Monday, October 31, 2005

Interview with Al Bundy: Producer of Hip Hop Beats

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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

A Day on the 183rd: South Bronx

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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

Interview with DJ Mean Gene

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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, 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

Interview with bBoy JJ Pop and bBoy Arrow

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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

King Uprock Interview

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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

J Gutta Takes on the Streets of the South Bronx Again

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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 Takes us to the Big Pun Mural in the South Bronx

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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

This post is to test out the new feature of Video Archiving by Myfeedia. I will provide a permenant archive of my videos on the side bar. Right now though MeFeedia seems to only have 3 of my videos thumbnailed. To see others that aren't thumbnailed either look at the original post or click on their links on the side and in the blogger archives listed on the side bar, i.e. October 2005 etc.

Video archive by Mefeedia

Saturday, October 22, 2005

183rd Crew Spittin' Rhymes After Midnight

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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

PRIZ1 and STAN1 (Graffiti Writers) Interview

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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

J Gutta Interviews Zak the Jeweler

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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

bBoy Joon Interview

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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

Scratchmasta' Jazzy G Interview

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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

A Night in the South Bronx

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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

bBoy Kris Luna Interview

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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

Marwin a.k.a. bBoy "Reddy Redski" interview

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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

Welcome to My Vlog!

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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.