Hip Hop

Attend a Screening of Nas Executive Produced Indie Film Shake the Dust in Berkeley, CA

You can check out the awesome indepdenent film that shares how hip hop and break dancing has crossed International borders and touched the lives of young people all over the world. Shake the Dust gives a very intimate look at hip hop youth culture in Uganda, Columbia, Cambodia and Yemen. This film is very compelling and we totally recommend you check it out!

From executive producer and Grammy-nominated rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones and journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg comes the buoyant, globe-trotting film SHAKE THE DUST.

With a propulsive soundtrack of international hip-hop samples, music from both emerging emcees and established superstars like Nas, Common and Talib Kweli, as well as some of the most jaw-dropping breakdancing moves ever committed to film, SHAKE THE DUST is an inspiring tribute to the uplifting power of music and movement. By highlighting the stories and moves of some of the most talented breakdance crews in the poorest urban neighborhoods of Colombia, Yemen, Uganda, and Cambodia, Sjöberg weaves together the stories of rappers, DJs, and b-boys across three continents, revealing how breakdancing today acts as a positive force for social change.

June 3-6 — Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, Berkeley

   

SEX TAPE @ STUDIO BAR

Which celebrity sex tape have you watched? Well hit the mute button and listen to SEX TAPE. SEX TAPE is dark,sticky,smooth and sexy with bright and rhythmic vocals that create the mood. "Drive//Slow" tantalizes your senses, making you want to close your eyes and slow your whole body down. See SEX TAPE tonight at the Studio Bar for CMW. After this hot and heavy show, you'll probably want to go home and make your own sex tape. See Chris LaRocca again 5/13 @ the Cameron House.

   

Plato III Tells Us How a Young Rapper Feels about Fame

First off y’all, sorry for the slowness on the music drip the last couple weeks; your editor here was in the midst of a move and shit got wacky.

Now, back to the grind. In the interval here, we received a tip-top hip-hop submission from budding Austin musician Plato III that we are full throttle diggin’. It’s a music video and, as far as we can tell, the only track available online from this young guy whose intensely polished composition belies both his age and his small amount of material (at least, online material).

The track, called “Natalie Portman,” is all about fame- how it affects the hip-hop thing and the people that are going for it. Plato lays out his view of this monster force in the genre and how it’s a weird thing to balance his own aspirations to musical success with a personal tendency to shy away from the Sisyphean acquisition of fame and stardom. “Yeah i’m tryin to be well known/but with knowledge of self/like everyone else/I’m gonna end up a book on the top of the shelf/collectin’ dust/it’s embedded in us,” says Plato.

Thoughtful is an overused word in criticism of hip-hop like this, and it’s really an undervaluation of the craft at play here, especially when you add in the detailing on the video. The thing, directed by Aidan Myles Green, is a lesson in not wasting a second on anything that doesn’t serve the track, and it does what few music videos do in actually adding further dimensions to the concept that the track is based around.

It starts with constant flashes of the fame world that Plato is discussing, shots of Jordan and Monroe and rappers and Joaquin Phoenix in his crazy fake star phase and others living the big public life, all in blurry black and white with quick cuts and no long shots. These are contrasted with what are obviously real-world images from Plato’s life- little, relatable things like Polaroids with a girlfriend and walking into an apartment building. When he steps in that apartment, out of the public eye and into his own private world, the thing goes color and takes the first extended shot of Plato.

The transition is us seeing him in his day-to-day, giving a warm casual kiss to his girl and sitting at a spartan bedroom musician set-up, and this switch-over from big and chaotic and nearly imaginary to intimate (small is the wrong word) and warm and approachable is almost felt physically when you see it. She gets ready for bed in the mirror, he fiddles with a track, stops to come give her an intimate touch on the hips and they laugh together before he brushes his teeth alone, and then they both go to bed where it’s all cute love shit and not the fantasy world of beyond perfect, unreal sex that we usually see when a rapper goes to the sheets with a beautiful woman.

It’s great, authentic and impeccably done, as is the track with its 80s synths and melding of melody and rapping, of big picture commentary and personal revelation, and it gives us at The Deli a pretty fierce desire to see more of this kid, though with the understanding that we’ll probably see more when he’s good and ready to put it out and not before. “Natalie Portman,” both track and video, are just what you want to see from talented up and comers in the hip-hop scene in 2015, giving you the brain and the heart at once, and not sacrificing one bit of power in the head-noddin’ department. Thanks for submitting Plato III, and the rest of y’all, watch below. We’ll leave ya with a quote from the man’s Facebook, where he talked a bit about coverage on the track from another Austin music outlet:

‘“Natalie Portman" is an analysis of fame's consequences, not just lyrically, but also stylistically. The trendy title, the blatant use of auto-tune, and the syrupy synth-driven music are all used ironically to emphasize how originality is often sacrificed when popularity is the only objective. The song couldn't be more hip-hop in spirit.’

We agree without reservation.

   

Dewey Decibel Opening for Kool A.D. at KFN May 3

Put your hands in the air, and let Sunday Funday take hold of you at Kung Fu Necktie with a crew of Philly rappers paving the way for headliner Kool A.D., formerly of alt hip-hop group Das Racist. On top of psychedelic 90’s hip-hop beats that hit a chill, sweet spot, South Philly emcee/producer/graphic artist Dewey Decibel, a.k.a. Dewey Sanders, relays his existential contemplations out loud on his latest EP Different Drum (World Around Records), produced by Zilla Rocca. The multi-talented Florida transplant also just dropped the 25th edition of his zine, “A Taste of the Invisible,” this past First Friday so grab yourself a copy. YIKES the ZERO, who collaborated on Lushlife's ten-minute opus "Toynbee Suite," and OHM x PLEASE will also be on hand to make the most out your weekend. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 8pm, $13, 21+ - Emily DiCicco

   

Album Review: Sun E-Shea

Sun E-Shea's debut self-titled album sounds like it should be blasted from a cassette in a Sony boom-box rather than played through an internet link, but I guess that's why the duo proclaims they "are stuck in the past and...are staying for the music." The release boasts twenty tracks, with influences clearly rooted in late 80s/early 90s hip-hop. While they touch upon a variety of different artists' styles, I felt an A Tribe Called Quest vibe the strongest. Some of you may think that's ultra-high praise, but take a listen to Sun E-Shea's songs and you'll hear exactly what I mean. The samples, beats and lyrics are all super-smooth and well-written, with the Quest sound coming through particularly strong in their choice of bass lines and drum tracks.

One of my favorite lines from the record comes from the track "Clive": "More times than often, well-skilled and clean, learned how to rhyme from Shel Silverstein." I think I'll go home after work, listen to a few more of these tracks and try to find a copy of The Giving Tree on ebay.

For more info about these two seemingly unknown MCs, check out their (apparently) new Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)