A-Plus: The Spring Cleaning Tour Show Review

 

 

The show itself was an experience like no other. A-Plus lyrical fluidity and classic, boom bap, hip hop beats transported me from a modern so-cal setting, to the golden age of Bay Area hip hop. Sounds dope, but who is A-Plus, you ask?

A-Plus began rapping at the age of 8 in Oakland, California. He continued honing his skills throughout his teen years, and when he reached high school he helped form the underground hip hop collective formally known as Souls of Mischief. This monumental hip hop group, consisting of A-Plus, Opio, Phesto and Tajai, made their first mark on the game in 1993 with the release of their album, “93’ till infinity.” This album was dropped under the Jive record label, but once the group deviated from the major label route, they became part of an umbrella collective known as Hieroglyphics. The collective was founded in the early ‘90s by a man known as Del the Funky Homosapien. The Hieroglyphics movement sent shockwaves throughout the Bay Area that are still felt today. Their iconic three eyed logo can be found scattered throughout various hip hop scenes, and they paved the way for a new generation of artists.

A-Plus’ success in the hip hop group circuit did not deter his ambition for solo ventures. Since the release of his last group project, A-Plus has released three solo albums. The latest was released in 2014 and is titled “Molly’s Dirty Water.”

I had the opportunity to meet up with A-Plus before the show and talk some hip hop. I first asked him about the origin of his passion for music. He went on to name the hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run DMC as two groups who heavily influenced his love for hip hop. That love and passion for the genre is what A-Plus credits for his longevity in the music scene. This mindset empowered A-Plus and other like-minded individuals within his collectives to push the boundaries of underground hip hop and force the world to take notice. The Hieroglyphics movement was a vital catalyst which helped push the culture forward into where we are today. And, A-Plus respects the direction current music has gone and is grateful for having played a role in that direction. A few notable contemporary rappers who he enjoys are Joey Badass, Anderson Paak and Kendrick Lamar. In regards to where A-Plus himself is today, he is still going around the country doing what he loves: making music and putting on shows. The tour he is currently on is called the Spring Cleaning Tour and features other notable artists, such as Knobody and J. Lately, all supported by the spinning skills of DJ Nocturnal.

The Show

A-Plus and company’s second stop on their Spring Cleaning tour brought them to one of downtown San Diego’s premier live music bars, the Kava Lounge. The Kava Lounge is a small venue that hosts some big entertainment. As I was walking up to the venue, I was awestruck at the sight of a Boeing 747 descending over the beautifully lit San Diego skyline, and unlike the plane, my night only went up from there.

The show itself was an experience like no other. A-Plus’ lyrical fluidity and classic, boom bap, hip hop beats transported me from a modern SoCal setting, to the golden age of Bay Area hip hop. My head instinctively rocked to almost every song as the truly experienced MC showcased his ability to handle a mic and ride a beat. He played songs spanning all the way from the early ‘90s to his upcoming album collaboration featuring Knobody, titled “Grow Theory.” Knobody joined the rapper on stage. The duo’s back-and-forth style was truly captivating and reinforced the old school hip hop vibe. The Souls of Mischief rapper seemed at home on stage, and rightfully so, given that he has been doing this for decades. To conclude the show, he performed one of his group’s most beloved hits, “93 ‘till Infinity.” This was the moment I had been waiting for. This song features one of the most legendary hip hop beats on record. It was truly an honor to witness a living legend masterfully weave his words within rhyme and rhythm over such a historic instrumental. Given the small nature of the venue, at times it felt like the rapper was speaking directly to me, and that made for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. A-Plus performed for the intimate crowd with just as much passion as he would a crowd 10 times its size; even though the quantity of space was limited, the quality of the performance did not suffer.

Overall, I went to go see an A-Plus show, and that is exactly what I got: an A+ show. Twenty-four years ago, A-Plus said, “you will see, from now ’til infinity.” And, he seems to be keeping his word.

 

A Film That Will Take Your Breath Away

You know a film is incredible when it has the ability to make you laugh, cry and leave you questioning the world around you. “Manchester by the Sea” was truly one of the most phenomenal pieces of cinema I have ever viewed. It is a heavy drama that explores the theme of loss, and the complexity of relationships, hope and love. The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, said the film was a “minor-key masterpiece” and described it as “inexpressibly sad.” The movie starts with the introduction of Lee (Casey Affleck) as an angry janitor living in Boston. He goes back to his hometown shortly after the death of his brother only to find out that he is now the legal guardian of his brother’s son. He was resistant to take on the role, at first, but eventually accepts and moves in with the boy. As the plot progresses, the audience discovers that Lee had previously experienced a terrible tragedy that forever changed his outlook on life. This movie proved that one simple, careless mistake has the ability to change the entire course of a person’s life. It makes you think in depth about your own life and how anything can happen to anyone at any time. Trust me, this film will rip your heart out and tear it to a million pieces. And, it is amazing.

90s Kids Rejoice: Childhood Reboots Are Upon Us

Back in July 2016, the news about our beloved childhood shows coming back for an encore hit the floors of San Diego Comic Con. Nickelodeon based their entire theme and showcase on ’90s nostalgia, bringing back old favorites such as “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” “Rocko’s Modern Life”  and “Hey Arnold.” These well known series are coming back as TV movies.

Although “Legends of the Hidden Temple” premiered later in 2016, and no new news has been released for Rocko, Nickelodeon fans are trying their best to be patient for “Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie.” Here is what we know so far.

Along with the title, the main premise of the movie was released last year. The two hour special will pick up where the original series left off in 2004, tying up loose ends and cliffhangers. It will finally answer the question we’ve all been asking: what happened to Arnold’s parents?

Variety, who first reported about the movie, also stated the following in regards to who will be returning to voice their original characters,”Original voice actors Francesca Marie Smith will return as Helga; Anndi McAfee as Phoebe; Justin Shenkarow as Harold; Olivia Hack as Rhonda; Nika Futterman as Olga; Dan Butler as Mr. Simmons; “The Simpsons” vet Dan Castellaneta as Grandpa; Tress MacNeille as Grandma; Antoinette Stella as Stella; Carlos Alazraqui as Eduardo; Dom Irrera as Ernie; Maurice LaMarche as Bob Pataki; Kath Soucie as Miriam; Danielle Judovits as Big Patty; Danny Cooksey as Stoop Kid; Jim Belushi as Coach Wittenberg; and Craig Bartlett as Miles.”

Variety went on to report that new voice actors will be playing the roles of most of the other kids, as well as Pigeon Man and Arnold. However, the original voice actors for those roles will still be involved with the project and will voice other characters in the movie.

Along with that, Nickelodeon released these images of Arnold and friends at their 25th anniversary panel at Comic Con 2016.

(Source: Nickelodeon via Variety)

Other news about the movie has not been released since then, but the film’s release date is slated to be November 23, 2017.

Jumping back to present day, Nickelodeon still has a grip on the ’90s kids’ anticipation. Earlier this month, a short trailer was put online, signifying the return of another famous franchise from our childhood.

“Invader Zim,” after nearly 10 years of being off the air, is finally returning. Although news on the reboot is still fairly slim, as no release date or premise has been announced, we can assume one thing is certain: the original voice actors of Zim and GIR, Richard Steven Horvitz and Rikki Simons, will be playing their original characters.

Despite all this, Nickelodeon has to work extra hard to keep their fans, as one of Nickelodeon’s long term competitors is proving to be just as successful with ’90s remakes.

That’s right: Jack is back.

Although the show is now being produced through Adult Swim, rather than Cartoon Network, this “Samurai Jack” reboot has proven to be just as successful as the original. After the air date on March 11, the network has continued to slowly release the short series that has all the ’90s kids begging for more. As of right now, the show has aired seven episodes of the 10 they have slated for season five. So far, the show has received positive reviews all around, as well as a 100 percent rating from Rotten Tomato. Some fans speculate that, if the show’s success continues to grow, the series may have a permanent spot on Adult Swim. But, that’s just speculation.

But what do you think? Are you excited for any of these reboots? Who will prevail as the Conqueror of Reboots? Let us know on all our social media platforms, @KCRCollegeRadio.

“The Full monty” at SDSU

San Diego State’s school of theatre, television and film staged “The Full Monty” from April 21-30, and provided audiences with laughs, catchy tunes and body positivity.

The musical comedy follows six unemployed men who stage a striptease act to raise money to support their families. The show is rated R for nudity and language, but the overarching theme of positive body image speaks to audiences of all ages.

Tug Watson led the cast with his portrayal of Jerry Lukowski, a divorced father who needs to come up with quick cash in order to pay child support and continue seeing his teenage son, Nathan, played by Miles Blue.

Jerry encourages his similarly unemployed best friend, Dave Bukatinsky, portrayed by Jonathan Brugioni, to join the striptease act, but Dave is insecure about his weight. Dave’s struggle to gain confidence resonated with the diverse crowd because body insecurities can be empathized with by almost anyone.

The musical contained numerous laugh-out-loud moments. One highlight was the dark, comedic number “Big-A—Rock.” The cast wonderfully executed turning what was a sad moment on paper into a light one, much to the audience’s enjoyment.

Kimberly Moller proved to be a scene stealer with her portrayal of Vicki Nichols, as her performance of the exuberant “Life with Harold” was one of the show standouts. Her energy was infectious and seemed to lift up the entire cast around her.

Paula Kalustian’s performance as Jeannette Burmeister was also a favorite. Her wise cracks and overall bluntness served as comedic highlights for the entire show. One scene, where Jerry is auditioning various men to be in the striptease act, fed Jeanette all of her best lines as she she hilariously commented on each audition.

Of course, the most fun and impressive aspect of this show was the choreography. The striptease scenes consistently got the crowd cheering and the cast members delivered them shamelessly and humorously.
Every character in “The Full Monty” struggled with their own insecurities throughout the performance, which made the play more relatable and the ending more triumphant. “The Full Monty” was an excellent display of song and dance, with an extremely relevant message of self confidence.

Featured Image by Julianna Ress.