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.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Insa's return of the Swap Shop

Insa's lastest art project is inspired by the ground-breaking '70's BBC TV show, Swap Shop! Check out the video clip from 1981...Adam's comments on the music biz sound like they could've been uttered yesterday!

BBC's Swap Shop 1976-82

Here is the deal:
Insa has 20 of these rare t-shirts, never available in stores to giveaway.
Insa will swap one shirt per person.
Insa will consider swaps for anything you would like to offer!
Insa will NOT accept money!
You have until the 20th March 2011 to email in your offers. Email here.

Then Insa will pick his 20 favourite swaps and they will get a shirt in exchange for their offered item.


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Friday, March 11, 2011

Normski...UK old school hip hop royalty

UK b-boys

If you were in the UK around the late '80s and '90s you know Normski, aka Norman Anderson, is! I knew him as the hip hop photographer and first worked with him for the Victoria & Albert Museum "Street Style" exhibition in 1994.

His photos captured the burgeoning UK hip hop scene and the first wave of touring US mega rap acts (Beastie Boys, L.L. Cool J., Run DMC, Public Enemy.) Read more in this Vice Magazine article.

Tonight, Normski has a one night show at east London's hip The Book Club. Old school heads will be treated to a selection of his '90's photos and a DJ set covering 90’s house, hip hop, Brit pop, indie, techno and club classics. UK stylee!

Public Enemy


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chuck D still hittin' hard...Arizona!

A Los Angeles-based collective has created a politically motivated canvas with rap hard hitter, Chuck D, of Public Enemy.

"By the Time I Got to Arizona"

What's up? The Arizona immigration law that kicked in in 2010 sent huge waves through the country and the world. The "problem" is that America is home to over 22 million illegal immigrants and the majority are of Hispanic origin. Although many states bordering Mexico have dealt with the immigrants, Arizona was the first to actually take a stand! There are a lot of blogs on the's just one on the pros and cons. (It was the first one that popped up on Google...I have political axe to grind!)

SceneFour is a creative branding agency that's been releasing music inspired artwork for a little while now - think RZA, Bootsy Collins and now Chuck D! Only 300 canvases (I guess digital prints) are signed and numbered by Chuck D....yours for only $500. A bit steep considering it looks like a high end signed poster print, but there are lots of payment plan options for real fans!

After a little bit of digging I realized there's a close partnership with hip hop legends Sway and King Tech and their art project, "When Art Imitates Life." It seems that SceneFour's high aesthetic and Sway and Tech legit hip hop roots results in these quality artwork releases.

 Check out the lyrics of the "...Arizona" below - waaaay ahead of its time!

"I'm countin' down to the day deservin'
Fittin' for a king
I'm waitin' for the time when I can
Get to Arizona
'Cause my money's spent on
The goddamn rent
Neither party is mine not the
Jackass or the elephant
20.000 nig niggy nigas in the corner
Of the cell block but they come
From California
Population none in the desert and sun
Wit' a gun cracker
Runnin' things under his thumb
Starin' hard at the postcards
Isn't it odd and unique?
Seein' people smile wild in the heat
120 degree
'Cause I wanna be free
What's a smilin' fact
When the whole state's racist
Why want a holiday F--k it 'cause I wanna
So what if I celebrate it standin' on a corner
I ain't drinkin' no 40
I B thinkin' time wit' a nine
Until we get some land
Call me the trigger man
Looki lookin' for the governor
Huh he ain't lovin' ya
But here to trouble ya
He's rubbin' ya wrong
Get the point come along

An he can get to the joint
I urinated on the state
While I was kickin' this song
Yeah, he appear to be fair
The cracker over there
He try to keep it yesteryear
The good ol' days
The same ol' ways
That kept us dyin'
Yes, you me myself and I'ndeed
What he need is a nosebleed
Read between the lines
Then you see the lie
Politically planned
But understand that's all she wrote
When we see the real side
That hide behind the vote
They can't understand why he the man
I'm singin' 'bout a king
They don't like it
When I decide to mike it
Wait I'm waitin' for the date
For the man who demands respect
'Cause he was great c'mon
I'm on the one mission
To get a politician
To honor or he's a gonner
By the time I get to Arizona

I got 25 days to do it
If a wall in the sky
Just watch me go thru it
'Cause I gotta do what I gotta do
PE number one
Gets the job done
When it's done and over
Was because I drove'er
Thru all the static
Not stick but automatic
That's the way it is
He gotta get his
Talin' MLK
Gonna find a way
Make the state pay
Lookin' for the day
Hard as it seems
This ain't no damn dream
Gotta know what I mean
It's team against team
Catch the light beam
So I pray
I pray everyday
I do and praise jah the maker
Lookin' for culture
I got but not here
From jah maker
Pushin' and shakin' the structure
Bringin' down the babylon
Hearin' the sucker
That make it hard for the brown
The hard Boulova
I need now
More than ever now
Who's sittin' on my freedah'
Opressor people beater
Piece of the pick
We picked a piece
Of land that we deservin' now
Reparation a piece of the nation
And damn he got the nerve
Another niga they say and classify
We want too much
My peep plus the whole nine is mine
Don't think I even double dutch
Here's a brother my attitude hit 'em
Hang 'em high
Blowin' up the 90s started tickin' 86
When the blind get a mind
Better start and earn while we sing it
There will be the day we know those down and who will go
." Public Enemy

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Wikileaks of the rap world

Everyone loves some gossip! But, imagine having 40 years' of untold gossip about your favorite rap artists at your fingertips?! We're talking about 50 Cent, Run-DMC, Jay Z and more!

Wikileaks of rap Author and rap insider, Dan Charnas, has revealed the inside track on the hip hop world in his highly acclaimed book, "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,"  that's currently ranking #4 in music business books at Amazon. As I write this blog I realize that I missed his L.A. book tour last week?! Major downer!

But, before we listen to another self-proclaimed hip hip insider, who is Dan Charnas? Unless you're an industry person you may have never heard of him. It's not like Charnas was an executive in the public eye like Bill Alder or quoted on rap records like Lyor Cohen. No, instead Charnas was making deals to get rap accepted by the mainstream media and America as a whole! He started working at Profile Records (home to rap superstars Run-DMC,) began writing for 'The Source' rap magazine and eventually became VP of Hip-Hop A&R for Rick Rubin’s Def American Recordings.

Check out the rolling slideshow of the top 25 (back) stories as told by Charnas for Complex Magazine. With 25 stories!? you know this book is major. Some of the tales are well-known to rap fans (how adidas came to sponsor Run-DMC)  and others are a bit obscure even for the keenest 'trainspotter.' Click here for the down low!

"What I wanted to accomplish with 'The Big Payback' was the very first business history of  hip hop. How did this obscure street culture from the ghettos of 1970s became the world's predominent pop culture and a multi-billion dollar business. You can't answer that question by just looking at the artist, you have to look at the people who work behind the artist who turn the artist in stars, the business people.
Over the course of four years I interviewed more than 300 people: record execs, entrepreneurs, artists, managers, producers, DJs, journalists all of whom shared a fund belief that hip hop could be as big, if not bigger, than any American culture that proceeded it, whether it be rock and roll or jazz. 
It's because of these people that we know the names of arts like Jay Z, Eminem, Lil' Wayne, Tupac and Biggie. Some of these people did it for the love of the culture, some of these people for the love of money...whatever their motivation what these people actually accomplished was not just the transformation of music, but the transformation of American socierty as a whole. Ultimately, I think resulted in the election of the first black President." Dan Charnas

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