28.5.20

Kindred Journey 36 - Rocky Rivera

The majority of my community knows this phenomenal artist, but let me give you a little backstory if you're unfamiliar. Rocky started her music career officially in the mid 2000's as one fourth of the group "Rhapsodistas", then the release of her mixtape "Married to the Hustle". Since 2008 she's released a consistent catalogue of EPs, features, mixtapes with DJ Roza, and three full length albums; most recently "Rocky's Revenge". Born in the Philippines she came to the US as a child. She and her two sisters gravitated heavily to hip hop. She grew up in the San Francisco, specifically the Excelsior district. A student of journalism Rock has written for publications such as XXL, The Source, Ruckus, and was featured as part of MTV's "I'm From Rolling Stone" show where she wrote and covered hip hop stories for the magazine. Always a sharp thinker you can hear subjects ranging from religion, colorism, Pinay pride, Filipin@ history, guerilla warfare, revolutionary politics, and feminism to mob music, gold grills, knocking sound systems, and motherhood. Besides being a fierce MC that will rip any rapper and write a rhyme from multiple vantages of a story, she is a super down to earth person who lives what she spits. On any given day you could catch her rocking a show, working with youth, writing a book, attending a protest, organizing, rocking some fly fashion, or just raising her kids with her partner. As someone who always uplifts other women you'll often see her praising other women too. She is a pioneer that is paving a way and giving other young artists a voice to truly believe in and be inspired by. Ok, please go bump her music, follow, and be a part of new music and writing as a Patreon supporter.

Fav Song: GRLGNG
Sources: Davey D's Hip Hop Corner, HypeBae, East Bay Express, El Tecolote, Beatrock Music

Did you catch the last one of Deb Never?




25.5.20

Kindred Journey 35 - Deb Never

This is Deb Never, a young musician from LA, by way of Spokane Washington. Just down the block from the Cour d' Alene Indian reservation. Deb is fresh and I'm not really sure what music category to put her in yet. She sings, can rhyme a little bit, plays guitar, piano, and probably some other shit. She's a Korean American church kid who started working on music in her teens. Self described as hella awkward and nervous, she's come out of her shell to drop her first EP called House On Wheels. She lead into that with the singles "Swimming" (How I found her) and "Ugly". She just released a new project dedicated to frontline workers for covid 19 called "Intermission" and she started releasing music on Soundcloud in 2017. She dipped to LA, started releasing music, and got signed with some friends, the cats who run "We Did It" records ( Shlomo, RL Grime). Style wise, besides the moody and whatever vibes she gives off you can tell she has a sense of humor and I urge you to check her out.

Fav Song: Swimming
Sources: Complex, Red Bull, Fader, NME

Did you catch the last one of Blue Scholars?



21.5.20

Daddy Thoughts 20 - Other plans

I think there was a saying that if you want to make god laugh, show her/him your plans. I'm probably getting that wrong. But it seems like this entire year has other plans for our plans. Sure some people may just be coasting along like nothing has happened but I think a good majority of the worlds population is adjusting, pivoting, changing, etc.

Take for example my baby girl who is now 20 months old. From the time she was born up until about the age of 1 I stayed home to care for her while Mama worked. Of course I still worked doing what I could at night, in between naps, etc. But she is a fully formed toddler now, asking for things, expressing happiness and discontent. She walks, runs, eats food and spits it out. I thought at the beginning of this year I'm about to make all kinds of new projects in addition to client work, but with childcare closed and our family distancing the time to create and work was cut in half. We're blessed though, making it work. Me and Mama take turns from 8am-5pm. I'm on morning shift, Mama's on afternoon. Trying to work and care for bebe girl has lead to some hilarious moments. Especially since we're potty training. The other day I was answering emails, watching my girl like a hawk for any sign that she might go pee (she had no pants for the first 10 days), all the while making lunch for me and my wife.happened the other day. And as soon as I look away to turn down the stove, season that, she pooped. Haha, right in the middle of the kitchen. So I took a breath, cleaned her, the poop, the floor, my hands, and proceeded to make lunch.

But for my teen, I can't imagine how hard it is. I talk to him regularly and ask him how he's doing. I make sure to check on him and he's in good hands with his Mami. But, leaving the normalcy of the last 12-13 years of seeing other children in school came to a screeching halt. Sure, there's so much that happens nw days over text. I know kids message each other sometimes more than they see one another and that he plays video games and talks to friends via games. But, it is still quite anxiety inducing; this whole culture. I'm lucky he still opens up and shares what makes him happy. We've got a book club going on where we read together. And I try to honestly check out some of the things he shares with me even if I don't understand. And despite all this, he's still doing great on his assigned work. I'm just glad its not his graduating year, or the prom he's missing. I do wish I could encourage him to have his friends over though. Maybe in a few months, I hope.

Me, I'm tired, horny, feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, hungry, contemplative, robotic, and blessed all at the same time. Give thanks that I still have a roof and that there are so many stepping up. Thats it for today.

Here's the last Daddy Thought-Twist and Repeat

Bookmark 10 - Leer Comícs

Check it out, new book mark. En Español for my Spanish speaking readers and bilingual students. 
BUY here

Did you see there are two bilingual bookmark packs?

Here is the most recent one from 2020
and
here is the pack from 2019

Bookmark Pack 2


Yo, just finished a new pack of bilingual bookmarks for the readers of all ages. This time with a focus on comics. This is a pack so you can get one of each, 3, 5, or more. Check out the close ups of the bookmarks and...

Buy a Pack HERE

Did you see the previous pack of bilingual bookmarks? Here it is LINK.


20.5.20

Kindred Journey 34 - Blue Scholars


Blue Scholars (play on Blue Collar) is a pioneering hip hop group from Seattle Washington and met at the University of Washington in 2002. They've had a prolific career as a group, solo artists, and as  founders of other groups. Their self titled first project dropped in 2004 and they've released three LP's and four EPs. Geo (Pinoy) brings a deep voice, incredible delivery, lived and studied experience to the mic as a rapper, educator, and former poet. Sabzi ( Iranian) is a versatile musician/ producer whose beats bring a cinematic storytelling element to each song; spanning many genres. Geo started rapping in high school and worked as a community organizer in addition to the Wing Luke Museum. Sabzi is a trained pianist who also was a punk music drummer. These cats have performed all over sharing stages with big names and hitting the on stages at Rock The Bells, Bumbershoot, SXSW, and the Sasquatch fest. Some of the projects were released with labels but most has been done independently. Good old bars, hip hop culture, race, class, imperialism, cultural heritage, and their native Seattle are common topics.

Sabzi has produced for many artists. He co-founded "Common Market" with rapper RA Scion and "Made in The Heights" with singer Kelsey Bulkin. He's got his project called Town Folk (Because both Seattle and Oakland call themself "The Town"), and has put out a bunch of instrumental albums.

Geo (Prometheus Brown ) is now a Dad and co runs a bakery called "Hood Famous" with his partner, chef Cherla Amlag. Besides that he started a group with LA native Bambu called "The Bar", signed to Beatrock Music, and has a project called "Rappers with Cameras". 

Although I know Seattle for its indie rock scene. I have to remind myself about how big the hip hop scene there is with cats like The Physics, Macklemore, Canary Sing, Good Medicine, Jake One, Mario & Malice Sweet, Thee Satisfaction, and the OGs Sir Mix-a-lot and Ishmael Butler (Shabazz Palaces/Digable Planets). Please listen to Blue Scholars and support their respective projects. Fellas, visited last year and I love your city. Respect.

Sources: KEXP, Seattle Times, Hip Hop DX, Okay Player, Chris Jespersen, The Word, Wikipedia
Fav Song: 50 Thousand Deep

Did you see the last one I did of Raveena?
What about the painting of The Mountain Brothers?



18.5.20

READ Print Pack

Started this set of new art prints back in March and here are all four prints. Whats the point of these art prints? To encourage reading and literacy and to provide a mirror for some kids to see themselves.  

You can purchase the pack of prints here.


17.5.20

READ Print 4

Here's the last print of this "READ" series encouraging young people to pick up a comic, graphic novel, YA, MG, Magazine, art book, whatever and read. I started this at the beginning of the year in March and I was inspired to do more so I did. For this one, I imagined a young Asian Boy. Check it out and share.

PURCHASE here

Did you catch the last one? READ print 3





16.5.20

Kindred Journey 33 - Raveena

This artist is one of my favorite soul musicians beginning to get her just due. Raveena is a singer songwriter from NYC via Connecticut. She grew up hearing her family members sing old Bollywood songs and its hopeful to hear about some of her early influences from D'Angelo, Sade, to Taylor Swift. She started writing music in her early teens and later attended school for music at New York's famous Tisch school of the Arts. She released her first EP "Where We Wander" in 2013 while still a student there. She would go on to release other projects such as "Shanti", the LP "Lucid", and the new EP "Moonstone". The song that caught my attention first was "sweet time" and I can remember my friends Franklin and Lara playing her music in a long car ride.

Raveena's music to me is super soulful, beautifully produced (shout out to Everett Orr), very original in its lyrics, and sonically colorful with all its beautiful melodies and chords. She is very smooth, gentle, and soft spoken but I don't imagine she'll always be that way. With a strong fashion sense, a keen eye for directing videos that feel fresh I look forward to seeing a long career for Raveena Aurora who has already been working at it for almost a decade. What else? She is from a supportive Sikh, northern Indian family. She is queer. She sings about spirituality, pleasure, love, abuse, and definitely gives a fuck about justice. Give her music a listen. And when this pandemic is over go see her live! Oh and she was featured on NPR's Tiny Desk, go watch that.

Sources: NPR, Wesleyan Argus, Jai-pur.com, Aerogram
Fav Song: Temptation

Did you see the last ptg of MC Seti-X?
Check out composer/producer KAT Ouano



15.5.20

Bookmark 9 - Read Comics

Here's a new comic to encourage readers of all ages to read comics. I know some will say it's not educational or that they're not real books but who cares. If you enjoy reading them, read em! And for those who haven't fully seen what comics can do, this is to give them a nudge.

Purchase HERE

Did you see the last bilingual bookmark set?

13.5.20

Switch Plate Throwback

Peace fam, for all those reading this and for those who keep coming back I appreciate it. I've been running this blog since 2008. Here is one of the projects I did in 2011-2013 that brought me a lot of joy and which people also loved. It wasn't lucrative, but it fed me. Switch plate covers! These are tiny ways to decorate your home, office, or classroom. I plan on doing these again and selling them individually as gifts and possibly as larger paintings and prints.

Stay tuned here and on my shop. Here's another one from the past below.
If you'd like to see more please click on this link and scroll down.


12.5.20

Kindred Journey 32 - Seti-X

I Feel like I've known Mandeep Sethi aka "SETI-X" forever. But let me introduce him to you. Mandeep is a super kind, conscious, down to earth, and caring. Seti started rapping as a teen and turned a love of music in hip hop and traditional music to a life. He grew up as part of the Sikh (pronounced "SIC") community and almost always has his hair wrapped up. After attending the Asian Hip Hop Summit in LA Seti began to battle rhyme in a rich and multicultural environment that is LA. He would go on to make some dope material releasing 7 projects that ranged from full albums to EPs. He also performed as a guest artist on other peoples work and on mixtapes recording a huge catalogue of music.

Seti has a very sharp intellect and rhymes about police brutality, global imperialism, history, spirituality, respect for the sisters, and of course hip hop culture. In fact I've seen spit bars off the top of his head multiple times-an improvisational skill not many outside of Jazz can do. Besides making music he has toured internationally playing all across the US, UK, Canada, and India. He is a member of the Universal Zulu Nation and is an activist who makes music about political issues such as the murder of Charly Afrika by LAPD and the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. He's a teacher who has for years worked in public schools and juvenile justice system. He has been awarded by the California Endowment, the American India Foundation, and the Los Angeles Community Action Network. He's been featured on MTV's Coke Studio in India and W. Kamau Bell's "Shades of America" on CNN.

This brother has also rocked alongside cats like Mos Def, Ras Ceylon, Deuce Eclipse, Ziggy Marley, Dilated Peoples, Bicasso and Murs of Living Legends, Tom Morello, and so many more. This cat also happens to be a dope videographer that has made two documentary films. Put him on your list and sprinkle some respect on his name. You can support his music here and follow him here.

Sources: American India Foundation, Saada.org, Team Backpack, Desi Hip Hop
Fav Song: Fyah Pon Babylon

Did you see the piece I did of Yuna Zarai? Or the one of Equipto?

11.5.20

Inspiring Artist-Rudy Gutierrez




Rudy Gutierrez is one of my favorite painters ever. I first came across his work in a picture book someone got for my son called "Papa and Me". I fell in love with the colors and energy he gives to a piece. Since then he's done countless picture books, album covers, and more. I believe he uses a mixture of media, oil, pastels, acrylic, etc. Follow him on Instagram or check out his website. Rudy is an Boricua from NYC i believe. I have told him how much I dig his work and I invite you to look him up.




RIP Roy Hargrove


Beats, Rhymes, and Resistance- Filipin@s in Hip Hop

Kindred Journey 31 - Yuna

My wife turned me onto singer songwriter Yuna Zarai in 2012. I'd never heard of her before but immediately liked what I heard. We've seen Yuna perform live in San Francisco twice. Her live show is great and we met her (She's super nice and just as pretty in person). Yuna has a soulful voice with some rock and folk sensibilities mixed in.

Based in the LA for the past decade or so Yuna is originally from Malaysia and started writing and singing her own songs at 14. She began releasing her music on Myspace in the late 2000's and got into the indy music scene in Malaysia before making that move to the US. She has released four English albums and some records in Malay (Her native language). You can tell by how she moves that she has a good business sense and a great team behind her. She is shy but very good at documenting her work and staying connected with fans. She has a unique fashion sense and has her own clothing line called "Hatta Yuna" with designer Hatta Dolmat which includes Tudung's (Jihab's). She designs jewelry, and has worked with a lot of artists from the US to Malaysia such as DJ Premier, Quadron, Jhene Aiko, Little Simz, Aizat Amdan, Jaelyn Victor, Elizabeth Tan, Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, and Usher.

While folks back home and the US were hung up on her head scarf she developed a talent for straddling to worlds as a musician and a creative person. And she started a company to help manage up and coming Malay artists. Look out for her on the covers of magazines, the charts, follow her, and listen to her sound. Oh and watch her tour videos, they're funny. And I added her to this Asian American focus of music because she's been here for damn near 10 years and she fits in for me and my list.

Sources: Generation T Asia, Aramco World, The Apt w/ Asif & Baluch, Wikipedia
Fav Song: Best Love

Did you catch the painting I did of Amerie? or of producer Mndsgn?

8.5.20

Kindred Journey 30 - Mndsgn

Respect to this cat Mndsgn who makes some incredible beats and compositions. Originally a Bboy from New Jersey, he bounced around a bit before landing in LA where he fit right in with the growing scene of musicians making instrumental music. To me his music sounds funky, gritty, dream like, and warm depending on which of his projects I'm listening to. To date he has released 18 projects ranging from full length albums, to mixtapes, and EPs. Mndsgn has worked with Fatima, Danny Brown, Ivan Ave, Joyce Wrice, Asal Hazel, and more. In addition to putting out incredible music he is also a part of the crew "Klipmode" with Knxledge, Suzi Analogue, and Deron Who. He is also a part of the group "Vivians" and has his own record label releasing new artists with partner Alima. If you're not familiar with his music, follow him and give his sound a knock.

Sources: Huff Post, The Hundreds, Stonesthrow
Fav Song: Txt (Msgs)



LIKE THIS? Did you see the one I did of Ameriie or The Invisible Skratch Piklz



7.5.20

Video - 1st Children's portrait #tbt


I made this video back in 2012 because I do tons of blog posts but was shy about video. In it I share the first children's portrait I did of my son who was 8 or so. I've done over 50 portraits of children and their family members. I love doing them and will continue to do more in the future. But check out this video for now.

And here are some of the recent portraits I've done:
Cinthya & Kids
Mila & Zenzi

6.5.20

Kindred Journey 29 - Kat 010


I first came across Kat "010" Ouano as part of the Crown City Rockers and have followed bits of her path since. Kat is the youngest of 6 kids originally from Wichita Kansas she started to play the piano at the age of 6. She attended the famed Berkelee College of music in Boston where I believe she met up with some of the members of Crown City and would eventually make her way out to the Bay Area where the crew rocked for clubs and shows steadily. I love Kat's style of keys. Her sound changes, flows, drifts, and morphs from one feeling to the next. It is soulful, funky, and ethereal. Kat has released two full length albums "Natural Phenomenoms" and "On The Cusp". As KI mentioned, she was a founding member of Crown City Rockers and has been a part of several ensembles such as GreenStone Project and The Femme Deadly Venoms. She has recorded with or produced for tons of musicians such as The People Under The Stairs, Blackalicious, Destani Wolf, Lyrics Born, Lateef, DJ Zeph, Raashan Ahmad, and Headnodic. Residing now in Hawaii Kat is still playing, teaching, and raising a family. If you're not up on her, follow her and/or sound go take a listen and support if you can. And if you're an MC or vocalist looking for production, hit her up. Her moog, rhodes, synths, and keys add levels!!!

Sources: Wide Hive, Greenstone, Scholastic Art & Writing
Fav Song: On the cusp

Did you see the last one? Check out H.E.R.




I once did a typography piece inspired by Kat too - Here

4.5.20

Kindred Journey 28 - H.E.R.

I'm sure most of you who love R&B and allow new artists into their heart have already heard of H.E.R. But if you're new to her let me give a brief introduction. H.E.R. (Having Everything Revealed) first came on my radar on Daniel Ceasar's song "Best Part". One of the coolest things about her style is that she is not trying to do what everyone else was doing when she reemerged in the industry. Her music is something a soul lover of any age can feel. Gabby Wilson is a youngster from Vallejo California, home to greats such as Confunkshun, Mac Dre, and E40. She's a Blasian kid (Pinay + Black) and from an early age her family had her in the mix of music making and enjoyment. She plays the drums, bass, and piano. I think she's best known for her guitar licks and vocals. In a world of manufactured checklists of artists thus singer songwriter is a breath of fresh air and she's just getting started. With them shades she invokes MF Doom and Daft Punk with a focus less about how she looks and more about what you hear. Please follow her, support her music, and check out her most recent effort to inspire "Girls with Guitar's".

Sources: Revolt, LA Times, Sway in The Morning
Fav song: Carried Away

Did you catch the last one? Kiwi
Check out one i did of Equipto



3.5.20

SF Anti Housing Displacement

This is a piece I created for the SF Anti Housing Displacement Coalition. They are a group of tenants, organizers, and volunteers who work together to keep San Francisco residents in their homes. Over the past 30 years San Francisco has seen so many changes from the tech companies, to the international migration of people coming to the city. What has been there the whole time is a spirit of activism and community organizing against unjust laws, companies, policies, institutions, and the city itself. This is an example of that attitude and action. 

I got a chance to sit with residents of the SF buildings who were being harassed, pushed out, disrespected, and harmed mentally and physically by their landlord. This landlord like so many in the city is trying to get old tenants with rent protection out and new tenants in so they can charge those people double, sometimes triple what their current tenants are paying. If they're not doing this, they are trying to sell their buildings to the highest bidder. And if tenants wont leave on their own the landlords harass them by intentionally leaving things unfixed, doing construction that interfere's with the health and safety of the tenants, and so many other tactics. But, this coalition is fighting back and winning.

This illustration is one of many created by artists to reach out to SF residents who don't know their rights and need help fighting back.




2.5.20

Kindred Journey 27 - Kiwi



Kiwi, kiwizzo, Jack, so many names for this guy. You'll never find a more kind, talented, and humble MC. First time I saw Kiwi was at an underground show in San Jose (Shout out Megabusive!) around 1999? I came to watch Wonway Posibul (DJ Wonway), Ken, and Ayentee from "The Secluded Journalists" perform and battle. I remember hearing him first. He was up there just flowing, rhyming, gesturing with his hands, smiling, and demonstrating what it meant to rock a party. Line for line, with an incredible cadence and control of breath I remember saying to myself that dude is dope!! I was familiar with "Key Kool & Rhetmattic" but i'd never seen an Asian dude rip in person. Later I saw he was part of a group called "Native Guns" with DJ Phatrick and Bambu. And through mutual friends we met. Recently, I finally told him how much I respect him as an artist and recounted that night. 

Originally from LA, he's called the Bay home for more than 15 years I think off and on. He is a founding member of the group "Mass Bass"and has released 7 EPs/LPs, countless tracks, and still has bars that are relevant to today's struggles. Rhyming for over 20 years this cat talks about police brutality, toxic masculinity, racism, organizing, Pinoy pride, indigenous people, skillful raps, and being principled. And if you've ever seen him perform at a protest, concert, or benefit you know he lives what he speaks. He's also a talented graphic designer working with Design Action Collective. If you love Kiwi, give him some flowers buying his music, his shirts, following him, and putting his name in the hip hop history books as one of the illest. Salute!!

Check out this interview w/ Kiwi by Dregs One


Dig this? Check out the painting I did of Anderson Paak.