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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

My Articles

CD: Common:"Be"
Music Video Eminem: featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Trailer: The Year of the Yao
TV: Harvey Birdman
Videogame: Fable

Art: The New Art of India
Bar: Boswell's
Book: Jill Scott
Club: Forum
DVD: Kinsey
Movie: Cinderella Man
Music: Sleater-Kinney
Restaurant: The Melting Pot
Theater:The Mambo Kings

Earth and Sun Kiss


1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

2. Weezer: "Hold Me"

3. Bright Eyes: "First Day Of My Life"

4. Ringside: "Miss You" and "Criminal"

  • Billboard Charts
  • Encyclopedia
  • Moviefone
  • Music Dictionary
  • MTV
  • Pollstar
  • Urban Dictionary
  • VH1

  • Adisa Banjoko : San Jose's Bishop of Hip hop
  • Angry Asian Man: Asian American media watchdog
  • Berkeley Blogs
  • Black Electorate : Inside Cultural, Economic and Political industries
  • BLT's Parry
  • Crayone: the trials and tribulations of a graffiti artist
  • Dan Gillmor : Grassroots Journalism
  • Dat Phan : Last Comic Standing season 1 winner
  • East Bay Livin' : Ellen Lee's EB hunt
  • Davey D: Hip Hop Daily News
  • Fortt: black american gen x journalist musician multicultural christian technophile
  • Jeff Chang: fellow Asian hip hop writer
  • Joe Grimm : Ask the Recruiter
  • In Passing : Random Street Conversations
  • Pacific Standard: Bay Area hip-hop
  • Pop And Politics
  • Pop Licks : O-Dub, a cultural critic
  • Scape: San Jose graffiti artist
  • SiliconBeat: News about tech money and innovation
  • Friday, October 15, 2004

    Answers with Afrika Bambaataa

    I finally spoke to the godfather of hip-hop himself, Afrika Bambaataa. As the creator of this billion-dollar industry, he could have easily acted high and mighty, and I thought he was doing that by not calling back when he was supposed to.

    But I read that he makes a point to treat all people as equals -- and he treated me that way during the interview. Still, I was taken aback at the end of the interview when I felt the need to say, "It was an honor to talk to you."

    His reply: "It was an honor to talk to you too."

    Now to answer readers' questions:

    Nathaniel: Where does the term, "hip-hop" come from? Is it really just from that song by the
    SugarHill Gang, "Rapper's Delight"?

    Bambaataa: The name and everything comes from
    Afrika Bambaataa who named the culture, Lovebug Starski who said the word in his rhymes in the early disco days and the father who brought it to our shores with the beats - DJ Kool Herc, and the GrandMaster Flash for all the extra mixing qualities to the culture and it comes from all the people who made the culture happen, and died for the culture.

    Mark: How do you feel about the current state of hip-hop?

    Bambaataa: I'm glad to see it evolve. There're people becoming millionaires and becoming movie stars. I wish they'd show more respect to the pioneers who helped die and make this. The so-called companies should be hiring some of these cats as A&R's (Artists & Repertoire) at some of these labels.

    Mark: What are your views on the cultural and racial aspects of rap and hip-hop in white culture, or Asian culture or Hispanic culture, whatever?

    Bambaataa: Now you got stars by their own rights in their country. I love it. Some talk about social issues, some use it to get out of the situations they in, some talk about fun topics or happy topics, some try to gangster, even though there are no gangsters in their area [laughs], but it's interesting to see all this going on.

    R: In your songs, you've always given "shout outs" to people, cities, cultures, countries. Why do you do that?

    Bambaataa: I'm a person who travels the world, so I like to give respect to all the different places that I go to as well as our universe and universes and Mother Earth and inside of Mother Earth.

    The full story will appear Thursday.

    Onto more hip-hop...

    This weekend, check out "Think Critically!" - two community forums for youth to explore hip-hop and politics.

    4-7 p.m. Friday, October 15, 2004
    Laney College -Forum Center
    900 Fallon Street - Oakland

    10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, October 16, 2004
    New Liberation Presbyterian Church
    1100 Divisadero Street - San Francisco,

    Featured presenters include:

  • Dereca Blackmon, National Hip-Hop Political Convention organizer
  • Monique Morris, youth activist and Bay Area novelist
  • Greg Hodge, Oakland Unified School District board member
  • Heather Hiles, San Francisco Unified School District board member
  • Tinka, radio personality for KMEL's World Hit Gospel Show
  • Weyland Southon, executive producer of KPFA's Hard Knock Radio

  • Other events this weekend, so ch-check it out: (click on the links for ticket info)

    Tonight (10/15):

  • Rock band R.E.M. @ Greek Theatre
  • Crunk Fest 2004 with The Ying Yang Twins @ The Factory

    Saturday (10/16):

  • Brew With a BOO Beer Festival @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
  • Taste more than 70 different beers only $25. Plus listen to music of The Mermen, Stymie & The Pimp Jones luv Orchestra, Aja Vu, Dub FX and Inspect Her Gadget.
  • The 80's Strike Back: Featuring: J-Rocc of the Beat Junkies with Apollo, Ren of True Skool, MR. E, and ROYCE da Ladie's Choice @ Luna Lounge, Folsom

  • Hip hop crew Platurn (Oakland Faders) and DJ Zeph (Future Primitive Sound) @ the Elbo Room
  • Pop punkers Yellowcard and The Starting Line @ Warfield (Saturday and Sunday)

  • Sunday (10/17):

    R&B singer Angie Stone @ Paramount.


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    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
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