July 5 '98
FOR A JULY 4TH SHOWCASE
Props out to the members of ICU [Ill Crew Universal]. This past July 4th they had a gathering of sorts here in the Bay Area. Many of them rolled through my Friday Nite Vibe Hip Hop Show and got busy.. In case you're not familiar with ICU.. They're a 25 thousand member hip hop organization that formed over the Internet. This gathering reflected hip hop's diversity as headz came from as far away as Australia to hang out in the Bay Area.
Many of them came on the Friday Nite Hip Hop Show. Others performed at a showcase that was held at La Pena Culture Center in the city Berkeley. Most notable were groups like The Numbs who hail from Utah of all places.. After chiding them about hip hop being in a notoriously conservative place like Utah.. they playfully dubbed themselves the 'Osmonds' of Hip Hop. This of course was referring to Donnie and Marie Osmond-two of Utah's famed citizens. But when all was said and done these kids got wrecked.. and blew holes in the microphones.. I was impressed..Watching these skin headed white kids wreck shop made me realize that not only had hip hop come along ways..But it truly universal.. The Numbs got a slammin' tape called 'Metaphonics'.. It's defintely worth peepin' out..
Devious Mindz came through and did it Kansas style.. Again the defied the hip hop stereotypes and let folks not only does the state of Kansas got some brothas running around.. These brothas ain't no joke when it comes to wreckin' microphones.. They're featured on the ICU compilation album called 'The Revival'.. Their song 'No Coast' is a gem.. With a little more hard work and our willingness to not put limits on hip hop.. Devious Mindz may become more of a household name..
Another ICU group that was on point was a group out of Long Beach and Compton California called Elevate.. The lead rappers Nameless and Bam expanded upon hip hop's musical horizons by the fact that they do very conscious and socially aware raps. They take great pride in developing microphone agility. And that was apparent when they freestyled on the show.. Nameless during our interview talked about how there was a burgeoning 'underground' hip hop scene in LA where rappers are trying to shed the 'gangsta' image stigma that has been attached to him. He talked about how hypocritical so called hip hop headz can be where they will label anything from LA gangsta rap while overlooking the misogynistic, violence pro lyrics of east coast hip hop artists..
For example, during the show I busted out the new Kool G Rap song called 'Foul Cats'.. It's definitely off the hook.. and well worth checkin' for.. In fact I'll confidently say it's one of his best songs ever.. As we listened to the song about Kool G Rap battling Columbian drug lords and shooting up the mob.. I asked Nameless how come Kool G Rap who has a long history of doing this type of material is considered 'hip hop'.. while somebody from the west coast gets tagged gangsta rapper.. I asked if such labels had to do with subject matter or if it had to do with rhyme skillz.. Nameless seemed to agree that it had to do with folks not willing to let hip hop expand...
I gotta give props to Djs Counter Strike and Djs Pyscho and HOP for mixing it up.. and creating pure music with three turntables spinning at all times.. Pyscho and HOP are from San Diego and part of a group called The Icons.. They let folks know that Diego is trying to put hip hop on the map.. Finally props to other groups that I ran into at the ICU gathering.. That includes; Boots from The Coup, Foreign Legion out of the Bay Area and Jac And Blak out of Seattle..
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