Archive for April, 2010

Rose Roots

April 30, 2010

Before I found out about hip-hop music and it’s culture, believe it or not, I was actually into rock.  Back in the Philippines, around the early 90’s when Nirvana, Metallica, Pearl Jam, etc. were big.  Among all the bands in that same genre, one of my favorite bands at the time was Guns N’ Roses.  And of course, like any other teen at the time that liked GnR, I wanted to be like Slash.  Everyone in P.I. at the time listened to rock and everyone for some reason knew how to play a guitar.   So I actually owned and played a guitar way before I even knew how to use a turntable.  I remember this guy around the block in our neighborhood that had a little studio setup that he would rent out with all the band instruments.  Whenever actual bands would end their practice sessions, me and my friends would go in and the guy actually let us play around and jam out our favorite rock songs until the neighbors got mad.

One of the things that really appealed to me about the music was the energy and the feeling you get when you’re actually playing.  You just get enveloped by this enormous sound of the guitar distortion in the air, the kick drum just pounding on your chest along with the deep bass, all synced up while literally being manually created by you and your friends.  Since then, I’ve always loved the vibe of live music.

When I finally really recognized hip-hop’s existence (this should be on DJ Bee’s Hip-hop confessions by the way) around the DoggyStyle era, (yea) I was still in P.I.  What appealed to me was the clean rhythmic beats overlayed with poetry.  Because of the contrast, it was musically a palette cleanser from all the loud distorted sound frequencies that I’ve been listening to.  Eventually, after more exposure to the culture, with the art, dancing, and DJing, I then wanted to be a DJ.  However, I eventually realized that when hip-hop artists perform, the DJ kinda just pushes play in the back of the stage, and a whole mob stands on the stage with the performer and a hypeman screams all over the place.  Then that’s when Turntablism came along, (which would be a completely different story).  But anyway, hip-hop didn’t quite appeal to me when it came to live performances.  My impression was just it seemed like that setup for a performance didn’t have that same vibe as a live band would (I later found out that it somewhat does).  But until I just randomly picked up a CD single by a group called The Roots of one of their songs “What They Do”.  That’s when I was like “Oh shit!”  this crew has everything I like about music combined into one.  Live band, singing, rapping, scratching, beatboxing, everything.

Ok I’m getting tired.  Long story short, I love live music no matter what genre and I just wanted to write a little background story for creating this.  Based off of Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction album cover, I just decided to make a Roots version of it with some of their core members.  Ok, Good Morning!


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Effin Em

April 28, 2010


Ok, so as far as my blog posting, I really would rather stay away from re-posts. But, Gaaaad damnn! I just love it when he does this and shows rappers how it should be done. My bro texted me last night about it but I just heard it today after my co-worker Brendan reminded me about it again. Just high energy wordplay at it’s finest.

Eminem – Despicable

Tablism 2.0

April 27, 2010

JohnBeez does it again with his genius innovation. A modded 06-Pro with a sliding fader that creates different chords for the samples he cuts to create melodies over a beat. His creation, along with the Vestax Controller 1 turntable, brings scratching and tablism to the next level. I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it last year, now I’m hyped to see an update and it just keeps getting better. I wanna go home and cut now.

MEGGS

April 26, 2010

My new and newlywed God bro KG just recently got back from a long trip with his wife Karina from TX who is also an artist.  Upon unpacking some of her stuff, he came across something that any designer should either own, have read, or should just be familiar with.  A History of Graphic Design by Phil Meggs.  Meggs is considered to be repsonsible for putting Graphic Design “on the map” by educating aspiring designers and other people with his book.  We we’re fortunate enough to have had Meggs as our professor in GD History during our VCU days and will always remember his funny random attempts for comic reliefs in between endless slides of design history so that we don’t fall asleep in his dimly lit lecture class filled with about 200 students.  Sadly, Phil Meggs passed on November 24, 2002 due to leukemia.

For some odd reason now, everytime I hear about Meggs, I could just hear him say “Laszlo Moholy-Nagy” with his sort of muffled monotone voice through the lavalier mic.  But one of the things that I’ll always keep in mind being his student is an advice and reminder that he made stickers of and handed to everyone at the end of the semester.  I still have it stuck on my notebook, a little distressed, but I recreated it exactly the way it looks to refreshen the memory.

Moment of Silence

April 20, 2010

Just heard the word from my homie Will that Guru, half of Gangstarr has passed.  I just wanted to pay my moment of silence by creating something from his essence that will forever be in my mind based on my all-time favorite Gangstarr track “Royalty”.

Fresh Frames: Vanz – Me and Mines

April 6, 2010

While the east coast was frolicking around trees with pink flowers this past weekend, I met up with my fam Gerrell aka Vanz, Chun, and Will in Virginia’s “Cap City” to help me shoot a video for one of Vanz’ songs “Me and Mines” off his Illuminated Manuscripts EP which I’ll be posting soon.  A wordsmith indeed, along with his partner-in-crime Matt aka Scarz and their witty-unpredictable like wordplay style, they form yet another team that’s definitely credible for exemplifying true hip-hop, and they go by the name “OO” aka Double-O.  So without further ado, here’s the premiere of Vanz “Me and Mines” directed by yours truly.  Kanpai!

And in the words of my man Will of Spoiled or Rotten:

“AND FOR THE HOME RUN…”

The Illuminated Manuscripts EP is now up and available for download.

Vanz – Illuminated Manuscripts EP

El Mac: Persephone

April 1, 2010

I first stumbled upon this artist that goes by “Mac” or “El Mac” in the August ’09 issue of the Juxtapoz Magazine.  As soon as I saw his work and read about him, I immediately had the impulse to somehow acquire one of his pieces.  His paintings are unlike any technique I’ve seen before both on walls and canvas.  Coming from a graffiti background, Mac has applied his talent to creating murals with radiating strokes to form the highlights and shadows of the portraits that he paints.  On canvas, although his look is consistent with his murals, he uses Japanese calligraphy brushes to create maze-like details which form the tonal values of the piece.  If you look at his canvas work, you would almost think that he just took a photo into Illustrator, vectorized it, then took it into Photoshop and threw some sort of filter to create the details.  But he does everything by patiently and precisely laying down each stroke with the calligraphy brush by slowly tapering the lines to give his pieces the depth he’s trying to achieve.

Not too long after reading Juxatpoz, he released one of his paintings as a print called “Song of songs” shown above.  I was lucky enough to be able to snag the 31st copy out of 50 of these huge 30×42 prints which is now one of my prize possessions in my art collection.  You could get a glimpse of it in my “Low Light Test” video as Linda walked in.  A few days later after I got it, I found one of the same prints on eBay going for over $1k.  Crazy!

Today I just found out from my co-worker Brendan that Mac has a pre-sale of the print that I actually wanted from seeing it in Juxtapoz to begin with titled “Persephone” shown below.  It’s scheduled to be released on April 9th.  However, as much as I would love to pick one up, I’m afraid I might have to pass on this one.  I’ll still be following his work and looking forward to more releases.  At least I got “Song of songs” and will never be tired of looking at it.  To see more of his talent, peep him out at elmac.net.