Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Oakland, 1990


Los Rakas

I first heard ’em in their YAK Films video that heavily features the Fruitvale and fresh dancing and 38th Notes just reminded me: I love Los Rakas.


Oakland based tUnE-YaRdS (aka Merrill Garbus) is/are making exceptionally exciting music and a compelling, dance heavy video that is adored by grownups and toddlers alike:

Ben Fong Torres

Ben Fong Torres‘ refuses to brag in his straight ahead but eminently readable memoir The Rice Room, despite his enormous contributions to Bay Area radio culture and rock journalism including about a decade of hobnobbing with folks like Grace Slick, Hunter S. Thompson and Ray Charles as a writer and editor at Rolling Stone.

Instead, he writes a straightforward, chronological autobiography, giving if anything more real estate to his childhood in late 50s, early 60s Oakland Chinatown, his East Oakland adolescence DJing school dances at Oakland High, and his time as a reporter and editor at San Francisco State’s Golden Gater, just as State was entering the riotous late 60s student strike period. I love this unpretentious slice of Bay Area history and I love Ben Fong Torres.

(I don't know who to attribute the photo to - let me know if you know the photographer!)

Check out some clips of him interviewing the Jacksons here or his radio column at the Chron.

38th Notes

38th Notes is an Oakland and Bay Area centric music and culture blog. The main focus is hip hop; they do a nice job of hitting other genres now and then too. One fun feature of the site is finding videos shot in Oakland (by Oakland performers of course). Here’s one I liked:

Also enjoyed this Goapele cover of Nothing Compares 2 U:

Del tha Funkee Homosapien

Ice Cube’s Oakland cousin Del The Funky Homosapien may be best known for performing on a catchy little Gorillaz number, or maybe for composing music for video games. He also co-founded indy Hip Hop crew Hieroglyphics and worked on some great collaborations. But for better or for worse, I still think of him as the guy who told the world to wash its ass.

YAK Films

By now you’ve seen their Turf Feinz video, right?

Look for more YAK Films on their YouTube channel. They’re an international crew, but they grew out of Youth Uprising and they’re all Oakland.