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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rhyme Calisthenics

Rhyme Calisthenics, for its 10 competition, has teamed up with Classic Material to bring you a hip-hop event of epic proportions. 

 Thelonious Stretch hosts the Rhyme Calisthenics Top 10 MC Competition with a roster of fresh freestyle MC's from around the region all gunning for the #1 spot.  After the competition switch into party mode for the Classic Material Hip-hop, Soul and Funk Party with resident DJ's Selecta + SMI and guest DJ Vex.  We're really excited to have a special guest performance by Elzhi.  After grinding in the Detroit underground during the late 90's Elzhi began working with the likes of J.Dilla, Wajeed, Dwele and rose to recognition when he joined Slum Village in 2002, later shining on smash singes "Tainted" (feat. Dwele) and "Selfish" (feat. Kanye West).  In 2008 Elzhi dropped the Preface, deemed one of the best albums of the year and exclusively produced by Black Milk.  It's all going down Saturday, December 18th at the Shadow Lounge.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Classic Material

No matter what you might think of the antics or personality of Mr. West, it would be very hard to deny his musical talents. His production discography has gotten pretty deep and he now has a pretty impressive catalog as a solo artist. Although time is usually a criteria when judging the lasting power of music, we have no hesitation in granting him with Classic Material Status. His recent explosion of output has brought us great collaborations that we could only dream of. He has somehow managed to push this thing we call Hip-Hop further into the future yet still holding on to a nostalgic sound that we long for. Jay -Z, Slum village,dwele,John Legend, Common,rhymefest,estelle,Kid Cudi, Dialated Peoples, etc..... a Sick amount of good music to choose from. The power hour is back!

Please Join us this Saturday at 10pm at the Shadow Lounge for a Dance Party Featuring Dj's SMI and Special Guest DJ Buscrates as we usher in the new Classic Material as well as the Old. Buscrates will also be bringing some special treats that have nothing to do with Ye.

18+ to party 21+ to drink .cost: $5 dress code: anything

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Sonoma Grille (Giveaway)

Yves Carreau, award recipient of The Restaurateur of the Year award, has really hit a home run with The Sonoma Grille located downtown Pittsburgh at 946 Penn avenue. Last week Malik and I had the opportunuty to sit down and sample some of the best food that I have had the pleasure of enjoying in long time. Not a stranger to the Pittsburgh restaurant scene, I have very discriminating tastes when it comes to food and wine. Thankfully the Sonoma Grille did not disappoint.

When we arrived I was instantly pleased and set at ease by the inviting decor of The Sonoma Grille. A West Coast kitchen and wine bar indeed! The bar is large, the back wall of the bar is actually a 20ft. wine case which houses a collection of over 1,000 bottles of wine. Quit impressive. We waited for a half hour, I was not happy. Fortunately, Randy Wright the General Manger came to greet us, then invited us to our seats, and prepared us for a five course tasting of some of the stand out items on the menu. Our servers Barb and Eddie were very knowledgeable and quit pleasant, which added to an exceptional dining experience. Allow me to expound...

The Food: Executive Chef Andrew Hebson makes sure that Sonoma’s fare is a melting pot of international cuisine, wrapped with a California twist. Each dish highlights local, organic or sustainable food, each utilized at the peak of their season. Each dish accentuates the purity of the ingredients and is served with complementing preparations and pairings. Some of my favorites include the wild mushroom/pesto/goat cheese flat bread, the organic salmon, which is done to perfection, and my absolute top choice, the Char Su duck w/sticky rice. For dessert, the gianduja tartlette with hazelnut butter and chocolate ganache was surprisingly tasty as it was pared with a nice 20yr Tawny Port.

The Wine: Sonoma Grille has over 1,000 bottles of wine for serving, and hundreds of those are served by the glass. The W H Smith Pinot Noir was the lightest and fruitiest Noir I have tasted, and paired well with the beet salad w/honeyed beets and micro arugula.

There are many great wines to choose from to pair with any dish. I didn't try any cocktails, but a lovely woman out with her family enjoying The Sonoma Grille for the first time, informed me that her martini was "exquisite".

May I suggest ordering from the tasting menu if you are going to The Sonoma Grille for the first time either alone or with a group, and you are not sure what to order. Be sure to sample wines. Ask your server if you are unsure about which wines would be best with your meal choice.

The Sonoma Grille is most certainly one of great Pittsburgh restaurants that I will be returning to, and also recommending to anyone who wants to know where to have great food, great wine, and have a great dinning experience. The fact that Sonoma uses local, in season, and organic food that is "farm to plate" is enough to get me in the door, the fact that the food tastes awesome is enough to keep me coming back!

Want to try it for yourself? My friends at The Sonoma Grille have offered one $25 gift card to a lucky SpotlightPittsburgh reader. All you have to do is comment to this post below, and tell us what your favorite wine is and why it is your favorite, and we will choose the reader with the most interesting answer. Thats all you have to do! Be sure to leave your email address so that you can be contacted about your prize! Good luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Grand Groove w/ DJ Selecta

Hey everyone! I am sure that you have all been well. You have had ups and downs sure, but we are HERE, and that means that there is hope.

So, this week we are fortunate to have another Grand Groove Radio newsletter post from the great DJ Selecta. Read on as he shares about his time on the Left, side as he calls it. GG radio airs live every Sunday night from 12am-4am on 91.3 FM WYEP in Pittsburgh and online worldwide. Selecta can be reached @ 412.916.7365 with any questions. Enjoy!

Well, I'm back from my enjoyable, albeit short excursion to the Left (Coast). I Was in San Fran for an extended weekend of crate digging and matrimonial festivities. Shout to Chris @ Groove Merchant for keeping a nice stock of rarities across a multi-genre spectrum. I peeped a 7" copy of the Leroy McGee sleeper "The Burg" on the wall for a mere $125! The crazy thing is that they steadily go for the price, even in this dire economy. I still can't believe that my man Buscrates found a grip of 45's for $3 a pop @ Jerry's before the record was unearthed by UK soundsmith Nick Faber several years back. Check the link below if you haven't heard this funky mid 70's ode to our City Of Steel! But, let me digress and get back on the Groove Merchant tip and congratulate them for 20 years in the biz! The always funky team (shout to Jason!) at Ubiquity Records just released an amazing comp of Edits entitled "Groove Merchant Turns 20", giving praise to the legendary record shop that spawned the equally as legendary record label.
Speaking of black cylindrical objects.... One project that has been taking up most of my time, hence the short updates as of late, is the re-opening of 720 Records in our largest location yet. The new shop will be part Cafe', Record Shop, and Clothing Store, catering to both genders. Our team has been working hard for the last 6 months and we are ready to officially open on Black Friday. Stay tuned for more information on the grand opening shindig in updates to follow.
Musically speaking, perusing the blogosphere paid off royally this week. I accidentally stumbled upon a track from 1500 Or Nothing featuring none other than Little Brother/Foreign Exchange member Phonte. I'm a sucker for anything he puts out these days. Tigallo can bring life to the most lackluster of joints with his mixture of crooning and lyrical prowess. Keep them coming Te! Now on to digging of the more traditional kind, I was extremely late on discovering the DJ Platurn (Oakland, CA) reworking of Midnight Star's "Midas Touch on the Bastard Boots imprint. I tend to stay up on anything that comes out on the tiny BK based label but somehow this one slipped through the cracks. Platurn completely reconstructs the MS classic, giving it a broken beat/electro feel complete with new vocals from Kat. Dancefloor killer!
Next week promises to be jam packed with treats as several releases drop including the highly anticipated "LadyKiller" Lp from Cee-Lo Greene. I also have a cache of records that I intend to throw in the mix from my journey out west as well!