Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest

I was about one year and nine months old when The Low End Theory was released in September of 1991. I am not exactly sure what music I was listening to at that age if any. I was living in another country and I couldn’t even walk! However, a few years down the road of life I would come in to contact with this album and furthermore the group known as A Tribe Called Quest. From that point on my life and music tastes would change forever. The Low End Theory was my introduction if you will into Jazz music and an alternative form of Hip-Hop that I never expected to hear from such a masculine and flashy genre. Forward to the present times and the tribe is no longer together, the group hasn’t released a single album in over ten years, and Mike Rappaport is making his directorial debut in his first documentary following the tribe.

The main reason for the documentary follows the concept on why the Tribe broke up despite a 2008 reunion tour to help raise money for Phife Dawg’s kidney transplant. The film is sincere and honest to what is really going on between the members. At the tipping point you have two childhood friends, Q-tip and Phife Dawg, at each other’s necks due to their budding interests within and outside of music. Then you have Ali Shaheed Muhammed, the member stuck in the middle of the two disputing members, as well as, Jarobi, the man who opted out of the group early on and choose a path that coincided more with his personal interests, a chef. A majority of all of the narrative is given by Tribe members and numerous musical celebrities sharing their memories and feelings about Tribes impact on their lives. ATCQ‘s impact on Hip-Hop and people’s lives is nothing short of legendary. If a young guy like myself who was barely almost 2 years old when Tribe released their second album can speak of the album as if I was there the day it was released then that speaks far louder than any words I can ever type to describe their impact.

Mike Rappaport is able to showcase Tribe’s history as a group, as individuals, and as members of society. The documentary truly resonated with audience members like myself because we got to witness the members as far more then entertainers, but rather human beings with real-life issues. In these days and times it is difficult for people to view celebrities and entertainers as something more then what we’re used to, but at the end of the day these are people just trying to make a living just like us.


Q-Tip and Phife Dawg’s relationship is witnessed as a struggle between two musical artists on one hand Tip is the perfectionist who embodies and incorporates music into his everyday life, on the other hand, we have Phife Dawg a forty year old diabetic who wants nothing more than to enjoy time with his family and watch his favorite sports like any another average American male. The two are great artist in their own rights, but you bring these two forces together and you create the legendary group we know as A Tribe Called Quest.

This documentary catered to fans old and new of the tribe and even included a deeper more detailed look into the groups history and group dynamics as a whole. This film was a treat for any music fan that featured a full fledged dispute between band mates as audiences have never witnessed before. Although, the Tribe may not be acting like one at the moment, I am happy with the fact that deep down Tip and Phife truly do still care about one another. Besides you got to remember A Tribe Called Quest still has one album left to record on their contract with Jive Records!

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Wu-Tang Clan x Fugazi = Wugazi

It’s finally here everyone! The Wu-Tang Clan and Fugazi mash-up known as Wugazi has finally dropped! Fans who grew up listening to either musical act can now listen to these head nodding tunes brought to you by the founding member of the Hip-Hop group Doomtree Cecil Otter and his friend Swiss Andy. This concept has grown immensely popular in recent times thanks to artists like Girl Talk and The Hood Internet, yet Wugazi is able to breath a fresh breath of air into an over saturated genre. To have two groups from opposite ends of the musical scale and mash them up into their own original sound is impressive! Be sure to download your copy of the project or stream it below!

Mr. Cartoon

Chicano culture, gang culture, prison tattoos, California lifestyle, East L.A. These all come to mind when I think of the great tattoo artist, Mr. Cartoon. Growing up in Los Angeles and being surrounded by graffiti and street culture, Cartoon realized he had an artistic ability and would start out airbrushing t-shirts and Lowriders before embracing his signature “Fineline Style” of tattoo art. It was art that kept Cartoon out of trouble in the streets and helped to turn his art into a full-fledged career. Mr. Cartoon has dabbled in various mediums from graffiti to magazine illustrations. His previous experience with multiple mediums of art finally landed him as a world famous tattoo artist. His work is showcased on various Hip-Hop artists bodies as much more then just a tattoo, but rather a piece of permanent art that captures Cartoons Chicano/Prison/L.A. influences. He even did Cypress Hill’s logo and has done multiple high-profile collaborations with industry giants such as NIKE, TOYOTA, and T-Mobile among many others. Mr. Cartoon’s long and impressive career/journey is impeccable and truly a great source of inspiration in my life as well as other artistic individuals around the world. Pay attention and learn from the best, only then will you be able to fully succeed.


Mr. Cartoon x SA STUDIOS Armored Truck


CYPRESS HILL LOGO


Mr. Cartoon x Nike Air Force 1 Quickstrike


Mr. Cartoon x Livestrong x Nike Sportswear “Greatest Hits” Air Force

Mr. Cartoon recently did a “Tokyo Tattoo Tour” and had the guys over at Off the Wall TV film him during his travels. Below are both parts of his travels.

Part 1:


Part 2:

Be sure to also check out Mr. Cartoon and Estevan Oriol’s clothing brand, Joker Brand

Believe the HYPE.

Music videos played a huge part in Hip-Hop artists careers in the 1990s era. There was absolutely no way you were going to have a successful rap career and reach the masses if you did not have a video to showcase your music through. The Hip-Hop audience was a lot more attentive and sought out visuals that complemented rap artists’ lyrics. If an artist had a single it was inevitable that a music video would soon accompany the single. With that being said, Harold Williams, better known as, Hype Williams, was the music director to be in the 1990s! Hailing from Queens, New York Hype was one of the most sought after music video directors throughout the 1990s where he built up much of his impressive resume by directing videos for artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Jay-Z, Craig Mack, Missy Elliot, Nas , Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and even directing the film, Belly. If you are a fan of Hip-Hop and you have not watched any of Hype’s videos then you have A LOT of catching up to do! Now for your reading and visual pleasure I will break down a couple of Hypes videos and why they stood out to me.

Craig MackFlava In Ya Ear Remix Featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J, & Busta Rhymes
From The Warriors inspired intro to the full star studded line-up and multiple artist cameos, the Flava In Ya Ear Remix is nothing less then monumental. Watching this video when I was younger I could not help but just be taken in by the lyrics and visuals that were plastered all over this music video. The fact that the video was shot completely in black and white just adds to the finesse of this song and the captivating presence that visuals have on a viewer.This video was the blueprint for many of the “in-your-face” and “me and my click” style of videos that would be rehashed over and over again in multiple rap videos throughout the 1990s (this style holds a soft spot in my Hip-Hop loving heart). This music video will forever be a fan-favorite of the rap genre and serves as the perfect blend of originality and the “don’t fuck with me” type of attitude that has always pumped through Hip-Hops veins. Indeed, an amazing song that got a well-deserved video to match its level of energy.

The Notorious B.I.G.Warning

A song so compelling and rich in story that it deserved the short-film treatment. Biggies‘ “Warning” video plays out exactly like a mobster film that you would see on some late night movie channel. Taking influence from films like Scarface, The Godfather, and other famous mobster films this video truly portrays the lavish and hostile life that comes across in Biggies lyrics. Hype was able to translate the songs message through this video with club shots of a guy lurking in the shadows and showing Biggies anxiety with the situation throughout the video. The shoot-out at the end is the icing on the cake for this classic and well-executed video!


2Pac California Love Featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman

The Mad Max version of the California Love music videos was one of the coolest looking videos I had ever seen when it was first released. It featured a cool desert terrain, a hilarious Chris Tucker cameo, and all of the hype that the West Coast and Death Row was riding on for the last couple of years on screen! It was the arrival of a new era of big budget and flashy videos! Money was abundant and so were the parties when it came to the West Coast scene so why not splurge and showcase this through music videos? Death Row was reigning SUPREME for a good few years until Pac‘s untimely death, Dr. Dre leaving as a result of a money dispute/the creation of his own music label as well as Snoops departure that would land him on the NO LIMIT RECORDS label. Although, this dream team of a record label is long gone past it’s glory days, Death Row lived it up in memorable-big budget videos like the one you see before you!

Well that is it for now, perhaps I will do a couple other videos in a future post. Thank you all for reading!

RVALUTION

Dance parties are common place in Richmond like rats are to DC, so it’s no surprise that Richmond’s own RVALUTION dance party is back again this Summer! I was able to stop by the Hat Factory this week to be a part of the madness that is RVALUTION.
The dance party felt more like a melting pot of circus acts, crazy horny-dancing teenagers, and ravers that all came together to have a great time!

Excessive sweating, back-to-back grinding, and copious amounts of beer and alcohol fueled the mixed crowd of teenagers and twenty-sum old party goers throughout the night.

After experiencing this hectic show I can honestly say I have never seen such a diverse crowd of party-goers having a good time together without hesitation. It seems like RVALUTION has provided an event where people from all backgrounds can just
come together and dance their brains out! After all isn’t that what we all want out of life?

RVALUTION will be going on every Tuesday for the next 10 weeks at the Hat Factory so

if you got some free time and no work the next day be sure to visit one of Richmond’s craziest dance parties.

*Also be sure to use promo code RVA to get a discount off of tickets online!”

Grape Cloth Seminar


Iain Duffus the founder and co-owner of the Richmond based street wear brand known as Grape Cloth, recently held a motivational seminar reflecting on his personal experiences in the clothing industry with students at Meadowbrook High school. Grape Cloth was founded in October 2010 and has garnered a great deal of recognition in the Richmond area in the past few months. Iain was contacted by school directors to speak to some of the students at Meadowbrook so that he could share his message that deals with having a positive attitude, dedication, staying creative, as well as building a better you. Iain works a full time job, helps raise two kids with his wife and co-owner of Grape Cloth, Erin Duffus, and somehow is able to run the Grape Clothing Line all at the same time. He shared a lot of relatable experiences and also stressed that staying focused, maintaining a strong work ethic, and taking advantage of every opportunity around you is imperative to your overall success.


Iain also brought his close friend Black Liquid, whom is also a radio DJ and rapper; he also had some deep words to share with the students of Meadowbrook. He touched on the importance of having a team, stating, “You won’t make it alone, therefore, you need to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share similar ideals and views as yourself.” Black Liquid even referenced Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” and claimed, “getting started and focused as soon as possible is key, because it becomes difficult to invest your time in things you’re passionate about when you’re older. Therefore, putting off distractions and remaining focused will help you pursue your dreams.” His overall message outlined the importance of having a team to believe in you and “embracing” the longer path to success because the hard work will pay off.

The seminar was truly enlightening and gave all the kids, as well as myself, a lot to think about. A couple other topics that stood out to me dealt with: not being afraid to fail; work hard and take full accountability for your own errors and correct the situation; envision the entire picture and not just the positive or what you want to see; and lastly, social interactions between yourself and others that don’t get you anywhere should be avoided in order to achieve your goals.

You can check out Grape Cloth’s ads in this month’s RVA mag. Grape Cloth is currently being sold at local clothing boutiques West Coast Kicks, Katra Gala, and The Pizza Shop.

Seminar Photographs taken by: Cordell H.

SUMMER TIME IS UPON US…

Let’s make some memorable memories, enjoy the weather, life and love.

MISHKA Summer Line 2011

Blazing hot weather that turns everybody into a wetback (excessive sweating), ice cream cones melting, pool parties, trips to the local beach, over-crowded theme parks, water balloon fights with the neighborhood kids, cold showers in the middle of the day, seeing-sounds, getting chased by rabid dogs, summer-flings, and wayfarer glasses all of these remind me of Summer time! With summer fast-approaching us in the coming days MISHKA has once again taken care of our fashion needs for this unforgivable global-warming inspired blazing-hot weather! This season we have everything from shot-sleeve button-ups, to snapbacks, tye-die colored graphic tees, long-sleeve shirts made out of a lightweight cotton known as Madras, and even rug-inspired shorts! It is definite that MISHKA has got everyone covered this summer, so sit back in your favorite chair, grab your favorite drink, and check out a couple of the pieces that stood out to me this season!

Headless Cross Shirt (Red) – Short-sleeve button-ups are one of the greatest summer pieces a person can wear! I love that you can layer them, wear them buttoned up by themselves, or whatever versatile way you would like! They are great pieces that remind me of summer time cook-outs and all night beer binges! The colors on this piece compliment each other flawlessly and are bound to get you props from all of the scantily-clad dressed girls this summer!

Never Say Die Madras Shirt (Dust) – Long-sleeve shirts and I go together like spaghetti and meatballs or Pamela Anderson and Herpes. Anyways, this piece is one of the main standouts for me with it’s excellent manila/violet coloring and simplistic front chest pocket. Apparently, the material this shirt is made out of is a lightweight cotton called, Madras, so you don’t have to fear sweating your ass off this summer while wearing this long-sleeve shirt. Overall, it is a perfect shirt to wear throughout the day while just hanging out at a cookout, or going out for a night at the bar! BEER IS AWESOME!

Drug Rug Shorts (Blue) – When I first laid eyes on these shorts I thought to myself, could I ever pull these off? More then that, would anyone ever even wear these!? And then it hit me these were made for the confident/swagged out gentleman! Yeah that is correct you yourself could be that swagged out guy that all the ladies love while wearing this slick pair of shorts! These come with an extra pocket on the lower right side so you can fulfill the slacker-College student stereotype and stash your herb away!


Cyrillic Varsity Starter Snapback (Grey ) – What we have here is a nostalgic collaboration with a classic brand which bring you a clean snapback that is sure to be seen at many cookouts and parties this summer just as it was seen back in the 90s. Starter snapback’s are certainly a staple in street culture as well as a classic summer item, so it was only right for MISHKA to do this collaboration. This hat has my personal favorite wool-like material with a purple brim and lettering outline as well as the iconic eye patch on the left side. Rep MISHKA hard this summer with this classic hat!

Keep Watch Tank (Tie-dye) – A tank is the most manly thing you can wear during the summer, yet you add an eyeball and a cool tie-dye effect to it and you’ve got yourself a mighty fine garment! I don’t need to say much more other than if you don’t get this sick piece then you can just give up on your chances of getting laid this summer!

Nightmare Visions T-shirt (Tie-dye) – What is flyer then having a Freddy-Krueger looking character with an eyeball for a head on your shirt? Having that graphic on a blue tie-dye t-shirt! This shirt is nothing short of epic by all standards, so go for it, don’t be afraid, and cop this NOW!

Caza Mortal T-Shirt (Heather Grey) – Among the many things that MISHKA does right, creating creepy graphics that will frighten even the boogie-man is one of them! This shirt hits the dot and then some in that aspect, so if you want to share your odd-sense of style this t-shirt is for you.

You can find all the pieces I have posted as well as many more at the Mishka Store.
Here are some photos from the Summer lookbook which includes well known names like Diplo , 12th Planet , Wavves, and other artists modeling the new threads.

*Click on the images to see the full size*

Be sure to peep the MISHKA SITE for updates, to shop, and for entertainment for their BLOGLIN!
Also, this lookbook was entirely shot by Caesar Sebastian check out his other sick work!

Warriors of Radness x Opening Ceremony = Beach Crew! Capsule Collection

Hello, all far and wide! Today, I have a colorful-surf inspired collaboration to share with you all between the awesome Warriors of Radness clothing brand and the equally cool, Opening Ceremony. Both have joined forces to bring you all this capsule collection known as, BEACH CREW! which is based around old surf and beach culture. The collection features an assortment of graphic tank tops, t-shirts, and button-ups among many other pieces. As one of my favorite brands in recent years, Warriors of Radness, has really put their surf/brightly-colored mark work into this collection and I assure myself that once my money is coming in by the barrel I will be sure to grab some pieces from this capsule collection! Check out some of the collection below as well as the new video by Warriors own artist Gantez Warrior!

“The Beach Crew” directed by Annette Funicello.

Deo Adeolux

Many of you may hear people always say ” Yeah, I make beats” well I have a little gift for you all today in the form of music! My close friend and buddy Daniel aka Deo Adeolux really does MAKE BEATS (great ones at that) and he has recently been releasing a lot of unheard material. He composes mostly beats with his own “space” and “somber” like feel that makes for an original and refreshing sound. I have been listening to this mans beats ever since he composed his first few simple tracks and I have proudly watched as he has progressed his sound to bring you all an original mixture of space-hard-hitting-hip-hop-esque beats! Below are a couple of his tracks so be sure to check them out and let him know what you think! You can also visit his blog HERE

Here is a new track titled “M.A.R.S” that was just dropped yesterday. It’s an amazing little mash up that will have you bobbin’ your head in sync with the music.

A nice little old school reminiscent tune called “Mr. Wave Presents: Graffiti Jackson and the Flashmore Breakers”

And one of my personal favorite tracks “(Intro) Digital Diamonds”

Be sure to check out his Sound Cloud for more tracks!