Category: News

Tha Chill (Compton's Most Wanted), Gangsta and other rap veterans form supergroup, '1st Generation,' play first show on July 23

Event-32426-28-06202011-0 For fans, one of the greatest windfalls of the rap industry's decentralization and sales decline has been the ad hoc supergroups that have formed. From Kurupt & DJ Quik to Slaughterhouse to Black Hippy, groups can record quickly, cheaply, and distribute their music with practically no overhead or real cost. Put something on iTunes, play a few shows, and keep it moving.

The latest freshly formed supergroup is one that could have been spawned only by someone who had followed Nate Dogg's advice to smoke weed every day. Indeed, it's an idea as weird as it is awesome. Meet 1st Generation, a group comprising West Coast veteran rappers, producers and DJs: Kurupt, MC Eiht, Jayo Felony, Tha Chill (Compton's Most Wanted), Gangsta, King T, Sir Jinx (Low Profile) and Battlecat.

Slated to be the first release from newly formed label Uneek Music, an imprint founded by industry veteran and community activist Eugene "Big U" Henley, 1st Generation trace its genesis to Tha Chill (Compton's Most Wanted) and Gangsta (Tha Comrads), who basically called up every West Coast legend in their cellphones and wrangled commitments.

"We wanted to do something massive for the coast," Chill said in a prepared statement, "so we had to figure out which attitudes and talent could mix and make the group work, and once we got off the phone with the homies, we met at Kurupt's house and made the first song, and all the professional creative ideas meshed and we knew we were on the right track."

Battlecat will handle most of the beats, and one can hope that everything sounds vaguely similar to "We Can Freak It."

"Everyone in this group is going to drop something so spectacular every time it drops that its ridiculous" said Kurupt in the same statement. "Everyone on this team has perfected their craft and that's what makes us the first generation of this game. We all have made an imprint on this game and helped to make the west coast rap scene what it is today."

The group's first show is slated for July 23 at Club Nokia and is being presented by K-Day (93.5 FM). Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door. No dress code is suggested, but khaki pants and Chuck Taylors are advised.


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— Jeff Weiss

The story of Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt gets another knot

Initially, there was the myth of Earl Sweatshirt: The foul-mouthed 16-year-old rap prodigy/Odd Future linchpin was sent from Los Angeles to parts unknown when his mother allegedly heard the profane lyrics on his debut, "Earl."

After his fellow Wolves became rap's biggest sensation, his enduring absence became the biggest hip-hop mystery since Jay-Z was rumored to be in the illuminati. The disappearance was partially solved in April when some Complex Magazine sleuthing revealed him to be at the Coral Reef Academy in Samoa, a military-type boarding school known for its intensely strict rules and regimens.

Though members of his crew initially denied the story's veracity, it was confirmed the following month when Kalefa Sanneh's New Yorker story broke the case of the missing Sweatshirt wide open. Quoting an email exchange between the reporter and the 17-year-old born Thebe Kgositsile, the article reframed the nature of his stint in Samoa. Repudiating himself from the "Free Earl" chants that had became mantra among the group's fiercely devoted fanbase, he allegedly expressed worries that with the slogan came indirect attacks on his mom, and his fears that "I just inspired a widespread movement of people who are dedicated to the downfall of my mom."

The article also asserted that he was in Samoa willingly, a claim that has been thrown into question with Complex's latest bombshell, which features an interview with Tyler Craven, a former Coral Reef peer of Kgositsile's. Refuting the claims that Sweatshirt was there willingly and about how "Earl probably did write what was published, but that it was heavily influenced by therapists at the academy who need to see positive behavior if he wants to graduate," the article leaves things even more ambiguous.

What we know (maybe): the legal age in Samoa is 21, meaning that Sweatshirt could be there for the next three years or not, depending on whether the program deems him ready to graduate. That according to Craven, "everyone there hated everything about their lives and the program." And that Sweashirt allegedly spoke to him about making dis songs about his mother and the program when he gets out. That is to say, if you believe any of it.


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-- Jeff Weiss

 Photo: A still from Earl Sweatshirt's video for "Earl." Credit:

New Eminem/Royce song; Detox 'almost finished'

Dre News trickles out of Dr. Dre's Aftermath compound in sporadic, unreliable bursts, but Friday yielded a rare little dispatch. To refresh your memory, "Detox" has been "almost done" for a decade, and half of its original collaborators are probably planning their IRA's, and yet no release date been set. That's right, no release date. Still. You see where I'm going with this.

Just last week, Snoop Dogg sniped at Dr. Dre for forgoing loose studio exuberance for tightly controlled perfectionism. But Friday, Kendrick Lamar, who many assume will be filling Snoop's role on the original "Chronic" (i.e., fiery young upstart with star potential) has confirmed that he has been confirmed on several songs on Dre's long-delayed third solo record. That is, if the album ever sees the light of day.

So as if to allay the massive skepticism that Dre's "Chinese Detoxcracy" has accrued over the last three presidencies, DJ Khalil announced that "Dre's in the final stretch of recording the LP."

"Dre's album is definitely the most important thing right now, because he is definitely in the final stretch," Khalil told Billboard. "He has the record going, but I'm sure he thinks there are pieces missing still. Until he finds those pieces, maybe he's not comfortable putting it out yet... It's definitely a West Coast sound -- more futuristic West Coast sound -- at least from what I've turned in," he says. "I don't know what he's keeping, though."

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My Morning Jacket to play intimate KCRW members-only concert on June 21

Header_photo4 If you've seen My Morning Jacket live, you'll understand why more than a few music fans will consider this is a big deal. Starting Wednesday (June 1), at 10 a.m., tickets go on-sale for a June 21 KCRW members-only performance at The Village, a West L.A. venue with a 250-person capacity.

After all, it's been nearly a decade since the lightning-disguised-as-a-Lousiville rock band have regularly played venues that small. Last year, they played five consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden and on June 22, they're playing a date at Hollywood's 2,700-seating Pantages Theatre.

Hosted by Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley, tickets go for $125 and all proceeds will benefit the nonprofit station. Even at that price, expect them to be snatched up within a few hours. My Morning Jacketheads are a rabid breed and for good reason, the band's live shows boast a singularly hypnotic quality. Jim James' voice jumps like Rod Strickland, and Patrick Hallahan plays the drums like he was taught on a Norwegian glacier, and the rest of the group fall into graceful interlocking grooves.

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British rocker Pete Doherty sentenced to six months for cocaine possession

Pete doherty jpg

Musician Pete Doherty began a six-month jail sentence Friday after pleading guilty to cocaine possession, the Associated Press reports. The British rocker, former frontman for the Libertines, was sentenced by an east London court.

Doherty, 32, who has a history of drug use, was slated to perform a concert with his current band, Babyshambles, in Scotland on Friday evening. The sentence stems from a March 2010 arrest following the death of heiress Robin Whitehead at a party in London that January. Doherty, former boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss, was suspected of supplying Whitehead with drugs.

Peter Wolfe, 42, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of cocaine and one count of supplying cocaine to Whitehead, was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison. Both offenses were said to have occurred between Jan. 22 and 24, 2010, the day Whitehead died, the Guardian reports.

Whitehead, 27, the granddaughter of Teddy Goldsmith, founder of the Ecologist magazine, had been making a documentary about Doherty over the last 10 days of her life.

Judge David Radford, who sentenced Doherty, said the musician had an “appalling record” of committing offenses, having made 13 other court appearances. The sentencing marks Doherty's longest incarceration to date. Since his first arrest in 2003, Doherty’s most extended sentence was 14 weeks beginning in April 2008.


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-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Pete Doherty performs with Babyshambles. Credit: EPA

Cali Swag District speaks on the death of M-Bone


The local hip-hop world was rocked this week by the slaying of Montae "M-Bone" Talbert, 22, a member of the Cali Swag District, the group behind the national dance craze "the Dougie." 

Since his shooting Sunday night in the 400 block of North La Brea Boulevard in Inglewood, police have interviewed multiple witnesses in an attempt to piece together the details of the shooting. Thus far, no arrests have been made.

TMZ has reported that the shooting potentially stemmed from a conflict over a woman, but law-enforcement officials have yet to divulge a possible motive for the drive-by shooting. In a recent interview with the gossip site, the members of Cali Swag District stressed that it was not gang related.

"It had nothing to do with gang violence. It wasn't nothing like that. It was just a 'wrong place at the wrong time' situation. We just gotta stay strong for the homey," Corey "Smoove" Fowler said in a video posted on TMZ. "We don't know who's responsible for it or what the case may be. It's just bad, man. We're just gonna leave it up to the law right now because there's really nothing we can do."

Members of Cali Swag District, raised in Inglewood, spoke on the culture of violence within their hometown in a January interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"We were never in gangs, but you can't not know the gang members when you grow up in Inglewood. We grew up around them, and everyone starts young," said Chante "Yung" Clee. "You go to parties, people punch people, and then things get more serious. We ran with them sometimes, but we never joined. It never made sense. Slowly, but surely, people go to jail or get killed. It gets out of hand."

According to data collected by The Times’ interactive Homicide Report69 homicides have been reported within 2 miles of Sunday's shooting since January 2007.

"During the '90s, you could drive down the street and see people flying rags. You could tell a gang member from a random person," Yung said in January. "Now, you’ll see gang members in skinny jeans. You can get shot by a dude on a skateboard in Vans with skinny jeans and a string for a belt."

Though a full narrative has yet to emerge about Sunday night's events, Smoove told TMZ that they had just came home from tour the day beforehand. Prior to Talbert's fateful trip to the liquor store, they had been celebrating a friend's birthday.

"He went to the store to get something to drink, and randomly, somebody pulls up, don't say no words, don't shoot a lot of shots, just did what they had to do and got on. It had to be something, but we really can't tell exactly what it was," Smoove told TMZ.


M-Bone shooting motive unknown, police say

Cali Swag District rapper M-Bone killed in a drive-by

Everyone's doing the Dougie, but what's next for the Cali Swag District?

-- Jeff Weiss

Photo: A fan signs a bereavement card on May 17, 2011, outside the liquor store at the site where rapper M-Bone from the group Cali Swag District was recently killed. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images

MOCA revs up sonic social experiments with 'In Your Car' Thursday night

On Thursday night, the Museum of Contemporary Art is asking L.A.'s drivers and ping-pong enthusiasts to unite in sonic solidairty. Starting at 7 p.m., MOCA’s  "In Your Car" event invites the public to participate in two concurrent sound projects broadcasting on local radio frequencies. The gathering is the latest installment of “Engagement Party” by artistic on-air independent organization Neighborhood Public Radio. It's the latest in a litany of NPR's public events designed to give inspired, young artists chances to connect to their community using inventive, socially based works.

"Park Park Revolution" -- the first experiment for the event -- will be a collective composition “played” by cars parked in the lot surrounding the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The lot will be divided into four sections, each with its own broadcast frequency. After being directed into parking spaces, drivers will be instructed to tune their radios and crank their volumes to create a collaborative quadraphonic wall of sound. Think of it like a really big surround sound system.

Simultaneously, the night's second event, "Ping Modulation," will put people’s ping-pong skills to artistic use. Paying homage to artist Robert Rauschenberg’s film about a similar 1966 performance art piece called “Open Score,” NPR will outfit ping-pong tables with contact microphones and sound processors.

Paddle-swinging players will match up in tournaments of table tennis while the noise of their play is fed into radio broadcasts that will turn their games into a collage of swats, pops and plunks. When each experiment matches up to play together, this crazy polyphonic symphony certainly will bring an unexpected and loud suprise to downtown dwellers.


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-- Nate Jackson

Dr. Dre signs deal with Chrysler to develop automobile sound systems; 'Detox' remains without release date

0drdre Nothing says "luxury hip-hop" quite like a Chrysler 300 Sedan. At least that's what Dr. Dre and one of America's most venerable automobile companies are hoping following the announcement that the man who brought you "The Chronic" will be the new face of the firm.

Unveiled this week during the 2011 New York Auto Show, the agreement finds the legendary producer pairing with fellow rapper, spokesperson and Aftermath Entertainment honcho Eminem to help shill for the iconic brand. According to reports, the commercials will begin in May and will revolve around Dre's dedication to his music and line of headphones, Beats by Dre.

Additionally, the audio technology behind the aforementioned headphones will be implemented in the 300 vehicle model. Reportedly developed by both Dre and Interscope Records President Jimmy Iovine (and presumably a fleet of highly skilled engineers), the automobiles will feature a 10-speaker system that Iovine claims "will set the bar for the way music should be heard in cars."

“Beats By Dr. Dre has always been about restoring the emotional music connection between an artist and the listener, and Chrysler vehicles beginning with the Chrysler 300S will let drivers hear music the way the artists intended,” said Oliver Francois, the president and CEO of Chrysler Brand, in a prepared statement.

Slated for a fall release, the pimped-out autos follow closely on the heels of Eminem's recent success hawking for the Michigan-based firm. Earlier this month, the firm reported that month-to-month sales of the company's 200 model sedan increased 191% in the wake of Eminem's Super Bowl commercials and endorsement.

Of course, Dre's deal isn't the first union between rappers and the world of audio. Most notably, the Doctor's own half-brother Warren G once endorsed a line of JVC subwoofers. As for Dre, whose "Detox" currently remains without a release date, his Chrysler pact is merely the latest in a string of corporate sponsorship deals including Dr Pepper and Hewlett-Packard.

At the moment, the album's purported first two singles "Kush" and "I Need a Doctor" both rank in the Top 20 of Power 106's playlist. Ostensibly, the third single, "I Need a Mont Blanc to sign this Lucrative Pitch Contract," will be rolled out soon.


Dr. Dre returns with 'Kush,' first single from long-awaited 'Detox'

First listen: "Mr. Prescription, another possible 'Detox' leak, hits the web

-- Jeff Weiss

Photo: Dr. Dre. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times



South L.A.'s 'Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture Program' shuts down due to budget cuts

Dscf0119_fwq8 Due to budget cuts, the Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture Program, run since 2006 at the Accelerated Charter School in South Los Angeles, has been terminated.

"The situation's pretty much the same all across the United States: Any program that involves art and music and isn't part of the standard curriculum is subject to budget cuts," said program founder Sebastien Elkouby. "They're trying to cut off any and all extra fat. I just left a meeting saying that the school has to focus exclusively on getting kids to four-year universities, and not on arts or sports. It's an  understandable sentiment, but the class was helping students in other ways that are pertinent to their lives."

Conceiving the curriculum as a hybrid social studies and music education class, Elkouby had successfully enlisted big-name hip-hop artists to lecture the class, including KRS-One and MC Lyte. Just last week, he recruited acclaimed underground producer Apollo Brown to work with students. After meeting them,  Brown decided to produce a beat specifically for the kids.

"We're seeking to give our students a brand-new perspective on their environment and global awareness," Elkouby said. "Even 'A' students sometimes lack the awareness of what their responsibility is in this world, where they fit in, and what's their life purpose. We use hip-hop because it's attractive to them and a viable tool to explore those questions."

As of June, the budget cuts will eliminate Elkouby's staff position. For the program's first three years, he had a full-time salaried position teaching five daily Global Awareness classes. Recently, cutbacks had curtailed it to just one daily course.

In addition to the social-studies element, the program also taught students the art of rhyme and production. Last year, they collaborated with Red Bull for a showcase. Afterward, the energy drink company donated production equipment to the school.

Elkouby says that he's repeatedly discussed taking the program to other schools, but that despite interest, the funding isn't there. Additionally, he's approached several rappers to sponsor the program, but none have yet agreed. 

"The program has touched so many lives. I’ve had parents tell me that this is the most they've ever seen their students enjoy school, and the kids obviously love it," Elkouby said. "It's had a really powerful effect, especially when you look at things like the achievement gap and the dropout rate. We've been really trying to make a big impact and we've succeeded. But the funding just isn't there."

-- Jeff Weiss

Photo: Students in the Global Awareness Through  Hip Hop Culture course with producer Vitamin D; Credit:

This Weekend: Where's Yr Child's cosmic house party

WYCII This is how you give a sales pitch:


So sayeth the advertisement for Where's Yr Child's dance party at the Show Cave in Eagle Rock. The union of promoters M. Geddes Gangras and swamp psych maestro Sun Araw (nee Cameron Stallones), Where's Yr Child is another advertisement for the weird depths of the LA DIY scene that has chosen Eagle Rock as a hub (also presumably for the proximity to Casa Bianca).

If the pitch left you cold, the Where's YR Child website has been giving away a flurry of mixes ranging from deep house to dub reggae. We're posting three of the finest below (along with the ALL CAPS descriptions), but if you're looking for a weekend soundtrack, these should fit nicely.

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