Aloe’s Shadow

In this entry I illustrate my recent trip to Hollywood on a low key video shoot as a guest of Los Angeles native singer, emcee, producer, musician and party promoter Aloe Blacc.

This was my first time meeting him, but I was pleased to discover that we have plenty in common. We share our stories with you and we want your money!

Last Saturday afternoon I went to visit an old friend from back in Texas for the first time since I relocated to Long Beach. A-Op lives in Koreatown, right around Elmwood and Western. It was a good time to catch up in person and get reacquainted, plus I had an appointment in nearby Hollywood in a few.

It just so happened that my next stop was only two miles away. Left on Western, Right on Sunset… I hadn’t eaten since my breakfast – a mere bowl of Raisin Bran – so I drove a few blocks past the location to Subway for a flatbread tuna and a couple of cookies. From there I set out for the first episode of… Aloe’s Shadow!

Stryke's Building
[Stryke’s Building]

A few days earlier I learned L.A. Lesson #1 which goes, “Never let your gas tank go below half-full.” But here off of Sunset, I learned Lesson #2 which says, “Never give the authorities half a reason to write you a ticket, because they will do it!”

I thought I had a plair parking spot right out front, but that last three feet of my car that bled into the red part of the curb has now cost me $80. Red Carpet > Red Curb

Stryke's Living Room
[Stryke’s Living Room]

Once Aloe met me at the front door, we walked straight back to Stryke’s apartment. First, I noticed the spot was New York stuffy, I mean stuff everywhere. Second, I noticed an old blaxploitation movie, “Black Dynamite”, on the television.

Then I noticed that there were at least 10,000 records along the walls, and most of the stuff was gear. I thought to myself, “Somebody in this room is a DJ!”

The whole setup reminded me of DJ’s like Good Grief in Houston or Baby G in Austin. In fact, when I mentioned Baby G to Stryke that evening, he got quite excited.

Cornbread Amidst Vinyl
[Cornbread Amidst Vinyl]

Cornbread from Kali Wild, a group whose original members include producer/mc Oh No, is the man of the hour.

[I’m sure some of you have never heard of Oh No, but just know that he, his brother Madlib and Aloe Blacc are producers/artists on the indie powerhouse Stones Throw label. For some reason, the name Stones Throw has come up 10 or so times since I moved to the West.]

We all got together at Stryke’s house to work on the video for Cornbread’s “Relaxin’” feat. Aloe Blacc and Maya Jupiter, produced by elevatedSOUL from nearby West Covina, CA.

Well, frankly, that’s the reason THEY all got together. I was there because Aloe thought it would be a good place to formally meet, and was kind enough to let me tag along. Shortly after my arrival, while BZ was setting up to shoot something in Stryke’s doorway, Aloe made a great point. We needed to get upstairs and do the rooftop shots while the sun was still out.

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