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BACKSTAGE WITH MARIAN
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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

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

MERCURY REVIEWS
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

SICK SITE
Earth and Sun Kiss

MY PLAYLIST

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"

ENTERTAINMENT RESOURCES
  • Billboard Charts
  • Encyclopedia
  • iticket.com
  • Moviefone
  • Music Dictionary
  • MTV
  • Pollstar
  • tickets.com
  • Urban Dictionary
  • ticketmaster.com
  • VH1

  • BLOGROLL
  • 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 22, 2004

    Mos Def and Jin Tha MC in San Francisco

    The concert with Mos Def and Jin Tha MC Thursday night in San Francisco was one of the best I've gone to this year.

    Jin was completely gratifying. He killed the mike, and showed why his prominence in the field firmly establishes that Chinese Americans could be hard-core hip-hop heads too.

    So, after giving shout-outs to black, Caucasian and Hispanic fans, he said, "But I never hear them ask, where are all the Asians at?"

    The crowd, filled with Asians, roared. It was the one of the most diverse crowd I've ever seen at a concert, and not just in terms of race, but also style of dress.

    He introduced his last rap with "I get a lot of heat for this song." It was "Learn Chinese," ironically maybe the most radio-friendly single on his album.

    For the hook on the song, he taught the crowd how to speak Chinese.

    "Say each syllable with me - 'Jo, Ma, Ay.' It means 'what's poppin'," he said in Cantonese. "Also 'moya moya.'" It means no biggie.

    After Jin warmed up the stage, Mos Def turned up the heat. He came out with a full crew in militaristic gear: faces covered in purple handkerchiefs and black jumpsuits.

    He proved his versatility, easily jumping from rap-rocks like "Ghetto-star" to full on croons. He also showed his eccentricity, when he covered his face with his cap to sing and when he covered the stage in baby powder.

    The show got off to a late start though. Doors opened at 8 p.m. and fans were warned through e-mail to show up early, but long stagnant lines prevented many of the crowd from getting in until after 9. Then, Jin didn't come on until 10:30 p.m. and Mos Def didn't show until midnight.

    The venue, 550 Barneveld, also packed audience members like sardines, leaving many to stand on small platforms near the stage.

    For pictures, check out photos my friend, DJ Edit, took. (They were open to cameras, just not camcorders.)

    For this weekend, ch-check out some sick hip-hop:

    FRIDAY:
    WHAT: JIN's record-release party
    WHERE: 330 Ritch St., San Francisco
    WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday 10/22
    TICKETS: $10-15; (415) 541-9574
    WHY: Jin is a dope rapper.

    SATURDAY:
    WHAT: Afrika Bambaataa; DJs: Coop D'ville, J-Boogie, Platurn, Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist; plus freestyle session including: Foreign Legion, Psychokinetics, Felonious, Spaztik, Real Live Show (Stimulus & Dionysus), Raashan Ahmad (Crown City Rockers)
    WHERE: DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., San Francisco
    WHEN: 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday 10/23
    TICKETS: 21+; $15; ticketweb
    WHY: If hip-hop is your beat, Bambaataa is your man.

    SUNDAY:
    WHAT: KRS-One and Lyrics Born
    WHERE: Catalyst Nightclub, 1011 Pacific Ave.Santa Cruz
    WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Sunday 10/24
    TICKETS: 16+; $17 in advance; $20 at the door; catalystclub.com
    WHY: KRS-One is the one emcee Bambaataa and Chuck D see themselves in. And, Japanese-American Lyrics Born is the next hottest Asian rapper.

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    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at mliu@mercurynews.com.