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Monday, March 26, 2012

Updated: Rest in Peace, Khalil Shaheed

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM

We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of local trumpeter Khalil Shaheed, who died Friday after a long battle with lung cancer. Raised in Chicago, Shaheed - who was born Tommy Hall - came to California in the Seventies, started gigging in the funk, Latin, and jazz scenes, and quickly consolidated his career as both a leader and sideman. Shaheed rechristened himself after converting to Islam in the Eighties; he also adopted a more ascetic lifestyle and began devoting himself wholeheartedly to community service. In 1994 he founded the music education program Oaktown Jazz Workshops, through which he taught kids how to improvise and perform in a live setting. The program endured for decades as Shaheed continued performing and hosting jam sessions at such now-defunct local clubs as Bluesville and First Stop (so named because it was the first stop in after the Amtrak station, he once told me). He also formed the Mo'Rockin' Project, a world music group that fused Moroccan styles with American jazz.


Khalil Shaheed
  • Khalil Shaheed

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kreayshawn Doing Damage Control After Racist Tweets Go Viral

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Whether by naming her crew "The White Girl Mob," launching Twitter beefs with Rick Ross, or blithely condoning her friend V-Nasty's use of the N word, Oakland-born rapper Kreayshawn seems hell-bent on ruining her own reputation. But yesterday she found herself at the center of a new scandal that might not have been her fault. Kreayshawn blames trolls for the spate of racist tweets that were attributed to her yesterday, with such lines as "Sometimes I wish slavery was still goin' on," etc. Not surprisingly, the tweets instantly went viral, and Kreayshawn's critics rushed to pronounce her career dead. This morning hip-hop sites showed the rapper issuing a feeble apology, claiming she'd been usurped. Granted, the apology looks fake, too:


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Update: A previous version of this post said that Kreayshawn had been hacked. In fact, she was a victim of fake retweets.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eighteen-Wheel Condom Truck Rolls into Oakland Tomorrow

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 2:35 PM

If you didn't get condoms as a Valentine's gift, here's your chance. Tomorrow a 53-foot, 18-wheel "Condom Nation" semi-truck will roll into Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza, coincidentally the site of other sexy happenings like the gay porn caper Occupy My Throat. Staff from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, La Clinica Raza, and Get Screened Oakland will hand out condoms from 3-7 p.m., in addition to hosting a DJ dance party (courtesy of 106 KMEL and Wild 94.9 FM) and free HIV screenings. The organizations argue that, with a reported 48,000 new HIV infections and 19 million new STD infections in the US each year, you can't underestimate the importance of a free rubber.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Rest in Peace, Special One

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Conscious Daughters rapper Karryl Smith (aka Special One), who was the subject of a 2004 East Bay Express cover story on female emcees, passed away this weekend. She was found dead in her apartment on Saturday, MTV News reported, though at this point, the cause of her death is unknown. Conscious Daughters were part of an early-Nineties West Coast hip-hop renaissance, known both for their fleet rap style and hardcore lyrics — which distinguished them from other women in the genre. They signed to Paris' label Scarface Records in 1993, released their debut album, Ear to the Street, the following year, and cut a deal with Priority/EMI for their 1996 album, Gamers. Their singles "Fonky Expedition (Something to Ride to)" and "We Roll Deep" are recognized as classics in the hip-hop canon. Special One will be widely mourned and missed in the hip-hop community, particularly by her longtime best friend and rap partner Carla Green, aka CMG.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mistah FAB's Turkey Drive Begins Today

by Will Butler
Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Mistah FAB, who's been a better community advocate than rapper in recent years, is parking the yellow bus at 45th and Market streets this afternoon to begin his Thanksgiving food drive. As SF Weekly reminds us, he's be holding the fourth annual neighborhood event from 1-6 p.m. today. In addition to the dozens of turkeys that they deliver to needy families, there'll be food, clothes, and a mobile health clinic administering AIDS tests for free. FAB has thrown in thousands of his own dollars, and is still welcoming donations via Paypal, to dabusride@gmail.com. Follow @MistahFAB for updates.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rest in Peace, Heavy D

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Smooth rap kingpin Heavy D — née Dwight Errington Myers — died yesterday at age 44, apparently due to respiratory issues, Vibe reports. The Jamaican-born, New York-raised, self-proclaimed "overweight lover emcee" was known for his narrative rhymes, breezy cadence, and crafty use of R&B backing tracks, thanks, in large part, to his work with New Jack swing producer Teddy Riley. He was the frontman of popular hip-hop group Heavy D & the Boyz, which released 5 albums during its seven year tenure — three of which went platinum. Listeners too young to know Heavy D's oeuvre surely know the work of his descendants, whose ranks include Craig Mack and Biggie Smalls. To call Heavy D an icon is no understatement. He will be mourned in hip-hop, and in pop music at large.


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Run, Run, Run to Catch Brad Pitt at the Paramount

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM

You have a little less than 40 minutes to stop whatever you're doing and high-tail it down to Oakland's Paramount Theatre, where famed actors Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill will host tonight's benefit screening of Moneyball, the new Columbia Pictures film about Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's scheme to draft a winning team. Based on a wildly popular book of the same name, the film — slated for September 23 release — also stars Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, and Casey Bond. Tonight's screening is closed to the public, but if you get their fast, you might catch a glimpse of these stars on the red carpet. So, run.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bill Graham Exhibit Opens Today

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, May 5, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Most Bay Area residents know the name Bill Graham, a concert promoter in the 1960s who was responsible for making names like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane huge. His legacy continues today in venues (the Bill Graham Civic) and promotion (Another Planet Entertainment, whose CEO, Gregg Perloff, was once president and CEO of Bill Graham Presents). But who was the man behind the music? That's the subject of a new exhibit on Graham, opening today, called Presenting: Bill Graham.

In his own words, the exhibition follows Bill from his childhood in war-torn Germany to a new life in New York City, his emergence as a concert promoter in psychedelic San Francisco, his enduring influence on the way rock music is still presented, and his life-long passion to bring about social change by raising money for an endless variety of good causes.

Where: Lush Life Gallery at the Jazz Heritage Center
1320-1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco
Lush Life Gallery Hours: Weds - Sat 3pm - 10pm
Sun 2pm - 8pm • Mon/Tues: By appointment only

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekender: The Top Five Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 12:01 AM

It's Friday, Friday; gotta get down on Friday! Behold, the top five events this weekend in the East Bay, lovingly hand-picked just for you by our esteemed critics.

Much Ado About Brew
Lest anyone forget that Oakland loves beer, it seems like almost every weekend some brewery or organization is throwing a beer festival. Not that we’re complaining. On Saturday, April 2, KGO Radio presents Much Ado About Brew at Jack London Square (98 Broadway, Oakland), an event that boasts more than thirty craft and specialty beers for sale, as well as food from various local restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. Noon-3 p.m., $8.10 in advance or $25 day-of. KGORadio.com. — Ellen Cushing

Shirley Masengill Memorial Gathering
After working for more than sixty years at local bookstores, including Cody's, Sather Gate, and Books Inc., Northern California Children's Booksellers Association Otter Award-winner Shirley Masengill passed away in February. A memorial event at one of her former workplaces, Laurel Bookstore (4100 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland), on Saturday, April 2, includes refreshments and a "Shirley story hour." 1 p.m., free. LaurelBookstore.com. — Anneli Rufus

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RIP Nate Dogg

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Famed crooner Nate Dogg, who sang hooks for "Indosmoke," "Regulate," "Thugs Get Lonely Too," "Lay Low," "Deeez Nuuutz," and "The Next Episode," has died at age 41. Born Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, the Long Beach artist was known for his iconic, sultry baritone, which added an extra layer of gloss to hardcore rap songs by his Death Row labelmates. He debuted on Dr. Dre's 1993 album The Chronic and released his first solo effort, G Funk Classics, in 1998. While the cause of Nate Dogg's death remains unclear, family members suspect it ties back to a massive stroke the rapper suffered in 2007. He will be mourned by fans and immortalized in the hip-hop canon.


Still got love for a G:

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