The Gold Series Interview + Giveaway

Published On May 1, 2014 | By Kymbo Slice | Interviews
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Waajeed PittsburghYou might have noticed the Round Corner Cantina has been steppin’ up their game recently with a lineup of bookings they’re touting as the Gold Series. A nod to the “Golden Era” of hip-hop, this series has brought the likes of Rich Medina and Booty Fade to town, with a killer set of guests lined up in the coming weeks. This Friday they’ll be hosting the official Pharoahe Monch afterparty with locals SMI, Selecta and resident Bamboo. We had a chance to speak with Derek, one of the owners, and part of the team responsible for bringin’ back the scene to one of the best spots in Lawrenceville to have a taco and sip Tecates on an inviting outdoor patio. Here are his thoughts on what’s to come, as well as a little background as to why he’s so influenced by the genre. While his love for So Cal cuisine has been made apparent through the food his establishment serves, there’s a lot more to learn about his other passions.

So what exactly is the Gold Series?

A recognition of the Golden Era of 90s hip hop, what my partner (Sarah Fitzgerald) and I grew up with. Of course that quality of production and realness never stopped happening, but there is a clear resurgence of it coming back into focus with young producers, DJs and MCs creating or collaborating with many of the original or older cats. This isn’t a new concept by any means, but we’re doing it on a consistently top flight scale in an intimate setting. I suppose our gold leafed ceiling inadvertently ties it all together as well.

Who has been involved in past events?

We really kicked it off with Stretch Armstrong of The Stretch & Bobbito Show (WKCR). As many know, Source Magazine called The Stretch & Bobbito Show “the greatest hip hop radio show of all time”. Thankfully we’re in a central location, allowing us to easily draw on these original peoples who cultivated the genre from the jumpoff. We are doing the same thing on a local level, slowly bringing in the people that put in the same time and dedication here in Pittsburgh.

How long do you plan on running the series?

Gold Series will run as long as it is supported. Booking folks like Rich Medina, Bobbito, Grandmaster Flash, Large Professor, Tony Touch, Cosmo Baker…it requires support to maintain that level. This is a personal passion project of ours that we want to see run forever. Support will make that happen.

How do you choose your bookings?

Every booking we do is either due to relationships/friendships we already have with artists, along with referrals from those artists and a couple other venue owners in NYC (shout out Lily Cho/Amy Sacco/Bungalow 8). Everyone involved is happy to spread the word to help this grow. We have yet to have an artist not refer us directly to at least one more artist. The focus is on the DJs and producers of the era, along with mixing in the newer generation of creative DJs/Producers that are expanding on the genre.

Who are some of your favorite Golden Era artists?

Growing up in San Diego, I had as much LA & east bay influence as I did east coast. Still though, Pete Rock & CL, Guru, the Roots, De La, Tribe, NAS and the Wu really set me off as a young suburban beach-town kid. The ‘Liks, Ugly Duckling, Pharcyde, J5 and Del were all more easily accessible given the proximity, and were the soundtrack of our childhood. Being kids on the west coast though, I think we all sorta fantasized about east coast hip hop. We were surrounded by NWA, Cube, Dre etc morning, noon & night. Everyone’s car, house party, in between classes…. Because of that we just always wanted something different. As you grow older you appreciate what you took for granted back then, but it forced us to expand as far as we could reach. Meanwhile, Cut Chemist was probably the best hip hop DJ that we could get to in Southern Cali at that time.

What ultimately made you decide to go with a hip hop night?

This era of Hip Hop was my gateway drug. It gave me rhythm, and opened my head up to things I would have never understood musically and in life as a whole. It pushed me into deeper genres of dance music and connected those genres. It only makes sense for us to come full circle with it.

Come get a taste of the action tomorrow for the next edition of the Gold Series and enter our giveaway for the Friday, May 9th session with Detroit’s Waajeed, who will be joined by Gold Series resident DJ Bamboo and our own Pittsburgh Track Authority. More details on that can be found here. We’ll notify the winner via e-mail, so keep an eye on those inboxes!

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