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, November 24, 2012

Giftin' #1: Rappers spit lyrics, then pen a book

As Christmas approaches, hip hop fans can add a book by their favorite rapper to the Santa gift list. This is the #1 gift list post for all (old skool) hip hop fans.

Jay-Z...Prodigy...Common...Ice-T...50 Cent...The RZA...

An article I read in n+1 magazine explains why your favorite rappers were motivated to write a coffee table book. In summary, supply and demand: Rap legends are hitting their forties and are nostalgic for their prime years. Writing a book about their lives fulfills this need and creates the supply; and fans are lining up to buy these books as they themselves reminisce about their twenties too!

"The recent spate of autobiographical activity...just testifies to the fact that a certain generation is getting on. Consider some of the recent rapper-authors: Prodigy was born in 1974, Common in 1972, Jay-Z and the RZA of the Wu-tang Clan in 1969. All were adolescents in the eighties, during the great social transformations wrought by crack, and all went on to contribute to one of hip hop’s most competitive and beloved micro-periods, the mid to late nineties. It’s likely that the books stem partly from an underlying nostalgia for this time, when rap—gangster or conscious, mainstream or independent—seemed less splintered than it is now, more part of a single vibrant conversation. (And also that a group of 30 and 40 year olds, much like their readers, are nostalgic for their twenties.)" James Guida, n+1 

Précis that  If you don't have time to read these autobiographies, Guida gives you the dope in 3,400 words. His article breaks down what each book has to offer. You have the gangster-turned-rapper - we've all heard and loved that story. There's the one about the rapper-turned-actor/celebrity/visitor-to-the-White-House - that one may appeal to you.

In the end, Guida summizes that there isn't one face of hip hop - it's represented in so many difficult ways depending on the artist. And the purpose of writing these autobiographies isn't about gaining kudos and notching up another milestone, but about explaining how success only comes with hard work and overcoming struggles "with fickle industry, family (all had absentee fathers), the barriers of racism and poverty."

Never heard of n+1? It isn't another hip hop culture blog, it's a nearly decade old print publication covering politics, literature, and culture. That's how influential hip hop has become!

Other articles on rap books
Open City Magazine, October 2012
All Hip August 2009
Old School Hip 2006? 

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

B-Boy Summit 2012 - better late, than never summary!

Three weekends ago (October 19-21) the long-running "B-Boy Summit" kicked off in Los Angeles for a three-day all-ages celebration of hip hop dance: b-boy, popping, locking...extravaganza organized by Asia One!

These events take a lot of planning so I went to support. The Summit has been around since the 90s, but over time other events have crowded the scene. This is an original with the culture and community at its heart. If only the commercial sponsors would recognize that instead of taking over the agenda.

Friday night was the kick-off party in North Hollywood. Saturday was the park jam downtown and the battle sessions were held on Sunday at the Avalon in Hollywood central. Here are a selection of the Friday night basement pics.

On Sunday, a new battle format was introduced. The "Pros 2 Protégés" battle couples made up of a Pro (teacher) and Protégé (student) which really sums up the community of hip hop. This year, I missed the sizzle in early rounds of the battle rounds. I still remember the b-boy battles in 2010 between crews like Killfornia, Furious Styles and Renegades. That was heat! However, it was good to see Rock Steady Crew President, Crazy Legs, way out here on the West Coast. He even jumped up on stage to judge a battle.

The b-boy and popping crew battles were broken up between the stage and dance floor, which meant there wasn't a single prime spot to catch all the action. May be good, may be less so as I had to move around. :)

Here's a selection of the rocking! Too much to follow and I had to run to the airport for a 9pm flight Sunday night. Thanks to Asia One and all involved (Mario.) See you next time!

Pop/Locking: Marie Poppins & Pandora vs. Snap Boogie and Chuco

B-Boying: Casper & Prada-G vs. Jules & Eddie Burns

For a dope selection of b-boy videos check out Arizona's Crystyle YouTube channel - She has over 150 videos posted in less than 2 years! That's crazy hip hop love!

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Universal Zulu Nation 39th Anniversary - NYC

Despite Hurricane Sandy and Northeaster (Nor'Easter), the Universal Zulu Nation are celebrating 39 years of "Peace, Love and Having Fun!"

Together forever the event also marks the 38th celebration of hip hop culture. Huge!

For the latest event news and location information please check out Tools of War's Facebook page. Here's a summary of this hip hop weekend:

Friday 9th 
Gramacy Theater 8pm-4am (Check out the tickets here.)
Electro Funkin Breakz! . Feat. Tc Izlam, Afrika Baby Bam, Soul Slinger, DJ JJ Frost, DJ Nigel Richards, DJ ICue, DJ Power, S.T.R.A.F.E., Newcleus, Cozmo D, Mc Globe, Freedom Williams, MC T.R.A.C. Jamal Jamalski Mitchell, MC Supa, K-Swift, Myzeyesis, DJ Odyssey, DJ Paul-C, DJ Vandal, DJ Wally Pish Posh, DJ Odi, SOUL SONIC FORCE and more! Co-Hosts: MC GLOBE & Freedom Williams

Saturday 10th
Buckwick 12pm-7pm
There will be various M.C. performances, D.J. sets, graffiti art showcases, dancing, workshops, arts and crafts, food/drinks and more! FREE entry for all and open for all ages.
Gramacy Theater 8pm-4am (Check out the tickets here.)
Feat. Young Guru, Kool DJ Red Alert, GrandWizzard Theodore, DJ Tony Tone, El Da Sensei, King Russ, Samsunn and DJ Ayce International, Tone Trump, Peaceful Order of Warriors and more. 

Sunday 12th  
National Black Theater 2-7pm
MEETING OF THE MINDS @ the National Black Theater 2031 5th Ave Harlem between 125 & 126 St. NYC. Free to all but donations are most welcome!

S.O.B.s 8pm doors
D.J.s Jazzy Jay, Johnny Juice, Rockin' Rob, Chuck City, Peril (Uzn Australia) Lady Love, Mel Starr, Chuck Chillout, Rich Medina plus performances by The Crash Crew, Son of Berzerk, Tricky T, Black U.N, Queen Bleu Nile, M-7 Rayvon and Johnny-Wa Boogie Boys, Sequence, Donald D, Quintescence, Santa, Zieme, Yungstar 6/3, MC Stik-E. Co-Hosts: GrandMaster Caz & Baron Ambrosia.

Poppa Large!  Here's a dope moment from last year's event. Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic M.C.s) and D.J. Marley Marl (Cold Chillin'.)

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B-Boy Summit gets Fox 11 News love

Thursday night was b-boy night on L.A.'s Fox 11 News.

Apart from the cliched Venice graffiti walls backdrop this was a great community news piece by Heidi Cuda that gave respect to the b-boy culture and the message of the Universal Zulu Nation: "Peace, Love and Having Fun!"

"The thing about b-boying and b-girling is the cultural part of hip hop. The culture of respect...diversity...knowledge of yourself and people." Asia One, B-Boy Summit co-founder

Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic

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Monday, November 05, 2012

DJ Jazzy Jay (Zulu Nation) comes to L.A. courtesy of Pioneer

Thursdays are for happy hours. But, if you were near Los Angeles' Guitar Center on the world famous Sunset Blvd. this past week it was old skool hip hop night!

D.J. Jazzy Jay (Def Jam Records, Jazzy 5 M.C.s, Zulu Nation) was in CA demonstrating his deejaying skills on the new Pioneer Serato DDJ SX. Yes, it was an all digital, all MP3s D.J. set, but there was no lack of old skool hip hop flavor in the playlist selection. 

Here's my video clip of Jazzy Jay spinning classic tunes: Treacherous 3 M.C.s'" New Rap Language" (first released on Enjoy Records in 1980;) Marvin Gaye's T-Plays it Cool (released in 1972 on Tamla) and the b-boy anthem, Take me to the Mardi Gras (released in 1975 on CTI,) as featured in Wild Style! 

KRS One got down on some freestyle to hype up the night! Percee P was in the hizouse! And luckily, Guitar Center also sold one of those Pioneer DDJ-SX units that night. :)

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