In this episode of “Fresh to Death” Unsa Suhail gets an exclusive interview with the mighty 9th Wonder to discuss the producer “brotherhood” and creating a regional sound in hip hop. 9th Wonder also touches on the impact of the digital age, while also elaborating on westcoast emcees Fashawn, Blu, and Kendrick Lamar. He also hints at the possibility of signing Sacramento’s newest sensation Chuuwee. Footage taken at The New Parish (Oakland, CA). Event by Tastemaker Live and presented by Open University, in association with KSJS Hip Hop.
Additional photography by DJ Combsy.
Dom Kennedy stops by the 90.5 KSJS station for an exclusive interview with Arman “Strong Arm” Mahmoudi, in this Fresh to Death exclusive presented by Open University. In the interview Dom Kennedy discusses performing in the Bay Area, the recording process behind From the Westside with Love 2, and his future collaborations.
*This footage was taken on the W$GT$ tour in November 2011. Catch Dom Kennedy on Tour right now on the This is Dom Kennedy tour and look out for The Yellow Album dropping soon.
Live performance filmed at the Avalon in Santa Clara, CA. (Event by Ineffable Music Group)
Unsa Suhail interviews Stalley @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, CA for an Open University presentation of Strong Arm’s “Fresh to Death” on 90.5 KSJS, in association with AmadeuzTV/I.V League Media. In this exclusive interview Stalley discussed his move to Maybach Music Group and signing to a major, Lincoln Way Nights, his interest in different producers, Curren$y, and more.
[New Video] Reks “Fresh to Death” @ Brick & Mortar (On R.E.K.S, Waka Flacka Flame, Lil B, Kreayshawn)
Arman [Strong Arm] Mahmoudi interviews Reks after his performance at The Brick and Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, CA for “Fresh to Death” on 90.5 KSJS Hip Hop, an Open University exclusive. In the interview Reks reflects on the last 10 years of his career, his “atrocious” mixtapes, and working with Statik Selektah, Hi-Tek, Alchemist, Nottz, DJ Premier, and others on R.E.K.S. Reks also speaks on wanting to work with Phonte, Blu, Big K.R.I.T, and not wanting to work with Waka Flacka Flame, Lil B and Kreayshawn. Presented by Open University in association with KSJS Hip Hop.
Special thanks to Reks and Showoff Records.
[New Video] Myka 9 x Abstract Rude “Fresh to Death” (On Project Blowed, Dumbfoundead, NoCanDo)
Coolest rapper ever.
[New Video] Dom Kennedy “Fresh to Death” (Talks From the Westside with Love 2, Odd Future, Big K.R.I.T.) 
[New Video] Kendrick Lamar @ The New Parish in Oakland, CA (Nate Dogg Tribute, on 2Pac, and Dr. Dre) Pt. 1 & 2
Labeling Kendrick Lamar the future of “westcoast” rap would be a gross understatement, because while no other single emcee seems garnishing more attention so fast out west, after seeing this show I am convinced that he is the future of rap…no…hip-hop. Period. His energy and aura on stage is what many rappers can only dream of capturing, and Kendrick captures and controls the crowd effortlessly. I guess that it was only right that his first headlining show be in Oakland. The show was incredible and the live performance tells me that if this is only the beginning, this kid is gonna be around for a while. I think these hip hop elites should have a reason to want to cherish their legacies….because the hip-hop history books will be writing about Kendrick Lamar very soon.
Cool dudes. Enjoy.
After attending the Cinequest premiere of “God is D_ad” (pronounced God is Dad), I had a chance to sit down with the director and writer, Abraham Lim, to discuss the film, his past, and what advise he would give to young film makers, such as myself, coming up in the business. Totally approachable but unsurprisingly down to earth, I caught Abraham as he was scrambling to catch a flight to his next premiere….
Amadeuz: Thanks for your time, its an honor. How did you get started?
Abraham: I actually started out really doing hip hop videos. I’m originally from Kansas but went to NYU for film and left there doing music videos, which was a great experience. I did videos for a lot of artists, including The Roots, and Lords of the Underground. That was key for me because, you know with music videos you can bend the rules a lot and you get to be creative a lot more so than film. It was fun actually thinking of different ideas, writing the treatments and storyboards, and actually bringing that to life. My mother told me I was an idiot for taking the money that I made from shooting music videos and investing that into film, but making movies is my passion.
Amadeuz: How was the process of shooting “God is D_ad?”
Abraham: Well, first it was filmed in two different locations, here in the U.S we filmed the main part of the film, while the flashback/comic-book based scenes were actually shot in Korea. The scenes we did in Korea were shot first, and it took a while for us to secure the financing for the rest of the film. The total budget was about $15,000. When we finally figured out how we were going to finance the film, we shot the U.S and got it going. Since the main story of the movie didn’t require any special costumes or particular staging, it was relatively easy compared to the Korea shots.
Amadeuz: I noticed that you wrote, directed, produced, and even edited the film. How was that process?
Abraham: A lot of work man. If you don’t have the passion and drive to really do this, I wouldn’t recommend that you get into film. Yea there are people that have the resources, through family ties or something, to have the luxury of just making a film and putting it out there just to make money, but that is rare and unrealistic for people like us. We have to starve and sleep on couches, but to me its worth everything. This film was a lot of fun to work on…we actually shot it on the Canon HV20 with a Letus 35mm lens. One thing that people probably wouldn’t know is how hard the animation flashback scenes were to produce. People think it was just an effect that I threw on there. No way. I had to animate it with a cartoon comic book effect and literally go frame by frame to adjust it in order to make sure the colors matched. That is the dedication I’m talking about (laughs). When you’re doing it yourself, you have to spend weeks…months at a time on things like that.
Amadeuz: What is your goal with this film?
Abraham: I’m not totally convinced that this is very commercially viable…maybe it is. This film was definitely an experience for me and since I produced it myself, I can do whatever I want with it as far as distribution, which with this new distribution is very exciting to me. There is no better time for young film makers than now because all the tools are in our hands now. We don’t need the big studios anymore. I remember, I think it was Martin Scorsese who said that the future of film is a 12 year old girl standing there with a camera, and I totally believe that. Now we can shoot and edit our own movies, and distribute them directly into the hands of the consumers without the middlemen. I make a lot of money just selling DVD’s hand to hand at premieres and while on tour. A lot of directors think that they are above trying to sell their projects directly, but hey….to each they’re own.
Amadeuz: What is advise to upcoming film makers?
Abraham: Just get out there and do it man. Shoot. Get out and meet people, do other work, odd jobs, anything you can….you just have to show up. Trust me, there’s plenty of work to do, anyone who’s ever worked on or at least been to a set knows that. When you can’t secure actors or financing, know that your greatest asset is your time. When you have no money, usually you have a lot of time….use that to your advantage, and write for what you have. It makes no sense to write a high budget action film when you lack to money to finance it. Look for strengths and positives. An independent film has the advantages of working directly with actors, because of course with bigger budgeted films, you are relinquishing control, at least in some aspects. Do not have an ego, that will get you nowhere fast. My advise is to find a niche and fill it. It was hard for me to try to make an Asian-American film because its been done so many times and often in the same ways so its less likely to get the exposure. The African-American audience however really supports their own when it comes to film, they really get out there and support so you know you have a base. My niche I think will be the Sci/Fi kind of content because that’s what I like but you never know. Camera’s are super cheap now. You can get the Canon EOS 550d for under $1000 now and the picture is amazing. The future is really in our hands.