In fact, Deniol Alva is very much a Mexican (well, I’m pretty sure he is anyway – based on his blog profile and his artistic style). Check out the latest collection of T-shirts designed by Deniol, freshly squeezed and served up on the Upper Playground store.
I’ve always been a big fan of “statement art”, and I think when the artist takes a more carefree, comedic approach to the presentation (and overall message) in the right way, it can be just as, if not more powerful, than straight-on, serious “art statement” pieces. In the instance of these (shirt) designs that Deniol created, the simple but stellar caricature artwork seems to actually have a few layers of “messages” in the art left open for viewers to discover. To be honest, I can’t figure out which one I like best….Rude Bwoye Mau, Vato Corleone Joey S., Big Daddy Soul Brother Mandela or Yessir Arafunk and the Liberatahs! hahaha…smart and funny = good combo….I may have to buy one of each.
I also took a quick peek at Deniol’s blog too and the art-humour doesn’t stop with these shirts. It seems most of his work is inspired by some sort of witty or funny twist on existing media, culture, politics or history. Scroll down for more art. Or click here to see Deniol’s blog. To get a shirt, click here to get to the Upper Playground store.
I LOVE the fist tats and bandana. Very Blood in, Blood Out (this is a caricature of Joseph Stalin by the way…for the peeps that may have been scratching their head). The rasta-Che-Guevara-dub-rocka Mao above is AWESOME. Probably my fave of the bunch. Deniol also did a nice job on Winston Churchill.
What can I say? ….this 80′s soul brother (channeling the Big Daddy Kane Hi-top) remix of Mandela had me running-manning my way out the door to pick up my kid.
Yessir Arafunk and the Liberatahs! HAHAHA. That’s golden.
Well, maybe that not funky….but this latest mix is pretty close. SOUL SONIC VOL.1 – by DJ NV is a tasteful blend of soul and funkiness, with a sprinkle of classic hip hop. NV definitely delivers a nice mix. Throw it on and vibe on a Sunday afternoon. Or, get down and jam on it – fresh and funky – on a Saturday night. Aww yea, versatile.
Check out DJ NV in the city (that’s downtown Toronto, Canada) at least once a month if you’re looking for a good spot to glide and swerve, shake and bounce. Stay tuned for event info. Click here or on the flyer art to download the mix.
Ever been to a dancehall jam? Or a dub soundclash? Stone Love? Bass Odyssey? Anyone? Not normally my thing, but definitely a good time. This production by Max Tannone isn’t really anything like a “dancehall jam” – more like a dub-rootsy-rocksteady vibe, but it is double-D material for sure – Definitely Dope. A gigantic crab-claw bigUp to Max Tannone for coming through like the Wu. Click here or on Mos Def’s face for the download.
I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto the RCRD LBL site anymore, but boy am I glad I did. I pretty much love everything about the site. I love the name, the brand design – the logo, style & aesthetic. Props to the guys who created the brand mark and designed the site – great job! And the fact that the entire venture is a joint collaboration between (Sir) Gnarls Barkley, Santigold and the Cold War Kids (that’s a pretty crazy line-up of music artists right there) a.k.a. Downtown Music, makes the site and community so much more appealing to me because it was founded by artists.
Since it’s launch in 2007, RCRDLBL.com has become a legitimate online community for marquee and emergent artists (like breakout artists like Kid Cudi and Passion Pit) to really make that leap, reach out and build their fan base. It’s also an online resource that record labels can use to showcase their work and promote their talent. And, when all said and one, RCRDLBL.com is just a premier source for filthy good music (and well written reviews for the most part). Who doesn’t love free mp3′s delivered to your inbox on a daily basis? With a fresh and eclectic talent pool that’s growing daily, you ought to get plugged in if you aren’t already.
I’m at a loss for words. It’s 4:20 today, but it’s a sad day and the world has seen the passing of a great artist, producer and Hip Hop icon. Condolences to Guru’s family and loved ones. R.I.P, blessings and thank you for everything you gave to the world and to the Hip Hop movement, culture and community. You will be missed but never forgotten. Your words manifested will live forever.
I’m sure everyone has something positive to say about the how Guru’s life has affected them and the legacy that he has left us with. Ali Shaheed had a good post on his blog here. Or see what Don Preemo had to say about the his old friend and Hip Hop partner here.
If you’re interested global news, here’s a quick tidbit of world politics for you courtesy of TheOnion.com. If you’re not familiar with The Onion, you’ll either think this article is silly or you’ll crack up like I did. With writing like, “…recent speculation that America’s unquestioned reign as the leading super-prick may soon be drawing to a close, leaving China as the foremost shithead among all developed nations.“, it’s hard not to find it a little amusing. And it isn’t hard to see China in the role as world top dawg (and big red bully).
Click here to read the article. It’s not long so give it a go…you might laugh. I was trying to find a good picture of a Chinese dragon to represent China, but ended up stumbling on this picture (directly below) by Chris Achilleos. It means something to me because I’ve had this same poster image, mounted nicely and on my wall for a long time now. Yeah, on top of being a Mack-daddy comic book nerd growing up, I was also into Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels (dragons, knights, sorcerers and amazon babes).
More art by Chris Achilleos. Click on the images to see more art on Chris’ site.
Been listening to all my PPP (Platinum Pied Pipers) archive lately, revisiting the Abundance (pun intended) of goodness Waajeed and Saadiq have released to date. This mixtape came out about a year ago now so it isn’t “fresh”, but it’s still very FRESH if you haven’t heard it (isn’t great music always fresh?). DJ Topspin (aka Blendiana Jones – haha) out of Seattle gets heavy praise from Waajeed for his skills and creativity, and for the Dilla remixes he’s done. There’s an interlude on the mixtape where Waajeed talks about how tough it is to remix Dilla’s work – first of all since it’s already brilliant – and actually stand out with something creative and worthwhile considering everyone and their brother have been on the Dilla remix tip since he passed. Waajeed gives Dj Topspin the thumbs up. So do I. Listen to this remixtape and I’m sure you’ll agree too.
Click on the pic below or download the mixtape here. Props to FWMJ’s Rappers I Know blog for the download hook up – good lookin out! Seems they always have the dope-ish and the scoop on what’s hot.
If there were a Mount Rushmore for Hip Hop DJ’s, Premier’s face would be up there. Fader TV just released this interview today… where Preemo talks about the need to re-establish the standards of Hip Hop, and that (so-called) artists just don’t know how to “…excite, shock and amaze” anymore. PREACH!
It’s Thursday and the weekend is in the horizon. Janelle’s new(ish) vid, Tightrope feat. Big Boi will surely give you that bounce in your step to get you into the weekend. Tune is bangin…if you watch this and don’t wanna jump up and join a dance circus, check your pulse. LOVE the styling in this vid…make-up, hair and costume – FRESH! (Was half-waiting for Andre 3K to jump out at some point…). Janelle’s new album The ArchAndroid set to drop this May.
When I started this “blog” there were so many times prior to where I would ask myself what the hell I would write about. For whatever reason, I really didn’t want to fall into that “useless blog” genre you find rampant on the web where people post whatever for the sake of posting something, like “the meal I just ate”, or “that my dog crapped on the carpet last week”. I also didn’t want to become one of those voiceless blogs where all you see is a video or picture, or just some random link with a mumble about something or no explanation at all.
So now, only 3 months young, I find myself wrestling with all sorts of stuff I think I want to post. Luckily, some tidbits of culture and information are easy to asses and easily make the grade. And I think that might be one of the mandatory standards that I have to adopt and hold true to i.e. if in doubt, think again about posting it. Which leads me to the point of this post….HVW8 Art + Design. Interesting to asses and they easily made the grade.
If you went “huh?”, well with HVW8, here’s another interesting story of how Hip Hop (street) culture has pervaded the mainstream and “normalized” itself as a relevant part of pop art and culture. This story reinforces the fact that Graf Art (or avant-garde graphic design as HVW8 describes it on their site) has put itself on the map and is here to stay. In fact, it’s here to do more than that. Graf Art has been here for a while now as part of youth and “street” culture, but the “youth” that gave birth to the art form are all grown and the art form, well, it has become part of the fabric of pop art. And crews like HVW8 are using the art form and culture to make a mark; to pave new paths and to make a difference by taking the art form to new heights.
I had first seen HVW8′s work in the mid 2000′s, probably around the time they released the first installation of the (acclaimed and very dope) Political Minded series (looks like Banksy isn’t the only people Mr. Brainwash is biting off. And, I love the piece they did of Noam Chomsky!). They had already been busy touring the world creating their “live paintings” alongside musicians, and showing in notable galleries from Tokyo to San Juan (Puerto Rico) for a few years prior to that. And what I love about this story is the fact that founders Tyler Gibney, Gene Pendon and Dan Buller are from Montreal, Canada, and began their journey at the Montreal Jazzfest, in 1998. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them at an event here in Toronto, but I just can’t recall exactly what, when or where (the one and only reason to curse ganja). Anyway, after Political Minded blew up in 2004, HVW8 expanded out to L.A. in 2005 to continue the movement in the form of a studio + gallery space in support of avant-garde graphic design. A few years back, the guys started HVW8 Records in 2008. Now, HVW8 has become a production house with a full range of creative services from Art Direction and Production for Print, Web and TV Campaigns, Event Production, Music Licensing and Supervision, Music Videos, Art and Graphic Design, Mural Production, Curation and Fine Art collaboration, Marketing, Podcast development, Consultation, Illustration, and Talent booking. Um, what can’t these guys do? I wonder what kind of quote they would give you if you wanted to commission them for ALL their services at once. And they even sell stuff on their site.
I caught a recent video interview released on (Upper Playground’s) Walrus TV posted by the guys at The Citrus Report as a feature story (thank god for sites like The Citrus Report, keeping guys like me in the loop). I think the part that most intrigues me and that I most respect is the live art form and how gifted they are at it; how well the final creations come together. The signature “live paintings”, where the creation of visual art meets performance audio art, draws energy and inspiration from the crowd and the music (performance), where the artists immerse themselves into the “cut” and become part of the show – experiencing something similar to what the performer or DJ is feeling on stage, live and in the moment, improv. It’s a beautiful thing. The video sums it up nicely.
Oh, I also found this other video post of – I believe – Dan Buller being filmed doing some live painting, that was totally entertaining for me – what a gift. (I had this picture of Adi Dassler – the founder of Adidas if you were wondering – the image you see below, on my Twitter page for at least a year, and had all sorts of people asking me “who’s the white dude?”). I also love the dope music by Waajeed (PPP – bling47.com) in the background. (If you haven’t heard their latest album Abundance, well, too bad for you). Subscribe to the HVW8 podcast here for some other dope and eclectic mixes and compilations.
What would our world be if this man (below) didn’t create Adidas? It’s like asking yourself what would have happened if Peter Parker hadn’t escaped the grasp and complete bonding of the alien symbiote…? Yeah, I have that comic book – scary shit.
I love Sundays. Right up until after dinner. Then, the pending doom of Monday looming just one sleep away sets in. But I won’t use the M word again in this post. I wanted to share some good vibes via a mix I made a while back. Well, it’s more of a mix/compilation seeing that I’m not really a DJ (by professional standards anyway). I do love to mess around with Soundforge though. It’s my way of romanticizing about “moving the crowd”, mixing and cutting crazy sets on the Wheels of Steel. Right… Maybe in another lifetime. (I’ve also daydreamed about being that dope Emcee – spitting savage lyrical flows like Big Daddy in the Wrath of Kane with Scoob an Scrap tearing up the stage right behind me, Troop suits, Ballys and all).
Anyway, the point I’m actually trying to make: music (in whatever genre) is mandatory nutrition for the mind, body and soul. Always make sure to get lots of it. Especially on Sundays.
Between work and two little ones running around these days, I really only get to (really) listen to music either at night (after stories and bedtime), when I’m driving, or on Saturdays and Sundays. Saturdays are generally more geared to straight Hip Hop – afternoon radio shows used to be ritual – and Sundays are always for the soul….something a little more organic.
This neo soul, jazzy, hip hop mix features music by Cody Chesnutt, Dudley Perkins, Aloe Blacc, Hi-Tek, a Roy Ayers track remixed by the Platinum Pied Pipers, Zion-I, DJ Cam, a Dilla/Cam remix of Cameo, PPP feat. Tiombe Lockhart, the Jazz Liberatorz, Common, Slum V feat. Dwele, and Koushik. I might have a missed a few artists, but that’s a pretty good idea of what to expect. Enjoy.
Crud, ran out of space on my free Soundcloud account. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can’t wait for me to get more space and re-post this mix.
If you’re a true head, you’ve probably already grabbed this, but I figured I’d post it anyway. Props to all the tribute mixes that went out to godDilla, but this is easily one of the best Dilla tribute mixtapes I’ve heard. Good things are worth the wait. Thank you ?uest and The Roots crew for sending this one out…to you, you, and you. Download the mixtape from HypeBeast, here.
Also, if you live under a bridge with a troll and haven’t heard yet, The Roots are scheduled to drop their 11th album this summer – June 08, 2010 – entitled “How I got Over“. MAN, I can’t wait. Here’s a teaser…supreme dopeness as usual.
And when’s Cody Chesnutt gonna drop another album? If you haven’t heard The Headphone Masterpiece, well that’s just too bad. You should go get it. The double disc album has this raw, unfinished feel to it – like they turned on the mic and hit record with no real plan – and Cody even sounds off-key to me on some tracks – haha – or is it just me? Or maybe he was just really bunned out. Either way, there’s just something about this release that works (for me anyway). Based on the album content, Cody seems like a talented dude with a sense of humour. On that note, here’s The Seed, by The Roots featuring Cody Chesnutt.
The image you are seeing above these words is by artist Eric Joyner. Have you ever heard of him? Or seen his art? Well, up until just recently, I had not heard of him nor had I ever seen his art. But now, after seeing his work on the Hold Up Art site and then at his own website, I would have to say that I’m a HUGE fan. I’m still really soaking it in, but I LOVE the whole idea of robots and donuts! Brilliant. His paintings are like these 50′s sci-fi-detective-espionage-war-of-the-worldesque creations, with donuts and robots in interesting (and often mysterious) situations.
And for me, there’s also a parody of America somewhere in there. The donuts represent “The Man” or, donuts as what The Man uses to keep The People (the masses) in check, where “The People”, represented by the Robots, worship The Man (or donuts). Doesn’t that sound like the democratic paradigm to you? Maybe it’s just me… Either way, I love the art.
Check out Eric’s site here. Or click on any of his art images below to purchase his work via Hold Up Art.
OK, it’s been a minute since I’ve had a chance to squeeze out a post to chooOn. Between Easter, in-laws, the kids + wife, dear old friends and bangin bunnies, time for yourself is truly golden. The good news (and bad news) is the world doesn’t stop and now that I’ve had a chance to “catch up”, it’s time for another entry on the all the dope art I’ve been seeing lately. So this post has two parts, which I’ll separate into two posts altogether. The first post – this one – is about a new gallery called Hold Up Art that opened recently in downtown LA, in Little Tokyo. The second post is about one of the artists they rep, Eric Joyner – next one.
All the artists Hold Up has on board are talented. I’m sure Justin Bua rings a bell for most people. I still have two Bua prints that I had framed way back in my university days that haven’t made it back on my wall yet since I moved recently, but I still love them nonetheless. It’s good to see he’s been keeping busy creating new stuff. Jeff Jordan has some really interesting pieces that are slightly shocking and peculiar to look at, but are witty and funny in the same instance. He seems to like the juxtaposition and mixing of animals and people from the 50s into strange but colourful work with a subtle human element that draws you in. David Flores very creatively “remixes” old school posters and photographs from a variety of icons, celebs and cartoons. (I’m thinking someone has to commission David to either do the art for the “Wu Tang animated movie” because the ODB piece he did is so filthy good, or have him bang out some serious album-art-remixes). The work Codak, Cleon Peterson and Augustine Kofie are showing on the Hold Up site is also definitely worth the dope-nod, but out of the lot, my favourite has to be the work of Eric Joyner. But more on that in my next post. I want to give you guys the scoop on Hold Up and the principle idea behind their new gallery – affordable art – which I think is definitely great news.
In a recent interview on The Citrus Report, Co-founder Brian Lee talks about the idea behind Hold Up Art Gallery as chance to reach out to more people: “Galleries, for us, were just this archaic construction of contemporary art, that really wasnâ€™t going anywhere, and was just existing for the people who owned the galleries. Basically, we thought, what else could we be doing to make ourselves more relevant? We wanted to communicate with the public, as opposed to just making it about the gallery and the artist. We came up with the idea of Hold Up, which is based on affordable art, and focusing on LA-based people. Most galleries refuse to hang prints, and only sell originals because they think prints really devalue originals. For us, having things like art prints and posters, just allows us to speak to more people.“. Evan La Ruffa from the Citrus Rrport, who interviewed Brian and wrote the article, poignantly describes the idea behind Hold Up, “as a rebuttal to that elitist trend in contemporary art.”
Wicked, leave it some west coast kids out of school to hippie-ize pop art in California into something more accessible to the masses. Good for us. Good for artists. Win-win, no? Personally, growing up in the late 70′s and 80′s as a massive comic book nerd/collector, I’m a big fan of poster and print art, screen prints, giclees etc. It’s about the art for me; the image and how it looks and makes me feel. Brian Lee says something similar in the interview, which I totally relate to. I think what they are doing is great. Sounds like a good idea and a good business model to me. The interview article is worth reading if you’re into “pop art” and want to find out more on the innovative new take Brian Lee and Ben Kauffman have come up with for their new gallery. You can find it here. Be sure to checkout the Hold Up site too. If you see something you like and you’re from north of the 49th, just send them an email, they’re happy to price out shipments to Canada.
There’s one thing that Evan La Ruffa didn’t ask Brian about….what’s with the name “Hold Up Art”? My guess is that it’s a spin off the idea that traditionally, buying (elitist) contemporary art is like getting held up for all your money. Or do they call that a Stick-up? Hmmm…there’s the name for your next gallery guys. Let me know if you need help getting the new site going