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SO OBSESSED

Some vibrant nostalgia from the mind of Michelle Guintu. East Bay raised but SF residing, Michelle has developed her aesthetic simply by painting the things she likes. From 90′s R&B superstars, like Missy and Aaliyah, to Joe Montana paintings and McDonald’s installations.

HONORABLE MENTION

From post-hyphy to champagne soul, Trackademicks breaks down his musical journey so far

HONORABLE MENTION
Photography by Vasha

I sat near the front door of the Farley’s East cafe in Downtown Oakland, where I would be meeting Trackademicks. I looked over some notes, thought about the history of the Honor Roll crew and realized our conversation would be expansive and diverse. Looking back on it now, that only makes sense–the man I was about to interview has had a hand in several of the Bay’s sonic movements. From hyphy to HBK, from Livewire to Champagne Soul, Trackademicks’ production credits read like a who’s who of Bay Area hip-hop.

Since his early introduction to the scene through community staple Youth Radio, Trackademicks–born Jason Valerio–has built up a reputation on eclecticism and organic growth, collaborating with a wide range of folks and touching down all over the sonic map. These days, he and the Honor Roll crew are coming off some of their most exciting work yet, popping up on festival bills, and getting ready to take their live show on the road. In our conversation, I got a chance to check in with Track abut where he’s been and where he’s headed next.

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BY DESIGN

Madrid's Carmen Fernandez Sanz keeps it fresh with her ongoing pattern collection

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It’s never been so pleasant to fall down the rabbit hole than when you come across a dope artist on the internet. It’s so affirming isn’t it? My take is that there’s always been incredible artists since the beginning of time, but only until the advent of the internet have we been able to access the work of so many. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when considering the work of Carmen Fernandez Sanz. Based in Madrid, Spain, Carmen’s vibrant pattern work is captivating and timeless. Transitioning from a career in fashion design to surface pattern design, today Carmen’s work is available on everything from coffee mugs to shower curtains. Consider the following an introduction, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing from Carmen within these pages.

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FROM ICELAND TO TREASURE ISLAND

Icelandic's latest folk export makes his U.S. debut

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Iceland isn’t quite the first place we’d think to look when searching for new music. But not one’s too limit our scope, when Asgeir’s latest album came across our table, we gave it a look. Known loosely as melodic folk, Asgeir’s sound is best to wake up to, or something to listen to while you read the newspaper. When “King & Cross”–a groovy jam accompanied by a Lord of the Rings-esque video–dropped last year, it marked a significant peak in the young artist’s career.

Though he’s just breaking through in the states, the 22 year-old is already Iceland’s best selling artist over the last few years, with sales that represent roughly a tenth of the entire country’s population. Covering memorable names from Milky Chance to Nirvana, Asgeir’s sound continues to evolve as his global audience grows. Asgeir is coming to California this week, with shows at the El Rey and the Treasure Island Music Festival. Catch him there this weekend.

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THE NOTABLE NINE

Browntourage and Interrupt Magazine put on by highlighting Oakland's creative collectives

Interrupt

It’s no secret that young Oakland is crackin right now. From parties to proper swaps, every month seems to be characterized by events that highlight and validate the energy of our community. For those involved in its curation, it’s easy to see who’s who behind the scene, though their names and faces tend to take a backseat to the hype of guest DJs and event hashtags. Recently, Interrupt Magazine reached out to local crew Browntourage to co-curate their September issue, and to help in identifying and appreciating the Town’s new cultural heroes.

Browntourage’s “Notable 9″ article features crews and collectives of young creative folks who are, as they put it, “bringing knowledge, entertainment, and support to local Oakland ’hoods.” The article guides readers through a brief journey of group rosters, aesthetics, and outward efforts, to reveal the heat that’s been cookin up around here.

We at W&B are feeling honored to have made the cut, alongside some of our friends and fam, many of whom you might find right alongside us at functions and doc screenings alike. Among others, the piece features our folks from collectives like Trill Team 6, OnTask Family, Malidoma Collective, and Youthful Kinfolk. We’d like to say thank you to Hawa and Tonia at Browntourage for including us, Interrupt for the opportunity, and all of the crews both mentioned and beyond for the continued inspiration. For a look at some of the innovative faces behind the magic, hit more, and should you see them in the street, show some love. Full article here.

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WRITING WITH PURPOSE

A conversation with copy writer extraordinaire Demian Farnworth

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How do you get your voice heard in the modern world? Most might point to social media, and the burgeoning world it opens up as the primary medium to make a difference. While traditional media channels may catch eyeballs in broad brushstroke attempts to grab our attention, many would argue that the internet has become an overwhelmingly more dynamic medium for expression.

Towards that end, in efforts to learn more about how to communicate effectively on the internet, we tapped the shoulder of one of the best, Copy Blogger’s Chief Copywriter Demian Darnworth. With years of experience in the realm of writing for the web, Demian’s cut his teeth as a writer, penning engaging messages for a variety of online publications as well as direct marketing firms. With the internet as our medium and new media the new game, we talked to Demian about how to write effectively, create compelling content, and the future of self-employment.

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TIME IS ILLMATIC

The story of how Nas became Nas

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“I wanted you to feel New York at night,” said Nas, when discussing the motives behind his canonical 1994 debut, Illmatic. Landing conveniently inside the walls of Oakland’s own New Parkway Theatre, One9 and Erik Parker’s documentary, aptly titled Time is Illmatic, is a unflinching glimpse into the upbringing of a hip-hop titan, and the making of a classic.

To me, Nas always seemed like this sort of ubiquitous yet somewhat inaccessible hip hop legend. Yet watching the documentary helped to unravel some of Nas’ pressing curiosities. As viewers, we’re brought into the Queensbridge of Nas’ youth, full of the vibrancy and vices that make the neighborhood what it is. In the midst of this beautiful chaos came Nas, hailed as one of QB’s nicest pretty much from the jump.

When his surrounding school system failed him, Nas found himself at a crossroads. To stay in school and continue on a pointless mission, or to follow his passion for creating music. When his father–jazz trumpeter Olu Dara–told him, “Quit school, develop your craft, and I’ll support you,” Nas’ destiny was sealed. What transpired was a rise of epic proportions. And one that we still have the privilege to watch evolve today.

Peep the trailer below and catch Time is Illmatic at select screenings at the Parkway over the next week, and learn more about the film here.

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UNDER THE ELECTRIC SKY

Shooters Kris Kirk and Madison East on making art together, and an unlikely EDC oddyssey

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Meet Us Under the Electric Sky

As a shooter, it seems like there’s a lot to be gained from wandering out your comfort zone. Unfamiliar places tend to heighten your senses and let you pick up on new things, often when you’re not coming into a place looking for anything in particular. For Kris Kirk and Madison East, that meant venturing out from Silverlake and East L.A. into the gigantic, neon-drenched, seratonin-sprinkled clusterfuck known as the Electric Daisy Carnival to soak up the scene. The resulting collab zine, Meet Us Under the Electric Sky is, like the festival itself, an exercise in visual stimulation. Madison and Kris both bring a certain eye for detail to the project, picking out distinctive characters and scenery out of a sea of sights and sounds vying for visual attention.

Fortunately, Electric Sky is just the tip of the iceberg for both Kris and Madison, so shouts out to the Bay’s own Nighted for putting me onto yet another pair of dope photographers. In addition to photo work, Madison has carved out her own aesthetic through collage and mixed-media pieces, while Kris has made a practice out spontaneity, turning late nights in the East L.A. punk scene into a continuous stream of Tumblr consciousness. Thankfully, Nick put me in touch with Kris and Madison, and let me pick their brains a bit about everything from bad acid trips, to drinking pee, to brostep. Now here comes the drop.

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DUCKWRTH – “SUPER SOAKER”

A declaration of war from the Bay-by-LA spitter

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Duckwrth

At this point, you’re mad as fuck if you have any kind of sense. Coming from the community we’re a part of here in the Town, it’s hard to scroll through your news feed without getting engulfed in what seems like an endless stream of stories about black and brown kids getting gunned down by somebody in uniform. While pundits churn out the, “Well what was he doing in the first place?” fuckery and armchair liberals break down some supposed good cop/bad cop dichotomy, people keep losing their lives, and actual murderers keep wiggling their way out of consequences and collecting checks from taxpayers (For the record, obviously, lots of people have written, and spoken a lot more eloquently on the subject than I am here, so for starters, here’s this and this).

It’s enough to make you wanna stir some shit up, which seems to be the basic goal of Duckwrth’s latest. Backed by a heavy-hitting barrage from The Kickdrums, Duck goes for scorched-earth intensity, declaring war on the beast via music video. Lyrically, it’s poignant and direct from the jump: “Everytime I turn my TV on, I see another innocent black kid gone.” The visuals though, take those themes into cinematic territory, building a multimedia collage that follows that revolutionary thread back through time. In between riot footage and walls of flames are the freeze-frame faces of Rodney King and Mike Brown, with an interjection from Pac at peak-revolutionary fervor. It’s still hard to know where to find solutions, beyond say, chucking bricks into cop car windows at random. That being said though, it probably couldn’t hurt. However you feel, shouts out to our friend Duckwrth for trying to shake us outta complacency.

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BEYOND THE MURMUR

Some options for hopping off the beaten path this weekend, at First Friday and elsewhere

Art Murmur

As the summer comes to an end, in Oakland, you may be tempted to whip out your best Autumn hoodie but don’t you dare put down that paper-bagged tall can. October is shaping up to be beautiful and bustling with events to keep you social and less than sober. Maybe you’ve grown tired of the First Friday followed by the Layover hustle, but fear not, young East Bay! I aim to keep you dipped in both interesting and off-the-wall events this weekend.

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STARTER KIT: THE WINE & BOWTIES MIX

Floating out into space with TT6's cosmic slap connoisseur

Starter Kit

If you’ve had the chance to sit in on a Starter Kit set at one of our parties lately, you have some idea what you’re in for here. As one of many crucial pieces in the Trill Team puzzle, Daryl is an expert in seeking out cosmic sounds, bridging the gap from the bando to deep space nine. As a beatmaker and as a DJ, he’s able to weave together strains of future bass, ’90s R&B, and contemporary slap, pairing giant walls of bass with expansive, spacey textures.

Considering the fact that he’s turned out a half dozen or so of our parties now, it only seems logical that he should take the reins for the latest installment of the Bowties mix. Following on the heels of Julia Lewis‘ smooth, textured summertime vibes, Starter Kit lets us drift a little further out in space, leading off with a few big, languid jams from Aztek, Ryan Hemsworth, Esta and more. Gradually, it builds into that serotonin spike, with the all-important “Look at Wrist”, some warped Thugger, and an underappreciated Future/Metro Boomin team up, among others. All in all, pretty representative of what we’ve come to expect from the homie–taking us on a journey, and keeping those wrists in rotation. More from him here, but let this ride for now. Tracks after the jump.

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