Thursday, December 08, 2005
It was a crazy interview session goin' off that day on the streets of the South Bronx. We had J Gutta, Un, and Buddha Bride on the corner droppin' tons of knowledge that day on all subjects from gang violence, the history of Hip-Hop to life in the inside as well as on the outside of the incarceration system. In this clip, Hip-Hop Artist: Buddha Bride, spits a serious freesyle with mad flow.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Click Here to View Video.
Un and Hip-Hop Artists: J Gutta and Buddha Bride are back on the corner in the South Bronx. This time they are talking about the state of Hip-Hop and how the community doesn't support the pioneers. It's a great discussion that covers some of the history of the music and kids today as well as people such as Flava' Flav and his stint on "The Surreal Life".
Friday, December 02, 2005
This short excerpt from a much longer interview gives some solid insight into life on the street, growing up in incarceration and what the street can be like. Hip-Hop Artists, J Gutta and Buddha Bride along with Un share their feelings on real life experiences and what life can be like. This interview was shot in the South Bronx during the latter part of the summer of 2005.
Monday, November 28, 2005
We're back on the grind again after a Thanksgiving day break from the vlog. This time I'm bringing you one of the Legends of NYC Graffiti Writers:BURN1. During this interview BURN gives his story as to how he became a Graf Writer, the origins of his name as well as touching on his days as an UpRocker. This interview was shot during the "Old School Day" event at 5 Pointz Graffiti Museum here in NYC. This is an excerpt from a much longer section to be a part of SKILLZ DVD Magazine, a project that I have been very passionate about since we began it.
Don't be shy. Go ahead and say something, leave a comment and let me know you what you thought.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
This interview was shot at "5 POINTZ: An Institution of Higher Burning" (Graffiti Museum in NYC). The event going off was "Old Timers' Day" and the legends were out in full force. My project SKILLZ DVD Magazine was there in full effect talking with all the Old School Graf Writers. This short clip captures a moment with Graffiti Legend: FARGO. He began his career in 1973 writing on the trains and still writes today. Sit back and enjoy a trip back in time with FARGO.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
This video takes you to the legendary "Fulton Mall" with Hip Hop Artist: J Gutta of "From the Ground Up" Productions. "Hood Hoppin' with J Gutta" is a regular section of forthcoming SKILLZ DVD Magazine. Each issue J Gutta takes us to various hoods in search of the best rappers on the street. This time we catch up with "Braille Records" CEO Verbal Kent and his artist Jax 1 on the streets of Brooklyn. Both guys have some serious skillz and spit a few rhymes for the camera. Definitely a couple of guys and a label to be on the look out for.
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Saturday, November 19, 2005
It was a hot night in the South Bronx when I took to the streets with J Gutta, Hip-Hop Artist from "From the Ground Up" Records, looking at spots for his music video shoot. We bounced over to a friend of his, Shine's, barbershop. This clip takes you into the legendary, "This Is It" barbershop and J Gutta gives you some insight into the neighborhood, kids and gangs and more.
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Thursday, November 17, 2005
This was an impromptu visit to the "Tributary Records" Recording Studio in the South Bronx. We were out on the streets one night shooting for the forthcoming SKILLZ DVD Magazine when we decided to drop in on Mohammad, the engineer at Tributary Records. Mohammad had Hip Hop Artist: Fugitive, in the studio that night and they both give us their perspective on Hip Hop today and today's labels. Fugitive spits a rhyme as well of the head at the end. Thanks goes out to "From the Ground Up" Records and their Hip Hop Artist: J Gutta for making this night a possibility.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
This day was a truly high energy, slammin' fun time to be had by all in attendance at the "Annual Melrose Projects Family Day". There were DJs spinnin' on the wheels of steel, kids in the park dancing, parents outdoors cooking and sharing in this glorious energy. This moment takes you back to what living in New York City and especially the South Bronx was like back in the day. It was filled with family, joy and good times all poppin' off to a deep rooted soundtrack of Soul and Old School Hip-Hop. This video helps to capture and preserve some of what was this year's "Melrose Projects Family Day". A big thanks goes out to "From the Ground Up" Productions and Hip Hop Artist: J Gutta for helping to make this possible.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Today's video takes you to a place when trains were filled with art and certain writers were viewed as "KINGS". One of these "KINGS" was BLADE and I was lucky enough to talk with him for a few minutes during the painting of one of his pieces this summer at 5 Pointz: An Institution for Higher Burning during a shoot for the forthcoming SKILLZ DVD Magazine. To give you an idea about who BLADE was in the scheme of NYC Graffiti Writers, here's a short excerpt describing the man himself.
"BLADE: King, master, visionary. BLADE is more than a graffiti artist. A remarkably pivotal figure in the history of graffiti. Blade's successes as a graffiti artist are myriad. BLADE's artwork has been extensively collected and exhibited for over twenty years and has participated in over 60 select solo and group gallery exhibitions throughout the world. BLADE has also been involved in numerous symposiums and appeared in hundreds of articles, television features, magazine and journal publications and catalogues. At the forefront of the subway graffiti movement in the 1970's, BLADE's work is not only recognized as significantly influential, but his lengthy career as a professional artist has warranted his worldwide notoriety and fame. Painting over 5,000 trains and evolving to new levels of subway and canvas graffiti, BLADE has had exhibitions at the Whitney Museum (2000), Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2000), a 1991 show at the Musee National Des Monuments François (Paris France), numerous shows at the Groninger Museum, and dozens of shows in Europe and Asia. On October 28, 1994, Blade was invited to the Groninger Museum to meet Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, as she was attending the prestigious institution's re-opening. His work is highly collectable."
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Monday, November 14, 2005
This was another great day up in the "Y-O". The "Y-O", a.k.a. Yonkers, is home to Ruff Ryders Recording Studio where on this day we caught up with Hip Hop Artist Drag-On during the recording of his forthcoming CD. This is a short clip from a much longer interview coming soon on SKILLZ DVD Magazine. Here Drag-On gives a little of his history with the label, his battle with DMX and speaks on the state of Hip Hop today compared to yesterday.
Here's a short bio on Drag-On as taken from the "All Music Guide" and written by Stacia Proefrock.
"East Coast rapper Drag-On had a long and profitable history in the background of hardcore rap albums; contributing to projects like DMX's two multi-platinum albums, Ruff Ryders' "Ryde or Die, Vol. 1", DJ Clue?'s The Professional, and several compilations and soundtracks. In early 2000, he released his first solo album, Opposite of H2O, which brought him up to the forefront and showcased his talent for laid-back, slippery grooves and thug rhymes."
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Friday, November 11, 2005
Once again I had the great pleasure of catching up with one of Hip Hop's Legends. This time is was with "Wonder Mike" of the legendary "The Sugarhill Gang". It was all part of the SKILLZ DVD Magazine. This footage and interview was captured at the "Annual Raising of Kings and Queens Day" in the South Bronx. The day was filled with Old School Hip Hop greats, fun times, great food and what else can I say. Check out this little clip. This is only a small section from the much larger project known as SKILLZ DVD Magazine.Check out the clip and don't be shy, leave a comment.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
"Old Timers' Day" in the South Bronx was filled with excitement from legendary Hip Hop Icons on the mic and turntables to people dancing in the streets and park to a crazy "Old Timers' Day" basketball game with everyone over 40 kicking it on the courts. There was tons of action rolling all across the various parks and playgrounds on this day in the South Bronx. We had the great fortune of having J Gutta, Hip Hop Artist of "From the Ground Up Records" take us around and show us some of the good times going on in the South Bronx on this day. King Uprock and J Gutta even take on some young bucks on the basketball court and show them what Old Skool is all about. So if you've ever wanted to see what it was like back in the day, this is a solid glimpse into the past but shot today. It captures that Old Skool "In the park, before it gets dark" feeling of good times.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
This video doesn't even begin to capture the energy that was jumping off on this day in a park in Queens. This is short clip of an amazing day created by SKILLZ DVD Magazine (a collaborative joint created by me: Lynn Lane and Javier Goin) and ZULU Nation, Chapter 9. In this clip you'll see a short interview with bBoy Perpie and bBoy Eric along with some solid bBoy action.
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
If you've ever wanted to experience one of the greatest times to be had in the South Bronx, then you need to check out the "Annual Raising of Kings and Queens Day" in the South Bronx. The day is filled with more celebrities than you can imagine. In the past couple of videos that I have posted you have seen the likes of Grandmaster Melle Mel, Black Miss, DJ Lightnin' Lance, Grandmaster Ant of the legendary group: "The Cold Crush Brothers". All of these clips came from this amazing day. Also on board were the Sugar Hill Gang, ODB's mother, Papa Wu of the Wu Tang Clan and many others. Sit back and check out MC Happy take the mic. He's a legendary pioneer from back in the day. This video is just a mash of a bunch of different scenes rolled over MC Happy to capture some of the flavor of the day.
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Monday, November 07, 2005
Grandmaster Melle Mel, a true legend and pioneer in the Hip Hop game, took a little time out during this amazing day of festivities in the South Bronx to share some of his thoughts and feelings about his past as well as Hip Hop today. This was shot during the Annual Raising of Kings and Queens Day festival. If you pay attention lightning and thunder go off at a perfect moment during this interview hosted by Hip Hop artist from "From the Ground Up" records: J Gutta. This interview is part of a series of interviews that I did for my project SKILLZ DVD Magazine that will be released in the next few weeks. The full interviews are all included on the DVD. SKILLZ is a joint project between myself, Lynn Lane, and friend and fellow filmmaker, Javier Goin.
A little bio on Grandmaster Melle Mel as taken from the "All Music Guide" and written by John Bush:"Lyrical leader of the original Furious Five and founder of a splinter version of the group during the mid-'80s, Melle Mel wrote many of the legendary raps featured on Grandmaster Flash tracks. Born Melvin Glover, he and his brother Nate (aka Kidd Creole) (not the Caribbean dance-popster of the same name) joined up with Cowboy (Keith Wiggins) in 1978 to form the Three MC's, with production handled by Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler). After Scorpio (originally Mr. Ness, aka Ed Morris) and Raheim (Guy Williams) joined up as well, the group recorded two singles (one as the Younger Generation and Flash & the Five) before they became Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and recorded the magnificent "Superappin'" for Enjoy, owned by R&B legend Bobby Robinson.
One year later, the group began recording for Sugar Hill and scored on the R&B charts with the wild party jams "Freedom" and "Birthday Party." In 1982, "The Message" became an instant rap classic, one of the first glimmers of social consciousness in hip-hop, and Melle Mel was responsible for many of the cutting lyrics. The record's enormous success ended up fracturing the group, however, despite subsequent successes like "New York New York" and "The Message II (Survival)." Melle Mel wasn't happy about sharing composer credits for "The Message" (especially with Sylvia Robinson), and Flash sued Sugar Hill, citing Robinson's conflict of interest (she not only co-owned the label, but produced and managed the group). Though most of their beefs were directed at Sugar Hill and not inwards, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five split down the middle, with Flash departing for Elektra with Kidd Creole (Mel's brother) and Raheim while Melle Mel stayed put and formed his own version of the group with Cowboy and Scorpio. (After a court battle regarding rights to the name, Melle Mel was allowed the use of "Grandmaster" as well.) Late in 1983, Sugar Hill released Melle Mel's "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)," variously described as anti-drugs or pro-drugs, though the death of one of Mel's friends, a drug dealer, a few weeks before release caused him to add the parentheses.
Mel's best year came in 1984, when he rapped over Chaka Khan's platinum, Grammy-winning "I Feel for You" (the first exposure to rapping for mainstream audiences). He was also drafted for the rap film Beat Street, where Grandmaster Melle Mel & the Furious Five performed their new hit "Beat Street" (aka "Beat Street Breakdown") and appeared next to Afrika Bambaataa, the Treacherous Three, Doug E. Fresh, and Rock Steady Crew. Mel recorded a pair of LPs for Sugar Hill during the mid-'80s, then reunited with Flash and the rest of the original Furious Five for a 1988 LP titled On the Strength. It failed miserably in an atmosphere that was decidedly anti-old school, and neither of them recorded for almost ten years. A 1997 record, Right Now, paired Melle Mel with Scorpio, but also failed to sell. His new project, Die Hard, debuted in 2001 with On Lock."
Friday, November 04, 2005
It was after a late night interview in Ruff Ryders' Studio doing interviews with my project SKILLZ DVD Magazine that we, myself: Lynn Lane and my partner in crime for the shoot Javier Goin, had the great opportunity to be invited over to BIG DUBEZ's, originially from the group: Sporty Thievz, studio in Yonkers for a late night interview and cypher that jumped off with some of his artists. This clip highlights a bit of the interview and then some of BIG DUBEZ spittin' some rhymes. It's definitely a solid night in his new studio as the talent was thick. They will always be remembered for their runaway major label hit "No Pigeons" which skyrocketed to the top of the charts.
The hip-hop trio Sporty Thievz comprised former Wrecking Crew members King Kirk (a.k.a. Thieven Stealberg) and Big Dubez (a.k.a. Safecracker) in collaboration with Marlon Brando (a.k.a. Robin Hood); signing to the Ruffhouse label, the group debuted in 1998 with Street Cinema. Marlon Brando was taken from this earth at far to early of an age from a tragic accident on a sidewalk in NYC. Big Dubez still pay homage to his friend every moment that he can. Here is a little excerpt from Marlon Brando, a.k.a. Robin Hood's obituary:"The Yonkers, N.Y.-based Brando, who also went by the additional nom de hip-hop Robin Hood, died of internal bleeding after he was struck Thursday by a car that jumped the curb after hitting a median on Fordham Road in the North Bronx. He was 22 years old.
According to witnesses, Brando pulled a child out of the oncoming car's path before himself receiving the impact that knocked him to the ground. Brando then rose to his feet for a moment and then sat down complaining of pain and dizziness before he was rushed to a hospital, they also observed. The easy-going Brando was known as a charitable, spiritual, and good-natured soul to friend and colleagues.
"That's the kind of guy he was, real cool guy," said Lee "Leethal" Wren, lead producer for Doom Entertainment, who attended high school in Yonkers with Brando and collaborated on projects with the Sporty Thievz rapper for the Yonkers-based production company. "We showed Doom much love, ridiculous love. He told me that if there anything we needed from him to let know. We were about to have him work with my artists [Yonkers mic-controllers] Phil Blunts and Khoury Planet.
"All Marlon ever wanted to do was get on. When Khoury would see on the bus, that's all they'd ever talk about. He'd tell Khoury, you're gonna get on. It's not gonna happen in a hurry, but it'll happen."
Brando's Sporty Thievz kinsman King Kirk, aka Stealin' Spielberg, and Big Dubez, aka Safecracker, were reportedly devastated by the news of Brando's death. R&B crooner Kibwe Dorsey, who sang the hook on Sporty Thievz's 1999 runaway, major label hit "No Pigeons" and who recorded with Brando for the Yonkers-based do-it-yourself independent label Gold & Platinum Records, Dorsey's former manager Jumaane Driver acknowledged. Brando appears on Dorsey's underground hit single "Sunshine and Moonlight."
"It hit me real hard when I heard about it," Driver said. "Out of all of Sporty Thievz, he's the one I respected the most. He was a hard-working brother and he deserved better than what happened to him at Columbia [getting dropped with the group from the label]." "
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Thursday, November 03, 2005
DJ Lightnin' Lance is beyond what you would call a pioneer in the Hip Hop game. He was the first DJ to ever record a scratch on vinyl. The scratch was invented by Grand Wizard Theodore but the first time it was ever recorded was in 1980 on the record "The Live Convention". He gives the history it's recording and how it came about.
This interview was shot in the South Bronx at the 5th Annual Raising Kings and Queens Concert. It was an amazing day. Along side DJ Lightnin' Lance are Hip Hop Legends: Tre Dee and Grand Master Ant. Grand Master Ant was the original DJ of The Cold Crush Brothers.
Go ahead and leave a comment after watching the video.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
This interview with Black Miss, Hip Hop artist with Dice Entertainment, was shot this summer at an amazing outdoor event in the South Bronx. It was truly one of the greatest outdoor events I had attended this year. The music was lively with artist like Black Miss herself giving amazing performances. The food was spectacular with families set up all along the area sharing their goods. If you ever want to feel what it feels like when an entire community comes together to have a great time, visit one of the many gatherings in the South Bronx and you will see what fun truly can be. Everyone is accepted irrespective of race, creed, color or gender. It is a good time for everyone in attendance.
Black Miss gave an exceptional performance during the show and afterwards granted me this interview for my SKILLZ DVD Magazine project that I have talked about a few times during this vlog. After her interview she shows a little of what Black Miss is made of with a little spittin' of some rhymes. She is truly a Queen amongst Queens in the rap game.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Sometimes I get the rare and great opportunity to interview one of the true Legends of Hip Hop. This time I was able to talk with Hip Hop Pioneer: Grandmaster Caz of The Cold Crush Brothers fame. This interview was shot in the South Bronx area known as the infamous Hunt's Point which was made famous in the HBO Documentary: "Pimps Up, Hos Down". This is a small clip from a larger interview that was shot for the upcoming issue of SKILLZ DVD Magazine that I am producing along with friend and fellow filmmaker, Javier Goin. A little more about the legendary Grandmaster Caz before we get into the video:Grandmaster Caz, AKA Grandmaster Casanova Fly, whose real name is Curtis Fisher was born in the Bronx, New York and was a part of the hip hop group The Cold Crush Brothers. After seeing Kool Herc play at a party in the Bronx for the first time in 1974 he decided that was what he wanted to be doing and bought DJ equipment the very next day. Grandmaster Caz started by teaming up with his best friend DJ Disco Wiz (Luis Cedeno). He later would team up with JDL (Jerry Dee Lewis) and form The Notorious Two. Caz began incorporating rhymes in with his DJing and become known for being the first DJ to do both simultaneously. In 1978 he formed a group called the Mighty Force with Whipper Whip (James Whipper) and Dot-A-Rock (Darryl Mason). In 1979 DJ Charlie Chase (Carlos Mandes) from The Cold Crush Brothers asked Caz to help audtion MCs for his group which was really a way for Charlie Chase to trick Caz into joining the Cold Crush Brothers. JDL, Whipper Whip, and Dot-A-Rock were also part of The Cold Crush Brothers before Whipper Whip and Dot-A-Rock left to join The Fantastic Five.
The Cold Crush Brothers began gaining a reputation in the burgeoning hip hop scene in New York for their routines, most of which Caz was responsible for. Grandmaster Caz, who became known as the captain of the Cold Crush, also became well known for his lyrical ability. Around this time, Sylvia Robinson, who went on to found Sugar Hill Records, happened to hear part-time club bouncer and manager of the Cold Crush Brothers, Big Bank Hank (Henry Jackson) rapping to a tape of Grandmaster Caz while working at a Pizzeria. She asked him be the third member of a group that she was putting together called the Sugar Hill Gang. Hank accepted and, since he wasn't an MC himself, he went to Grandmaster Caz and asked him to borrow his book of rhymes which Caz gave to him, no questions asked. Caz figured that if Hank got put on, then he would put Caz and the Cold Crush on. Hank would use Caz's lyrics in the song "Rapper's Delight" which would become a huge hit in 1979 and is the first hip hop single to land on the top 40 charts. This was also the first time the term rapper was used to describe a person who is rhyming to music on the mic, who had previously been known only as an MC to everyone who was actually part of the hip hop scene at the time. Caz would never receive any credit or compensation for the rhymes that he contributed.
In 1982, The Cold Crush Brothers were featured in the movie Wild Style and would also be on the soundtrack with Grandmaster Caz doing the movie theme song. Caz released some records as a solo artist in the late 80's. He also released the song "MC Delight" in 2000 which finally sets the record straight about the disputed verse on "Rapper's Delight."
His latest Release is the 12"Single: "Move the Crowd" produced by his friend Torch aka DJ Haitian Star. (360°-Records/Roughtrade, Germany)
Monday, October 31, 2005
Today's video takes us to a late night recording session at a recording studio in Harlem. J Gutta, Hip Hop Artist from "From the Ground Up" Records talks with upcoming Producer of 1000 Beats: Al Bundy, a.k.a. Buns. Buns is always known to have over 1000 beats with him at all times and has worked with many major Hip Hop Artists. He talks straight from the heart as Buns sits down with Gutta for an impromptu interview.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Today's installment in the video vault of "Docmaker on the Go" was shot during the making of a music video for Hip Hop Artist: J Gutta of "From the Ground Up" records. This was a great day to be hanging out on the infamous 183rd and Creston Avenue corner. The streets were alive with the sounds of the summer. Kids were running around playing, parents were out having a good time. The street is real and so are the people that live it, but also the street can show you a side of life that sometimes is missing through out America. That part that is missing is community.
I hope that this little snippet can start to show that sense of community. From the man selling meat pies to the kids on the courts playing ball, there is a strong sense of bonding. J Gutta brings us to the heart of what is knows as the birth place of Hip Hop once again, the South Bronx.
I guess what this vlog has become to this point seems to be somewhat of an homage to Hip Hop culture. It is actually far from that. It is an homage to Americana. The past few weeks I have seemed focused on a certain community and culture but this is really just the beginning of what this vlog is to become. It will expand and encompass all people and communities and show that all are an equal part of the make up of this society. Each has it's own unique flavor but all are equally important to the community as a whole.
Recently I've been reading and watching various other vlogs/blogs out there and have seen other people dealing with various social issues in both the written and the edited word. Carl Weaver is doing great work in sometimes the most difficult of environments. He is up against a wall with the beaurocracy of our system trying to find a way to help at risk kids with there G.E.D.s. I have a huge amount of respect for his efforts. In a way, what he ends up showing the kids inadvertantly is that the system at times, more often than one would hope, is designed to hold them back as opposed to help them. It puts such absurd restictions and qualifications out there for someone to be assisted that it usually is virtually impossible for them to secure assitance. It's actually sad how our system is structured at times.
I know that this was a bit of a ramble and rant but hopefully this video will show a different side of the coin, a happier moment on the corner of 183rd and Creston Avenue. A side that sometimes isn't shown on television from the "hood".
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Hip Hop Pioneer, DJ Mean Gene, gives us a few minutes to tell of about his history and involvement in the Hip Hop Culture. DJ Mean Gene is from the "old school" with a ton of knowledge and has had a major impact on what we call Hip Hop today.
To give a little bit of history on who this legend of Hip Hop is, I will give you a couple of excerpts from various articles. In a 1996 interview with Kool DJ Red Alert by Davey D (Davey D's Hip Hop Corner, Sept. 1996), DJ Red Alert had to say this:
"There was a host of different deejays that was coming up during the time. Rest in Peace Disco King Mario who was from Soundview [Bronxdale] Projects. He passed away due to severe problems. He's considered one of the pioneer deejays. There was DJ AJ who later on became the deejay for Kurtis Blow. Kurtis Blow made a record using his name called 'AJ Scratch'.
Then you had the L Brothers, who were the Livingston Brothers. Once upon a time the Livingston Brothers and Grandmaster Flash were all together as a crew but then they parted off. The L Brothers consisted of the older brother called Mean Gene. The middle brother was Cordeo and the younger brother who turned out to be one of the baddest out the bunch was Grand Wizard Theodore."
In a more recent article on HeavyContact.com, DJ Mean Gene is given credit for teaching his brother Grand Wizard Theodore how to DJ. "Grand Wizard Theodore learned the art of DJing from his older brother ("Mean Gene" Livingston), and Grand Master Flash, who in the early 70's performed together. " Grand Wizard Theodore is given the credit for inventing the "scratch" and also the "needle drop". As you can see, DJ Mean Gene is deeply rooted into the history of Hip Hop.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Taking it back to the streets and parks of NYC again with some solid bBoy (breakdancing) action. This time we catch up with bBoy JJ Pop, an independent Pop-Locker, and bBoy Arrow of Brooklyn Rhythm Crew as they hit the linoleum in a park in Queens. This shoot was part of the bBoy in the Park shoot I did with my friend and fellow filmmaker Javier Goin for our project SKILLZ Magazine which will be launching in the very near future. The editing is basically done for the DVD and now we are going to be dropping in the transitions between segments.
Anyway, back to the bBoy action for today's installment of "Docmaker on the Go".
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Today's installment into the "Docmaker on the Go" vlog takes us back to the early days of Uprocking, the dance style that gave birth to the bBoy style of dance. We are given the great opportunity to hear about the origins of this style from none other than Ralph Casanova, otherwise known as "King Uprock."
Here is a short history of King Uprock as well as his group the Dynasty Rockers as taken from the "Hip Hop Network".
"Profile of Ralph Casanova a True Pioneer in Hip Hop History (King Uprock)(R.C.) Dynasty Rockers Name, Ralph Casanova, a.k.a. King Uprock is a 36 year old veteran of the Uprock Dance. He is currently Rocking to the best of his abilities and in top form, with so much Love for the dance. Born in the "Boogie down", Bronx, moved to Brooklyn at the age of 5 years. While growing up in Brooklyn he watched Gangsters UpRocking and was interested at the age of 10.
Uprock began in the year 1968 by the late Rubber Band man and Apache. These two guys were gangsters taking this dance to a higher and positive level. Dynasty Rockers were the first to flash letters on sweat shirts and jackets in 1973. Manny Figueroa, Eddie Figueroa, Danny Boy and Carlos Rivera were the first Dynasty members. Watching these legends along with other pioneers like Lil Dave of the "Lil Dave Rockers" and Rocky Nelson from "MTC", and Papo & Junior of the "Dynamic Spinners". It was amazing to see many moves in this dance.
I had to watch and learn from these Pioneers. In those days no-one was teaching Uprock. It was about watching and learning, then executing by experience in a dance competition. In Brooklyn there were contests every two weeks. DJ Crazy Rob used to put it out for the Rockers at these contests. Uprocking is like boxing. You were like a contender looking for a shot at the title. The best way to show your skills is to compete against any of these legends. As years went by, I danced against these legends and took the number one spot in 1980. Uprocking is a combination of salsa and the hustle. Many Uprockers became great hustlers so they can flow lovely.
In the early years it was called the Rock Dance, then the burn came in. People started getting confused so it was called "UPROCKING", which is a combination of salsa, the hustle, freestyling, burns and jerks. Creativity and execution of the moves in accordance to the music being played was the way it is judged. Now in the 90's, I have battled Full Circle, RSC (Rock Steady Crew), Step Fenz and many other groups from USA and other countries in this Uprock dance. Today I have united with a few Original Rockers from Brooklyn, like Burns One, Lil Dave, Mr Loose, Danny Boy, Edwin, Crum, Clarkie, Noel, Diana, and a few new UpRockers like Forest Gump, Break Easy, Ariel, Baby Freeze to show the real style of Uprocking. Most uprockers were DJs also. UpRock, unlike Breaking, which use many cuts and scratches, uses the Blending and mixing element of DJ'ing.
I am an old school Uprocker and dont get much respect from some of the new school brothers who don't know the real history of Uprock or of bboyin. It is ok, because when it come to showing the move "It is On" the Floor that counts. So guys get ready for competition battle especially the new Generation of uprockers. King Uprock. "
Okay, so now just sit back and enjoy a couple of minutes of the legend, himself, sharing his history as well as some vintage footage of King Uprock in action. This shoot is a small part of the larger SKILLZ DVD Magazine project that I have been working on with my friend and fellow filmmaker: Javier Goin.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Once again we are back in the corner of 183rd and Creston Avenue for a late night session with J Gutta, Hip Hop Artist with Ground Up Entertainment, and his label mate Neva' Snitch. Both guys are joined by Hip Hop Artist and South Bronx native, Bennie Negron. What breaks out is a smooth cypher with all guys at the helm.
Gutta illustrates how these type of late night cyphers are similar to the days of DooWop singing around the fire in a garbage can. It's a great parallel to what today's artists are doing on the corners of every 'hood across this country. This night is great because what we are seeing is raw freestylin' on the streets of the South Bronx, the birthplace of Hip Hop. The rawness of this shot captures the real feeling of the night.
Gutta and Neva' Snitch are true artists in every aspect of the word when it comes to their lyrics. They spit from the heart and tell their stories as how they see life everyday around them. The rawness of this scene also captures the emotions behind each person as they step in front of the camera. My hope also is that the camera allows the viewer to see beyond the lyrics and see the person who creates the music that has influenced an entire generation of youth internationally. Hip Hop is here to stay and Gutta has taken us back to it's birthplace to see how it is still alive on the corners every night.
Tomorrow I will take a step away from the South Bronx and bring you a shot of a legend from the early 70's and truly a great influence on the bBoys of today. I've been staying with a certain theme for the past couple of weeks but I will depart from the Hip Hop genre soon into another style of on the street interviews. I will however continue to bring this vlog and it's audience interviews and clips of life in NYC including the Hip Hop culture and it's inhabitants.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
J Gutta, Hip Hop Artist with "Ground Up Entertainment" takes us on a tour of the South Bronx. This segment shows Gutta talking about the legendary Big Pun mural painted by the TATS CRU. He relates how when he was incarcerated the music of Big Pun helped him to get through those years.
Originally the Big Pun mural was painted after his untimely death in 2000 by heart attack. It was repainted on February 6, 2001 as a one year memorial. Gutta talks about what Big Pun meant to the Latino Hip Hop community and the fact that he was the first Latino rapper to earn a platinum album wiht his debut album, 1998's "Captial Punishment".
This moment was captured during a session in the South Bronx with my friend and fellow filmmaker: Javier Goin, on one of our expeditions with J Gutta during the production of SKILLZ DVD Magazine which will be released in the near future. If you've followed this vlog at all you will see where I've mentioned this project as well as Javier. We worked together on a few things now and I have convinced him to start his own vlog finally. He should be having something up soon.
Video archive by Mefeedia
Saturday, October 22, 2005
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Well after midnight we set out on the road with J Gutta, Hip Hop Artist from Ground Up Entertainment. Gutta has taken us on many adventures into what he has dubbed "Hood Hoppin'". Tonight we found ourselves on the legendary corner of 183rd and Creston in the South Bronx hooking up with a few of his friends and relatives.
This short clip shows a the beginning of what became a very large "cypher" breaking out with guys freestylin' (rhyming off the top of the head). The artists that are featured in this video are J Gutta, Neva' Snitch (Gutta's cousin) and Toochie. Many other guys were there that night including Bennie Negron. I'm sure I'll toss up a clip later with more of the guys going off and showing a bit more of the fun times from that night.
183rd and Creston has a long reputation of being a corner of much activity. It falls in the heart of the 46th Precinct of the South Bronx. A little bit of history on Creston Avenue as taken from "History in Asphalt" by John McNamara (Bronx Historical Society, 1991): "At its northern end, it was once part of the Haskin estate of Fordham. A supposition is that this avenue, on the crest of an elevation shared by the Concourse, received its name from that fact. In the 1800s, the hills were called Mount Sharon (Fordham Road) and Prospect Hill (E. 180th St.)." From the same source here is a bit of history on West 183rd Street: "This street crosses part of the Jan Arcier (John Archer) property of 1683, which in the 19th century was part of the Morris holdings. From Loring Place to University Avenue this street was originally called Hampden Avenue. G.W. Hampden was a partner to Logan Billingsley of the East Fordham real estate syndicate in the 1890s."
The area is rich with history and even with the crime that has been associated with the area, one can see the strong sense of family and unity when one steps foot in the park on any afternoon or weekend. This summer, I had the great fortune of being able to spend time within this community for many events and developed a bond with many of the people of the South Bronx who now I consider dear friends. I will continue to bring more videos from this communtity showing the diversity of life in our city as well as a peek into the birthplace of Hip Hop.
Friday, October 21, 2005
On this slightly cold and soon to be rainy day here in NYC, I am going to try to bring a little bit of sunshine to my vlog. I'll be taking you back to one of the most beautiful days of this summer where 5 Pointz Graffiti Museum held their semi-annual "Old Timers' Day". This day brings together many legendary Graffiti Writers to produce works on the exterior of the Museum. It sounds odd to say the "exterior" of the museum given that the museum is actually the exterior walls of this building and there is no interior space. With that said and somewhat clarified, I bring you two of the Kings of Broadway, PRIZ1 and STAN1 of The Spanish Five Crew and The No Comp Boys. This interview is only a small part of a larger project that will unfold in another format later.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I took a stroll down Flatbush Avenue to the Fulton Mall with J Gutta, Hip Hop artist with Ground Up Entertainment, and fellow filmmaker and friend Javier Goin. This little walk took us up into Zak the Jeweler's shop. Zak is a jeweler who has a long history of creating some of the largest "BLING" pieces for Hip Hop Artists today. He stands strong in the hood and has respect from everyone in the community.
This is a short little interview where Zak tells of some of the pieces that he did. I think he may have gotten a bit camera shy because he refers to 50 Cent as 60 Cent. Who knows, maybe 50's a victim of inflation as well?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Today's installment in my vlog is a short interview / shout-out shot during the Summer of 2005 with bBoy Joon. This interview was conducted during the shooting of a bBoy (breakdancing) session at a park in Queens with many legendary NYC bBoy Crews including Brooklyn Rhythm Crew, Zulu Nation, Dead End Crew, etc. bBoy Joon is one of the nicest guys around and has helped me on another shoot that I did with friend and fellow filmmaker: Javier Goin. This interview is also a part of the much larger project that Javier and I have been working on called SKILLZ DVD Magazine that covers the four elements of Hip Hop: Graffiti, MCs, DJs and bBoys. At the end of his short statement, you will see bBoy Joon dancing as well as some moves by bBoy Joe Banana of the Dead End Crew and bBoy Eric of the Brooklyn Rhythm Crew.
If you've followed my vlog so far, you've seen a few clips from various shoots for SKILLZ. As the vlog unfolds I will move into other territory and show clips from various projects that I am working on outside of the vlog world as well as vlog specific projects. I am currently working on a larger vlog based work which I am hoping to launch soon. Until then, onward and upward with "Docmaker on the Go". Thanks for checking out what I'm doing and please leave me some feedback.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
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This interview was conducted during the summer of 2005 in the South Bronx as part of the ongoing SKILLZ DVD Magazine project that I am working on with my friend and fellow filmmaker: Javier Goin. Scratchmasta' Jazzy G is one of the great pioneers of Hip Hop Culture and he took out some time during an event held at the famous or maybe more aptly termed "infamous" Hunt's Point to share his views on the history of Hip Hop and where he sees it heading now.
To get in touch with Scratchmasta' Jazzy G you can reach him on his emails at:
Hunt's Point was prominently profiled on HBO's documentary "Pimps Up, Ho's Down". It can be a bit rough in that area, but I spent quite a bit of time there this summer filming interview as well as shooting a music video for upcoming Rapper J Gutta. If you've followed my vlog, my last entry showed J Gutta along with his friend Andy of "Andy's Barbershop" going in the kitchen of a local Chinese Take Out in the South Bronx. I will be profiling J Gutta in a future installment.
Monday, October 17, 2005
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This was shot this summer whilst I was working with my friend and fellow filmmaker, Javier Goin, in the South Bronx on our joint project: SKILLZ DVD magazine. If you have watched my previous 2 videos you saw a bit of another shoot that was done in Queens with guys from Zulu Nation. This video captures a moment of neighborhood closeness with Andy of "Andy's Barbershop", J Gutta (rapper) and the owners of the Chinese Restaurant beside Andy's place. Andy has a great relationship with the restaurant owners and employees and often times cooks his own food in the kitchen. This shows his light-hearted nature in a way that only Andy, J and the hood can represent.
We shot this during a very late night shoot, approx. 1 a.m. on the streets of the South Bronx with J Gutta for SKILLZ DVD magazine, a joint effort between Javier and me. All of this footage will be being released as part of SKILLZ in January '06 or so. SKILLZ is an ongoing project that covers the 4 elements of Hip Hop (Graffiti, MCs, DJs, and bBoys). It is an exploration into the hip hop culture and finding those who affect it today and created its past.
This is an extension of a broader view on what I find interesting about being a documentary filmmaker. I find it fascinating to delve into a culture and learn it's history as well as meet the people who make up it's members. Hip Hop is one of the few genres of music and parts of our culture where you can literally walk the streets of the South Bronx and meet the people who are considered the pioneers. That's what this project, SKILLZ, is really all about. It's about taking the time to talk with those founders and hear their perspective on where the music has come from and where it is going. This adventure has also taken me into the recording studios of "Ruff Ryders Records" (home of DMX, etc.) where I was able to speak with various recording artists, engineers etc. and here there perspective on the state of the Hip Hop industry, their influences and the culture as a whole.
One of the greatest interviews I have been able to capture during this project was with Old Dirty Bastard's (WuTangClan) mother and cousin. I'll try to get a snippet of that up in the next couple of days. The whole interview was truly fascinating and will be included on the SKILLZ DVD.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Following up from the last video I loaded on my vlog, I am bringing you another interview shot from that same bBoy session. This time it is with bBoy Kris Luna of the Dead End Crew (NYC). Kris is deadly on the floor and has some serious "Hollow Backs", an impressive bBoy dance move.
A little more on how this session came about:
This summer I embarked on a new project with a fellow filmmaker, Javier Goin. This project started out as a documentary film of sorts but slowly evolved into what has become a DVD magazine called SKILLZ DVD Magazine. The journey has been a great one and we have met some truly interesting people from the pioneers of hip hop like Kool Herc, Grandmaster Caz, Grand Wizzard Theodore to bands like the Sugar Hill Gang, Melle Mel, Drag-On of Ruff Ryders Records, to contemporary people in the Hip Hop world. It's truly been great. The project takes on a positive approach to this genre of music and culture. Too often what is associated with Hip Hop is a negative image. We attempt to show the positive with a strong leaning towards the history of the music and educating those who look at what we are doing.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
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This is a short interview with Marwin a.k.a. bBoy "Reddy Redski" of Zulu Nation in NYC. This interview is part of a larger project under the guise of SKILLZ magazine. This is from a shoot this summer in Queens, NY. It's an old school bBoy jam in the park. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term bBoy, that refers to what is commonly referred to as breakdancers.
A very brief introduction is profided in the following text by the Zulu Kings from the "Universal Zulu Nation: Northstar Chapter" website. For those who are unaware, the Universal Zulu Nation is the oldest (established 1973), and most-respected organization dedicated to the preservation of hip-hop. Bambaataa, who was influenced by the resolve and determination of the legendary warrior, Shaka Zulu, adopted the name of this well known South African tribe, lending it to hip-hop’s American-born clan of Ghetto Warriors - Bam’s soldiers - The Universal Zulu Nation.
It was the idea of Afrika Bambaataa to use the universal power of music to cross all barriers and to spread the message of the Universal Zulu Nation. With the birth of the Hip-Hop culture, Bambaataa and members of the Universal Zulu Nation (i.e. Soulsonic Force, Shango, Rock Steady Crew, Grandmaster D.S.T, Fab 5 Freddy,) started to travel throughout the world to spread the Hip-Hop culture and uplift communities everywhere.
Apart from their mutual love for hip-hop, members of the Zulu Nation are bound together by a table of 15 core philosophies that stretch from belief in God to a push of heightened awareness of the white supremacy propagated through our history books. The organization’s mission statement expresses that the Universal Zulu Nation stands for "knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, equality, peace, unity, love, respect, work, fun, overcoming the negative to the positive, economics, mathematics, science, life, truth, facts, faith, and oneness with God."
Text originally taken from:
"Looking Back on the Zulu Nation Warriors"
Sacha Jenkins (URB Magazine ’94)
Sunday, October 02, 2005
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Well I finally did it. I would have thought that my first post would have actually been more clever, maybe even brilliant. I guess the pressure got to me, who knows. I did it though. I have put up my first video on my new vlog taking me into that next wave of cool video and internet technology. I think I am going to enjoy the ride.