this dude?!

 And don't forget to buy the recently released album by Music Man Miles' first band, "The Inclined." Available on iTunes here, this album is 15 original tracks from the band's last 1994 recording session.You know it's gonna be FUNKY!

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Saber interviewed by Frank 151

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

This video interview is part of the Frank 151 "Chapter 41" issue released this summer dedicated to the infamous The Seventh Letter graffiti crew (which can be downloaded here.)

"The Seventh Letter was founded in 2000 by the rumored leader of the infamous West Coast graffiti crews AWR MSK to act as a platform for crew members to showcase their work in the form of fine-art exhibitions, apparel, and other special projects.
The Seventh Letter is an army of artistic individuals with roots not just in graffiti, but also in fine art, tattoo, graphic design, sculpture, photography, and music. Based in Los Angeles, The Seventh Letter’s tentacles have spread around the world to cities including San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Jersey City, London, Paris, Milan, Naples, Budapest, Tokyo, Cologne, Seoul, and Bangkok.
If you live in a major metropolitan area, you’ve probably seen The Seventh Letter’s work—boldly rolled in white paint across a New York City wall, carefully worked onto a movie billboard in Australia, touring France on the side of a commuter train, or featured in a Los Angeles Gallery. Frank Book Chapter 41: The Seventh Letter features the world’s most notorious art collective, showcasing not only the crew’s art, but also the individual members’ interests and personal archives." Frank 151

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Support Blog Action Day on the 15th October

There's an important online event I'm taking part in on October 15th, called Blog Action Day. It's nothing to do with hip hop, but this is a great grassroots movement.

Each year bloggers from more than 100 countries come together and blog about a single important issue, and this year's topic is clean water. The event includes thousands of blogs - including the UK Foreign Office blog, the White House blog and The Official Google Blog - and they're looking for as many blogs to participate as possible, regardless of their size and focus.

If you want more information, check out the Blog Action Day site at

Hope to see your post on the 15th!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Graffiti icon Crash's solo show “Works of Paper 1980–2010” in New York

Last week, the graffiti artist, Crash, painted with TATS Cru "on a silhouette image of an old IRT “redbird” subway car" as a homage to the steel canvas Crash used to paint in his 80s heyday.

But, instead of the train yards, this painting event was in the East Village to celebrate a historic exhibition in a pop-up gallery called Dorian Grey Gallery created, seemingly overnight, to house a retrospective of Crash's work.

Giant Robot is dead, long live Dorian Grey Gallery (credit: EV Grieve)
30 paintings in Crash's inimitable style from the 1980s-2010 were brought together. What was unique was that these paintings were on paper - drawings and watercolors - which is unexplored in Crash's larger, more recognizable murals.

This is one (temporary) highlight for a neighborhood which has experienced its share of the economic downturn (as captured in EV Grieve's blog.) 

Two weeks to go  Dorian Grey Gallery is located at 437 East 9th Street @ Avenue A. Tel: 516-244-4126. The show runs from October 7 – 24, 2010. Gallery Hours are published as 11 am to 6 pm, Tuesday – Sunday, but please call and check.

"ABOUT CRASH: Born and still living and working in Bronx, New York, CRASH (John Matos) began his career at the early age of 13, creating dramatic murals on subway cars and dilapidated buildings that help swan the worldwide graffiti and street art movement.  As his style matured, CRASH transferred his artistic aspiration from the street to canvases and on rare occasions paper. 
Pivotal exhibitions include one-man shows at the Sidney Janis Gallery and Martin Lawrence Modern. Since then, his work has been included in the permanent collection of contemporary art institutions including MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, as well as numerous private collections worldwide. 
In 1996, Matos painted a signature Fender Stratocaster guitar as a gift for Eric Clapton which has led to a partnership with the guitar maker to create a limited edition of “Crashocaster” guitars. The artist also currently creates custom art guitars for John Mayer." Dorian Grey Gallery

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Nick Walker: In Gods We Trust new show in London

Nick Walker, the graffiti artist turned stencilist, is one of my old skool homies who shares my love of hip hop. And he's opening his latest exhibition, "In Gods We Trust" (a pun on the wording on the mighty dollar bill,) in London this Wednesday.

Art Sensus Gallery in Victoria, central London is exhibiting Nick's solo work that focuses on two subjects guaranteed to kill any dinner party vibe...religion and politics!

Anyone who's seen Nick's work will know what to expect: some titillation, cheekiness and a peek into Nick's sometimes perverse mind. ;) For those who haven't check this video production of work painted in Paris' Quai De Valmy in the spring 2010.

The show opens to the public on Wednesday 13th of October and runs until 17th of November. The private view will be ram jam, so RSVP and get there early. Email your details to

At the show, Nick Walker will be releasing a limited print (when is it ever unlimited?!) of the 'Le Corancan' painting featured in the video above. Do you get it" Koran x Can Can? You can find out more info from Helium Foundation on + 44 (0)20 7404 7667

Love it or hate? You can see more of Nick's work here at Helium Foundation, the London-based, lady-run print house that represents the who's who of the urban art world. What does the media think of Le Coranan? I saw a little post on Superfuture.

paris: le corancan

"brit artist nick walker put up this intriguing, if not slightly controversial, wall painting in paris earlier this week. dubbed le corancan, it’s a visual amalgamation of the islamic veil and french 19th-century dance, the can can. the wall painting is a pre-taster of the i love america group show in which the artist participates, held next may at studio 55. wall painting location: quai de valmy [canal st.-martin]." Superfuture

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

B-Boy Summit - Day 3 crew battles

Last Sunday was an ill fest! The b-boys battled hard round after round in Hollywood in the first ever B-Boy Summit Mighty Zulu Kings' "Color Warz Battle" where the losers were not only knocked out of the competition, but had to forfeit their crew colors!

 There were eight crews battling for supremacy: Renegades (CA),  Kadetes del Toke (Mexico), Raw Muzzle (Italy), LA Breakers (CA), Bits N Pieces (CA), Killafornia (CA), Battle Born (NV) and Furious Styles (AZ). Read on to see who got to the final round. 

A winning crew member collecting the shirt of their opponent!
 Presiding over the battles were Asia One and Alien Ness. The tough task of judging was down to Technyc, Skill Methodz crew, DJ Lean Rock (Floor Lords) and Easy Roc (Rock Steady Crew.) You decide if the judges got it right!

EasyRoc (RSC) and Asia One (No Easy Props)

Mighty Zulu Kingz' Color Warz
Battle #1:  Renegades (CA) vs.  Kadetes del Toke (Mexico)
Watch this for some nasty dancing with a touch of attitude. Did the best crew win? Like Alien Ness said..."they're up and coming." That's why he personally invited them to this event.

Battle #2: Raw Muzzle (Italy) vs. LA Breakers (CA)
Old skool breakers from LA battle the new-comers from Italy.

Battle #3: Bits N Pieces (CA) vs. Killafornia (CA)

Battle #4: Battle Born (NV) vs. Furious Styles (AZ)


Finals: Battle Born (NV) vs. Renegades (CA)

Popping competition
Finals: Breeze Lee vs. Marie Poppins

"IF you were there, you saw and felt how it went down on Sunday!!
It was the battle and performance day! Def got it all in there! Took em to church! We set it off with She Got Game (Australia) with a dynamic Bgirl Panel, and straight into the 2vs2 battles. The competition was fierce! I had my $ on Bonita and Feenix or Loose Ill and Ill Boogie but when I saw the silver bullet that was Eri and her partner Yama P, The Twisted Sisters (Japan), I knew it was on! Def some hot contenders, a very high level showcase of competitors for all the battles throughout the weekend! Popping beef brought that gangsta element out of all the Funk Styles Competitors! New editions this year are Waacking and House!
After the Mighty Zulu Kingz 1st ever Color Warz Battle with Battle Born and Renegades the final 2. We presented the Bboy Summit Theatre Experience with Syrenz, X-Mob, Midnight, H.E.R., Boogie Frantic, and Jungle Jills as the top highlights. Finished it off with the Finals, and awards ceremony, gave grace! Lots of OG's in the house, as Summit tradition has it, Jazzy Jay and J Rock had squared off against Slick Dogg and protégée Tempo, Slim the Robot, Toni Basil, Lollipop, Animation, OG Skeeter Rabbit, and LA Bopin Dre were all in da house! Great music spun by Ervin, Renato, DJane, Kaistar, Larry Laza and Rod. Had some really good feedback about the entire event. Overall the event was a success! Please check out the all-new Summit site and leave your favorite Summit memory/experience!" Asia One, B-Boy Summit

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

You have to get the DJ Dusk Root Down Sound Clash DVD

Since I'm late discovering Mochilla's work, I know there are others who don't know about this duo so I thought it was only right to mention the ill "DJ Dusk's Root Down Soundclash" DVD.

You've probably heard of The Rootdown club in Los Angeles which was founded by Music Man Miles of Breakestra fame which regularly hosted funky parties. Back in 2001, a few years before I moved to the city, The Rootdown put on the first of a three-series DJ battle: Madlib vs. Cut Chemist. The second battle had Will.I.Am vs. Thes One, with Oh No vs. Exile in the finale. Luckily Mochilla were there to put these historic hip hop moments to video and now the DVD is available to buy here.

Read a great interview about the Soundclash here at the awesome LA Record magazine as well as the idea of documentation and how the Smithonian Museum should acquire the archives of certain hip hop DJs!

"In 2001 Los Angeles club, The Root Down put on their first of a three part series called “Sound Clash”. It featured Madlib and Cut Chemist going head to head, beat for beat for respect in front of a packed club. Each of the tracks had never been released. Each of the three rounds saw the excitement rise. The last round unleashed a partisan celebration from the captivated crowd. It was a beautiful underground hip hop moment.
Mochilla founders, Coleman and B+, went to the first round with their Sony PC100 single chip prosumer cameras with intentions of trying out their, then, new toys. “It wasn’t until afterwards that we put both cameras on the floor, rewound the tapes and played them in sync that we realized we might have something.”

Approximately a year later, the Root Down organized the second battle. Round Two featured Will. I. Am and Thes One. Both Mochilla founders duly attended with the aforementioned cameras and caught the entire nights proceedings again. The drama and controversy of Round Two with huge aesthetic differences on display as well as the theatrics of clothes being taken off and ludicrous names made the night a talking point in Los Angeles to this day in beatmaker circles. And Will I Am wasn’t a multi-platinum artist yet!

The last battle featured Oh No and Exile in 2003. With a relatively dignified display by the youngest pairing of the three, they closed the series with good music and much respect. 
Mochilla never intended to release this DVD. However, since the tragic passing of DJ Dusk they felt it was important to honor his legacy and share his gifts. This is for him, no edits, no overdubs, no interruptions just raw hip hop at its most exciting, vital and real. " Mochilla

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

B-Boy Summit - Day 2

Asia One and No Easy Props held the open-air day of the B-Boy Summit in Los Angeles' Pershing Square yesterday. It was great to see the City allow this community hip hop event happen in downtown LA with very little LAPD police visibility.

B-Boy Summit always has a great vibe and family feeling. Everyone participates and shows repect. I'm looking forward to seeing the battles happening at the all-day event at the Avalon club later today.

B-Boy Summit, Day 2 @ Pershing Square, Los Angeles
Funny Bones Crew, California
Asia 1, organizer & B-Girl

Zulu Kingz, group shot

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