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Always a fan of funk and funk played live, the artist born Todd Shaw's live band included Kev Choice on keyboards while his many mic guests of the evening included Freddy B, E-40, Richie Rich, Silk-E, Mistah F. B., Lil Eazy E, and Raphael Saadiq who joined him on such songs as “The Ghetto” with Saadiq supplying the chorus part that was done by Gerald Levert on the original 1990 Too $hort version of the Donny Hathaway inspired hit single.Note that tonight's (March 31) added second show was cancelled at the last minute. Upon digging in crates of early eighties hip-hop today, I was pleasantly reminded of just how socially aware and outspoken so many of those early era hip-hop records actually were.Last Saturday at Oakland's Fox Theater the veteran Bay Area rap artist celebrated 30 years in the rap game.His show featured many surprise guests plus a smoldering hot live funk band backing him, along with opening acts Zion I, The Grouch & Eligh and DJ Fresh.

But “September Of My Years” sends the mood spinning into darkness, with the lowing of Tony Garnier’s bowed bass, deep and resonant, like a moan from Stygian gloom, barely balanced by flecks of pedal steel and ambient guitar, as Dylan’s voice, enervated by experience, cracks in the face of age.The antithesis of a rap party anthem, "The Message" was a cold slap in the face forcing all to look at the everyday struggles of living amidst poverty and violence. Cos a man with a tow truck repossessed my car." "The Message" and its widespread success is regularly cited as the original "conscious rap" record and held responsible for kick-starting a sub-genre of hip-hop that would play a key role in the genre up to the present.On the record Duke Bootee and Melle Mel traded such famous observatory rhymes, "Rats in the front room, roaches in the back. However many over the years have protested this label, citing it as too limiting and restrictive a pigeon hole to fit an artist into.As Chris puts it, “When my grandfather came from Mexico to the Napa Valley, he instilled a dream in his children that one day, in this beautiful place, we would have a business of our own while still working with the amazing fruit that grows here.” "It is almost too simplistic to say that the wines produced by one person reflect his personality – but with Chris Madrigal and Madrigal Family Vineyards, it is true.Both the wine and the person are pictures of energy, complexity, fun, and excellence.Occasionally, a more jocular standard like “How Deep Is The Ocean” or “These Foolish Things” lightens the mood.

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