Breakdown FM: The Knox Fam-Destroy to Build



The Knox Fam consists of Seattle Hip Hop mainstays, Julie C, and Jermz from the super group Alpha P and well known producer DJ B-Girl. They came together to not only drop a nice album, but to also add to a serious community movement that the city’s Hip hop community has been sparking.

Breakdown FM: The Knox Fam-Destroy to Build

by Davey D

Click Link below to Listen to Knox Fam interview 

Listen to Breakdown FM Interview of the Knox Fam

The Knox Fam

The Knox Fam

The Knox Fam consists of Seattle Hip Hop mainstays, Julie C, and Jermz from the super group Alpha P and well known producer DJ B-Girl. They came together to not only drop a nice album, but to also add to a serious community movement that the city’s Hip hop community has been sparking.

In other words Knox Fam are not simply rappers who are looking for commercial airplay or BET love. Sure, they’ll take it if offered. And they are more than talented to deserve it. However, what stands out first and foremost for the group is that they are community activists and organizers who are part of a larger more vibrant scene. Its not good enough to just flow on the mic. Nowadays many of the city’s heads are knee deep involved with some sort of organization or project. Maybe its 206 Zulu which has one of the larger and more exciting annual celebrations. Maybe its Hip Hop Congress which has Seattle as it the site of its conference later this year (July 29-Aug2). Maybe its community outlets like Umojafest Peace Center or B-Girl Bench. Whatever the case for many in Seattle, Hip Hop is beyond music and the Knox Fam personifies that.

DJ B-Girl

DJ B-Girl

During our interview we kicked things off by talking with DJ B-Girl about the Seattle sound which has come along long ways since the early Sir Mix-A-Lot days. She explained that her production skillz and the Knox Fam has added to the underground sound as defined by stellar names like Vitamin D, Jake One, Blue Scholars and Gabriel Tedros to name a few.

We spoke with Jermz about the influence his two female counterparts Julie C and B-Girl have had on him. In an industry that is often criticized for being too male dominated, Jermz explained that the two forced him to step up his game and become more polished. He also talked about how he has built upon life experiences and reflect them in his rhymes. You’re not likely to hear him rhyming for the sake of riddling.

Later in the interview Julie C and B-Girl spoke about the strong presence of women in the Seattle scene. Julie C noted that many, including herself had been flowing and getting busy long before it became a trendy thing to focus on.. DJ B-Girl rattled off a long list of female emcees ranging from Canary Sing to Beloved One to Toni Hill who is featured on the Knox Fam Ep. There were so many names of people who who are putting out dope material there’s no excuse to not have a female on the ticket of any Hip Hop show. If you can’t find someone go to Seattle cause they rolling extra deep.

During the interview Julie C expanded upon the community projects that the group is committed to including the Hip Hop Congress Goes Platinum project which is a innovative fund raising tool for the organization.

JulieC-225She also talked about the concept behind the groups’ name Knox Fam. She said it was inspired by the movie Natural Born Killers and that the Knox Fam understands they have to Destroy to Build. In this case they are about breaking the chains and challenging the long held notions and paradigms that in many ways has stifled Hip Hop and communities in general.

For example, we talked about the fact that the album took more than a year to make… Once upon a time that was the norm. People took their time and perfected their craft. Nowadays in the days of instant gratification, people step in a studio literally freestyle an album in 10 minutes and put out half ass material. DJ B-Girl noted it was important to take time to do things right. For her its not just producing and editing, but also getting the business aspect correct. The Knox Fam is on an independent B-Girl media label.

Julie C added that the group did not want to compromise or shortchange their community activities. In fact if anything the community involvement helped make the group and album more accountable to the communities they wanna speak to..

All in all the Knox Fam EP is just a the start of great things to come from this talented trio from the Emerald City. Currently they are on tour and in keeping true to their words, their tour involvedthem connecting and building with local community centers. Julie C described it as a homecoming of sorts..

Click Link Below  to listen to Knox Fam Interview

Listen to Breakdown FM Interview of the Knox Fam

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DJ jazzy Jeff Shut Down & Tossed out for Playing Hip Hop



Upon reading this story I was reminded how here in San Francisco some club owners were fearful of attracting ‘too Black a crowd’ .. The term the y used was ‘thug crowd’. What they had discovered was Black folks here out west weren’t  into house music that much-(This was pre –Dedan for all my Bay Area folks) So DJs were instructed to keep the House music pumping whenever  the ‘thuggy crowd showed up at the door.  When folks would leave the DJ was free to switch back to Hip Hop. Sometimes club owners would push for new wave or some sort of dance rock. 

In Oakland some club owners in Jack London Square found themselves pressured by the police department to not play any sort of Hip Hop or advertise with the local urban stations. To do so would run the  risk of them losing their cabaret license. For a number of years the acts appearing  on our station’s annual summer jam concert had to be approved by the police department. The police had a database and in one instance they initially denied us having Tribe Called Quest.

Still other venues were told not to play any local music or in places like the defunct San Jose Live actually had an official format that DJs were required to follow.  The bottom line for all these places was simple, Hip Hop music was never the problem. It was Black people. As far as some of these owners were concerned too many and the quality of  the club would go down. They said that  women were being harassed, bar tenders intimidated and extra security needed. 

Can’t say for certain what was the real behind story involving DJ Jazzy Jeff, but from experience it was often the police calling shots from behind the scenes.  

We included this song from Sacramento poet Dahlak which best illustrates what all this is about..

-Davey D-

DJ Jazzy Jeff Booted from Venue for Hip-Hop Selections

by Ismael AbduSalaam

JazzyJeffmix-225DJ Jazzy Jeff received a professional insult last Saturday (June 6) in Kansas City when a venue cut short his set for playing Hip-Hop music.

 The Power & Light District has been lightning rod of controversy in recent months due to accusations of racism from black constituents.

Critics allege the entertainment district deliberately shuns any Hip-Hop themed elements for fear of attracting gang activity and violence.

 Jazzy Jeff and rapper Skillz arrived at the venue as part of the ongoing Bacardi B-Live Tour.

Thirty minutes into their set and in the middle of a NeYo song, officials advised the duo the set was being shut down.

 “My road manager walked up to me and said they were having problems with the music I was playing. I played three more songs and he comes back. I knew something was wrong,” Jazzy Jeff explained to the Kansas City Star. “They said I had to kick Skillz off the stage, change the format of the music I was playing or quit. They said if I continued playing they had 30 cops ready to come escort me off stage. So I stopped.”

 This was Jazzy Jeff’s first performance in Kansas City. For over 20 years, the acclaimed DJ has been highly sought after internationally for his legendary all-night party sets.

 According to Jeff, he was instructed to play Top 40 hits, and was accommodating that request before officials ended the set.

 “They said they didn’t like Skillz’ posture. They said he made gang-like signs and grabbed at his genitals,” Jeff stated. “I was playing Rihanna, she is Top 40. If they would have let my set play, they would have known I play everything. I play rock, funk, soul, pop, hip-hop, reggae. I don’t play for a certain genre, race or gender. I play for music lovers… I didn’t understand what element they were talking about. I looked out in the crowd and it was multicultural, but about 75 percent white. Everyone was having a great time. I wondered what was so offensive. I never had a race issue. I didn’t know how to feel. I was playing [Biz Markie’s] ‘Just a Friend.’ Is that offensive? What element? It’s uncomfortable when you feel unwanted.”


Power & Light District President Joe Stephens completely denied Jeff’s recollection of the incident, stating the DJ was simply asked to lower the sound before continuing on.

 “The issue that arose with the performance last night was completely about the sound levels,” Stephens told the Kansas City Star. “His audio tech was maxing out the sound system to a point that risked damage to the speakers and sound system. His sound techs and management refused to bring the decibel level down. They were told to bring it down or cease performance. They refused to go on… We booked Jazzy Jeff on a Saturday night, the biggest night of the week in the district. We were excited to have him there. It’s unfortunate that his sound and management people had problems adhering to the sound and audio rules. We wanted him to play, that’s why we booked him.”

 At press time, DJ Jazzy Jeff has stated he plans on returning to Kansas City soon to spin for disappointed fans.

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Breakdown FM: An Interview w/ Martín Perna of Antibalas



Antibalas Founder Martin Perna

Antibalas Founder Martin Perna

Antibalas (pronounced /?nti?b?l?s/[dubious – discuss], or approximately “ahn-tee-BAH-las”, from the Spanish for “bulletproof”) is a Bushwick, Brooklyn based afrobeat band that is modeled after Fela Kuti‘s Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri‘s Harlem River Drive Orchestra. Although their music is primarily afrobeat, it incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa.

Founded 1998 by Martín Perna as “Conjunto Antibalas,” the group played its inaugural concert in May 26, 1998 at St. Nicks Pub in Harlem at a night organized by artist Xaviera Simmons. Over the course of the next few months, the group solidified with a core of eleven band members and began to develop a repertoire of original songs. Guitarist and producer/engineer Gabriel Roth wrote several of the earlier tunes and oversaw recording and production of the first three records.

We sat down with Martin in Austin, Tx and talked to him about everything under the sun-from the founding of Antibalas to Immigration reform to whether or not Hip Hop is Funk or Soul. We talked about his other group Ocolte Soul and how he had adjusted to Texas/ Tejano music..We also talked about the group’s recent collabo with the Roots.

Very insightful interview…Click the link below to listen to Breakdown FM Interview

An Interview w/ Martin Perna of Antibalas







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