The Root Down
Its been a long time...10 years to be exact, since the seminal funk/breaks/hip hop jam 'The Breaks' was started by Music Man Miles, DJ Organic of movie 'Freestyle' fame and MC Hymnl of Dark Leaf and a Cut Chemist collaborator. Carlos Nino was actually the first to bring turntables into the coffee house on La Brea and invite guests to come hang out and spin records sitting on a couch - which quickly evolved out of control in a good way. Ofcourse there were folks like Mear doing live art,the b boys and b girls flexing in a cypher the size of a coffee table, the various MCs like Thes One just hangin out or freestylin on the mic with the OG Breakestra band. The band included Rootdown co-founder Loslito of The Rebirth, Double G of Dakah, Damon Aaron, Dave Chegwidden of The Rhythm Roots All Stars, plus Todd Simon and Dan Ubick of The Lions. This is where Miles and Dusk met for the first time and would soon after join forces backing MC T Love live. This party roamed for half a year till finding its home on Tuesdays @ Pedros on Vermont in Los Feliz.
For an incredible 6 months at Pedros, funk/breaks DJs like J Rocc, Mix Master Wolf (cuttin up Zeppelin), Cut Chemist, and Marvski rocked the stage, and hip hop groups like Latyrx, Black Eyed Peas, Jurassic 5, Company Flow, Dilated Peoples and Freestyle Fellowship busted freestyle sessions while The Breakestra got down live on stage. Anyone remember Peace Pipe? I hear ya Araceli. Of course there were the heads who made it the jam. All the b boys and b girls who now had room enough for multiple cyphers on the floor and all the good folks there just to move and groove in their own funky way. This is the spot where you would find pre-Rootdown DJ DUSK (RIP) chillin, takin photos, Chuckchilla in the freestyle cypher, Sloe Poke just hangin out, Medusa, Ab Rude, and the whole darn family kickin it. Judd and Scotty Haulin that sound from the OC, real Gs! George of Jointz always bein real and always showin love. Many a night after at Freds 62, gettin that grub we missed while setting up the night. Alexis holdin it down at the door takin no shit! Janky muthas grabbin bottles from behind the bar givin us grief. But mostly the livest party we could have hoped for thanks to everyone in the mix. On and on...
Maintaining the weekly booking/functions of the night took its toll on the promoters, not to mention dealing with the semi-gangster biz of the venue (made much easier due to Loslito's spanish skillz). The night decided to pause the record until the time was right to drop the needle once again.
After a few months, Loslito and Miles realized that there was a void in Los Angeles for even the most basic hip hop/funk/live music parties and decided to keep it movin by calling forth the funk in the name of Jimmy Smith via the Beastie boys. ROOTDOWN was MANIFEST!
Starting out as a twice a month event at the Atlas Bar in Mid Wilshire, they brought together the same basic elements of 'The Breaks'. The first shows were with T Love, The Breakestra, DJ Sesquipedalian, Dilated Peoples and Nu mark - a well needed outlet for LA's underground. It lasted two months till some fights killed it and Rootdown bounced for a little hiatus. Then Los & Miles found Gabah on Melrose Ave, at the recommendation of music promotion comrades, Shakspeare and Auerlito of Chocolate Bar and I n' I prods.
After a few months of dialing in the family of DJs and bringin DJ Dusk in to mix, things came together, most notably on the night Cut Chemist came through to rock. DJ Dusk's party hosting skills became apparent that night, not to mention his progressive,world eclectic approach to hip hop djing that not many were employing in sets at that time. After a couple of years, Los introduced Wyatt Case into the Rootdown. Los, already an occasional DJ, would get in the mix and Miles started to bring records to play early which began his excursion into DJing. The night however became centered around the sounds that Dusk and the night's guest were bringin to the crowd.
Prince Paul, is an American disc jockey, record producer and recording artist from Amityville, New York. Paul began his career as a DJ for Stetsasonic. Since then he has worked on albums by Boogie Down Productions, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane and 3rd Bass, among others. Major recognition for Prince Paul came when he produced De La Soul's debut album 3 Feet High and Rising (1989), in which he pioneered new approaches to hip hop production, mixing and sampling, as well as by adding comedy sketches.
In 1994, Paul returned to rapping, joining RZA and Frukwan in Gravediggaz, a project that debuted with 6 Feet Deep. His first solo album, Psychoanalysis: What Is It?, came out in 1997, followed by a second album, A Prince Among Thieves, in 1999. Later that year Prince Paul formed Handsome Boy Modeling School with Dan the Automator and they released the album So...How's Your Girl?.
JEDI is an Emmy Award-winning Los Angeles-based DJ, admired for his eclectic style of mixing, song-selection, and turntablism. Over the past decade, he has toured the globe as the resident music maestro for Russell Simmons' Tony Award-winning Def Poetry Jam, the DaKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, and later, with Grammy Award-winning hip hop pioneers, DIGABLE PLANETS. As a result of touring with the DP's, he's had the privilege of headlining with them at virtually every major music festival in the world, including (but not limited to) COACHELLA, LOLLAPOLOOZA, BUMBERSHOOT in Seattle, and the SONAR FESTIVAL in Barcelona, Spain. Along the way, he's had the priviledge of sharing stages with the likes of superstars such as The Breakestra, Crown City Rockers, DJ Shadow, King Britt, Lyrics Born, The Procussions, Z-Trip, Weezer, Erykah Badu, Madonna, and countless others.
Prior to touring with Digable Planets, Jedi was the in-house selector for the Tony Award-winning RUSSELL SIMMONS' DEF POETRY JAM ON TOUR from 2003-2004, which allowed him to perform in such marquee venues as the World Famous APOLLO THEATRE in Harlem, N.Y., THE SYDNEY FESTIVAL in Australia, and just about every premiere theatre space in the contiguous United States.
Jedi holds down a number of residencies in the Los Angeles area. On any given night of the week, Jedi can be seen spinning high-energy, multiple-genre-spanning sets with the Rootdown Soundsystem, the Peanut Gallery Network, the Motown On Mondays (MOM) family, and many more of the city's unsung DJ elites. He also contributes to Downbeat 720, a long-running bi-weekly Santa Monica-based performance workshop for high school students. Jedi also serves as the sole Turntablism instructor at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA.
His 70 minute love letter to his favorite hip hop collective the DP's, entitled "Blowout Breaks", in addition to his 2CD tribute to His Royal Purple Badness, are both long out of print. But you can probably find a download of it if you scour the internet diligently enough.
While Jedi's influences may stem primarily from hip hop culture, he also carries a deeply rooted appreciation for the classic soul, funk, jazz, rock, reggae dance, and pop music that hip hop so heavily draws from. He believes strongly in the power of music to bring people of different cultures and backgrounds together in ways that they otherwise wouldn't, and is never too proud to whore out his services for weddings, bar mitzvahs, industry showcases, and birthday parties.
oriJanus (born Christopher M. Rivas) 19 year-old music producer, lyricist, graphic designer, photographer and videographer from Bakersfield, California.
Has released instrumental albums and has worked with select artists throughout the years. Has been featured on sites such as Okayplayer, BamaLoveSoul, ProducersIKnow, Kevin Nottingham and HipHopHypeDog for his production. Is also featured on The Roy Ayers Project film.
Currently part of the Soulection crew and is also forming a collective known as "Original Heads". Continues to work with artists and on instrumental projects, solo and collaborative.
DJ Gazoo Olmedo
Gazoo is a DJ and event producer from Los Angeles. Gazoo's natural ebullience shines at his frequent DJ gigs and while acting as the de facto frontman and DJ for global bass powerhouse Subsuelo. Gazoo has set the stage for the late, great Jimmy Castor, Fred Wesley, Shuggie Otis, Nu-Mark, Black Coffee, Gaslamp Killer, Dam Funk, Nicodemus, Toy Selectah and Nortec Collective. These opening credits reflect Gazoo's deep and varied influences; he's combined a lifelong love affair with hip-hop with an ability to spin Funk, Cumbia and Global Bass. Gazoo continues to book talent for the Long Beach Funk Festival and works closely with the event production company Art Don't Sleep, which recently brought in Tony Allen and Seu Jorge.