Incredibles dominates Munchie Cup Awards Show

20150724_201301The 2nd annual Abakus Munchie Cup was held in Denver, Colorado, from July 24 to 26, at Green Labs. Grandmaster Caz, one of the greatest deejays and rappers from the first generation of hip hop, headlined the event. Bill Levin, founder of the First Church of Cannabis, gave the keynote address and was inducted into the Temple Dragon Crew. Munchie Cup founder Steven Hager unleashed his new hymnal for cannabis ministries and randomly performed songs with an impromptu band put together every day composed of whoever walked through the door. Many arrivals unexpectedly found themselves suddenly swept up into the Munchie Cup choir.

Ballpark Holistic easily won the best dispensary award and their products also dominated. Seven shops within walking distance of Green Labs had been targeted for participation. Dixie Elixirs won best medicated drink, Incredibles won the best candy award, and PBJ won best confection. Best flower went to Pakistani Kush, while best concentrate went to Live Resin BP. The best expo booth award went to Incredibles, who kept the judges happy with an endless supply of snacks, although none were medicated due to the rules in Denver regarding cannabis events. Next year, the Munchie Cup may be free to attend because if you don’t sell entry tickets, it is possible to give away cannabis and cannabis products.

The Pot Illuminati Award (blind judged by Grandmaster Caz in record time) went to Girl Scout Cookies, which beat out six other strains determined by the Temple Dragon Crew as being the best flowers at the event.

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Triple OG’s of Hip Hop

classicIt’s been a while since Kool Herc and Grandmaster Caz spoke, but apparently the ice has broken because they threw an epic joint birthday party along with original hip hop emcee Coke La Rock.

The event was held at the Andrew Freedman Complex, a retirement home built by a sports franchise financier back in 1924. It was intended as a safety net for financiers who lost their fortunes in stock market crashes, but in 1960, the Freedman trust went broke. Now the building serves as a daycare center and artist studio space. In fact, Kool Herc is one of many artists-in-residence.

I brought presents for the three birthday OGs, including a Pot Illuminati hat, pin and t-shirt, copy of my new book, Hip Hop: The Complete Archives, and some assorted other goodies compliments of WeedTees in Alma, Colorado. I called Coke to see what time he was showing up and he told me emcees were showing up early for a meeting, so I arrived a hour before showtime, and they were still setting up systems. There were three ballrooms on the ground floor, and a deejay system was being installed in every one, although the biggest was reserved for Herc’s massive system. I knew this was probably going to be one of the loudest parties in hip hop history.

Coke was overjoyed to see me and get his PI gear. While I was talking to him, Herc walked by us, recognized me and scoffed. I held my hand out and offered him a copy of my new book as a present with the other, but Herc refused both. “Where’s my royalties?” he said before walking away. Herc has never forgiven me for not cutting him into my original hip hop book deal. It’s funny because I interviewed 40 people for that book, but Herc was the only one who felt he deserved to be paid. I did get a $5,000 advance from St. Martins’ but I spent most of it buying photographs for the inside. The book went out-of-print after a year or two, and I never saw more than a few hundred dollars in the way of royalties. But a few years later, copies were trading hands on ebay for $500.

That was 31 years ago, and I touch base with Herc every decade or so. I invited him to receive an all-expense-paid trip to the Cannabis Cup and get a Counterculture Hall of Fame Award, but he turned that offer down, probably because he doesn’t want to be identified so closely with weed. So the original hip hop emcee Coke La Rock got that perk. Coke has to be the most over-looked person of the first generation. There was a giant mural of over a hundred hip hop stars. “Can you believe it,” said Coke looking at it. “I’m not even in it.”

“Nobody even knows what you look like,” I said. There were few photos taken of the original parties when Coke was the main dude on the mic, inventing phrases like: “you rock and you don’t stop,” which would go on to become a hip hop staple.

Grandmaster Caz arrived in stealth mode, not doing interviews or even having his picture taken, so I couldn’t get the story behind how he and Herc finally made up after their long feud. I am sure the whole thing boiled down to Herc being pissed about something. But if they can bury the hatchet after all these years it means there’s still hope Herc might forgive me some day. Maybe in another 30 years, when we are in our 90s.

The one person who wanted to be interviewed was an artist named Space Craft 1, who gave me a tour of his studio. The work was amazing. Check out the video if you don’t believe me.

Munchie Cup Opening Ceremonies

Munchie Cup Opening Address by Grandmaster Caz at the Gant, Aspen, Colorado at 4:20 PM, on August 18, 2014.

Man, I been smoking’ weed since they called it reefer. Since then I’ve learned the term cannabis sativa. And I’ve smoked more than Steve, Snoop and Queen Latifah… combined, so don’t pay me no mind, I’m high; but I’m here fresh off a ping of kush from my new friend Bret, the King of Kush. Judgin’ the first Munchies Cup out here in Aspen. This is another place I can say my ass been. Where I’m from you used to buy a bag of weed, and after you took out the sticks and seeds, you had about seven joints in a big bamboo. If you was smart you sold five and smoked two. That was back in the by we call the Boogie Down. When the majority of the weed we saw was brown. Sold in trey and nicklebags through a hole in the door. Lucky we ain’t gotta do that no more. Not here, ’cause we’re in Colorado getting’ Rocky Mountain High. They got the medicines in these plants that’ll get you by. And for those of us who smoke an’ ain’t sick, you know the reason why we’re Rocky Mountain High In Colorado; Rocky Mountain High in Colorado. I gotta thank Steven for flying’ me out with the wife and literally we’ve never been this high in our life. Not to mention the altitude when we came for the ride, nobody told us we were crossin’ the Continental Divide. But thanks to Jason our driver and guide, the sights were breathtaking and we made it alive. So to the Pot Illuminati and the Temple Dragons, let’s recruit the brethern onto the bandwagon. Cannabis for all smoke, oil, drinks or medibles, simple put my friends salute…

This shit is incredible.

 

Casanova’s Revenge

Grandmaster Caz is one of the major creative forces behind the birth of hip hop. He began as a b-boy in an East Bronx crew called the Casanova’s, but after battling one of their top breakers, he was awarded the name Casanova Fly and welcomed into the crew. Soon, he joined Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash as one of the original hip hop deejays, only Caz was the only one who also established himself as a premier rapper, along with Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee. Caz was in a group called the Mighty Force when his manager employed one of his tapes to engineer a record deal. Only Caz wasn’t part of that deal. And since his lyrics helped manifest one of the biggest-selling hits in hip hop history, it’s been a little painful for Caz to answer questions about that hit song for the last 25 years. Caz told the story at the first Abakus Munchie Cup in Aspen last August. The next Munchie Cup will be held in May, 2015. Hope to see you there, and stay tuned to abakusmagazine.com for the latest details.

Caz for Prez

Because our current two-party system is run by the same corporate masters, it’s time for a phoenix rebirth of epic dimensions. Part of the equation is the creation of a corruption-free form of spirituality that blends all non-violent cultures into one river. People have been taught to fear religion because so many are blatant profit streams controlled by a small clique at the top of the food chain. But after centuries of corruption, many of these wells are running dry. The Pot Illuminati is a fresh well, and one that seeks neither money nor power, but only hopes to enlighten anyone who cares about the true nature of the war for profit hoodwink orchestrated by manipulating religions. Although PI is a secret society, like Freemasonry, one of the founders emerged to announce his candidacy for President and he has full support of the entire membership.

Grandmaster Caz’s Birthplace of Hip Hop Tour

2014-10-10 12.03.50If you find yourself visiting New York City looking for good ways to occupy your time, I strongly suggest you jump on the bus: Grandmaster Caz’s luxurious Birthplace of Hip Hop bus that is.

The tour runs between three and four hours and costs $75, a bargain considering one of the best emcees in history provides a command performance.

The day I went Caz was suffering from a killer toothache, but I don’t think he can give a show (even for 20 people) without putting his heart into it, and his rap routines were mindblowingly entertaining, and aside from being one of the top ten emcees in hip hop history, Caz is also one of the funniest dudes I know and could easily make the jump into stand-up if he wanted, although some of his humor might have been lost on one or two of the foreigners. He had me rolling in the aisles frequently.

2014-10-10 11.39.42First stop was a playground for some b-boy lessons. Like most of the first generation, Caz started as a b-boy in the Casanova Crew (not to be confused with the former Black Spade gang known as the Casanovas, who did security work for Ray Chandler).

Everyone in that early West Bronx crew had the first name Casanova, and members could make up any last name they wanted provided they were down with the crew. Caz came up with “Casanova Fly” and became one of their top breakers until he had his growth spurt.

Notice how the best breakers tend to be on the shorter side? Their bodies are just so much better suited to going to the floor and staying there, so once Caz became too gangly to break, he became a deejay.

Mouse came along up to give a class on Breaking 101, and also a lecture on the history of breaking that was fascinating and outlined the original innovators, like Keith and Kevin (the Nigger Twins) and the Rock Steady Crew. He gave major props to Michael Holman for getting Rock Steady into Flashdance, which is what kicked off a global b-boy mania that’s been going strong ever since.

2014-10-10 13.06.42Of course, the highlight of the tour was a visit to 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, the site where Kool Herc and his sister Cindy threw their first jams. Caz admitted he didn’t make the first party as he was only 13 at the time, but the sounds had been loud enough to draw crowds from six blocks away, and a party happened in the street in front of the building that night that was just as big as the party happening in the rec room inside.

This was August 11, 1973, the most important date in hip hop history.

And Caz lived right around the corner.

The first emcee was Coke La Rock, and he came up with some phrases that stuck, like “you rock and you don’t stop.”

But then a second wave of emcees quickly appeared the next summer, and they elevated the art of emceeing immensely.

Even though he was known as Deejay Casanova Fly, and had a crew of 50 following him around wearing his name on their custom shirts, Caz became an early emcee and went to the front of the class immediately, not just for verbal skills writing some of the best lyrics of the time (and certainly some of the funniest) but also because his delivery epitomized the hard attitude of the Bronx b-boy. The rest of the city was ruled by disco, and disco was deemed too soft, same as hippie culture, while hip hop and punk, were the cultural reactions against being too soft.

2014-10-10 13.39.11Toward the end of the tour, Caz stopped by his marker on the Bronx Hall of Fame. Only a handful of hip hoppers have been honored with a street sign along the Grand Concourse, and he’s one of the few, and deservedly so.

I think I learned as much in three hours riding around with Caz as I picked up in the three years I was working on my book Hip Hop.

The tour made me want to go back and rewrite my book with a lot more details added.

Meanwhile, Caz and I are working on some more adventures to take place in Colorado. He was the host of our Munchie Cup, the first event thrown by Abakus, but certainly not that last. He’s also one of the founders of the Pot Illuminati.

So stay tuned to this blog for some big announcements coming soon. And if you live in Colorado, be sure and ask your local dispensary to get some copies of our print edition. They are free for the asking and already available at dozens of dispensaries, mostly in the mountain resorts and not so much in Denver yet.

2014-10-10 14.05.43After the tour was over, Caz took us all out to lunch at his favorite Harlem Soul Food buffet. I plan to be back soon, as the food was spectacular and very reasonably priced. For more information on Caz’s amazing tour, check out the website here

http://hushtours.com/