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Underground Media Makers

Cover image for podcast episode

Photo courtesy of Parker Edison

From left to right: 1019, TONY DA SKITZO, and Parker Edison are pictured in this undated photo.

In this episode, Parker speaks with underground media makers about what inspires them to contribute to the media landscape.

Music:
• DJ GarGar - Slingshot
• GeneFlo - Stealth
• 1019 and the Numbermen - July 10th

Guests:
•Brian ‘B+’ Cross, Photographer
http://www.mochilla.com

• Anthony Davenport aka TONY DA SKITZO, Musician/Producer

• Dr. Mychal Odom, Visiting Professor at the University of San Diego
https://wubp.podbean.com/

Qualcomm Snapdragon commercial featuring Parker and the Numberman

Show credits: Parker Edison (Host), Kurt Kohnen (Co-creator), Chris Reyes (Head Editor) and Tres ”Sojourn” Hodgens (Music Supervisor)

Dr Roy Whitaker
There's there's a reason there's a show called the Parker Edison Project, how people remember your name.

the gorgeous beautiful and intelligent Casj Noir
You are now listening to the Parker Edison Project project.

Good morning and welcome to the Parker Edison Project, where we examine tenets of culture and what really makes America great. The theme of this episode, Media. My first guest is Brian B Plus Cross. He's an accomplished author with two books under his belt and a revered photographer who's helped create album art for artists like QTip, Damian Marley, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, David Axelrod, J Dilla. Yeah, that type of guy. Complex magazine called him one of the 15 photographers, every rap fan. I first met Brian back in twenty fifteen to a friend of mine, my guy hooked me up with him for an event I was throwing at UCSD campus. Since then, it is insane. The variety of places Brian's work is popped up in my real life can't make this up. While I was writing this very piece, the movie Friday was playing in the background. Just by chance. I looked up and sure enough, Brian Cross' in the opening credits. Speaking of movies, what what were you doing on the set of Friday?

Brian'B+' Cross
So basically I was a stills photographer production stills. I spent a whole day I remember when she was trying to show Chris Tucker how to look like he was smoking and he had never smoked pot. So we were showing them how to look like he was coughing and stuff like that. So, yeah, it was pretty funny.

Speaker 1
How did you end up on the set of the Banksy documentary?

Brian'B+' Cross
Exit Through the Gift Shop was a film that he wanted to make. I had been friends with him for at that point, I guess I've been friends with him for almost six or seven years. It stayed at my house and stuff, sir.

Speaker 1
Wait, wait. When you say him, who are you referring to?

Brian'B+' Cross
The cat that directed the film? Yes. That is a friend. A friend of mine who was working for Ozomatli at the time, Grace Johnston. But she she she said, you know, wouldn't it be amazing if we could put together a show of his work in L.A. and we were like, yeah. And I remember thinking, like, wow, that's worth. That's pretty, that'd be amazing. So we got a little bit of sponsorship money, think to mine Flaunt magazine I think at the time, and got him a plane ticket.

Speaker 4
He had to show was very successful. He hung out for a month. In that period, he did a few kind of pretty momentous hits. And then he was a fan, too. So so I had been making films and he asked me, you know, like I have this idea for a film by virtue of who I am and the way I move, it's going to be complicated for me to to direct it. And there's a big component of it is here in L.A. And I need. Would you be interested in directing it? I was like the you know, the sort of I don't know if it's fair to say unit director. That's not the way we were credited. We're all just credited as a big clump. Well, basically, I was the guy on the ground here that the UK folks would reach out to. I remember going to see it and feeling a real deep seated trepidation. I mean, shooting it was a very interesting experience. I mean, I would say I'd never seen reality pivot's so much as it did around Terry, because Terry to us was like this Mr. Brainwash. He was somebody that really was just cobbling together as you went. And we couldn't imagine that this was going to be a success. And then to be there the night the show opened, I mean, they sold a million dollars worth of art in one night. It affirmed a lot of things that I think I understood about the art world in such a visceral way that it had really rocked me to my core.

Brian'B+' Cross
You know, a lot of people don't even believe that it's real, which it's completely real. It was one of those things where it was like it could have gone either way. It could have been the biggest disaster of all time. And it could have been well, I don't know that any of us thought it was going to be the kind of success that it was. I remember sitting with Banksy the day that it got nominated for the Oscar. It was this party that they were organizing or whatever in Hollywood for the film and all this kind of stuff. And so Oprah was going to present the best documentary prize that year and before the best documentary, I think it was like best short animation, I think is what it was. And it was Leonardo DiCaprio was going to present the award and Leonardo DiCaprio goes up to the mic and says, Good evening, I'm Banksy. And I was like, yo, that was a bit weird. Like, that was a bit weird. And yeah. So yeah.

Speaker 1
And this artist in the film is mimicking Banksy's formula and becomes rather popular.

Brian'B+' Cross
And then he sold more art. I mean, this is the total irony of it. He sold more art than Banksy did. Terry is a real force of nature. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, that was the quote and that was enough. That is a quote from from Shepard Fairey was enough, which he bought a billboard on Sunset and put those quotes there. And I mean, that was enough.

Speaker 1
We actually had Myka 9 on here not too long ago. And you you shot the cover our freestyle fellowship...?

Brian'B+' Cross
yeah, yeah, yeah. The Freestyle Fellowship really changed the way people thought about what it was possible to do as an M.C. and and, you know, as I said in Ava Duvarney's film, the first time I saw Myka, I remember it was at a club in Hollywood and my ears were so unprepared that I was kind of like, is this whack? Like, is this dude, is this good? I'm stuck. And that that's always a good sign. If if something kind of confuses you so much, you know, I mean, like that you have to kind of question your own, you know, the way you've constructed what the thing is. It's a good chance that they're doing something really, really pretty brilliant. And Myka, is that, you know, Myka has a lot of sons and heirs. Does you know, I mean, if you look at that film hip hop evolution and you look at the one about underground culture which deals with the free stuff, I should pretty up close and personal. There's a part at the end, very, very end of the show where they cut to Snoop, who's sitting there, who's now clearly relaxed and having a good time with these dudes. And he says, "man, you don't even know me and Warren G driving around. Listen to Freestyle Fellowship. Whoo! You know, I was kind of like, man, like, you know, Snoop Dogg was on the was under one of the good life compilations, you know, cassette only thing Snoop was on it." And Myka, you know, Myka really empowered people to think differently. And Mike is kind of the the dude that really built bridges. I used to say he built bridges in the air, but he really built bridges in the air to traditions that for many folks, I think they were they were unable to think of hip hop in those terms, whether it's and. Whether it's vocalese, whether it's thinking about the voice as an instrument and Myka did that.

How how is it that you're at the pulse of these extraordinary monumental moments? What do you think the secret is?

Brian'B+' Cross
Don't doubt the relationship between your ears and your heart. You just follow that center that no matter where it takes, you be fearless about it and realize that that's that's way more important than any career or anything else.

Speaker 1
Ladies and gentlemen, the Mighty infamous, my favorite photographer, street philosopher Brian B plus cross. One of the things I took in this interview, is that Brian's in-depth understanding of rap makes it possible for him to document events and accomplishments in just such a way that future generations could rediscover them and almost relive those experiences these days. There's a phrase to be seen. It refers to the act of holding space for someone accepting them as they are. Brian's work is shaping history because of him. His subjects will forever be seen.

gladys
Got a call on line two.

Whats happening, boss.

Dr Mychal Odom
Hey, hey. What's going on?

You know, trying to trying to knock out these segments. Man was chopping it up with your boy a B plus.

Dr Mychal Odom
Oh yeah. B B plus. Yeah yeah yeah. I mean I was just thinking about that the other day remember we went to that to that Thundercat show.

That show was crazy.

Dr Mychal Odom
Yeah. it was lit. It was lit.

You got a podcast. Right?

Dr Mychal Odom
Right, right. It's called the People's War Radio Show and its part of the Black Power Talks podcast, we tackle a lot of political and cultural events throughout the African world through the lens of African internationalism. It's broadcast on a low power station out of St. Petersburg, Florida, called Black Power. Ninety six FM, but it's also found online at WUBP dot podbeam dotcom.

Speaker 1
What's your full name and title, sir?

Dr Mychal Odom
Yeah, I'm Dr. Mychal M. Odom. I got my Ph.D. in history from the University of California, San Diego. I'm a visiting professor at the University of San Diego and Ethnic Studies.

Right, my guys wicked smart. How often can they catch your podcasts?

Dr Mychal Odom
New shows updated weekly. This week's episode is going to be on reparations. We've done shows recently on Palestine, on incarceration or the fight of African mothers or black mothers against the foster care system. All sorts of really dynamic contemporary political cultural issues.

Doing the work, bro. Appreciate it, man. I'll get back to the show real quick, but I'll holler at you I tell for.

the gorgeous beautiful and intelligent Casj Noir
Stay tuned for more of the PEP project.

Run Ric! comm
I love you. I think I always will. Even now, I'm reeling from the effect that you have on the rest of my life. I'm different now. As badly as I want to feel the heat between us, I know exactly how this is going to end. Now, streaming on platform collection, Dotcom is the new film Short Run Ric, a who's who of San Diego Talent, brought to you by the good people at platform collection.

Speaker 1
Hello, this is Maya for Mayas cookies in San Diego. We are America's number one black, vegan cookie company. You can check us out on our social media. Mayas Cookie, San Diego.

the gorgeous beautiful and intelligent Casj Noir
You are now tuned into the PE Project.

We're about to hear from one of my mentors, I respect this immensely. He's a major contributor to the San Diego rap scene that I discussed back in Episode two. He's a Virgo, which means he's strategic, organized, and both artistically and emotionally tapped into the world. His bio says time is nothing. Music is everything. I'm let him introduce himself for my listeners. What's your name? How do you describe your art?

Tony Da Skitzo
Well, I got many names, but I'm known as Tony Da Skitzo. I would describe myself as exactly as the name suggests, multiple personalities, multiple styles. It's funny, I've been like that since I was young and I used to go by Toni Tone. And then I was I got in a rap group called Point Blank and I wanted a different name. I walk by a schizophrenic dude who was talking to himself. That's how the name it.

Because everything is independent. Some would say that there's a lack of quality control. There's nobody to tell you. Nobody listens to the development anymore. All these cats either cookie cut themselves, say I'm into this trap sound and I'm gonna make this music and then say I'm here, I'm hip hop. You're just buying this hip hop, all these damn templates, I'm sayin nobody's really being themselves. So the music has suffered mostly. Actually, the people have suffered more than any taste because the music shapes the culture of all types. Painters paint to music. Know what I'm saying? Movies are scored to music. Is like music is the predecessor to all great art, harmony, melody in our heads. So that suffers a culture stuff.

You've always had this thing about the intangible and infusing that into your music to provoke movement and healing and it being connected to the emotional strings in the human psyche. Now we're being more electronic, which is disconnecting us...

Tony Da Skitzo
Low frequency, low vibration. All these things are by design. Of course, all great music sparks a movement. You know, I'm saying every time a great music was created in America, a great cultural movement followed it. You know, I'm saying. Jazz changed everything. Rock and roll changed everything. Hip hop, the fastest growing culture history of mankind change everything. That type of message starts reaching the soldiers street dudes. When consciousness starts reached and cats on a street level, it's like, no, we have to stop this now.

What is something you'd like to see more of?

Tony Da Skitzo
I want us to move. I want us to go somewhere so deep into our minds that just pop our heads like bobbleheads. I grew up in that part of hip hop to where there's tons of beats over one hundred, one hundred and twenty beats per minute. These rappers, they don't. But our baby is going eighty, seventy five beats per minute. OK, first of all, of course you got to fit a thousand words. Of course you have to go going so slow. But then people are taking the time to listen to absorb your lyrics instead of feeling the beats feel in the music. No, I'm saying and we don't do that.

Can get you to soundtrack the next episode of the PEP for me

Tony Da Skitzo
I would be honored to support. Yeah. fo sho. What you want.

OK, wait, I'm not about to miss out on this opportunity to stop this record. We will hash this out. I'm about to make this happen.

Speaker 3
A while back, I was in a group called Parker the NumberMan, and ...well let me back up more...Before this podcast, I primarily put out rap records and videos. I've done a slew of different things. And one of the groups I was in was called Parker and the Numberman. We did a rap commercial and campaign for Qualcomm's Snapdragon microprocessor. I'll attach a link in the description so you can check it out. When we got a small bag full of money to pay producers for beats. Everyone came up with excuses except for Tony. He came up with Beats Asap. That's how he's always been. And today he's come through again. Like always. Tony has an almost holistic approach to his art. He's making the connection that slow drug like beats make for self-centered content versus high tempo energy beats, which cause us to focus on other people. That alone is an amazing example of how he's in touch with the intangible and manages to twist that into his art. Each of my guests are utilizing forms of media to express themselves and to make a living. On a similar note our closing. Music comes from a live band fronted by writer Jay Smith, who you probably know as a writer and personality for NBC's local music news program, SoundDiego. He's the other half of that rap group. I was in. That is what he's up to these days. It's called July 10, and it's by 1019. And the Number Men.

Speaker 3
There's a link to that in the show description as well. Meet me back here in two weeks to finish off the season. Until then, stay safe out there.

song lyric extended haiku
You know, and I up this troll. Nine now six feet away from danger. How it happened? Well. Nobody knows this week all of those things and the way to. Implats family solutions executed next season. No. So let's go to my blog. Driver. So I'm sorry, but. I asked the folks at. As far as my first you. Do you miss not? Take your time, my. Piece of mind is basically your mind if you listen not. This and this gift giving. We need to honor so. But and for those that at. I wonder what would have happened if they did they still be playing music?

show credits
Thanks for stopping in. The Parker Edison Project is produced and hosted by yours truly, Parker Edison and the Good People at Platform Collection. Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts if you have any comments or questions. Visit the Parker Edison Project Dotcom or hit us on Instagram at the project. My guy, Kurt Kohnen is audio production manager. Kinsee Morlan is my favorite podcast coordinator. Lisa J. Morrissette is operations manager and John Decker is Associate General Manager for Content.

Speaker 3
This programing is made possible in part by the KPBS Explore Content Fun Love saying that because it reminds me of Sesame Street, you'll stay safe out there.

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The Parker Edison Project podcast branding

The Parker Edison Project

What comes to mind when you think of American culture? The Parker Edison Project works to expand the cliché answer to that question. It's a podcast that zooms way in on what really makes a culture — food, music, style, sex, fashion and more. Join host and co-creator Parker Edison for insightful conversations about creativity and community, all through the lens of Black America. This is the Parker Edison Project, a sonic exploration of what's considered American, where each episode starts with a thought-provoking talk and ends with a musical bang.