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March 29, 2011

Recently on Examiner: Pharoahe Monch at SOBs

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I've decided that it's about time for me to get back out and shooting for Examiner.com again. Thursday night, I shot Pharoahe Monch perform at the release party for his new album, WAR. One of my earliest shoots for Examiner was a show of his celebrating the 10th anniversary of his first solo at Sputnik. I'm thinking of it as sort of a new beginning.

Examiner doesn't pay particularly well, but the practice of shooting events regularly is really useful. It's been a couple of months since shooting a show and I was surprised at how many little mistakes I made in my preparation that I had down when I was shooting regularly. None of it was insurmountable, but it was all stuff I should have known better. It was a good reminder of why the best thing you can do in photography is to just keep shooting.

May 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Drinking in Brooklyn and the Freedom Party

A new Hot Bird rises from the ashes

If there was much of a theme at all in my last couple weeks of posts it was Brooklyn Bars. Besides the regular Brokelyn 25 series that I've gotten moving again, I've also posted about a few new choice spots to imbibe that have opened up recently. Above is Hot Bird, which I lucked into on its second night open. I basically got the first shots of the space and thus ended up on Brownstoner and Eater. The place looks pretty amazing, so I expect to spend quite a bit of time there this summer.

See what else I've been posting about after the jump...

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Drinking in Brooklyn and the Freedom Party" »

April 5, 2010

Bar Sputnik Closed Down

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I was disappointed this weekend to find Sputnik, on the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill border shuttered with an 'out of business' sign on the door.

After years of wanting to go, I only ended up there twice. Last fall, I was there two weeks in a row, shooting Pharoahe Monch and Brand Nubian for some of my first Examiner columns. With Evil D on the turntables and legends literally inches away, it was Hip-hop at its finest.

I wasn't anywhere near a regular, but I'm sad to see it go.

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March 28, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Jam Bands, Food Fests and Hip-Hop

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Woo! It's been a busy week. I've jumped back into the Examiner gig with both feet. Last Sunday night, after Cochon 555, I headed to Brooklyn to shoot The Disco Biscuits play Brooklyn Bowl. The night before, I covered the opening for Make It Fit at Brooklynite Gallery and the next night, I was at Choice Eats for Midtown Lunch. In one of my better attempts at synergy (without recycling, thank you), I managed to squeeze a Food Fest post together about Cochon 555 and Choice Eats, as well.

K-OS at Le Poisson Rouge

Besides all that, my Examiner column over the last couple weeks had recaps of a K-OS show in The Village, the third anniversary Mixer at Cakeshop and recommended Mé Bar for outdoor drinks on a Friday night when the weather was nice.

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This weekend, I've taken some much needed downtime at home with Tammi, but as the weather warms up, the activities in the city tend to multiply, so I expect to stay busy.

January 31, 2010

Aspen: Monster Energy Drink's X Games Party

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Last night, I got a pass to go up to the top of Aspen Mountain for the Monster Energy Drink Party. In all my years coming out to X Games Events, this was my first sponsor party. It was a good time, if not my usual scene.

On stage, Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys warmed the crowd up and Del The Funky Homosapien performed old and new songs from his current album all the way back to his 1990 debut. Up front a crowd of hyped up fans bounced to the sounds of Mister Dobalina and Doctor Bombay.

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It was fun to get into a crowd again and keep my music photography going after a little while away. The snowboarder kids are an interesting bunch. Their typical dress is often already pretty outlandish, so when they go all out, it's quite the spectacle. I just wish I had an excuse to post it on Examiner.

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More photos after the jump.

Continue reading "Aspen: Monster Energy Drink's X Games Party" »

October 4, 2009

Examiner: The Roots play Brooklyn Bowl

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Thursday night, I covered The Ten Dollar Coolhunter Jam hosted by the Roots at Brooklyn Bowl for Examiner.com. It was a great show and all the more exciting to me because, even though I've been a fan of The Roots for 13 years, I haven't seen them live since 2001.

I was right up front and got a bunch of up close shots of the band, the other groups performing and Talib Kweli, who was a surprise guest.

It was also pretty awesome because I hadn't heard of nearly any of the other groups performing and they were all really interesting, playing music that I'd definitely like to hear more of. Personally, I was really blown away by Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew from Sierra Leone. The music brought in influences from all over the place and they just had so much energy on stage that it was palpable.

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Check out the post on the Examiner for links, a slideshow and more details. Even more photos posted on Flickr.

May 17, 2009

London: The Message

I took this photo five years ago on my first and only trip to London. It was at a Hip-hop show at Shepherd's Bush Empire. The show was called The Message and it starred Gza from Wu Tang Clan, Dead Prez and a number of British rappers I'd never heard of before. Gza was still doing the same songs I heard him do in the late 90's when he performed at my college. And Dead Prez hyped the crowd saying the crazy shit they are known to say. ("And you white people can be down, too. Just give back what you took!")

But what I still remember now was hearing the British MCs rhyming in an indecipherable accent. There was a freestyler on stage lambasting his fellows for trying to sound American when they are "BRITISH!" Coming minutes after hearing Dead Prez reject their nationality in favor of being "An African," I wondered if anyone else noticed the irony.

I also remember the Palestinian MC whose hook was in Arabic. It was the first time I had seen International Hip-hop live. I've been fascinated with the concept of foreign language Hip-hop ever since.

It's a challenge to me as someone who has always listened to Hip-hop as a form of storytelling to listen to a song and not know the words. But it's an interesting experience.

July 17, 2008

Breakdancing at the Library

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New York Public Library, Midtown, NYC. 2006.

This troupe performs on Fifth Avenue in front of the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. The most obvious member in the group is Q, a Japanese woman who was highlighted in a NY Times article last year. She's not just there as a gimmick though. Her moves are daring and playful. The rest of the group did their thing as well. I particularly liked the popper who strutted and bounced back and forth, posing the whole time.

Note: I posted the photo above among others and the description below to Flickr when I first signed up. I hadn't planned on blogging, so I just editorialized in the set description. I just came across it and thought a repost was in order.

May 14, 2007

Photo of the Day: Big Sista is Watching


IMG_0553, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Back up singer, Blackalicious. Summer X Games 13. Los Angeles, 2006.


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April 5, 2007

DITC: Fantasy (Bad Boy Remix)

Yes, it's Mariah Carey, shut up. You know you remember it.
I only mention it for ODB's rhymes:
"Me and Mariah/ go back like babies and pacifiers/old dirt dog no liar/keep ya fantasy hot like fire!"

All rapped through the sloppy lisp of gold fronts.
Classic odb.

::c::

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March 17, 2007

DITC: 2nd Round KO

This track was scandalous when it was released. Upstart Canibus, who didn't even have an album released, seemingly came out of no where and slammed veteran Rap Star, LL Cool J. Since history is ultimately written by the victor, Canibus' footnote in the annals of Hip-hop ends with him getting crushed by the sleeping giant he awoke.

LL came back hard, proving though "99% of his fans wear high heels," he was still "Bad." He reassured the hiphoperati that, despite having a sitcom and perpetually showing off his pecks, he was capable of putting out a song that was good for more than just dancing with your girl to.

To be fair, LL wasn't just in a sitcom, but had co-starred in a Michael J Fox movie. He really didn't ever wear a shirt and hadn't released a song that wasn't girly in years. Also, the fight did start after LL invited him to co-star on a song and then inserted a verse after his saying that Canibus would never ever be as good as he was.

Continue reading "DITC: 2nd Round KO" »

March 14, 2007

DITC: Me, Myself and My Microphone

I can't really be consider A+ a one hit wonder, since I don't think any of his songs ever really constituted a hit. When his album came out he was 12. His appeal was that he didn't spend too much time capitalizing on his age. He lyrics were like any other rapper at that time, sans the guns and violence. He also had guest appearances from some of the more prominent names of the time. These days the only people I know who have heard of him are my friends who DJed with me in college. They were working from the same pool of albums as I was, many of them freebies from the record companies who flooded our mailbox with acts they were pushing.

This song was a Hip-hop love song a la "I Used to Lover Her." This was a year or so before Common turned the theme into a franchise. Instead of the music, he was professing his love to his mic. His lyrics weren't bad actually, all things considered (see Puffy's lyrical skills, mentioned earlier), but not incredibly compelling.

What I like about it is the lilting tune looped in the background. I recognize it from somewhere, but can't quite place it. Q-tip does the hook, giving a little hip-hop gravitas to it all. This is before "Vivrant Thing" and Budweiser ads, when Tribe was the epitome of intelligent hip-hop.

::c::

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March 13, 2007

DITC: Step Into A World Remix

"I'm gon' make you dance."

Who ever thought a KRS-One song would start like that? More to the point, who ever thought 'The Prophet' would ever do a track with Puffy, who many of us, at the time, could only think of as the Hip-hop anti-christ. It was an obvious radio track for KRS. It had a hot beat but still had all of the self-righteousness brilliance one would expect alternating between the bubble gum clap trap Puff has always been known for:

"Hear the sound of my money machine See the 600 Benz see the chrome rims gleam See the teacher KRS and the Puff Daddy See the young black and famous Rich like Matty With the power and the knowledge at our fingertips With a style make the ladies wanna lick they lips, shake they hips Shake they rumps, bass thump Believin they could fly by the way you jump, player, uhh Hip-Hop mayor, fat rhyme sayer From the Boogie Down to the Himilayas..."
(Puffy's lyrics courtesy of Gold Lyrics )

As I said, clap-trap.

Thankfully it was the only track of its kind that I can think of. I'm not sure if the backpacker community would have survived had there been more. Contemplating the juxtaposition of skills and extreme nonsense too much would certainly had caused heads to explode.

Sorry, I can't end this entry without posting a little more of puffy's hackneyed bullshit:

Politic with the teacher (c'mon) as the hits reach ya Puff Daddy and KRS-One, double feature (that's right) Uptown diplomats, watch chips get stacked So-and-so, this and that (uhh) Just 'Show me the money!' Ain't nuttin funny (uh-huh) Have you stuck on stupid broke feelin crummy (ahah) Ain't no time for Girl 6 Cause I got a ten, holdin my stack of big Benz Correographer causin your funky dope maneuver (say what?)

Say what indeed...

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DITC: Usual Suspects

I remember the album, Vendetta, was supposed to be Mic Geronimo's big comeback. Unfortunately, the lead single turned out to be his own Flava in ya Ear remix. DMX came out of nowhere and outshined him on his own track. What I didn't remember was that Jadakiss was on it too. This was back before the Lox album, I think. He took a little while to catch everyone's attention. I remember my friends and I jumping on All for the Love, when their album came out. I wonder if we even noticed that it was the same dude who was on this track.

These days I rarely listen to new music, so I haven't heard much Jadakiss in a while, but I do know that he got pretty damn big since I got out of school. Sadly, I haven't heard anything at all about Mic Geronimo. Just like Craig Mack, no one has heard from him in a long time. According to AllMusic, he's released two albums since, one just this year. I guess there's still a chance he'll blow up. I wouldn't recommend he use too many unknown guest stars this time around.

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March 9, 2007

Hip-Hop: The Greatest of All Time

"The Greatest Rapper of All Time Died on March Ninth"

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10 years ago today, Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls was killed.

Hip-hop has never been the same.

Rest in Peace
::c::

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February 3, 2007

Philly Guide

Philly


A co-worker of mine goes down to Philadelphia regularly to see his gf. He asked for a couple tips on where to take her when he's down there. Below is an edited version. I'm heading down there in a couple weeks, so I'm going through it as a refresher.

Follow the jump for some of my favorite places to eat and drink in the city of brotherly love...

Continue reading "Philly Guide" »


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