First Friday: 2Pac (Makaveli) “Hail Mary”

If we are going to celebrate the work of Michael Miller and his exhibition at FIFTY24SF Gallery, “West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures,” then we are going to celebrate 2Pac’s last studio album, Makaveli and the The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory and “Hail Mary.” Hard to imagine this man was only 26. Legend. Of. The. Game.

From The Citrus Report

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@ FIFTY24SF Gallery: Michael Miller “West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures”

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FIFTY24SF Gallery, in association with Upper Playground, are pleased to announce West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures, a special two-day exhibition and book signing featuring the iconic hip-hop photos of Los Angeles photographer, Michael Miller. The exhibition opens Friday, April 27, 2012, followed by a special book signing of Miller’s West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures on Saturday, April 28 from 2—4pm.

Michael Miller’s photographs capture a unique era of West Coast culture, combining the emerging genres of gangster rap, skateboard culture, Los Angeles street culture, and the iconic personalities who help turn West Coast rap into a global phenomenon. Capturing intimate portraits of hip-hop legends 2pac, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Cypress Hill, as well as iconic advertising campaigns with street fashion giant, Stussy, Michael Miller photographs hearken back to a pivotal moment in history where he took rap, surf, skate, punk, and street fashion fused into one image. The Los Angeles-based photographer has worked in the entertainment and music industry for over 25 years, with a portfolio of over 300 major record covers, iconic supermodels of the ‘90s, and some of the biggest names in rap and jazz.

Influenced by the techniques of Peter Lindberg, Paulo Roversi and Javier Vallhonrat, Miller has developed a unique method of cross-processing film and different chemical baths for his black and white photographs. A graduate of UCLA with a B.A. in Film and Television, Miller moved to Paris after university and met top agent Rene Bosne. With Bosne’s mentorship, Miller began to shoot photographs, gradually gaining jobs shooting models for John Casablancas’ agency. After moving to Barcelona to shoot campaigns fro Cacharel Paris, Miller returned to Los Angeles in 1988 to shoot for Herb Ritts’ agency, Visages. Gaining recognition within the fashion industry, the music world took notice, and by the end of 1988, Miller photographed his first rapper, Arabian Prince.

For West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures at FIFTY24SF Gallery, Michael Miller will be presenting a series of his iconic early 1990′s hip-hop photographs, including numerous photos of 2pac, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, as well as photos of unique historical perspectives on Los Angeles street culture. Coinciding with Miller’s exhibition, we will have famed San Francisco musicians, Tommy Guerrero and ORB DJing the opening on Friday, April 27, 2012. On Saturday, April 28, from 2—4PM, Miller will be signing copies of his West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures at our FIFTY24SF Gallery.

The exhibition will be on display from April 27—28. 2012, with a special book signing event on Saturday, April 28 from 2—4 pm. The book is Miller’s West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures collection.

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2Pac’s mom says she and rap group did not smoke rap legends ashes

TupacShakurPA210311 2Pacs mom says she and rap group did not smoke rap legends ashes tupac shakur smoke outlawz ashes 2pac

Well that is a big relief. According to NME, “Afeni Shakur has denied that she smoked the ashes of her son with the Outlawz.” Young Noble from Outlawz had said yesterday that “Yes, it’s definitely true… Had a little memorial for him with his mum and his family. We had hit the beach, threw [in] a lot of shit he liked at the beach. Some weed, some chicken wings, he loved orange soda… Pac loved that kind of shit, so we were giving him our own farewell.”

We feel really weird now. Listen to this to feel better:

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Chuck Johnson / Soul Beat Television

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Chuck Johson / Soul Beat

by Jonathan Liu

Chuck Johnson. Heard of him? No? How aobut Soul Beat Television?  No, either? Heard of BET? Yeah? Well, then, there might be a problem there. See, before there was the madness of BET and all of it’s hyped up mass media, there was Soul Beat, the first and only 100% Black owned television station. While BET was funded through loans and  investors who were not necessarily people of color, Chuck Johnson made sure that the  only hands touching the idea of Soul Beat were his and close friends, to ensure that the  station remained 100% Black owned.

Why is this so important you ask? Well, because  by keeping out powerful influences and investors interested only in the sale, Johnson was  able to provide a network that spoke to his community – it empowered them, provided them a voice (as indicated by Johnson’s willingness to air ads for local businesses at a lower price), and represented them.  Never before had there been a station to do that for the Black community, particularly not one that did it ONLY for the Black community.  In doing so, Chuck Johnson was able to pick the artists he wanted to put on Soul Beat, and many of these artists would later break out to become voices for their generation in their own right. Artists like MC Hammer, Too $hort, and the Whispers all made appearances on Soul Beat before MTV or BET.

While Chuck Johnson passed away in 2004, his legacy remains.  Coming up on July 27, the anniversary of his death, let’s remember him, pump up the jams, and re-live our days with 2 Live Crew for him.

For more about Chuck Johnson and Soul Beat, go here.

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