Sunday, January 21, 2018

Serato Party

The homie Derek has a pretty tight job. When he's not working on his brand Raisin Heads, he puts on in the Brooklyn Serato studio, hosting events and producing multimedia content.
Frankie, Tyson, Pat y Derek.
This past Friday the folks at Serato were hosting a party, so Diana and I had to pull up. The studio/lounge is on point. Big couches and art to fill the huge open space with music equipment and controllers strewn about for your creative exploration.
Studio Art
What I really dug about the space is they have 4 or 5 separate set's of nice studio monitors around the room, each hooked up to different drum machines, synths and controllers. At some point in the night folks were chillin on a huge L couch, jamming along with the DJ through their own speakers. So much fun.

Side Rigs.
It almost felt like a controller archive when looking behind the main set up. I would imagine they could host any DJ ever and make that person feel at home with their selection.
The Main Stage
Darling Chuck on the Main Stage
As soon as Chuck threw on that P-Lo, it was a wrap
 
Always a great time kicking it with the homies.

Peace

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tech N9ne Gets It

Game recognize game, this is an indisputable, mathematical truth. I always knew that Tech N9ne was a skilled rapper, but I never really gave his music a chance, just the image and sound, from bits I heard, didn't really speak to me. But then I saw him and Krizz Kaliko absolutely murder a set at Rock The Bells 2009 or 2010, and I knew right away that he really does this rap thing. Dude is an incredibly talented performer, and his journey since then to become this huge independent music mogul, who has artists like MURS signed to his label, make this dude all the more doper.

In case anyone still thinks dude is a gimmick and not down with the culture, he dropped this video yesterday. Enjoy.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Orleans

Recently got to spend some time in The Big Easy, what a city. So much history, music, food & good old fashion southern hospitality. After Hurricane Katrina the city of New Orleans went through some really dark times.  It was hard for me to go to a place like Bourbon street without thinking of how much more the city has to offer. While I was in town the Saints won their wild card game! So you can imagine the city was out in full celebration. Man, I have so much to say about this all and no time.

This post is going to be all over the place because I'm heading to work in a minute, I'm riding my bike and it's snowing so I need to take an extra minute to get prepared. What I also wanted to mention is that we went on a plantation/swamp tour. The plantation portion was at the Destrehan plantation, where coincidentally the anniversary of the slave revolt of 1811 was being recognized. By total coincidence we were on the plantation during the anniversary. History, emotions, connection, remembrance... So many emotions. I stopped to rest my hand on a tree for a second and could feel the energy pouring out of the site.
I stole this image from Diana's IG account




On our last day we strolled along Magazine street and I kept thinking about the E-40 song off of Poverty and Prosperity . We came across NOLa Mix, a sweet music shop that has a rad vinyl selection along with other offerings like this patch I picked up. They also had some midi controllers and other electronic music instruments as well to round out the offerings. The patch was made by a local producer named Architect, I'm sure I'm not spelling his name correctly because I haven't been able to find any of his music online. But yeah, rad patch for sure. Considering my sewing game has been on the rise, you know I'll be putting it to use in the near future. I was really into the vibe in NOLa Mix, should you find yourself out that way def check'em out.


I also picked up this record by Gentlemen and their Ladies pretty much based on the cover art. I gave it a preliminary listen and it's got lot's of potential(!) but haven't had a chance to cut it up yet. ..Soon. 

That's all I got for now folks. Just wanted to share and send some good vibes.

Xoxo

-Frankie

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

It's Where You From, Where You At, And Where You Going



“FOCHO – la clica, a state of mind…” – L To The…

What’s up y’all!!?? If you are reading this, chances are you’ve been down. If not, no worries, FOCHO is all inclusive. Be sure to check out Black’s post, just previous to this, for a proper reintroduction to all things FOCHO, as well as a comprehensive breakdown of 2017. I’m writing this post now because, well, Black suggested I should. But also, I feel a need to share some thoughts, and I really felt that this was the best place for them, right here, on this blog, FOCHOdotcom.  

Strung up my days in the Mission, put my feet on foreign soil for a min - Dec 2nd, 2015

Yo, the last time I posted was July 2014… That was a few lifetimes ago for me. (It just took me about 20min to get logged in.) So much occurred from then til now, which y’all already know about, and I’ll touch on it here and there.

On the creative front, I released two music projects, one called Mode of Prose, with myself on the raps and the homie NoOne Jones on the beats:

Mode of Prose album - May 2015


I also released Freight Train BANG, my 2nd solo project, fully produced and rapped on by myself:

Freight Train BANG album - December 2015

I made some videos too. (Black provided a rundown of the entire clica’s creative offerings in his post, so get at that.)

East Side Gallery - Berlin Wall - April 2017
On many levels, my 2017 was pretty rad. Started off by AirBnBing Ale n Cat’s pad in SF, pretty decent rate too, just a few bottles of nice beer. Through 2 dope trips, spend some quality time in Europe seeing new places, kicked it extensively in Russia, and reconnected with folks across the world on that ultra homie tour (sadly though I did not make it to India). I spent the summer living in Berkeley, which was one of the overall dopest experiences of my life, it allowed me to sit and sift thru India footage and cry joyous tears to make the video for I Make This. The gf moved to California, I met her halfway and moved to SLO for a stint, and we’ve been adjusting and rockin on that SLO tempo in the land of Chorro since.

Shuba and the b(it)each. - Avila Beach, CA - September 2017

2017 on a national level is the year which debuted our current, shitbag president, his victory largely hinged on the systemic conditioning of race based ignorance. His campaign brought the deepest issues regarding race, culture, and poverty into the mainstream, those historically rooted in generations of personal struggle, those largely pondered and critically discussed in the academic realm. These issues that I (and most of us) are personally connected to, that we identify so heavily with, that have driven much of my creative expression, have been reduced, simplified, and distorted to fit into convenient political categories, to be manipulated and discredited, all for political gain, similar to other polarizing issues like abortion, gay rights, etc. These stripped down issues, no longer framed and owned by those who seek justice and strive to make change, have been dumped onto the masses of “white” America, onto a populace that does not possess the perspective, sensitivity, nor historical understanding to even begin to have an opinion, and have thus been publicly discredited. “Trump” became synonymous with the everyday American who fell victim to the liberal agenda on one side , and “social justice” with “entitlement” on the other (wtf!!??).

Russian Collusion - Krasnoyarsk, Russia - May 2017
I was caught in the trap of arguing with dipshits online, playing into the politics of speaking my truth, one full of experience and insight, requiring context and knowledge to be impactful, in a medium that doesn’t allow that whatsoever (social media), thus appearing out of touch, galvanizing a “white” ideology by contrasting my "un-American" views with a nationalist, America first ignorant stance. My output, my expression, that which I place so much pride and sense of self into, had been reduced to a laughable talking point. Even people who share the same passion for social justice seemed to be falling victim to “lazy activism”, that Diet Woke, sticking to the surface level verbage that will gain attention amongst the masses, aka doin it for the likes, but still lacks the depth of understanding required for real change to take place. In short, I became discouraged.

Philly Airport. Quick jaunt to the East Coast on that jawn life. November 2017
 
In addition (possibly in conjunction) to the constant, total influx of fucked up political media (and in spite of some really incredible outlying albums being released ie Open Mike Eagle/Jidenna/Kendrick (again, peep Black’s post for a list of dopeness)), music, Hip-Hop particularly, had taken a huge L throughout the year. The virus of inane, wavy, trap shit hit peak infiltration, took over everything, and people in general weren’t trying to hear much else. The scene in the Bay had seen a pretty huge lull, just not a whole lot going on in terms of shows or recorded projects that reflected the community. It all just felt disjointed, and from here too I found little inspiration to put my energy into creating or performing rap. 2017 was the first year in maybe 10 years where I did not perform a show the entire year.

This all night freestyle session, connecting with gente with my OG Melvin from the Lilly Gardens, was one of the few musical highlights for me. No social metrics, just vibes + enlightenment. - Lake Merritt, Oakland. - June 2017

All of the aforementioned required me to take a step back, to reflect and reassess the how and why, to redefine my purpose in creating and what I intended to express.  I was pretty mobile throughout the year, so I didn’t do too much in terms of making beats, but I did write a lot. My mind not really being in rap mode, I just wrote, freeform expression, to get the ideas out, to try to stir up the creativity. I also read a lot too, a mix of post apocalyptic sci-fi, sociology, Russian and American classic literature. I had such an amazing experience in India the previous year, and this year I felt compelled to repackage and present it via my video for I Make This, the only significant offering of mine, which was simply a rehash of previous work.



What I knew definitively, for myself anyway, was that this was a time to invest inwardly. No more letting other people frame and define my output, no more letting outsiders evoke these strong emotions out of me for their benefit, no more creating and sharing what I cherish so closely in a time and space that is working to actively devalue it. Me and Cisco had many discussions throughout the year about authenticity and creating and output and ownership, the intersectionality of those holding the key to contentment.  “Letting passion dictate the path, pure feeling is the compass/ beats that’s bumpin…”

Me n Cisco n the JUICE. Super Gilas, Super Chelada - Gilroy, CA - Sept 2017


…“You got the JUICE man”…

Before the time of my last post here, the “FOCHO” name had naturally changed over time to refer to “the band”. By July 2014, we had essentially disbanded musically, and, as we as homies were geographically independent, I didn’t feel any need to promote the name going forward. I felt that it was time to let go, to allow FOCHO to live as a past memory, to remember it for what it was in those great, great eras. And I did, I let go, but FOCHO never died. The name always came up, the feeling was always evoked in various ways, we all felt it enough, on our own accord, to interject it in basic conversation as an adjective. It was the most concise way to describe that intangible dopeness.

Though spread apart, we have all remained friends, that homie element never left, the essence of FOCHO, the feeling from which it all began, never went away. Over time, the temporary association of FOCHO to the band subsided, and the original connection, one through friendship, music, humor, discovery, creativity, realness, fellowship, good times, etc, etc, once again shone through. The JUICE. FOCHO is the JUICE! Within this setting, thru blog, thru creating, thru simply repping for each other, we maintain an identity, an integrity that can’t be taken by any ebb n flow in politics or Soundcloud trends. F lightning in a bottle, this the Rossi out the jug! This Osama in the cave playing Final Fantasy VII, they can’t capture this!

Gotta keep it Triple OG sometimes. Mickey's 4-0 in front the old spot. - Mission, San Francisco. -  May 2017
A new energy became apparent to me in the last weeks of 2017, one of excitement, of eagerness, of hunger amongst the OGs, culminating with the instantly legendary Black Thought freestyle, where this man, who has absolutely nothing to prove to anyone about his status in Hip-Hop, absolutely murdered everything for 10 minutes straight, just fkn flexed for the sake of doing it, just because he “had something to say, so (he) said it”. I had seen small examples of this in other artists I admire as well, underground to established to slept on homies, all who have been in the cuts, gathering their tools, finding their inspiration, just waiting for the right time to shine their light. People in general are finally becoming tired of vapid political discussion, tired of superficial crackhead music, and ready to sink their teeth and mind and asses into something of substance, something with the juice! We all, as individual components of this FOCHO thang, have been constantly creating in our respective spaces, and the conditions, the desire, the benefit to unifying within our collective, to build under the FOCHO name, has become ever apparent.

Burritos and brainwaves on the page. - Berkeley, CA - July 2017
There is a resurgence of dope Hip-Hop. I feel it all over, the inspiration to create again, and I’m stoked to rekindle the collective, activate the FOCHO diaspora, to build off each other’s efforts and reestablish what this FOCHO thang has always been about, community. With our age, our new responsibilities (financial, familial, personal), our new perspectives, priorities, skills, thoughts, clarity, we have something fresh to offer, and I feel that we have discipline, drive, ability, and vision to evoke much more potential and true benefit for everyone involved. Huge thank you to brother Cisco for sharing all of our individual projects, for taking the time to write out your thoughts, and really kicking this off.

On top of Mt Choooorrrrrrooooo (Cero San Luis) - San Luis Obispo, CA - October 2017

Happy New Year, I’ll be looking out for yall in 2018. Cheah! In case y'all missed it, my FOCHO influenced slumper off Freight Train BANG. Much love!

L To The...

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Wrap Up

(A moment of Silence)

What's happenin' beautiful people of Focho!? It's been mad long since we've had a proper year-end post or any post for that matter. 2017 is the first year since we've been all dot com, that we didn't have a single post. Absolute radio silence. It's always darkest before the sunrise. 18 months have passed since we've had a post and the time has come to resurrect the funk. I've had this blog on my list of things to do for some time now, but you know how life is, the older you get the more responsibilities you have... ah ahh ahh, pero now I'm making time. In order to prepare for this post, I had to delve into the history I helped write and document. We developed our own style and fed off of one another. We were 80's babies who knew life before high-speed internet. Back then, the homie Cyph would cop a flat of tall cans and then proceed to take half of them to the face. We'd walk from one end of San Francisco to the other drinking beers and freestyling to cassettes bumping out of a boombox. Refining our craft passing time. We'd take all the excess energy and put it into beats and raps. And although we've all relocated, we each bring the strengths acquired during this period of unmatched creativity wherever we go. I was just buggin' out thinking of the first iteration of the website if you remember what video game it was modeled after you a fucking OG Focho head my guy.
Image courtesy of L to the... via Focho.com's first post.
A lot has changed since 2007 fam, George W. was still in office at that time. Fast forward, now we have a B actor and a D businessman in office. Crazy right? I won't spend too much time on the whackness, but now is a GREAT time to bump Listen To Us, an official FOCHO classic:


So much time has passed and the crew is all spread out these days, but that doesn't mean we're no longer making music. If this is your first introduction to the crew, you're in for a treat. This is by no means a comprehensive list of Focholos pero it'll give you a great idea what we're about, and how we get down.

Cyph4 is back in SF and has his hands in all kinds of music. Make sure you keep an eye out for all the projects he got in the works. Here's the last thing I saw, Curbside:


Dust9 lives in LA and periodically does some shows. Shouts to him and Jenn on the baby! You can find Dustin's music here.


Guy lives in SJ with his partner Nehal who coincidentally is also a musician. Not only are they amazing artists individually, but they also make music together.  If you haven't had the experience of hearing them play together, let me hit you with the alley-oop:


I'm pretty sure Verse lives in Hollister now? If not he's def in the G. Hence Garlic City Records/Unfaded Music group. You can find his music here.


L to the lives in SLO and continually cranks those bangers you've known him for. The homie has been traveling and putting on OD for hella long. Find all the jams here. Tried and true Hip Hop for Hip Hop's sake. Fox with it:


Also, you should def understand that homie won't have no bullshit:


I live in New York and still make beats on occasion. Last year I recorded a bunch to cassette and then dumped them online in the Data Savage Sampler. It wasn't a part of my Audio Scribble Series, but rather a beat tape.


Aside from all the Focho stuff I need to include some current events/music that I'm hyped on. Murs does a web series behind a desk with Hip Hop DX called The Breakdown. I found this episode particularly delightful as well as relevant. I actually had a great laugh because I'm sure we've all been guilty of this discussion. Peep it:



Please tell me you heard about the beef between Ma$on Betha and Killa Cam? Yo! That shit was OD. I had no idea that Ma$e had it in him. I don't think Cam did either. Haha, well you can check out the two tracks and decide for yourself who got the W. That's the beauty of battling in the world of hip hop, it's all about style. Anyone can say they "won" a battle unless there's a crowd at hand to decide on the spot. These two were formerly a part of a group Called Children of the Corn, so there's some history for sure. Harlem out here for real for real. Everyone loves a good battle and this one didn't disappoint. Shouts to them for a good show and both taking it like adults and keeping it moving after. No bad blood, no guns, no violence, just a good old fashion exchange of flows stating superiority. Pero let's not forget how good life is when they on the same team!




I can't post those tracks without reminding you what Hip Hop looks like at it's absolute best. I don't know what happened, Flex usually has these young boys on who can't really link two ideas together let alone drop 10 minutes of unrivaled lyrical excellence, off top. Bruh, everything from the breathing to the cadence, pronunciation, delivery, prose, Black Thought showed the world what it means to be an adult Hip Hop head. Woke AF, as the youth say, incorporating everything from history, personal experience, pop culture, puns, you name it, he touched everything, fucking aye! Anyone who's ever touched a microphone and spit a rap shed a single thug tear of joy, knowing Thought put on for the culture like that. Magnificence.


I of course can't let some of this years releases go unmentioned.
Jidenna - The Cheif
Kendrick Lamar - Damn.
Tyler the Creator - Flower Boy
Thundercat - Drunk
Jay Z - 4:44
Daniel Cesar - Fruedian
MED, Blue & Madlib - Bad Neighbor
Calvin Harris - Funk Wave Bounces Vol. 1
SYD - Fin

Lastly, my nomination for new artist of the year (Dramatic Pause)Mr. Steak x Shrimp himself, straight out of Houston, LE$. Man's dropped 4 albums this year and they all smooth AF. I vibed with his sound so much cause it has that old school west coast cruising vibe. Peep:







Speaking of new, shout out to Ale & Cat's unborn child! Can't wait to meet you! Shout outs it is; to Gabe Electronica for always being down to make something. Homie pulled up to the crib and spit flows into a pinche old school corded phone! I'm sure we'll make more jams in the future! Shouts to L to the for passing through NYC during his World Friend Tour. Shouts to everyone I work with at Chrome. No gas, this year has been great and I can't deny your involvement.

From the new to the old, salute to those that crossed over this year:
Fats Domino
Chuck Berry 
Clyde Stubblefield
Charles Bradley
Tom Petty
Chester Bennington
Glegg Allman
Chris Cornell
Al Jarreau 

2017 seemed like a time of awakening and now we're at pivotol crossroad. I encourage you to take a stand against injustice, it's not hard to find these days. That's all.

Be well, and spread love.

Peace