FNV In Today's Issue: December 6 2000
*HIGH RENTS KILLING BAY AREA HIP HOP
*DMX TO PEN MEMOIRS
*REV RUN STOCKING STUFFER
*HIP HOP FILM FESTIVAL
*CHARLIE'S ANGELS SUES DOGGY'S ANGELS
*BORIQUA PRIDE by Crazy Legs
Send comments, questions and concerns to Davey D
The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
All Rights Reserved
**HIGH RENTS CHASING OUT BAY AREA HIP HOPPERS***
Last week the Bay Area Hip Hop community was saddened to see the unintended departure of long time producer DJ Paul Nice. He had become the latest casualty in an increasingly long line of talented musicians and artists who have been forced out of the Bay Area due to astronomical housing costs. With the average price of a medium size two bedroom house going for $435 thousand dollars, rents in Bay Area cities like San Francisco, San Jose and now Oakland have skyrocketed to the point that it is now cheaper to move out and rent an apartment in Manhattan. Bay Area Hip Hop hot spots like Oakland, Vallejo and East Palo Alto are changing by the minute as longtime residents are getting evicted left and right. Paul Nice was a victim of a landlord saying he wanted to move into his pot .. so he could kick Paul out and then go on raise the rents..
In San Francisco the housing situation is all but a lost cause. Hip Hop strong holds like the Filmore have literally changed face over night thanks to the dot com invasion. You will now show up to a gig in the Filmore and be made to feel totally unwelcome and out of place in what was once your neighborhood prior to the new economy suddenly exploding. The historic colorful Mission District is currently dealing with this onslaught and next on the list is Bayview Hunters Point. The South of Market club district is now dotted with 'live work lofts and newly arrived cranky residents who have used their economic and political clout to shut down night clubs which they say are making too much noise.. It was just a few years ago that many of these now occupied buildings once played host to raves and after hours Hip Hop parties..
Adding fuel to the fire in the nation's dot com capitol is a 1% vacancy rate and ruthless landlords who are now starting to put rental units on auction sites like EBAY. It is now a situation where the highest bidder wins. This is complicated by big businesses that are now buying up and renting apartments for key executives and employees which has driven up rental prices even more. Can you imagine competing for an apartment with a big company that has deep pockets and is determined to fly in workers from overseas or across country? They simply outbid you by offering crazy rent prices. Its not unusual to see 1 bedroom apartments for $2500 and up. Its totally ridiculous and we haven't even begun to address the drama surrounding commercial properties. About a month and half ago there was a highly publicized situation where a dot com came into the Mission District and displaced a popular rehearsal and studio spot that was home to more than 500 musicians. The Bay Area's Hip Hop community has definitely been feeling the strain.
Last year Boots of the Coup along with the San Francisco Bay Guardian which has been chronicling this entire mess did a series controversial radio ads on Bay Area radio stations about the Bay Area housing crunch. In the commercial Boots talks about how he was forced to move out of his house in Oakland because of high rents and gentrification. He placed the blame on Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and warned long time Oakland residents that the new economy and the new face of Oakland would most likely not include them if they didn't step up their efforts. Boot's concerns were realized not too long ago when Oakland City Council members voted down an ordinance that would've protected residents from unfair evictions.
Another longtime Bay Area Hip Hop fixture was producer DJ Fear of the group No Concept. Earlier this year he was forced to move out of Oakland due to high housing costs. Well established Hip Hop outfits like the Bay Area Hip Hop Coalition and the Hieroglyphics Crew were forced out of their downtown office space which they had for years due to rent increases. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past year and a half I've counted more than 30 Bay Area Hip Hop artists, promoters DJs etc have moved out of the San Francisco/Oakland area to the far outskirts of the Bay or down to LA because of the high housing costs. Its now gotten to the point that when out of town cats say they'd like to get a taste of the local Hip Hop scene, you have to send them to neighboring cities like Sacramento, Antioch, Stockton or Los Angeles which is 400 miles away so they can get a feel. It's in these places that you will now find Bay Area artists like; Mac Mall, The Luniz, Mac Dre, Mystic Journeyman, Money B, and Rappin' 4Tay to name a few. More and more Bay Area folks have also been relocating to New York, Atlanta or Texas where housing costs are cheaper when compared to the Bay..Even sadder is the fact that some Bay Area Hip Hoppers went away to school and found they can't afford to move back..
In an attempt to bring attention to this housing problem, long time Bay Area DJ Billy Jam and Amoeba Music has put together a compilation album featuring 19 independent artists called 'Just Paying The Rent'. The album is a who's who of Bay Area underground artists like Clever Jeff, Crack Emcee, Superstar Qu'am Allah, BLACK, DJ Fear Slumlordz and DJ Zeph. to name a few cover the entire music spectrum from Hip Hop to folk music.
"Just payin' the rent" is pretty much the battle cry for each of the nineteen indie artists on this compilation who, despite their radical range in musical styles, all share the struggle to just pay the rent and be able to create their art. The San Francisco Bay Area, where most of them reside, has felt the seemingly-overnight effects of the new dot-com economy which has escalated housing costs, changed demographics, and had a drastic effect on the local arts community. "Living in San Francisco is like living in a computer: everything is about the Internet," said the pre-teens' Laura Davis. "People are been forced out because of the skyrocketing rents. Clubs are closing down and practice spaces are rare." Indeed a major blow was dealt when on October 1st, San Francisco's Downtown Rehearsal building, where 500 bands of all types of music had rented rehearsal spaces, were all evicted after the building was sold for a huge profit. "I call them the Dotzies," laughed the Crack Emcee. "They're blowing the smoke of the new economy up your ass... and all they want to do is sell you sh&*.....everyone's selling banner space."
There's no telling where all this will end and what the final lay of the land will be..I guess I'll have to move down to LA or back to New York with DJ Paul Nice to get a taste of the Bay Area's Hip Hop scene. For more info on 'Just Paying The Rent Project' drop an email to Billy Jam at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
DMX takes another step to becoming the proverbial 'Renaissance Man'. Thus far recorded three albums, he's been featured in several movies and now he's set to pen his first book. He recently hooked up with Harper Collins Publishing and sold them his memoirs for a book that will be titled 'A Dogz Life'. It is DMX's hope to get young people from following some of the troubled paths he's had to go through in life. The book is expected out in the later part of 2001.While DMX is getting down on the book tip, he's currently finishing up filming for the movie 'Exit Wounds'. This is the 4th installment of 'The Crow' series and DMX will play opposite Steven Seagal. The plot is autobiographical in the sense that it chronicles DMX's multiple arrests and career as both an actor and rap star..
While DMX is penning is memoirs, Reverend Run of Run DMC has already released his memoirs just in time for the holidays. Titled 'Its Like That: Spiritual Memoir', this book chronicles the trials and tribulations Run's life long journey of being a Hip Hop pioneer to being an ordained minister. Hopefully his book does well, because the long awaited album 'Crown Royal' has been delayed for the umpteenth time. It should be out in the early of the year 2001. For those who don't know, one of the biggest obstacles plaguing the release of Crown Royal is getting clearance from various record labels so their artist can featured on some of the songs.. In other words politics... Nothing but politics..
If you happen to be in New York City this Thursday December 7th be sure to head on over to the Caspary Auditorium in Rockefeller University. The reason being is there will be a Hip Hop film festival taking place.The much anticipated documentary film Hip Hop: The New World Order which was produced/directed by Muhammida El Muhajir will be shown. This film explores the global impact of Hip Hop culture. This stunning piece reveals hip hop kids in cities, countries, favelas, and barrios all over the world. The film includes footage from Japan, Cuba,Europe, Brazil, and South Africa. There will also be other films shown including '41 Shots', 'Public Weapon', 'Rudy Giuliani: The Lost Tapes', 'The B-Boydocuflikizm 2000' 'Portal To The Future' 'Nobody Knows My Name' and 'I Am An Astronaut'. The screenings will be free. For more information call 212-260-1549.
***CHARLIE'S ANGELS SUES DOGGY ANGLES***
It looks like this is the year of big lawsuits. First it was the big fiasco in Florida between two George Bush and Al Gore and now the courts may have to step in and settle a dispute between Charlie's Angels and Snoop Dog's new group Doggy's Angel. Columbia pictures which distributed the megabox office hit movie filed a 54 page lawsuit after looking at the cover art and logo to Snoop's group and saw that it looked pretty similar to logo used by Charlie's Angels. For those who aren't familiar, the logo is a silhouette of three women standing with their backs to each other in karate stances. The cover art for Doggy's Angels shows the silhouette of three women standing back to back to back with one holding a pistol, the other holding a hand held device and the third is in a karate stance. According to the suit, Columbia pictures says the similarities is a violation. They feel that fans will come into record stores and buy Doggy Angels and not the movie's official sound track.. Well folks let me be honest with you, I have the Charlie Angels' soundtrack and trust me..the average Snoop Dog fan is not trying to check for the Charlie's Angels sound track..
Columbia pictures is also upset with the music video to Doggy Angel's song 'Baby If You're Ready'. They feel the group's unsavory and 'violent' images and rough edged lyrics will forever tarnish the 'good reputation' and wholesome image of Charlie's Angels..Now I'm not trying to pass no judgements or anything, but I saw Charlie's Angels and every two seconds these women were fighting. There was nothing but violence throughout the flick. And if that's not bad enough, I heard more then few well respected movie critics and journalists remark how all this fighting and violence was 'Empowering for women'. Here in the Bay Area one popular movie critic broke it down and said it was great to see women finally 'kick butt'. With that in mind, let me ask y'all; 'What's the difference between the violence shown in a 3 minute Doggy's Angel video and two hours worth of violence shown in a heavily promoted movie like the Charlie's Angels? I bet you anything more little kids went to see Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore act out violently as as opposed to listening to the Doggy's Angels album. Didn't that movie make over 100 million dollars? Doggy's Angels can just wish to make that much..The next time an act of senseless violence takes place here in America, I'm gonna blame it on the gratuitous violence depicted in Charlie's Angels.
Lastly, because Columbia pictures stated they were concerned about Doggy's Angels tarnishing the good reputation of Charlie's Angel, I have to ask, wasn't that reputation already tarnished? Weren't there reports about the cast members fighting with each other during filming? In fact didn't things get so far out of hand that actor Bill Murray stop going around to help promote the flick? From what I hear the bruised egos and tension had gotten out of hand amongst some of the Charlie's Angels co-stars. When Doggy's Angels stopped by the radio station a couple of months ago they seemed to be getting along just fine. They set a great example of how people coming together can work on a project in peace and harmony. Am I off base on this folks? Is it just me? Is this not a case of the teapot calling the kettle black? mailto:email@example.com
***CRAZY LEGS AND BORIQUA PRIDE by Crazy Legs [Rocksteady Crew]
This weekend I went to Puerto Rico for the 6th time in my life. But during this trip I had the opportunity to experience something that I've never felt before. First let me start by saying that being Boriqua and growing up in the Bronx in the 70's and 80's doesn't always mean that you have a full understanding of the pride of being Boriqua like a person born on the island. I've performed in a big arena out there along with the rest of RSC [Rock Steady Crew] and I've also visited the projects and witness the reality of social situations that I've grown up with living in the Bronx. My first education on being a Boriqua came from Afrika Bambaataa. Some people may find it strange that I learned from a person that is not Boriqua, but I see it as a blessing and I will always be thankful for his universal way of thinking and making me want to represent what I am.
I went out there on a mission with DJ Tony Touch and a couple of other heads to clear up something that was printed up in Blaze Magazine several months ago. This was something that would have made our Boriqua brothers and sisters think that Tony Touch wasn't representing properly for the island and that is definitely not how we get down when it comes to our homeland Puerto Rico. So we went and he did the radio interviews, hooked up with some of the locals and then it was off to Club Lazers in Old San Juan. This club is basically where you can catch the local Reggae and Hiphop scene. When we walked in we were greeted by Richie from 'In The House' magazine as well as people that knew who we were and then made our way to the DJ booth so that he could set up to do his thing after DJ Adam. This was a night that we knew we were going to go all out in every way to show our love for our motherland. Tony Touch got on the set and got the heads on the dance floor open with some new joints. He played a variety of music that had the party jumping all night. The crowed was feeling him and everything felt like it was back to normal. I saw some b.boys that have given me props as I walked in start getting down in a cipher.
The floor was a metal smooth surface that would become real sticky after it would dry up when drinks would fall. The b.boys that were doing their thang, had flavor and were dancing because the music had moved them in a way that made them feel like they wanted to express themselves. The beauty of it was that they were getting down to the actual beat of the record. Being who I am and the way I was schooled by the b.boys before me, I was completely blown away. The moves that they were doing weren't the most incredible acrobatic moves, but the feeling that I felt while I was watching them made me proud of my people. I got so wired watching them that I was overcome with a sense of Boriqua pride that I completely went in to a zone that made me just dance with out any regard for what anyone thought. I'm respected for my accomplishments by these people and I knew that wanted me to get down with them.
When that feeling kicked in I got on the dance floor and felt like I was one with every single beat that I heard. It was a feeling that can never fully explain. I was in a zone. I was dancing in my motherland and my people appreciated me. I've never Up Rocked or Top Rocked the way I did on that day in my life. I wasn't in the best shape, but I never got tired. I knew my body wasn't going to do the moves that open eyes when easily understood (the way people are expected to do in the major b.boy events). All I did was dance and there has never been a time in my life when I felt better doing it. It made me feel that any ones opinion on my skills past and present will never matter again because I was getting' down with my people.
The weekend ended with us going to a local bar loaded with Felix "Tito" Trinidad fans. We watched the fight with them and cheered for him as one as he beat Fernando Vargas. After he defeated Fernando Vargas, every car on the island was honking their horns and flashing hazard lights to show their appreciation for Tito. The downtown area (Isla Verde) at 1:00am in the morning turned in to a parade of Boriquas letting each other know how proud we were of our hero as the police let them enjoy the victory. To some it may not mean a thing, but for me it was confirmation for my pride in being a b.boy that has accomplished many things with in my field and doing it as a Puerto Rican. I have love for all people and cultural backgrounds, but while I do I have to say one thing.
RSC [Rocksteady Crew]
Drop Crazy Legs an email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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written by Davey D
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