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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

"A Shirt Called Scenario," Enstrumental, made-to-order teeshirt

Digital Gravel, one of my favorite hype e-tailers brought some new gear this weekend. A limited run, special order hip hop tribute t-shirt.

Jumping on the Undercrown NBA apparel bandwagon is hip hop clothing company, Enstrumental. This Chicago-based company brings us six cartoon caricature characters in their new t-shirt called, "A Shirt Called Scenario." If you didn't get it this is a tribute to the 1992 Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School posse rap classic, "Scenario."  I loved the remix too...check out the video after the jump.

Try to spot 'em Can you name the whole crew? Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Phife Dawg, Dinco D, Busta Rhymes and Charlie Brown!

"Full of dope little details like ATCQ's marauder-inspired jerseys, the golden mic with '92' on it, Tribe's stick figure man in the lower left-hand logo, and a nice little 'Native Tongues' reference in the lower right. The back print locks everything up super nice with a listing of the groups and their members as well as the necessary quote, 'Here We Go Yo'." Digital Gravel

Digital Gravel says this t-shirt is a special edition run that will only be produced to order. Ordering will end on July 1, and the tees will start shipping by July 8th.

Psst: If you miss it, then Estrumental have some of these shirts online too...but they will sell out!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LA's Low End Theory club...roadblock

Last Wednesday, Mary Anne Hobbs, ex-BBC Radio 1 DJ and Ted speaker, came to Los Angeles as a guest DJ. She was on the billing at Low End Theory, the bass-driven, dub-step loving, low-tempo club that has sparked a worldwide revival in head-nodding!

Residents of Low End Theory read like a who's who of the scene: Daddy Kev, The Gaslamp Killer, Nobody, D-Styles and MC Nocando. Read more about the club (affectionately named after the seminal Tribe Called Quest album of the same name) at the LA Times.

Roadblock and U-turn  Little did I know that arriving 45 mins after the doors opened was a sure way to wait in line behind 100 clubgoers! And the club doesn't look that big! Should I have known? Well, school is out, Mary Anne Hobbs is a fave of this scene  and may be EPROM, the other headliner, is big too. What I do know is that I didn't wait in line. Instead I returned home and downloaded the podcasts to enjoy in the comfort of my "yard."

Moral of the story  You can't sleep when you're trying to outpace 100 tweeting youngsters. Get connected! ;) And check out those podcasts...there are 20+ of them, including Mary Anne Hobbs.


  • Low End Theory radio:  Check out this Last FM radio channel dedicated to the resident DJs and various artists who have featured at Low End Theory over the years.  
  • Low End Theory podcasts: download the podcasts (I recommend iTunes)

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Kobra hits LA Brea's graffiti mural wall

Mount Rushmore got the Brazilian Kobra treatment this weekend in Los Angeles.

You may have seen this Sao Paolo-based artist's harlequin patterns and rainbow colors popping up across the web. He seems to be going global with his photo-realistic mirages.

Paint by numbers  His approach is very scientific, as he marks out geometric patterns on his sketch. Then he recreates it in a large scale by marking out his numerical grid and painstakenly painting each cell, in a seemingly random order, with an airbrush. Refilling from paints mixed in Coke bottles as he goes.

"My work nowadays is based on the use of old images of the cities I am painting. I visit museums, check the books and from there I come up with some images from the 20s or the 30s that show the architecture of the city. The idea of the murals is to recreate a city that no longer exists, do people who didn't live in that time can see it and those who did live back then can have a moment of memory or nostalgia." Eduardo Kobra interview,
Tools of the trade  His toolkit includes a hydraulic platform tower, a couple of ladders, an air compressor, an airbrush, some aerosol cans, brushes and loads of time. Of course he doesn't paint alone, that's why his biz card says Studio Kobra. Kobra's crew said they are in town till the beginning of July. Hopefully Kobra paints some more murals in LA.

Here's the video interview *with subtitles*

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

David Choe tribute to beaten Chinese kid

David Choe tribute to Chinese kid beaten by teens, 2012

On plain sight, this graffiti mural of a young man facing the wall looks innocent enough. At best, it could be a series of characters that might pop up across cities begging the question "what does it mean?"

But celebrated (graffiti) artist, David Choe, is highlighting something far more significant. The hidden, but common, act of bullying led by teens. Only this month, the case of the 68-year old grandma who was set upon by three teenage boys on a school bus was widely reported. (So much so that a vacation fund in her name raised $500,000 from outraged citizens.)

This Choe graffiti tribute is for another victim who may not get such a public outpouring. A Chinese foreign student teen from the Chicago suburb of Bridgport who was beaten by a gang of teens and then robbed of his wallet and shoes - which were used to beat him. Luckily, he escaped by running through the snow, nearly barefoot. See Choe's mural featuring the kid's barefeet!

"My tribute to all the [fresh off the boat] dressed oriental kids who never take off their heavy backpacks even when they're getting their faces kicked in." David Choe

And now back to the studio  This CBS2 News report below shows some of the cowardly acts.

Here's some propoganda for you: CBS2 News reported, "...police say it was not a racially motivated crime, but in retaliation for a fight a few months back..." Oh really?!

This is the three-minute video that inspired Choe to paint his tribute. It's disturbing. And this is the latest report on the arrest and charging of seven teens, including a girl?!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Keys and Krates...old but new

Some Friday funkiness for you...

Remember Keys N Krates's Remix 101? I'd forgotten about the 5-star rating I gave that mixtape in iTunes. Only after perusing Candice Pitchblend's PR website did I rediscover the innovative band.

Pitchblend represented the band's "Remix 101" push back in 2009 and it seems Keys and Krates have been banging it out since before 2008! If I had to describe them, I would have to say it's a bit of The Roots hip hop band and sprinkle of Breakestra. And may be a nod to Portishead too. It's not the same, but I don't think there would be a Keys and Krates without these seminal live bands.

Time to catch up... Check out the Keys N Krates YouTube channel for fresh performances!

This Talib Kweli remix of "Get By" is the essence of Keys and Krates

Download Grab some dope freshness here.

Here's some reference material...

The Roots



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

LA's West Coast Artist group show

Mirror Gallery, 2012

When I first arrived in Los Angeles I noticed some graffiti crew affiliations clearly marked in the graffiti stronghold of Melrose Avenue alleys.

They would read "CBS," "Seventh Letter"...but I didn't realize how many of my favorite artists were down with West Coast Artists, aka WCA...Cartoon, Cre8, Make, Mear, Kofie, Retna.

Once exception is Risk. At his Robert Bergman show in 2008 he dedicated one whole wall to his history with West Coast Artists crew, including the world graffiti championship trophy won in Bridlington, England in 1989! If you ever see Inkie from the UK - go ask him about that battle.

Risk solo show, Robert Bergman Gallery, 2008

Last Saturday's group show at The Mirror Films Gallery showed how strong the crew's ties are. Read this LA Weekly blog for a short, but interesting read up on the crew and the show.

For great info on the artists featured in the show check out Mirror's store. You can also see if anyone has bid for your favorite pieces...$10,000 for a Risk mixed media installation, anyone?

Snap, snap  Here are a selection of pictures I took from the opening night of the WCA show in Chinatown (which has had an injection of cool recently!)

West Coast Artists group show runs until July 10th, 2012.

Mirror Gallery, 963 Chung King Road, Chinatown.
Open Mon-Fri noon to 6 p.m., or by appointment

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hip hop on London

Google+ is rising in hip hop. It has joined forces with think tank, Intelligence², for "the first ever global debate on hip-hop." It's being held at London's Barbican in one week on June 26th.  Best of all, we can watch live on YouTube and vote online!

But, one quick Stevio correction - it seems to be rap music, not the entire hip hop culture, that is being debated. I hope the experts understand the difference. It seems the whole event has started on the wrong footing!

What's being debated?:
"Is hip-hop the authentic voice of the oppressed that turns anger into poetry and political action? Or is it a glorification of all that holds back oppressed minorities and hinders them from mainstream assimilation?"

For the defense  Defending hip hop will be artists KRS-One from the mighty Boogie Down Productions and ?uestlove of The Roots. Joining them in the trenches are US "hip-hop intellectuals"...take a breathe, there's a long list here!
  • Touré (author, writer and TV host)
  • Michael Eric Dyson (prof. of Sociology at Georgetown University and author of 'Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture' and 'Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic')
  • Tricia Rose (prof. of Africana Studies at Brown University - see her lecture below - and author of 'The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters' and 'Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America') and
  • dream hampton (author of 'Decoded, Jay-Z' and co-author ' Industry Rules: The World According to Q-Tip, from Linden Blvd. to El Segundo and Beyond' and  director of 'Notorious B.I.G.: Bigger Than Life.')
If that isn't enough, Intelligence² is also adding civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson, to the mix.

Class is in session  Check this Tricia Rose lecture.

For the prosecution UK's Shaun Bailey, Conservative party leader, David Cameron's adviser on youth and crime,  and Hattie Collins, music editor of i-D magazine. They will be joined by a shorted list of people, including America's leading political satirist P. J. O'Rourke who will be joining via Google+ Hangout from New Hampshire. Have they heard of rap there?! ;)
"In our new quick-fire courtroom format, there'll be two brilliant advocates grilling our panel of hip-hop fans and critics and building a case either for or against the motion. Hip-hop is a state of mind, an attitude of defiance that has been adopted by the oppressed all over the world. But does it help or hinder society?" Intelligence² website

More about  Intelligence²
Online, is a hub for all of the best online content including video, audio and written debates. All new events are posted free to watch on YouTube and free to listen to on SoundCloud.

Hip-hop on trial: Hip-hop doesn't enhance society, it degrades it

Tuesday June 26th, 2012, Barbican Centre, London.
The debate will begin at 7pm BST.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Round Up: Inkie US Tour

After the BritWeek art event in LA in May, Inkie went on to visit San Francisco and New York to paint some wildstyle!
Check out these pictures from his Facebook page...awesome!
Roll Call:
  • San Francisco: 54 Crew, SF OG Cuba, K2, DNO, Spic, Seso in the Mission district
  • New York: Tats Cru (Nicer, Bio) in the Boogie Down and 5 Pointz Hall of Fame
Mission, San Francisco (credit: Inkie)

5 Pointz, Long Island City (credit: Inkie)

Inkie painting with Bio and Nicer, Tats Cru (credit: Harriet Turney)

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grandmaster Flash in front of 40,000 Bestival goers!

This interview was just published on Grandmaster Flash's YouTube channel. It was recorded just after he partied with the 40,000 Bestival goers on the main stage. BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank is behind this annual music festival and he invited Flash onto his show last return Flash dropped 5 mixes for our listening pleasure! Go check out Flash's musical dexterity here.

Did you know? According to the video, Grandmaster Flash has won 30 international awards and plays up to 100 gigs a year?! I didn't.

I do know that he was enrolled into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 2007! That is BIG. And it's even better that he and most of the Furious 5 were still alive to celebrate. RIP Cowboy.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

RIP Wayne Roberts aka Stay High 149

Stay High 149 for Scion Installation 2004/5

The sad news of old skool writer, Stay High 149, passing away hit the Interweb this week.

I met him once and still remember his energy. Now, the New York City metro map he tagged with a smoking Saintly figure will be a poignant reminder of his Los Angeles visit in 2005.

As Patti Astor said "A leader in the game. I'm glad he got a chance to get his book out, no one will forget Stay High." You can check his book out on Ginko Press here.

Excerpt from Puma's Clyde 01 tribute book 2005

This video is an amazing lesson in graffiti history...this is why we're mourning Stay High 149!

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BritWeek: Eine and Inkie fly the Union Jack in LA (May 2012)

It took place last month, but it's still worth sharing these images of the painting action between LA and UK graffiti artists.

Mear One painting (credit: WeAreLovelyCreative)

 The "paint off" in downtown LA's at the Continental Gallery was part of the on-going British culture push to raise awareness of the Olympic Games this summer in London (and the recent HRH The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.) But what was special was this was PR event were the artists taking part: in the red corner was LA's Mear One and Man One (of Crewest Gallery) were painting live; and in the blue corner were UK's Eine (the man with the store shutter lettering and "Art in the Streets" credit) and man about town, Inkie, flexing their skills.

Inkie (UK) tags a fan's shirt

Eine (UK) paints a version of his "Worth More Than a Scion"

Mear One, Man One, Eine and Inkie painted on Jaguar carhoods (one of the sponsors) and recycled furniture pieces designed by Christopher Guy. I didn't stay for the judges winning votes, but the live painting experience from Mear One would've had my unanimous vote. Sorry UK! :)

Man One painting

Mear One live brush action

Check out more photos of the night here....

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Graffiti legends Chrome Angelz come back to burn!

Get excited London! The Chrome Angelz (TCA), dubbed "Europe’s most influential graffiti crew," are back for a reunion gallery show at The Outsiders London later this month for four weeks.

"Drastic," The Chrome Angelz, Covent Garden, London c.1985 (credit: DJ Food/Strictly Kev)

The Chrome Angelz's crew - Mode 2 (London/Paris,) Scribla, Zaki Dee (London,) Pride (London) and Bando (Paris) - influence spanned London, Paris and New York. Recognized as Europe's graffiti tour de force helped earn it commissions like the highly visible London Covent Garden walls and the BBC Lenny Henry TV show. Catch up with their history on this Facebook group page.

The Outsiders London show put on by Lazarides will showcase new works of paintings, drawings and sculptures and for old skool fans like me, a large selection of photographs and pieces from TCA's archive. This will be the most complete and comprehensive exhibition of TCA's short, but influential history.

"This [show] allows us to reflect on how our creative paths have diverged, and come together again," TCA founding member, Pride, says of the Outsiders show.

Chrome Angelz c.1985 (credit: Mode 2 / The Outsiders)

Bando, Jubilee Hall, Covent Garden, London 1985 (credit: The Outsiders)

Appetizer  As a taster, DJ Food (aka Strictly Kev) has gathered a great selection of photos of TCA pieces. For some video clips check below. Those pics from the seminal hip hop jam, Freestyle '85, brought back memories. I remember traveling from Bristol to see b-boys and DJs from around the country. The Rocking the City blog has an amazing selection of videos and pics from that era too.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

The private view will take place from 6pm to 9pm (BST) on 14th June at the Outsiders London. RSVP to to be included on the guest list.

You don't have to wait to buy some legendary pieces as TCA member, Mode 2, is repped by Lazarides and has some original works online here. Although, my favorite selection of prints is at Pictures on Walls.

The Chrome Angelz Show dates: 15 June – 14 July 2012
Private View: 7 June 2012

The Outsiders London
8 Greek St
+44 203 214 0055

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