Sunday, August 31, 2008

FPAC Show and Prove Street Dance!

What an amazing year for Filipinos in street dance! With so much Fil Am sensation, representation, and domination in shows like MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew,” it is hard to ignore the gifted dance talent within the Filipino community.

“Show and Prove” is a showcase that celebrates the success of Filipinos in street dance, and pays homage to the long lineage of Filipino street dancers—from the pre-WWII zoot suiters to the hip hop gurus of today. Can you hang with the best of ‘em? Show and Prove!

Participating Dance Crews:

Kaba Modern (Irvine)
PAC Modern (Long Beach)
Undeclared (Oxnard)
All In Motion (Carson)
Carson Street Dance (Carson)

Festival info:
Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC)
Sept. 6-7, 10am-6pm
$5 presale, $7 day of, kids under 5 and seniors free
Point Fermin Park, San Pedro, CA

Thursday, August 28, 2008

All Star DJ Tribute at FPAC

Holy smokes! Yo check the all star cast of talented Pin@y DJs making an appearance at the 17th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC): FPAC Tribute to the Filipino DJ

Sunday, Sept. 7, 2:30pm

Parallel to this year’s festival theme “Our Native Ways,” the FPAC Tribute to the Filipino DJ hearkens toward celebrating the “original” pioneers of DJ culture and also honoring those DJs who are making an impact on our community. Also called “turntablism,” DJing has much to owe to the Filipino community. Aside from the elite cadre of Filipino American DJ veterans who impacted the DJ scene worldwide, the sheer magnitude of Filipino American DJs is worth celebrating.

During this 17th Annual FPAC we will highlight a few notable DJs who have each brought something special to both the DJ and Filipino American community.

Like the many layers of the Filipino American experience that make our community so unique, DJs navigate our ears through the many layers of beats and rhythm. Bringing to the DJ scene something “SOOO FRESSHHHHH,” we want to pay tribute to not only our awardees, but to all Filipino American DJs who are moving the art forward!


DJ Kuttin Kandi
Candice L. Custodio-Tan known as DJ Kuttin Kandi is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished female DJ's in the world. She is a member of DJ team champions 5th Platoon, Founder and DJ for the all female Hip-Hop group Anomolies, Cofounder of the famed NY monthly open mic nights “Guerrilla Words” and Founder of the coalition R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop (Representing Education, Activism & Community through Hip Hop). Djing for over 10 years, Kandi competed in over 20 DJ competitions such as ITF and Vibe. She is the NY Source Magazine DJ Champion and has been the only female DJ to make it to the DMC USA FINALs.

DJ Nasty Nes

At the age of ten, Nasty Nes moved to Seattle from the Philippines. Beginning in 1980, Nes hosted the first Hip-Hop radio show in the West Coast, "Freshtracks" on 1250 KFOX. Nes' 18 year career on radio has landed him on KFOX, KCMU, KUBE & on KDAY, KMEL. 1985, Nes co-founded, NASTYMIX Records with Sir Mix-A-Lot. Nes is featured on the late Eazy-E single "Radio!" Nes is one of the youngest students at the original Bruce Lee "Jun Fan Gung-Fu Institute" since 13 years old. As an actor Nes has been featured in films, "House Party 4" & "Kung Pow! Enter The Fist."

DJ Rhettmatic

A major force behind the creation of Southern California's first turntable band, the Beat Junkies, is a multi-faceted musician known to the world as DJ Rhettmatic. Born Nazareth Nirza, his artistic contributions to the music industry have placed him, along with his fellow members of the Beat Junkie crew, at the top of the DJ universe. Rhettmatic also helped founded and is the Dj/Producer for the LA based Underground Hip Hop Super Group, the Visionaries in 1994.

DJ Babu
A member of the acclaimed Dilated Peoples and the Beat Junkies, this world renowned DJ is more than accustomed to feeling the expansive power of music at his fingertips. Winning countless DJ competitions in the 1990s such as the DMC Championship in 1997 and multiple ITF titles, Babu has gained the nickname "The Turntablist." Now one of the most respected names in the world of DJs, the battle hardened Babu has set his sights on producing.

DJ Showcase Talent (Stacks Amateur DJ Battle Champs):
DJ D-Strukt
DJ Turbulence
DJ Phonix

Filipino Americans in Hip Hop Working Timeline at FPAC

Make history! The Filipino Americans in Hip Hop Working Timeline seeks to serve as a historical archive of the participation of Filipino Americans in hip hop culture. As a community-centered project, we encourage you to scribble memories, paint pictures, and add old school flyers, articles, pictures, tapes, vinyl art and other memorabilia to the timeline. (Copies are ok, if you’re unwilling to part from that OG Spectrum flyer).

The timeline will be placed online, and we hope that it will grow as our stories get collected.

Festival info:
Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC)
Sept. 6-7, 10am-6pm
$5 presale, $7 day of, kids under 5 and seniors free
Point Fermin Park, San Pedro, CA

Monday, August 11, 2008

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: The Diamond Dame steppin up the game

Finally, just got the Diamond Dame album in the mail...

Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Buy Hopie Spitzhard's The Diamond Dame album

10. You need to support good Fil Am and women emcees.
You'll live longer.

9. The albums is loaded with ill collaborations
featuring Del the Funky Homosapien (what?), Bam (see verse below), EyeASage (“Supernova” verse is fire), Topkat (been sleepin on this brutha), Kid Static, Smigg Dirtee, and Madaleine Bolden.

8. 6Fingers is quickly becoming one of my favorite music producers.
The combinations of colorful, quirky, fun Bay Area sounds together with a real deep thump (“Yummy” is ridiculous) packages the whole album real nice.

7. Hopie's lyrics and style, even down to the album art, brings a 80s / early 90s nostalgia
that isn’t corny (like Lupe can be at times). It works! Gotta dig up that big ole' ghetto blaster...

6. Speakin of 90s nostalgia, sometimes likened to Lady Bug, Hopie does a cover of Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick," that's, well, a rebirth of that knock's slickness--for the new millenium of course. 6Fingers does it right. “Fresh Like Dat” is one of my favorite jams on the album.

5. Can't knock the hustle-this album is street!
Hipsters and backpacker elitists can roll too, but know Hopie ain't a typical underground “anti-establishment,” fuck Bush, fuck the mainstream emcee. It’s cool if you just discovered Immortal Technique your second year in college and yeah hip hop finally found you, but Diamond Dame is g...she'll eat you alive.

4. Although she is politically-conscious, well-informed, brown and proud, Hopie isn’t necessarily preachy in her lyrics.
It’s simply great emcee skills (and wise ones will identify the radical meanings in her content). Her flow carries the album throughout, and it’ll probably resonate beyond the leftist Filipino nationalist hip hop heads.

The Diamond Dame provides good, solid hip hop in a hip hop world that is overly machismo, misogynistic, and self-deprecating. Like she says: "Popular rap music seemingly propagates only one-half the human experience -the male half- and a narrow perspective of the male experience, at that." On top of her unmatched skills, Hopie gets the message across that she can hold her own without submitting to some pre-written script about what an emcee--or a woman emcee at that--should be like.

Mission Rock in San Francisco. Hopie is winner of the January Artist Showcase.

2. Hopie brings back a fresh fierceness that drives more toward a playful sharpening of emcee skills and not undeserved braggadocio. Don’t get me wrong, she got real swagger, but it’s the type you can really vibe to musically.

1. This emcee is hungry, and you can tell. Like the line in “Scene of the Rhyme,” she says, “I’m so hungry for the mic, I’m underweight.” And in her "Outro," "I'm the hungriest rapper, you on my plate ho." She might chew a poor suckas ear off. This drive really sets the tone for Diamond Dame.

So that's it! Why you slackin? Pick that shit up! Been waitin for good hip hop for a minute, and hopefully this album is gonna be a beginning of a lot more to come. Here's the Dame's interview with M.I.S.S. Crew.

For now, I just want to share some verses of the album that caught my attention, first one by Hopie and the second one by Bambu:

The first verse of "The Diamond Dame Intro." Check the back-to-back chain rhyme:

We ain’t neva gone be friends
Well it depends
Pretty soon I’ll make those ends
And yo ass will play pretend, then
When the Diamond Dame name
Come around the bend
Oh now we friends at last
Kissin ass so much
Put on some knee pads
We’ll back that ego*
Witness people will coppin*
Singles now yo lingo is in limbo
First you said you’ll neva make it
Hope is wack
Now you postin in the lab
Askin for collabs
What the fuck I told them
I would drop the Diamond Dame
Neva quiet since start
Neva pausin by my name
What they sayin*
They wanna underestimate me*
Choppin up my life
They investigatin me
Tryin to see who got me they bootlegs I get hand outs
Can a woman rap and put in worth
Who let the can out?*
Nope! I guess not
Hopie from the ground up
Slangin diamond rocks
Till your muthafuckin ears pop


Bambu’s verse in “Kings” blew off the top. Can't wait for the next album to drop!

Take it back to fat laces and Ah-dee-dahs [Adidas]
Slick Rick on yall
The ruler’s back (say what?)
Minus the eye patch
You make music for dumb fucks
“Why the fuck would I buy that?”
You ain’t neva eva eva in yo goddamn life
Gone catcha muthafucka throwin dollas in the sky
Not when a dolla can buy a bag of rice and some bread
I’d rather cop the newest milk and hit the shelf instead*
See that’s some real king shit takin care of my folks
Don’t try to be the king if your reason is broke
Stupid fucka
Yo so ignorant
If Malcolm X came back he’d look at yall like “What is this?”
Get serious homeboy
Recognize potential
This is not why all of those folks died before you
We the kings, we hold things
That don’t mean shit
This is cool if we only wannabe kings for a moment.

*Correction requested

Thursday, August 7, 2008

With Style: Filipinos servin up street culture

Doin it...

With style..

With Style: Filipino Americans and the Making of American Urban Culture

By Victor Hugo Viesca

The global popularity of rap music has shed light on the role of Filipino Americans as a significant force in the urban based culture of hip hop. This is particularly the case in the art of DJ-ing, one of the original four elements of hip hop along with rap, graffiti and breakdancing. The role of Filipino Americans in shaping and reproducing hip hop culture is most evident in their prominence as world renown DJs...(read more)

The article above by my friend Professor Victor Hugo Viesca is old school. But that's a good thing. What Victor is writing about in this 2002 article is the popularity of Filipino American DJs and the influences of Filipino Americans in urban culture in general.

The article is old school because the popularity of Filipinos in hip hop culture has now broadened way beyond DJs and turntablism. Taking a look at Filipinos' dominance in televised street dance competition, this year might as well be called "battle the Filipino." Filipino presence in hip hop culture is getting noticed- sure, ok- but Victor gives us historical context and demonstrates the impact Filipinos have been making in street culture for much of the 20th century--from the zoot suiters in the pre-WWII era to beyond.

Perhaps the bravest statement by Victor comes in the last sentence of the first paragraph:

"In fact it may be argued that if it wasn't for Filipinos' support and practice of hip hop's various elements, hip hop might have never exploded and gained the momentum that it did in the 1990s."

As a Chicano, Victor's observance of Filipino Americans in hip hop culture is refreshing because it shows that someone is testifying to Filipinos' long-term investment in and contributions to hip hop culture other then, well, ourselves. In a broader sense, Filipinos and hip hop are not usually congruent, except of course when mentioned in that one Jay-Z song or when Q-Tip shouted us out at Rock the Bells. So even though the article is a little old school (where is the new generation of Fil Am DJs?), it builds a good (middle) base to the hip hop structure that Filipinos been building. Can't wait to read about the popularity of Fil Ams servin up street dance.

So, what do you think?

Do you think hop hop might have never exploded and gained momentum in the 1990s if it wasn't for Filipinos' dedication to the culture?

Note: In no way am I claiming that Filipinos are only now getting heavily involved in hip hop culture. I'm only referring to the wider appeal we gettin. Like when Latinas and Black ladies start sweatin Pinoys strictly because of Jabba. Oh lawd! Mask me!