Sunday, May 27, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Hip-hop history: Google creates epic musical Doodle to kick off 44th birthday jam

The dawn of hip-hop can be traced to a fateful Bronx back-to-school party in August 1973, so to celebrate the symbolic 44th birthday Friday, Google has teamed with two superstars to provide an epic global interactive jam.

Team Google Doodle includes lifelong fans of hip-hop spanning from California to Indiana to Louisiana, and its artists and engineers reached east to the legendary graphic artist and designer Cey Adams and the pioneering artist/host Fab 5 Freddy to create the tech titan's dopest and most dazzling work of interactive art yet.

To land the graffiti-art aspect of Friday's Doodle, the team traveled to the New York studio of Adams, the brilliant Def Jam creative director responsible for the looks of decades of iconic album covers, logos and ad campaigns.

Adams emerged from New York's graffiti movement alongside Basquiat and Haring, and so lived firsthand how such visual art intertwined with the rise of rap.

"First and foremost, the (visual) art component predates the other art forms," Adams says. "Certainly music has been around, but when it comes to graffiti - that's been around since the late '60s. It was a thing unto itself, that had its own movement.

"So by the time the late '70s came around, and all the elements become a collective," Adams continues, "graffiti art took a back seat to rap music. Music has always been universal, whereas art has an elitist edge to it because it's shown in museums and galleries - it's not as attainable. Music lives in the air, music is everywhere - it doesn't cost you anything.

"That said, hip-hop is a visual movement, (and) graffiti will remain a necessary element of creative expression within the culture."

Google wanted to create a Doodle that also tapped hip-hop's musical roots, so they traveled, too, to 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, where the Jamaican-born teenager DJ Kool Herc first played the instrumental "breaks" of songs at that famed back-to-school jam.

The Bay Area-based team also tapped the talents of Lyor Cohen, the global head of music for Google-owned YouTube and the former Def Jam president. Cohen says on Google's blog that hip-hop "shows that people in any situation have the ability to create something powerful and meaningful. The progression of this culture and sound - from Kool Herc spinning James Brown breaks at a block party to Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake being some of the biggest forces in music 44 years later - is something that few people at that first party could have anticipated."

Team Google Doodle leader Ryan Germick grew up watching Fab 5 Freddy as host of "Yo! MTV Raps," and his creative crew was able to get the Brooklyn-born legend to narrate home-page viewers through a quick hip-hop history, toward a tutorial of pulling tunes from the digital crate (from old-school George Clinton and Betty Wright to brand-new Prince Paul beats) and working the crossfader on the decks.

Comments
Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

In the end, we were waiting for a drop that never came.With Subtropical Storm Alberto forming in the southern Gulf of Mexico, it seemed a matter not of if but when but the Sunset Music Festival would suffer its nasty effects — inches of rain, g...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

The Sweeney "Family" Band, a musical comedy act that blends country, folk and gospel music with knee-slapping humor, will perform June 3 at the CARES Elfers Center, 4136 Barker Drive, New Port Richey. Doors open at 1 p.m., with the show starting at 2...
Published: 05/25/18
Watch Kenny Chesney’s new ‘Get Along’ video, filmed entirely at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Watch Kenny Chesney’s new ‘Get Along’ video, filmed entirely at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Were you at Kenny Chesney's concert on April 21 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa? Then there's a decent chance you might be in his new video.The country superstar dropped the official video for his new single Get Along on Thursday, and it was appare...
Published: 05/24/18
Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rain

Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rain

  Your Memorial Day weekend weather forecast is not looking good, with a big low pressure system, Invest 90L, hovering out in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to dump several inches of water on Saturday. For music fans, it couldn't be coming at a...
Published: 05/24/18
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

It's anyone's guess as to whether this weekend's ugly rains will hold off long enough for the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival to crack open some 10,000 bottles of tequila in Curtis Hixon Park.But if it does, you want to know when you can see your favori...
Published: 05/23/18
97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

The 97X Barbecue Music and Arts Festival — formerly the 97X BBQ, formerly the 97X Barbecue, formerly … well, who can keep track of it all? — returns on Saturday to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, with a lineup that includes Awolnation...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18
Suwannee Hulaween lineup: Odesza, Jamiroquai, Janelle Monae and more

Suwannee Hulaween lineup: Odesza, Jamiroquai, Janelle Monae and more

For the second straight year, one of the most eclectic music festivals in Florida will be taking place in Live Oak.Suwannee Hulaween just announced the lineup for its 2018 edition, coming Oct. 26-28 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, and it featur...
Published: 05/23/18
A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNF’s US Festival tribute

A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNF’s US Festival tribute

THE BEATS GO ON: Sunset Music FestivalAt last year’s Sunset Music Festival, the focus was all on crowd safety. After two fans died from drug overdoses at Tampa’s largest annual rave in 2016, organizers heightened security across the board, yielding a...
Published: 05/23/18