Big Forward Network

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Riccashay, MC Flow, Kevin Hellman, CityBeat, and the San Diego Music Awards

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I always check the Reader. Especially the Blurt section inside the music section. Only to kind of see what other people are keeping up on...

Thats when I saw a little Blurt featuring my boy Riccashay(Pictured above). Ken Leighton wrote this little blurt voicing Ric's opinion on the San Diego Music Awards, and the winner of the Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist MC Flow.

Ric was miffed that MC Flow won the award, because he felt that she did not represent Hip-Hop. To his credit he said "MC Flow is good at what she does, but what she does is not Hip-Hop". He also mentions Hip-Hop is about paying dues, and he hadn't seen her pay any dues. While MC Flow is not what I would consider to be the best Hip-Hop group in Daygo, she is trying to do her thing as an artist. I can see that. Whether you like MC Flow or not is pure opinion. Yet I have to agree with him, in questioning how MC Flow is the best representation of Hip-Hop that San Diego has.

Lets look at the nominees:

Blame One
Celio Skilz
Deep Rooted
Lil Al
MC Flow
Miki Vale

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Addiquit is a newcomer to the game, and after seeing her live I couldn't say she is the best representation of San Diego Hip-Hop. While her style is different than any other MC I've heard, I couldn't have given her the award. A Master constantly fine tunes his/her craft before its Mastery.Addiquit's Myspace Page

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Blame One. What can I say about Blame One. You really have to hear him do his thing to realize that he is one of the top contenders on the list. Blame's delivery is wicked, and definitely versatile. His content ranges from highly intelligent, to pure braggadocio. Blame has also been slaying folks lyrically for over a decade. When I first met him, he was beautifying a box car. He is deserving of an award. Blame's Myspace Page

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Celio Skilz is another veteran out here with a dope style, and solid delivery. He has been in the game out here awhile. Celio is making waves outside of Daygo as well. If he had won, I would not have been mad. Celio's Myspace Page

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Deep Rooted has already well proven themselves. Solid production, and alot of talent. Mr. Brady, Johaz, and DJ Artistic have both been putting in ALOT of work over the years. Very good candidate for Best in SD. Deep Rooted's Myspace Page

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Lil Al. I have to admit, while I try to seem like an authority, I haven't seen Lil Al live. I do know that his music represents San Diego, with the definitive West Coast sound. He has a strong delivery, and street oriented content. Al also has strong support from the Latino community out here, which is big. If he would have won, I could have lived with that. Lil Al also hosts a radio show on Z90. Lil Al's Myspace Page

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MC Flow. I just heard word of MC Flow this year. Her delivery is old school, very comparable to the new trend of JJ Fad-esque flowing. Her "Flow" is not phenom in the least, but more cute. I guess that's what I would call it. Cute. MC Flow's Myspace Page

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Miki Vale has gone through a couple Hip-Hop incarnations over the years. While Miki has a soft side, her delivery can be more deadly than an envelope full of SARS. Alot of people are making a big deal about Female MCs, but Miki Vale transcends that label to just Dope MC. If she would have won, I would have been in agreement.Miki's Myspace Page

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Riccashay. What can you say about Riccashay, that hasn't already been said about The Witch Creek Fire. (I hope he's reading this). Honestly, I've seen Ric tear rappers apart, rock a solid show, and make people react with his verses. Ric is a professional. He deserves an award. Riccashay's Myspace Page

The way the winner is chosen is by way of internet. And if you had enough people in your circle working at it, you could vote once a day. Once a day? WTF? If the winner is supposed to be people's choice, then why would they let you vote more than once?

The result is not who is the best artist, but which artist can gather the best team to beat the voting system? Sounds like bullshit to me.

Not really a big suprise to me. The Bullshit part. CityBeat is the quasi-authority on local music, and it's editor is Kevin Hellman, who is also the brains behind SDMA (San Diego Music Awards). Before CityBeat, it was called SLAMM. They would NEVER cover Hip-Hop. After people kept complaining, they slowly integrated some Hip-Hop into their mag. CityBeat now covers everything local that has to do with music.

Kevin Hellman made a comment in the Reader that there is no Hip-Hop scene in San Diego, save for 4-5 groups who rarely play. This comment is from the guy who is the head of San Diego's Music Authority? He obviously knows very little about whats going on. I saw 5 groups last week alone. There is also a Hip-Hop TV show, The Grimmie Wreck Show that features numerous Local Hip-Hop groups every episode. is a local internet radio station that features local Hip-Hop DJs, and features artists weekly. There is a couple of pure Hip-Hop shops that cater solely to the Hip-Hop scene that doesn't exist out, and they are both thriving. One being The Armory which has a store located in Downtown, and one in Pacific Beach. and Access Hip-Hop Shop is another Hip-Hop shop in Pacific Beach. Both of these stores specialize in Hip-Hop culture and feature numnerous local artists' product. House Of Rep is party that features live Hip-Hop acts, both Local and National, very frequently. You can find more events here.

Kevin Hellman not only showed he is not afraid to speak something he doesn't know shit about, but his obvious distaste for local Hip-Hop Artists, and the community in general.

I am not going to list the numerous groups in San Diego frequently performing out here. I shouldn't need to for CityBeat's sake. They should already know all of this already.

I noticed one of CityBeat's contributors, Troy Johnson, must have taken a fancy to both MC Flow, and Addiquit. I do not think either of them deserve the nomination over other very active local groups, who have a quality product and an entertaining stage show. They both have a certain appeal to them that I can respect. That same appeal beckons 91X to play Hip-Hop by groups they deem palatable to their market. Whether or not their act will hold up to the critical ears of Hip-Hop purists is still yet to be seen. As Riccashay noted, their presence at Local Hip-Hop shows is rare, if at all.

Riccashay. I had a chance to briefly discuss the Reader write up with him. The author asked Ric if his opinion on MC Flow's Hip-Hop status was based on the fact that she was White, Jewish, and Female. Talk about trying to build a story. Riccashay stood strongly by his comment, which I admittedlyhold the same opinion as well.

To MC Flow and Addiquit: One thing I've learned about expressing yourself on a Hip-Hop platform, is you are asking to be ridiculed in some of the most vicious, and absurd manners you can think of. If you are true to your art, you will keep doing what you love and take critics with stride. If you are indeed truly Hip-Hop MCs, you already know how to handle this situation, and if you have yet to battle anyone, then good luck.

To the other artists in the competition, I award you all Hugh Knight's Music Award for Best Local Hip-Hop/Rap artist/group. We are all paying attention, and we know whats wrong with this picture.

To Riccashay: Thanks for keeping it real. You and I both know that SDMA is a sham anyways.

Hugh Knight
Former San Diego Music Award Winner


mike said...

still salty we never got that "trophy" we won huh?

thoroughbreds will never win at the pony show... some things never change.

in other news, we didn't get evacuated or burned! long live firestorms!!!! BLAZE IT!

Rosa T.O.D. said...

i am so outta touch.

great read, I wish you had an article in the reader. you ever read the remote control guy on the last page. kills me!

Hugh Knight said...

Well, they said we could have picked it up. I'm more salty about what Kevin Hellman said. Mike glad the fam is safe...

Sonny Phono said...

wait id Addiquit one of the 3 headed monster? Bang the reader for a column, or Citybeat. You got the skills. Just do it.

BMW said...

"To MC Flow and Addiquit: One thing I've learned about expressing yourself on a Hip-Hop platform, is you are asking to be ridiculed in some of the most vicious, and absurd manners you can think of. If you are true to your art, you will keep doing what you love and take critics with stride. If you are indeed truly Hip-Hop MCs, you already know how to handle this situation, and if you have yet to battle anyone, then good luck."

Hell Yeh! I hear you. And I welcome that platform like crazy! But, I am true to MY art. So this award was a surprise to me. What can I do for hip hop? SHIT. But I'ma do my music. Hip hop found me. My ears, my taste. My Fucking distaste. Street shit. Ridicule. Challenge your fucking self if you're going to create.
Keep this moving.
True hip-hop emcees do battle.
I will battle anyone but that's not suggesting I think I'll win. It's me saying I do battle. I did record 2 (unreleased) freestyle mixtapes. I didn't write shit down for years. That made me somewhat of who I am. I wanted to challenge myself. You freestyle, you're vulnerable. Period. You're ill to just do it.
And I'm in Bed-Stuy, NY. I walk down 1 St. everyday. Yes there's battling going on! Nostrand Ave!
This is where I record & live sometimes. Really not a part of San Diego- but born & raised.
I was not nominated by popularity! HAHA! I don't belong to any community, genre, no label.

Reporting live.


P.S. PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hugh Knight said...

Glad this made it to you. BIg Up.

Jason said...

Couple of thoughts on this from deep in South America. Yes, San Diego City Beat needs more hip-hop. Yes, they need it from somebody deep within the scene. Yes, they repeatedly blunder in the awards department.

OK, all of that is a given, and I am somewhat amused to find out that since I stopped writing about Hip-Hop for City Beat that really not much has changed.

But one thing you neglected to mention is that City Beat has written about half of the artists you mentioned. San Diego City Beat did give hip-hop a chance with MegaDap, the at first bi-weekly, then once every three weeks, column I wrote solely about San Diego Hip Hop. That ran for over a year.

Blame One, Mike Czech, Unite, Mitchy Slick, Mike Vale, Armory Massive, Writerz Blok, Access Music. B-Boys, DJs, Rappers, and Graffiti writers. From South East to North County, from backpackers to Gangsters, from internet to Clear Channel, I tried to cover it all.

So what ever happened with that? Honestly, personally, I just got sick of doing it. I'm not a writer by trade, and honestly not a musician either. But I did it because I felt uniquely positioned as a working DJ, that it was something that I had to contribute. And I'm pretty proud of the results.

Now, enough patting myself on the back. What good did all the late nights treking around town with my tape recorder do if after one year we're all back in the same place? Not much.

And truthfully I saw it coming. One of the most disappointing aspects of the whole experience was giving it up, and not being able to find anyone to pass the torch to. Did I try? Hell yes!

But here's the thing. Being a journalist is a thankless job. Everybody wants you to write about them, but then once you do, they hate you for it. "I didn't say that." Or "Yo - You misspelled our name - it's dogzzzz wid a ZZZZ!" Whatever.

I was constantly being approached by people who wanted to write. But here's the thing - writing isn't necessarily easy, and when you get right down to it... not that many people had the moxy to put pen to paper and make it happen. So what it boils down is that a lot of people would approach me, but none NONE (fucking NONE!) ever produced a writing sample. Not a single one.
Add on top of that, there were a few folks that I reached out to directly to get them to take it on, and they weren't interested either.

So, where does that leave us? Honestly, Hugh, it seems like something you'd be interested in doing, and I think you should persue it. I think though, that a well placed blog/website could be just as effective if not more. So I'm giving you props for doing your thing here, and I'd encourage you to keep it up. Eventually you will find your way into print.

If there is something I can do, let me know:

surfvagabond "at"

Otherwise -- where's the fuggin remix I came to this site for to begin with?

-@LRG in Sudamerica.

Kelly said...

I work for CityBeat. Kevin Hellman is CityBeat's publisher and has nothing to do with the editorial content. SDMA is completely separate from the newspaper. Regardless, Kevin says Ken Leighton misquoted him.

Hugh Knight said...

@Large...We have big shoes to fill down there. That was single best thing for SD Hip-Hop that CityBeat ever did! Thank You for that.

Kelly: Although I believe you that Mr. Hellman could have easily been misquoted, I find it hard to believe that his comment would have been that much different. Mr. Leighton actually seems to encourage debate over his misquotes, and I would be interested to see his notes.

"SDMA is completely separate from the newspaper."

eeeeeh. Me and my girl are completely separate people, but we share the same bed...

Nonetheless Kelly, thank you for taking the time to read my opinion.

Rico said...

This is the infamous RICASSHAY...Big up Hugh Knight for the kind words and respect for the art. ONE! ONCE AND FOR ALL, please understand that the rukus I raised about this isnt cuz I didnt win (I honestly didnt expect to) but it was because of the CONSTANT misrepresenation of a culture, whether it be at an awards show, in print, on TV or on the radio. I am heated because no one else is, and they should be. Why do I gotta be the sacrifical rapper that has to step up and say something? But so be it...Addiquit, being in NY doesnt make u fresh or hard, it makes u someone who stays in NY...u said it yourself u born and bred in SD, so the Nostrand Ave thing, come on. My people RUN Brooklyn, Washington Heights and East New York. That dont make me more hip-hop than the next man. What does, however, is the fact that I will CRUSH 99.9% of cats out here and out there. So, in closing, I LOVE my Jewish bredren, I LOVE women,and most importantly, I LOVE Hip-Hop! By the way, dont let who you fuck dictate who u are, Flow. No one cares that I love pussy, so I dont care that you do too. That has nuthing to do with hip-Hop....Im smoking a blunt and it almost out so i know I been ranting...PROOF OF LIFE IN THE BUILDING.......oh and FUCK NAS!!!!!!

BMW said...

na na...
rico, where do i say i think im hard? the nostrand thing? and o'yes BK is fresh! oh u run it? haha...
but anyway,
i was explaining (or just typing?!) how i freestyled when i first started rhyming, ya dig? and how that shit goes down way diff in bed stuy then what i was used to in spring valley ------ it's great tho. but that threw u off?
lemme jus say...
i don't consider what i do hip-hop. cool? i don't have it listed as hip-hop on my myspace, but maybe since there's some kinda rhyming going w/n the music i make, people in SD put me in that category 4 the SDMAs...i'm glad to be nominated but i even told city beat i thought miki vale should win.
i think it should have gone in a different category.
maybe a ???? category... they need to invent a ???? category
i do me. my music. you do you. i have never heard your music but i'm sure it's hip hop - it ain't no beef tho & we'll probably never meet --- but maybe we can do a friendly freestyle battle if we do, ay? ya ya
and rico,
i don't think i'm hard or tough
does going to jail more then 10 times count tho? hmm... nah..

its all good
and i said:
"So this award was a surprise to me. What can I do for hip hop? SHIT. But I'ma do my music. Hip hop found me. My ears, my taste."
I meant:
Yes I love hip hop but...see what i'm sayin... i don't feel like i can do shit for hip hop... but damn it's some good shit rite?
blaze up

Hugh Knight said...

Wow. Still catching feedback. Thats tight. Glad yall give a fuck!

BTW, Addiquit got a nice write up in CityBeat. Check for it...