Friday, September 30, 2016

Richmond Rapper Phreshly Relevant Discusses the Success of Her New Single, "So Right," and What's Next

by Eda Yu
Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 11:03 AM

Richmond rapper Phreshly Relevant feels like she’s on top of the world. Her single “So Right” recently won KMEL’s Home Turf contest, where listeners vote for local songs they want to hear on the radio. Winning the contest was a milestone for her — especially because the track was written, produced, and performed entirely by women. And the new recognition bodes well for her since her So Right EP is due out this fall. 

Phresh has had a solid presence in the Oakland hip-hop scene since she began making music in 2009. She’s already opened for notable Bay Area artists such as Erk Tha Jerk, Mistah F.A.B., and various members of Shmoplife. It’s also not unlikely to spot her in downtown Oakland on any given day: The rapper is sponsored by the swanky local menswear label Calculated Clothing — which explains her dapper looks at gigs at Club 21 and the Bench and Bar, two key LGBTQ party spots.

Phresh’s music is hard-hitting and production-heavy. On “So Right,” which also features Samiere, g-funk synths back up Phresh’s confident rhymes. Her high-energy presence shines through, and it’s not hard to see why her music bumps on the radio or at clubs.

The Richmond rapper is on her way to showing fans what exactly it means to be “phresh” — and how to do it in their own unique way. The Express caught up with her over the phone to discuss the success of “So Right” and her upcoming music video and EP.

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This Weekend's Top Six Events

September 30, 31 & 32

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 9:55 AM

This has been a stressful week. There was the first presidential debate... and well, yeah, that alone was enough to put America into a GIF-making, thinkpiece-writing, hashtag-tweeting frenzy. For the next few days, try to forget about the fate of the country by enjoying the ~now~. Here's how: 

Oakland Music Festival
In previous years, Oakland Music Festival took over several city blocks with outdoor concerts, live art, and vendors for an entire weekend. But this year, its organizers are trying something a little different, with a more Noise Pop-style format with different shows and events everyday from September 30 to October 9. This year’s fest is even more eclectic than years past, and takes place at spots all over town, including Starline Social Club, Eli’s Mile High Club, Classic Cars West, and more — plus, there’s a free, family-friendly day party at Lake Merritt on Saturday, October 1. Throughout the week, there will be performances by artists such as HBK rapper-producer Jay Ant, legendary DJ Egyptian Lover, Fools Gold Records founder Nick Catchdubs, budding Richmond R&B star Rayana Jay, Oakland mastermind producer Trackademicks, and other local favorites and touring acts. Plus, there are several speaker panels, cyphers, and music industry networking events — even a mezcal tasting. Check for the full schedule and get ready for a packed week ahead. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sept. 30 – Oct. 9. Various locations. $75 for all access pass, costs vary per show.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Oakland Rapper Queens D.Light Drops Breakneck Video for "Multiplyyy"

by Eda Yu
Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 3:43 PM

  • Amy Harrity
Since dropping her debut LP, California Wildflower, in 2014, Queens D.Light has reigned as one of the strongest emerging rappers in Oakland’s hip-hop scene. She originally gained traction for her confident, lyrical rhymes and ambient beats, and has since developed a large following for her goddess-like persona and spiritual mantras of self-love. In fact, the rapper just wrapped up her East Coast tour with hip-hop star Anderson.Paak and local favorite DUCKWRTH.

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Blood Orange Press Hopes to Publish Books for Every Kind of Kid

The Oakland publisher is currently fundraising for three diverse new titles.

by Shajia Abidi and Sarah Burke
Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 3:29 PM

According to Blood Orange Press, although half of American children under the age of five are of color, only 15% of children's books published in the U.S. last year featured main characters of color. 

That's why Oakland's Blood Orange Press, a publishing company run entirely by  Janine Macbeth, has the mission to publish children's stories by and about the communities of color. 

Now, Macbeth has launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $95,000 in funding to publish three new titles over the course of next two years.

“When children see themselves, their family, and their community in books, it tells them that reading belongs in their life,” said Macbeth in a press release. “And that can fuel their success for a lifetime.”

The independent publisher’s first book Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! written & illustrated by Macbeth, explored the nuances of modern fatherhood but telling the story of a dad and his newborn. The titles it hopes to publish include One of a Kind, Like Me, which follows a "Latinx" preschooler who doesn't fit the gender binary; and The Blue Flute, about a young Black girl who finds a magic flute that unlocks the musical nature of the city she lives in. 

As of publishing, the Kickstarter had only raised slightly more than 10% of its $95,000 goal. But there are still fifteen days to go. Patrons can choose between personally receiving books as a reward or having books sent to the school, library, or organization of there choice. 

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Five Shows Not to Miss at Oakland Music Festival

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 11:07 AM

Singer Jesse Boykins III at Oakland Music Festival in 2014. - AMIR AZIZ
  • Amir Aziz
  • Singer Jesse Boykins III at Oakland Music Festival in 2014.
This year, Oakland Music Festival is doing something different: Rather than cramming dozens of performers into a day-long extravaganza, the event organizers have taken an approach more similar to ones we've seen at Noise Pop and South By Southwest, with different shows under the OMF umbrella happening all over town from September 30 to October 9. The event features legends and local up-and-comers alike. This year's OMF skews towards the DJ scene, but there are plenty of live bands and rappers to look forward to as well. To help you navigate the fest, here are five shows you shouldn't miss. 

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Show Banga and Lil Yee Premiere "Bonafide Hustla" Music Video

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 10:18 AM

Lil Yee (L) and Show Banga.
  • Lil Yee (L) and Show Banga.
San Francisco rappers Show Banga and Lil Yee — who both rep the Fillmore district — team up for a clean, crisp video for "Bonafide Hustla," a pared-down, molasses-paced meditation on the endless quest for prosperity. The track pairs Show Banga's raspy, unbridled flow with Lil Yee's autotuned rap-singing, with dark strings adding a downcast mood to the bass-heavy slap. 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Treasure Island Music Fest Announces New Location, Killer Views of Oakland, East Bay Cityscape

by Nick Miller
Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 3:23 PM

A multibillion-dollar development project on Treasure Island has its annual music festival on the move — to the east side of the island.

Treasure Island Music Festival announced this morning that it will be relocating several hundred yards for this October's party.

The great news for East Bay concert-goers is that there will be killer views of downtown Oakland, the new Bay Bridge and the hills due to this new location.

And, you know, there's no real bad news. There will even be a first-ever shuttle to and from the East Bay (location to-be-announced). And if you're a VIP-section baller, well, there's a larger VIP section, as well.

Plus, they're keeping the ferris wheel: This year, it will be set up on the pier on the east side of the island.

Here's a map of the new layout:

Single-day tickets recently went on sale are are still available. But hurry, 'cause TIMF is in a few weeks, October 15-16, grab tickets here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

This Weekend's Top Five Events

September 23, 24 & 25

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 2:41 PM

Brangelina broke up. It's true.  Hope your weekend makes you as happy as Jennifer Aniston was this week. 


Here are some tips:

Traicíon x Swagger Like Us x Folsom Friday 

Cat Donohue was once the culture editor at the dearly missed San Francisco Bay Guardian. But months before the paper folded in 2014, she split off to run her nightlife-centric online-only publication,, with Kelly Lovemonster, the promoter behind the popular queer party Swagger Like Us. The duo quickly created a distinct and inclusive brand of sex-positive coverage that included interviews with trans porn stars and queer, erotic fiction. (They also did an entire issue dedicated to Beyoncé. Legendary!) When Donohue moved to Mexico City, the mag became bilingual as she immersed herself in the city’s eclectic club scene. Now, she and Mexican party throwing collective Traicíon are traveling up north to San Francisco for a Folsom Street Fair after-party at DNA Lounge. The event, which is a collab with Swagger Like Us, features DJs Mexican Jihad, Derré Tidá, 8ulentina, boy_friend, and davOmakesbeats. Expect eclectic, international club music that’ll get your body moving. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sun., Sept. 25, 6 p.m. DNA Lounge (375 11th St., San Francisco). $10, $12.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Marshawn Lynch on Colin Kaepernick: Rather See Him Take a Knee Than 'Get Murdered'

by Nick Miller
Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 6:13 PM

Oakland native Marshawn Lynch dropped some bold wisdom last night on Conan, and it's worth sharing :

Conan had asked the former UC Berkeley football standout and Super Bowl champion his thoughts on the Colin Kaepernick-National Anthem drama. 

Lynch responded with the following: "I'd rather see him take a knee than stand up and put his hands up, and get murdered."

He went on: "I just hope people open up their eyes and see that there's really a problem going on," he said.

Eventually, Conan intervened to white-splain what Lynch had just said, and the audience applauded.

Lynch is a man of very few words, but this was a very lucid, and much-needed, condemnation of use-of-force by law enforcement. Hat tip, sir.

Monday, September 19, 2016

K.E.L.L.S. Premieres His Gorgeous, Lyrical Mixtape, 'Good $hit Vol. 2'

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 9:46 AM

  • Chose "Deario" Austin
  • K.E.L.L.S.
K.E.L.L.S. brings his laidback flow to a kaleidoscopic array of genre-bending beats on his new mixtape, Good $hit Vol. 2, which he dropped today. The rapper, who is a social worker by day, is a skillful storyteller whose thoughtful lyrics reflect on personal challenges as well as those facing his East Oakland community.

See more:
Rapper K.E.L.L.S. is Challenging Mental Health Stigmas 

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