Friday, July 15, 2016

Kamaiyah's New Mini-Doc Follows Her Journey to Rap Fame

by Rayanne Piaña
Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 5:43 PM

  • Kamaiyah.

You might know Kamaiyah from her breakout banger, "How Does it Feel." But if you haven't already heard of the Oakland MC, you're about to. 2016 has been Kamaiyah's year. Her debut mixtape, A Good Night in the Ghetto, quickly rose to popular and critical acclaim, and her success in the rap game has so far landed her a feature on YG's new single "Why You Always Hatin?" alongside Drake. And at her sold-out, first headlining show at The New Parish last month, she revealed that she recently signed deal with Interscope Records.

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

July 15, 16 & 17

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Since it's apparently this has been the week to reveal your endorsements, the Express would like to officially announce our endorsements for the top five things to do this weekend: 

  • G. Charles
Beast Crawl 
Beast Crawl is back for its fifth literary pub crawl extravaganza on July 16 from 5–9 p.m. (with after parties from 9:30–11:30). For the uninitiated, Beast Crawl is Oakland’s scrappier and edgier answer to San Francisco’s LitQuake — which means it’s a festival of literary events that takes place all around the city. (Millenial translation: It’s like Pokemon Go, except instead of combative creatures, you’re catching literary experiences). Beast Crawl is split up into three hour-long legs separated by half-hour breaks. During each leg, about thirteen events take place at venues all over downtown Oakland — everywhere from Econo Jam on 25th Street to E.M. Wolfman on 13th Street. The events are all free, and they highlight pockets of the East Bay literary scene by featuring shows curated by publishers and organizations — such as Pandemonium Press, Youth Radio, Brown people Don’t Read?, and Lyrics & Dirges. There are a lot of choices to choose from, but typically, wherever you find yourself will be entertaining. — Sarah Burke
July 16, 5–9 p.m.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rapper Int'l Hay Sús Takes a Stand with "Black Panther Rebels"

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Int'l Hay Sús (R). - DEPHKHAN
  • Dephkhan
  • Int'l Hay Sús (R).
Rapper Int'l Hay Sús has taken it upon himself to organize for positive change. His community service collective, The Black Neighborhood, has been hosting grocery, shoe, and clothing giveaways at the People's Baptist Church in East Oakland, providing free essential goods for the area's most vulnerable populations.  

See more:
Rapper Int'l Hay Sús Seeks to Unify #TheBlackNeighborhood

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Short Doc Shows Life in a Bay Area SRO

'Home is a Hotel' by East Bay filmmakers Kevin D. Wong and Todd Sills tells the story of a single immigrant mother living in a San Francisco SRO.

by Sarah Burke
Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 5:34 PM

As the Express recently reported, Oakland's number of SRO hotels has swiftly been dwindling as developers are buying them up to convert them into boutique hotels or apartments with rent prices out of reach for low-income tenants. SROs typically serve as affordable housing for people who can't afford more stable options. Many cities, such as San Francisco, have laws in place to protect SROs — but Oakland does not. 

A ten-minute documentary by East Bay residents Kevin D. Wong and Todd Sills, however, highlights how, even for SRO tenants who aren't facing eviction, life can already be a struggle. Home is a Hotel is a tender portrait of a Chinese immigrant living in an SRO in San Francisco with her daughter — highlighting the ways in which the housing opportunity offers an option for people, such as immigrants, who may need some time to get on their feet financially. The piece, which was filmed in 2014, ends by noting that in the year and a half since its filming, the average rental price of an SRO has increased 45%. 

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Monday, July 11, 2016

'Generation of Oakland' Documents Impacts of Displacement Through Touching Interviews

by Rayanne Piaña
Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 9:49 AM

  • Bert Johnson
  • Nia Imara.
Last year, Oakland-born artist and astrophysicist Nia Imara began documenting the stories of individuals impacted by gentrification in her multimedia passion project, Generation of Oakland: The People's Portrait. Imara and her team of interviewers and volunteers photographed and gathered the intimate stories of Oakland residents, including parents, children, community organizers, business owners, and students.

See more:
Nia Imara Captures the Faces of Oakland's Housing Crisis

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Friday, July 8, 2016

This New P-Lo Track Is "So Right" For Your Summer Playlist

by Rayanne Piaña
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:15 PM

  • Bert Johnson
  • P-Lo.
This morning, HBK Gang rapper and producer P-Lo surprised fans with three new tracks, announcing the drop via a succinct tweet that read, "New music coming right now doe," followed by links to his Soundcloud.

In his new song "So Right," P-Lo is on his way to steal your girl. It tells a rapper's timeless tale of forbidden passion: wanting another man's woman, who just happens to want him back — and even though it feels so wrong, it feels so right.

Produced by Kuya Beats and Zack Mack, the track balances party-paced high-hats and pounding bass with intricate riffs played across the frets of a nylon-stringed guitar. The guitar adds an acoustic, throwback vibe to P-Lo's smooth-talking rhymes (think Nelly's "Ride Wit Me" if Nelly were from the Bay).

"So Right" is a collaboration with rising Oakland R&B singer Samaria. Her emotive vocals give the song's hook a bright, sensual melody that's hard not to sway to.

The song is warm, light-hearted, and has a beat that slaps. It's the perfect reason to add some P-Lo to your summer playlist if you haven't already.

Correction: This article previously didn't mention Zack Mack as a co-producer of "So Right."

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Jet Martinez Brings a Floral Green Flash to Downtown Oakland

The story behind the internationally known artist's Mexican folk art-inspired new giant work.

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 1:44 PM

Last week, Oakland artist Jet Martinez finished his largest mural yet, on the side of the I. Magnin Building in downtown Oakland — to stunning effect. 
Jet Martinez's Process
Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process Jet Martinez's Process

Jet Martinez's Process

Athen B curator and phtographer Brock Brake captured Martinez in action.

By Sarah Burke

Click to View 10 slides

The Mexico-born artist  is known internationally for his gorgeous floral patterning inspired by motifs in Mexican folk art. But, according to a recent statement released about his new mural, he recently decided he wanted to contribute more directly to the community in which he lives by doing more local art. So, Martinez reached out to Athen B Gallery to help him set up a mural project in the city. 

On June 15, Martinez began painting the gigantic side of the I. Magnin building (on 20th Street between Broadway and Telegraph), recognizable for its emerald green art deco facade. The building was once a department store but has since been converted into office space. 

Today, Athen B published a blog post with photos of the finished murals and a long statement from Martinez explaining the intention behind the piece. In part, it reads:

"The I Magnin building for me has always been one of the most beautiful buildings in Oakland. A green tiled, art deco beauty, this building is a symbol of golden era from yesteryear. After the devastating effects of the Reagan drug wars and the crack epidemic, downtown Oakland became a shadow of the vibrant space it once was. Now, as downtown Oakland is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, I really felt a real responsibility to add to rather than subtract from this beautiful building and the downtown skyline. ... In a city that is experiencing a seismic shift of populations and economies, this piece is meant as a reminder to prioritize natural growth. As we bring in more construction and building, I hope this mural brings a reminder of the essentiality of Nature in our society."
Read the full post here, and look out for Martinez's solo show with Athen B in May of next year. 

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Premiere: Cash Campain, Caleborate, and T. Carriér Join Forces for "Cheat Codes" Music Video

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:27 AM

R&B singer Cash Campain and rapper Caleborate are a talented pair of siblings, and the two of them teamed up with rapper T. Carriér for "Cheat Codes." Basically, the track is a message to the fellas: If you don't treat your girl right, someone else will.

"With this song and video I wanted to capture how most guys in the world today aren't really trying to do anything to excite or inspire a woman," said Cash Campain in an email. "I wanted to make a song that highlighted how if a man who approached a woman the right way, [he could] get her to step outside of her comfort zone and discover new things about life that she didn't know she enjoyed."

Throughout the rom com-esque music video, which the Express is premiering today, the lovable trio spits game while being silly and having fun with the ladies they admire. 

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This Weekend's Top Seven Events

July 8, 9 & 10

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:12 AM

If you're not too tired from shutting down the 880 last night in protest of police violence, then you should try to have some fun this weekend. Self care, ya know? See below:

Beyonce in Lemonade.
  • Beyonce in Lemonade.
Beyoncé vs. Rihanna Dance Party 
It’s no secret that Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Rihanna’s ANTI are two of the best albums of 2016 — and both have pushed pop music forward as a vehicle for addressing important issues surrounding gender and race. Lemonade is Beyoncé’s magnum opus, and truly shows her abandoning the glossy production and palatable lyrics of yore for something much more raw, poetic, and informed by her Southern roots. While tabloids had a field day about what Lemonade means for Bey and Jay Z’s relationship, Beyoncé used the story of a fraught marriage to probe the many facets of Black womanhood in America. Meanwhile, ANTI sees Rihanna coming into her own as an artist, and exploring left-field sounds and narratives that embrace female sexuality in empowering ways. Dance to these two queens of pop at The Mezzanine, where DJs will be playing their hits all night. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., July 9, 9 p.m. The Mezzanine (444 Jessie St., San Francisco). $15.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Listen to Oakland Rapper Siri's Debut EP, 'G.L.O.E.'

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 3:52 PM

  • Brian Harden
In our June 22 issue, we got to know Siri, the up-and-coming Oakland rapper making waves in the local underground scene with her melodic, soulful flow. And just before the long weekend, the artist dropped her debut EP, G.L.O.E., which, as it turns out, stands for Give Love Over Everything. 

See More:
Oakland Rapper Siri on How to 'Gloe' Up

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