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Brenda Holloway in a blue sequined top looking at the camera

Born and raised in the Watts projects of Los Angeles, Brenda Holloway is a gifted singer songwriter and violinist. She began singing in her church choir and took up playing the violin. With such a dynamic range and depth, Berry Gordy was impressed and signed Brenda to Motown aged 17.

Said to be the female face of Motown when Mary Wells left the label in 1964, Brenda's debut was a second recording of 'Every Little Bit Hurts'. She was one of the few acts to write her own songs.

In 1969, Brenda won a lawsuit against Berry Gordy for the rights 'You've Made Me So Very Happy', she was the third singer in short time-after Mary Wells and Kim Weston -who successfully took legal action against Motown.

The Artistry of Brenda Holloway, was released in 1968, the year she announced her retirement from the music business. She later married a minister and raised three daughters, returning to music in 1980 with the gospel album Brand New. Holloway's records remained popular on England's "Northern soul" scene.

Richard Dedeaux, Father Amde Hamilton, and Otis O'Solomon

Rapid-fire, spoken-word, jazz and funk - The Watts Prophets released two albums, 1969's The Black Voices: On the Streets in Watts and 1971's Rappin' Black in a White World.

Revolutionary poets, Richard Dedeaux, Father Amde Hamilton, and Otis O'Solomon initially formed in the 1960s, collaborating at the Watts Writers Workshop, created by Budd Schulberg. This was two years after the 195 Watts Riots, the cultural movement was being to take shape.

Combining poetry, music, and activism, the group were instrumental in developing the hip-hop genre, and their influence can be felt today.

A prominent figure, well-loved beat maker, producer, SP- 303 goes on! Dibia$e is a true individual, pushing boundaries and experimenting in such a raw and innovative way.

What does making a beat mean to you?

Making a beat is another way of communicating to me. A lot of times people may overlook what I have to say, but when I press play on that beat I can get your attention. Whether it’s at a beat battle, performance or an instrumental album it’s whatever mood I’m in. It’s easier to express myself with the music especially since I’m more a lowkey person in general.

Can you share how your foundations have shaped your love for music?

My foundations started with my grandfather's Jazz collection and my uncle’s soul collection. Also my mother would play a lot of 80’s r&b when I was a kid. So all that was ingrained into my memory. Also playing a lot of Nintendo that music stuck with me as well. 

Growing up in watts especially in the 80’s and 90’s was tough. I had to find things that entertained me constructively very early. Once I got equipment I was consumed with learning that if I wasn’t playing basketball. Plus when I would play beats at the court they used to call me mad scientist jokingly because I was into more underground sounding hip hop. 

What led to making music was probably going to goodlife cafe and Unity . Seeing the  freestyle dance cyphers had me wanting to make beats that hopefully dancers would session to.

To create in the sunlight or in moonlight?

I have no preference now. But more daytime creating I can’t really do the all night cooks up like I did when I was younger.

I can cook up beats pretty much anywhere. Sometimes I’ll make beats at Panera bread or at my daughter’s school in the lunch room while she’s in dance class. Sometimes I cook up at the park with the view of a river out here in Sacramento. That’s the plus of having a portable set up nowadays.

Do you have any wisdom to share in general?

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Starting out with MPC 2000 as my first serious sampler. I kinda had that mindset of hardware only for years. Until I messed with software many years later. Once I combined both worlds together it opened more pathways to creativity more personally.

I know some people go by that saying if it’s not broke don’t fix it mentality when it comes to creating, but I can’t fall in love with one workflow. If I hit a creative block I’ll try a different combo of gear and software and snap out of it. I’m not saying learn a million and one gadgets lol, but I recommend learning one hardware and one software. Don’t worry about the learning curve so much it’s not bad as you think starting out. 

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