(Foreward by Haylow)
The travels of young producer Sev Seveer are from a completely different mindset, all which is related to his personal growth, interests, and developments. In the age of online communication, and differentiation of “friends” and actual friends, Sev set out to an unknown territory to achieve what most people never think of doing, yet the mission is simple; to meet his online personas in the flesh. As the advancements of technology makes our lives more convenient, nothing will replace face to face interaction. Sev’s journey is a testament to that, as well teaching an excellent lesson about building community and friendship through music.
Now that I’m officially back in front of the keys to handle business I’ve neglected for a week, let me jump this off the right way, for I have plenty of time to spend inside; it’s snowing in Chicago and I’m not going anywhere until I grow my crusty weather-proof windy-city skin back…I shed it all in California.
San Francisco was an unforgettable quest for me. I’d never been to California before last week and the fact that my trip came about purely through music contacts still baffles me. The story goes this way:
Rice The Sound Transmitter, my musical main-accomplice, had a show in Cali with his scratch crew Cutz on Cuts that fell through. Fortunately he still managed to grab another set at Milkbar with Prince Aries of Distortion 2 Static fame. I’ve been trying to get out to San Francisco for almost 2 years now, so I was like, “I’m going”. I bought my ticket before I had money, a place to stay, a map…I didn’t even have an itinerary or plan. I knew Haylow and Aries via the Roy Ayers Project; the coincidence that Rice was playing a show with mutual acquaintances was the glue that made this entire trip work. A friend of Rice’s whom I met in Chicago, Kerri, has friends in the Richmond District and they were great hosts who were nice enough to add me into the mix at the last minute. I was so grateful for that.
Luckily, I ended up with nothing to worry about. I went out to SF and was shown nothing but love from everyone in the entire city, except the bus drivers (I found them to be the only mean folks in Frisco. I imagine that every city has to meet a specific “meanness quota”, so I figure they’re just doing their part. However, this is only my testimonial…I might’ve just been on the wrong buses). Aside from that I had shelter, great conversation/debates/ciphers, and I was constantly on the move.
During this trip I got to meet some longtime idols of mine in the Distortion 2 Static crew. I remember being a junior in high school anxiously checking for new D2S podcasts to be delivered. I’d just copped a brand new video iPod and used nearly 80% of the storage to fit the podcasts. In 2005 you couldn’t catch me on any L train in Chicago without headphones and those podcasts on the screen in hi definition. I was so amazed at the “hip hop reporting” aspect of the show, especially given that I was becoming heavily involved with journalism and looking to make it my major in college. I loved the “man-on-the-Haight Street” interviews from Star and Beats Me, the video features, and every time I watched the crew report from that dope-ass set I would tell myself, “MAN. This is what I want to do. I could do this someday.” D2S was one reason why I continued to pursue journalism, and was always the main drive behind my wanting to visit San Francisco on a music trip or tour…whichever came first. The smile on my face when Haylow first contacted me way back to ask to use a beat I did in the Roy Ayers Project trailer was so wide it was painful. So you can only imagine how cheesin’ I was when I was chilling with Wonway and Haylow in person, with a priceless view at the top of Bernal Hill.
I also want to give a huge shoutout to RoKnew who I visited in Oakland. RoKnew is a triple threat emcee/beatsmith/DJ who I first met at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I met Ro at a UC Hip Hop Congress party and we’ve been building since then. Check out his work if you get a chance, he is definitely holding it down for the Chi out in the Bay. Another UIUC alum, Sergio Flores aka DJ B Maj, was cool enough to give us an on-air spot on Grown Kids Radio, where Rice merked a quick little set. It was weird to talk on a radio show that I was not hosting, but the All Day Play studio in Oakland was sooooo dope….had me wanting to start lookin’ for apartments out there on the spot! Lastly, I got a chance to meet the homie-in-beats Spencer T., aka Thadizzie1 in person. That makes three folks from The Beat Inn community that I have met in person. At the end of the day, personal connections trump web connections 100% of the time.
All in all, my first trip to San Francisco was unreal. It couldn’t have been possible if we weren’t all just a group of artists trying to show love. I will be back soon!
Rice and I were able to hit up a few record spots as well. We ransacked Amoeba, of course, but we also hit up this tiny jawn in Nob Hill called 101 Music. Here were my three favorite finds:
Chic Corea – Innerspace, 1979
It is nice to have a vinyl spin of Tones For Joan’s Bones; I believe that song is omitted from reissues.
Evelyn Thomas – One World, 1994
This record is absolutely bananas! Killer deep house vibes, amble Rhodes and amazing percussion on here. I had to get my usual uptempo fix when I was in San Francisco.
Smokin Beats (Tuff City Records)
Here is a record from the Smokin’ Beats compilations. OG scratchery and beat juggling throughout, including “Masters of the Scratch” featuring OC and Krazy Eddie. My favorite joint on here is “Davy’s Midnight Ride” by Davy DMX, which flies powerfully off the record as the first track on side A. I had to mess around with some of the drums on here, I didn’t even get through the record before I started chopping up the breaks.