- Rep Power
Davey D Report: Hip-hoppers on the Cutting Edge
Davey D Report: Hip-hoppers on the Cutting Edge
By Davey D
In the past few weeks, the Bay Area has been the most progressive hip-hop
region in the country, bucking the status quo and laying the groundwork for
There was the Chess Kings Invitational Tournament on Oct. 13 at the San
Francisco Design Center, which involved stars such as RZA and GZA of the Wu-Tang
Clan (see my Oct. 25 column).
Then there was the Youth Speaks Living Word Festival, Oct. 6-Nov. 3 at
several area venues. One of its accomplishments was bringing hip-hop pioneers here
to take part in panels and workshops, sharing their wisdom and offering
their perspectives to up-and-coming artists. The veterans included Pop Master
Fable of the Rock Steady Crew, Grandmaster Caz, who wrote many of the lyrics for
the landmark record "Rapper's Delight," and hip-hop's first Grammy winner,
Grandmixer DST, the pioneering DJ who help put together the song "Rock It"
with jazz great Herbie Hancock.
Kool Herc, known as the "Father of Hip-Hop," attended the opening-night
performance Oct. 25 of the incredible hip-hop play "Scourge," starring the Bay
Area's own Marc Bamuthi Joseph. This multimedia production had been selling out
all around the country, and its homecoming performances took place at ODC
Theater in San Francisco through Nov. 3.
Joseph, an accomplished dancer and spoken-word artist originally from Haiti,
used hip-hop and new-media technology to present the history of his island
nation and the ongoing challenges it faces. At its conclusion, the packed
opening-night house gave a standing ovation. Most compelling perhaps was the
dance depicting the Haitians' defeat of French slave masters to win the island's
Kool Herc capped the opening-night festivities by doing a DJ set with former
James Brown band drummer Clyde Stubblefield, known for his work on the song
"Funky Drummer," said to be the most sampled record in history and a major
building block for hip-hop. Seeing Herc, who is still muscular and solid at age
55, and Stubblefield collaborating on the same stage was the stuff of
legend. Herc played vintage break beats on vinyl, while Stubblefield accompanied
him on drums and then improvised solos.
Herc also proudly displayed a recent proclamation from the U.S. House of
Representatives paying tribute to him and the site of the first hip-hop party,
1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the West Bronx. Herc's older sister,the mother of Hip
Hop Cindy Campbell, who also appeared at ODC, is leading a campaign to get
that building designated as a historic landmark.
Mos Def appeared Sunday before a standing-room-only crowd at the African
American Art & Culture Complex in the Fillmore district of San Francisco. He led
an impassioned discussion of the political turmoil surrounding the recent
arrest of former Black Panther members, now known as the San Francisco 8.
Accompanying him were three SF8 members Harold Taylor, Richard Brown and Richard
O'Neal, who broke down the history of the Panthers, the importance of serving
the community and the sordid legacy of "COINTELPRO," a series of FBI
counter-intelligence programs started by longtime director J. Edgar Hoover in the
1950s and designed to disrupt and destroy the Black Panthers and other
organizations. The SF8 say they are facing new charges relating to crimes for which
they were acquitted more than 30 years ago, noting that Patriot Act legislation
and funding opened the door.
Mos Def reminded hip-hop artists they must be worthy role models and must
understand that when one person is hurting, we are all hurting. His remarks
were met with thunderous applause, and I left thinking it's too bad he isn't
running for president.
Davey D's hip-hop column is published biweekly in Eye. Contact him at
. Davey D's Hip Hop History Quiz#1(November 2007)
In honor of Hip Hop History month we wanted to drop you our pop quiz to test
your skillz.See if you can tackle these questions. If not then break out
some books and step your history game up.
1)Who is the punk rock icon that worked with the Sex Pistols and later
helped lay the foundation for Hip Hop in the UK? Hint: He released a huge song in
the early 1980s.
2)What famous pioneering emcee was nicknamed 'the crowd pleaser' because of
his famous call and response routines. Hint he was the first emcee for
3)Before the female group Salt-N-Pepa came along there was pioneering male
duo that was dubbed Salt-N-Pepper. Who were they? Hint: They started out as
original members of the Cold Crush Brothers.
4)Too Short is considered a West Coast pioneer who used to make custom tapes
for local hustlers and d-boys. Too Short was not a solo act, he had a
rhyming partner that used to make and hustle those tapes with him. Who was Too
Shorts early pioneering partner?
Read! In the past Davey D wanted to debate KRS when he called himself " I am HIPHOP "