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Music, West Coast Sound Watts Soul Legend Charles Wright's "Mistake" Turned Into "Express Yourself"

Watts Soul Legend Charles Wright's "Mistake" Turned Into "Express Yourself"

Before becoming a global anthem, the NBA’s theme, and the sampled loop of one of N.W.A.’s biggest hits, no one believed in “Express Yourself.” In hindsight, it seems baffling that anyone could be unswayed by the delirious soul supplied by the horns of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band or...…
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Music, West Coast Sound How The Bots Became L.A.’s Most Celebrated Rock Duo

How The Bots Became L.A.’s Most Celebrated Rock Duo

Unless you’re the scion of an oil-rich sultan, your 18th birthday probably wasn’t as memorable as Anaiah Lei’s. Last month, the drummer of The Bots celebrated adulthood at his album-release party at the Bootleg in Silver Lake. He shared the stage with members of Redd Kross, Fishbone, Fidlar and Odd...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Long Beach's KJazz Radio Keeps the Jazz Flame Burning

Long Beach's KJazz Radio Keeps the Jazz Flame Burning

KJazz is L.A.’s greatest life hack. Forget sushi gems stashed in strip malls, secret parking spots or meditation gurus: Few things reduce municipal stress levels more than KKJZ (88.1 FM), beaming 24 hours from the campus of Cal State Long Beach. In a city with interminable commutes and Darwinian drivers,...…
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News, The Informer L.A. Shamans and Psychics Agree, The Lakers are Cursed by Dark Energy

L.A. Shamans and Psychics Agree, The Lakers are Cursed by Dark Energy

“Casual curses are the most effective.” —William Burroughs.  “Don’t drink Jobu’s rum. It’s very bad. It’s very bad.” —Pedro Serrano, Major League. It’s superficially absurd to wonder if the Los Angeles Lakers are cursed. The 16 championship banners hanging from the Staples Center rafters, $4 billion TV deal and generally sanctified...…
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Music, West Coast Sound With Help From J. Cole, Cozz Is Living the Dream

With Help From J. Cole, Cozz Is Living the Dream

Cozz emerged from anonymity with dreams of getting rich and a pair of loaded dice. The warning shot was his first video, “Dreams,” set on the nocturnal streets of South Central, surrounded by pit bulls, liquor stores and police helicopters. In 200 seconds, the 20-year-old catapulted into the elite ranks...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Tragedy Is at the Heart of Namebrand's No-Frills Hip-Hop

Tragedy Is at the Heart of Namebrand's No-Frills Hip-Hop

Suicide City steeled Namebrand. Your GPS knows it as the east side of Long Beach, but computerized directions can’t fathom the clan warfare that has raged there since long before Snoop Dogg introduced the world to the LBC. “Gangbanging is like suicide or Russian roulette — once you’ve made that...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Australian Transplant Anna Lunoe Is Taking U.S. Dance Music by Storm

Australian Transplant Anna Lunoe Is Taking U.S. Dance Music by Storm

Before conquering Coachella, HARD and Lollapalooza, touring with The Weeknd and supplying runway anthems for Kanye West’s preferred haute couture brands, dance music DJ/producer Anna Lunoe toiled as a frustrated boutique clerk in Sydney. Raised in a musical household, the Australian native started out making cassette mixes to impress her...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Adam Freeland Gets Trippy With His New Project, The Acid

Adam Freeland Gets Trippy With His New Project, The Acid

The Acid came together after a peyote ceremony. Adam Freeland, one-third of the electronic soul transcendentalists, had just arrived in L.A. from a pilgrimage to the Bay Area, where he’d ingested sacred cactus under the ritualistic guidance of Native American elders. Suffice it to say, the Brighton, U.K., DJ/producer was...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Art-Rap Legend Busdriver Got Racially Profiled in Arizona

Art-Rap Legend Busdriver Got Racially Profiled in Arizona

Several hours after they crossed the Arizona border, the nauseating flash of lights and sirens forced their rented car to the roadside. The Pillsbury-faced cop commanded the driver to step outside the vehicle. The charge: exceeding the speed limit by three miles an hour. “I repeatedly apologized and told him...…
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News, The Informer When Disaster Strikes: The 2014-15 Lakers Survival Guide

When Disaster Strikes: The 2014-15 Lakers Survival Guide

“When Disaster Strikes, take a look and sit on the sidelines and bear witness.” – Busta Rhymes Reporter: What's the best thing this team does right now? Kobe: "Defend." Assemble your rations. Turn your basement into a fortified shelter sturdy enough to withstand Stephen Curry fire-bombings and Y2K panic. You’ll...…
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Music, West Coast Sound When Rock Stars Need Vintage Recording Gear, They Go to Charlie Bolois

When Rock Stars Need Vintage Recording Gear, They Go to Charlie Bolois

With Charlie Bolois, it’s hard to know what story to begin with. Do you recount when the proprietor of Vertigo Recording Services was just 21, working for Motown, and tasked to deliver audio equipment to Marvin Gaye’s brand-new Hidden Hills mansion? When he arrived, he discovered the soul legend accompanied...…
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Music, West Coast Sound DJ Carisma Is L.A. Radio's Biggest Champion of West Coast Hip-Hop

DJ Carisma Is L.A. Radio's Biggest Champion of West Coast Hip-Hop

could stroll back and forth down this blah stretch of Burbank and never realize that you’d passed one of the most influential corners of West Coast hip-hop. The nerve center of Young California can’t be seen from the street. The only signage attached to the sunbaked taupe building belongs to...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Peaking Lights Boast Music and Parenting Skills Like No One Else

Peaking Lights Boast Music and Parenting Skills Like No One Else

It’s time for the interview but, before it begins, more pressing questions persist in the Peaking Lights household. “Should we put on Ponyo for the kids?” the psychedelic pop duo’s drummer-singer Indra Dunis asks her husband, beat conductor Aaron Coyes. “They just watched Ponyo. How about we put on Raffi?”...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Long Beach Rapper Boogie Tells Us to Get Our Thirstiness Under Control

Long Beach Rapper Boogie Tells Us to Get Our Thirstiness Under Control

The thirst is too real and close to ignore. Open up any social media app and squint at the surfeit of selfies and excessive stunting on haters; no one is absolved from scrutiny. Long Beach’s Boogie understands these online addictions and lust for likes all too well. “Twitter turned lying...…
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Music, West Coast Sound At This School, You Can Learn to Be a DJ

At This School, You Can Learn to Be a DJ

In the modern musical era, there’s never been a lower barrier to professional entry than there is to being a DJ. Get a cracked copy of Ableton or Traktor, illegally download MP3s, buy fake Twitter followers, practice in the basement for a week and you, too, can be booked. At...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Bonny Billionaire, the "Gangsta Hello Kitty," Demands Your Respect

Bonny Billionaire, the "Gangsta Hello Kitty," Demands Your Respect

It's an equatorially hot Wednesday afternoon on Melrose Boulevard when the "Gangsta Hello Kitty" meets the genuine article. Rapper Bonny Billionaire, the G.H.K. in question, is walking along the famous shopping strip, only to stumble upon a white pickup truck wrapped in an image of the famed Sanrio cartoon feline...…
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Music, West Coast Sound The DIY Grind and L.A. Roots 
of Atlanta Rap Star Makonnen

The DIY Grind and L.A. Roots 
of Atlanta Rap Star Makonnen

Until two months ago, Tuesday was the most neglected day of the week. It lacked the queasy terror of Monday, the euphoric potential of the weekend; it couldn’t even trump Wednesday’s rebranding as “Hump Day.” ILoveMakonnen changed everything. Even if the West Adams–raised, Atlanta-adopted rap crooner never records another song,...…
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Music, West Coast Sound What the Dodgers’ Players’ Music Says About Them

What the Dodgers’ Players’ Music Says About Them

In case you’re among the 63 percent of L.A. residents unable to watch Dodger games due to Time Warner Cable cupidity, L.A.’s oldest professional sports franchise has run up a small lead over the Giants in the National League West. So it goes when you have the highest payroll in...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Alexander's Greek Kitchen Is the Most Punk New Restaurant in L.A.

Alexander's Greek Kitchen Is the Most Punk New Restaurant in L.A.

The most punk new restaurant in L.A. might be Alexander’s Greek Kitchen, a 90-day-old storefront tucked into a strip mall in Vernon. This is a weird sentence to write for several reasons. A) There’s nothing inherently punk about a pork gyro dripping with tzatziki sauce, no matter how serrated the...…
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Music, West Coast Sound You Know Martin Starr, But Did You Know He Raps?

You Know Martin Starr, But Did You Know He Raps?

Before redefining the geek archetype as caterer and hard sci-fi screenwriter Roman DeBeers on Starz’s Party Down and computer programmer Gilfoyle on HBO’s Silicon Valley, bespectacled 32-year old actor Martin Starr spent his high school years bumping Tupac’s All Eyez on Me at obscene volumes through the streets of West...…
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