mike relm

Rapper Ka, Drops Nights Gambit LP and Shakes Up The Game

Some albums just touch you. In Hip-Hop there are a few albums that, from the first second you knew they would be forever impactful. For me It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Illmatic, Straight Outta Compton, Livin' Like Hustlers and Enter The Wu-Tang and a few others strike your soul almost immediately. 

NY rapper Ka, has accomplished the same with Night's Gambit. Unlike the bulk of rap music today this album is quiet. He does not yell, he almost whispers. Ka's beats have minimalist drums. They are instead haunting melodies with soul moaning elements woven between the rhyme. 

This album is dark. He's from Brooklyn so the reality of violence and the psychology of the streets is in here from front to back. At the same time though, there is an authentic spiritual accent to his work. Not spiritual as in "I'm trying to convert you to what I believe." Rather he just shares indications of how he interprets what he has endured spiritually. 

If you are not up on the meaning of his name, its kinda simple:

"The Ka (kꜣ) was the Egyptian concept of vital essence, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, with death occurring when the ka left the body."

That explains the spiritual edge. Snippets from Bruce Lee films, Fresh and Sherlock Holmes are placed here and there. He directed all the videos for this album. You can find them on Youtube. I've said too much. Sit down, and soak it in. Kids get your parents permission before you listen. This is where art imitates life. So, the violence of the times is reflected here. It is not celebratory. Still I don't wanna get blamed for corrupting humanity with rap. PEACE!

San Francisco Examiner feat. on Hip-Hop Chess

Senior Raheem Payton was oblivious to the students crowding around him, sitting on a bench in the middle of the quad, deep in thought about the consequences of moving his knight forward. His opponent in this chess game, security guard Adisa Banjoko, waited patiently for him to meditate on making his move. Suddenly, the silence was broken as the front doors of the school burst open.

“They got guns!” A student screamed, as four males brandishing handguns rushed through the lobby, their voices barking orders at the students to move out of the way.

READ FULL STORY HERE

Adisa Banjoko & Mike Relm @ The World Chess Hall of Fame May 8th!

Live the Game: National Experts Convene in St. Louis

to Highlight the Powerful Fusion of Chess, Hip Hop, and Martial Arts

March 4, 2013 (St. Louis, MO) -- Look closely and you’ll see it at the beginning of the new Justin Timberlake video featuring Jay-Z. Read the lyrics of “General Principles” by GZA. Check out the album cover for Pawns in the Game, the 1990 album by Public Enemy emcee Professor Griff. It also shows up with RZA in scenes featuring hip hop characters on the hit TV show Californication.

It’s chess. And at first glance, it doesn't appear to have a link to hip hop. Throw martial arts into the mix and you really have to have your finger on the pulse of popular culture to know about the connection.

A group of national experts who really do know do “have their finger on the pulse” – and know the impact that this combination can have on young people – will meet in St. Louis on May 8 to present to students of the Innovative Concept Academy. A second session with local leaders will be held at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library.

“These presentations will illustrate how chess and martial arts have been woven into the history of hip hop. Further, it will show how the blending of art, logic, and physical fitness guide young people to self-discovery, self-mastery, and nonviolence,” said Adisa Banjoko, journalist and founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation.

Banjoko, who has been tapped to present at institutions like Harvard University and Brown University, assembled the group and will moderate discussions. Panelists include Dr. James Peterson (founder of Hip Hop Scholars, LLC, and director of Africana studies at Lehigh University), Mike Relm Youtube video remix icon and co-founder of Bishop Chronicles podcast show, Asheru (Peabody Award-winning journalist, creator of The Boondocks theme song, educator, and youth activist), and Alan "Gumby" Marques (Black belt in jiu-jitu and founder of Heroes Martial Arts).

The presentations are sponsored and coordinated by The World Chess Hall of Fame.

“Our focus at the World Chess Hall of Fame is to show how the game of chess has an impact on society. The work of Adisa and the other panelists has been life-changing for many people. The examples they will share will show how this change can happen in St. Louis as well,” said Susan Barrett, executive director of the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Details

Date: May 8, 2013

Presentation 1: 10 am, Innovative Concept Academy

Presentation 2: 3:30 pm, Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library

About Adisa Banjoko

Adisa Banjoko is a respected journalist, lecturer and the founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation. His organization has appeared in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and Vibe magazine. He’s also been a guest on NPR and Good Morning America.

About Dr. James Peterson

Dr. James Braxton Peterson (Duke ’93, UPENN 2003) is the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. He has been a visiting lecturer and preceptor in African American Studies at Princeton University and the Media Coordinator for the Harvard University Hip Hop Archive. He is also the founder of Hip Hop Scholars, LLC, an association of Hip Hop generational scholars dedicated to researching and developing the cultural and educational potential of Hip Hop, urban, and youth cultures.

About Mike Relm

Mike Relm is a pioneer video remix artist who has toured with The Blue Man Group, Tony Hawk and rocked stages at Coachella, Bonnaroo and The House of Blues. He has more than 13 million hits on Youtube. Notable remixes include Iron Man 2Old SpiceScott Pilgrim Vs. The World,Doctor Who, and Harry Potter. His Punisher/Spirit/Transporter remix won the 2009 Webby Award for Best Mashup/Remix.

About Asheru

Asheru, born Gabriel Benn, is a hip hop artist, educator, and youth activist. He is widely known for performing the opening and closing themes for the popular TV series, The Boondocks, as well as his pioneering and innovative efforts to forward the Hip Hop Education movement.

About Alan “Gumby” Marques

Gumby is a second degree black belt in Jiu Jutsu and is best know as the co-founder of OTM, one of the world’s leading sources for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is an author, commentator, coach, referee, and instructor.

About the World Chess Hall of Fame

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The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 9, 2011, in St. Louis’s Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York and Miami.

The WCHOF is housed in an historic 15,900 square-foot building that includes three floors of galleries, the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, and the stylish Q Boutique. It provides visitors with a unique opportunity to use chess as a platform for learning, exploring, and seeing their world in entirely new ways.

It is the only cultural institution of its kind in the world and the only solely chess-focused collecting institution in the U.S.

For more information, visit www.worldchesshof.org

Chess: A Game of Faith NOT Religion

Chess is not an inherently religious game. But it is indeed a game of faith. Looking at almost any chess board from any period of time there may be religious symbols on the board, or the pieces. Most games today have the king wearing a Christian cross atop of the crown. Pieces from the Muslim world might have no specific outward form. The bishop, knight etc. may just be various heights but not really resemble anything specific. This is due to the Prophet Muhammad's stern warnings against idol worship.

Anyone looking at the games global impact would be hard pressed to ignore the roles that so many religions have had on the game. On the Islamic impact of chess during the Moorish rule of Spain, author David Shenk wrote “The game seemed to speak directly to the new Muslim ideals- and found its way into the progressive rhetoric of the day”. Indeed, the first complete book on chess was written by a Muslim in 840 AD. 

Judaism has a rich history with chess as well. Abraham ibn Ezra was a Spanish poet and medieval Jewish scholar. He wrote a beautiful poem about the game saying “I will sing a song of battle...Yet no swords are drawn in warfare”. Jewish contributions to the game are many. The hypermodern theme of controlling the center comes from Hebrew chess masters. It was written that “Rabbis have incessantly debated the game’s virtue, some objecting that it took too much time away from scholarship but most praising chess and encouraging it among youth as a tool to focus the intellect.”

Christianity brought its own contributions. From the introduction of the queen (replacing the Muslim Vizer/General), to the introduction of the move called the Ruy Lopez (named after the Spanish priest who invented it) chess been a long time fixture of western culture and art. 

Still, chess is a game beyond the dogma of all the religions that have affected its global footprint. Without forcing a specific doctrine onto the mind of the player, one is still forced by the rough and tumble nature of the game to believe in a positive future. Then ones faith is challenged to make that positive vision of the future a reality. I believe that the natural spark of faith that chess inspires influenced almost all religions to embrace the game. But again, chess does this free of dogma.

I often played some of my best games at O’Connell High with a student we will call Che. He is a  tough kid from the hard streets of San Francisco’s Mission District. He has a beautiful smile but rarely displays it. Che talks less than he smiles and dresses in a way that makes him easy to loose in a crowd. Its deliberate. Che won’t let me take his picture. I don’t know if that request it because of his shyness, or he does not want enemies on the street, or police, to have a clean look at him. Most of the people he hung out with a few years ago are in jail, or were expelled from O’Connell. He walks alone a lot, keeping a low profile from students as well as teachers.

Everything you’ll never know about Che’s psychology not found through conversation, are displayed in his play on the board. His style is aggressive and deceptive. He never backs down. Any game with him is pure pressure from start to finish. I actually stopped playing with him for a bit because it was demoralizing. 

But two weeks ago, for reasons I cannot explain, I decided to go head to head with Che. The woodshop teacher asked me to watch his room for a minute. Soon as Che saw me his dark eyes smiled as he spoke “Yo Deez (my nickname is O.G. Deez- a shortening of the Disa in Adisa) lets play man. C’mon man, lets play a game real quick.” The teacher was like “I don’t care, here is my board, I’ll be back.”

I could not duck the challenge in front of so many other kids. “Thats the chess dude, lets see if Che can beat him” one of them said as he pulled up a chair. 

I said “OK, but Che usually kills me, so this should be a short game.”

As soon as I sat down though, for reasons I cannot explain, I had faith that I would win. Without planning anything I just dove in, and did a variation of what they call the fried liver (so-called becoause it a nasty attack). This forced a bunch of holes in Che’s pawn structure that allowed me  to follow it with a punishing queen raid. He was shocked...I was shocked.
But now I had to follow my shock with some awe. I surgically removed his pieces and threatening repeatedly. Che stayed focus, but the initial queen raid did too much damage. He refused to die quietly though. Before the finish he snagged a knight of mine I left hanging in the fog of stress that it took to win. “Good game man, I cannot believe it” Che said as he shook my hand. The bell rang as we shook hands. “I want another game tomorrow” he said as he walked out.

A few days later we played after school. It was about an hour long game. Che was his usual, non-emotional self driving in for the kill. I secured an air tight pawn structure that locked down my control of the center. As I did that I lined up a rook on the A file trying to bash in his fianchettoed pawns and bishop. As I distracted him with the pressure on the A file, I played a risky game of chicken with my king, knight and rook on the E file so I could free up my rook on the G file. Eventually, I ran that rook to the 7th rank. In the middle of his stifled attack on my king with his queen I ran my G file rook behind his pawn and now had two rooks on the A file breathing down the neck of his king with deadly intent. He never saw it coming. Faith had got me through, again! 

After my rooks won the day we laughed a bit. He promised me another game. I reminded him he wins seven games to any two I win so he should not feel too bad about it. Che told me in whispered tones after the game that he stopped smoking weed and he’s taking after school classes to ensure he graduates this year. Thats the most he’s told me about his life in a long time. We walked away from the board that day with a new sense of faith in what we could do on and off the board with our lives. Faith in winning a game with little chance of victory, opened doors of the heart, giving way to new levels of communication.  

In English the word we use is Faith. In Arabic, its Iman. In Hebrew, its Aman. However you say it, in whatever language resonates best with your heart- hold onto it. But don’t be afraid to share some with those in need.

EXCLUSIVE: Adisa Banjoko Featured on Rap Genius

Today the website www.rapgenius.com ran a cool story by me. It is about the top 10 chess lyrics in Hip-Hop. Please check it out and share your thoughts on it...More soon! READ IT HERE: http://rapgenius.com/posts/1627-Top-ten-chess-lyrics-in-hip-hop AND HERE http://rapgenius.com/posts/1631-Top-ten-martial-arts-songs-in-hip-hop ! You will learn a lot about the deeper connections between Hip-Hop, chess, rap, b-boying, and find out what DJ used Bruce Lee in his logo. Shout out to Shawn Setaro and all the Rap Genius family for having me on deck. 

Chuck D of Public Enemy and Adisa play a game on a Barack Obama board...

Chuck D of Public Enemy and Adisa play a game on a Barack Obama board...

What are some of your favorite rap lyrics about chess?

3PA > 1NT (and you said you were good at math!)

Graff in San Francisco...Cool ain't it...?

Graff in San Francisco...Cool ain't it...?

Since the year has just begun and people are super focused on new goals, I wanted to share something. I wanted to talk about the importance of making positive daily actions toward your goals. Having a goal is essential! If you are unsure about what you want to do with your life, that’s ok- everybody goes through those phases. But you must remain in constant search of taking in new experiences and information (never stop reading!) in order to see what your future options. If chess helps you learn one thing in life, its always take time to properly weigh your options.

More than ever, this planet is moving at a tremendous speed with constantly evolving technologies, political systems, social systems and economies. Even the way art is made, distributed, and sold is also in transition. It’s a beautiful time to be alive and there are amazing opportunities to learn from and grow through all around you. But without a clear goal, you might find yourself overwhelmed by it all and before you finish smiling, it’s over. Life really moves that fast.

Part of it is the intensity of the unstable economy and our broken educational system. It can leave you feeling unprepared at best and extremely stressed and depressed at worst. Negative thoughts can be crippling to the mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes negative thoughts are fed to us from our family, friends and the media. Despite meaning well, it’s common that those who love us mislead us. Not from a place of hate, but more often than not, it’s just a transfer of fear that they carried and put onto you.

Regardless of their intention these negative thoughts can invade your head like a virus and alter the normal function of your brain. Your sense of self worth and ability become distorted. Soon your bad habits and negative affirmations lead you to assured failure and unhappiness.

To free yourself of this virus you must first decide that your mind, body, and soul are sacred. The word sacred comes from a Latin root word sacrare mean “to devote”. One of the definitions of sacred is “properly immune from violence, interference etc. as a person”. After you recognize your inherent sacred nature, you quickly understand that anything sacred is worthy of defending. The easiest way to defend yourself against any threat (physical, mental, economic, etc.) is to keep yourself consistently in tune with the true current state of the world. You need to be clear on your place in it and where you are headed.

After many years of living a very distracted life, I recently developed a methodology to combat consistent distractions. I write is as 3PA > 1NT. Meaning three positive actions are greater than one negative thought!

The next time you find your mind idle on the couch or in front of the TV and a negative thought enters your mind you must first get up (if you are lying down, sit up, if you were sitting stand and if you were standing sit). Change your physical posture as you adjust your mind. No thought is stronger than action taken. Now we begin.

Example #1 : If you are worried about the big test, take three positive actions against that fear. Read 3 pages on the subject that were giving you the most trouble. Or you could read one page, look up an article on the subject online and call a mentor to ask a specific question you lack clarity on.

Example #2: If you feel out of shape when you look yourself in the mirror, then right there drop and do ten push ups (or as many as you can do) ten sit ups and ten minutes on the jump rope.

Example #3: If you want a new job, go sign up at 3 new sites online or dig deeper on the sites you prefer and send no less than three resumes out.

Those are the simple examples I can give but the equations are applicable to many more situations. To get started, write 3PA > 1NT in big letters on a piece of binder paper and place it on your favorite mirror, on your fridge, or make it your screen saver. Say the equation and its meaning when you look at it. As you do that, you’ll begin to slowly implement it more and more when obstacles clutter your path.

One of the best things about this method is that you will quickly learn how little effort it takes to take three positive actions. In no time at all you will be taking six, ten and twelve actions to breakthrough to the next level. Using the 3PA > 1NT will give you a much greater sense of peace in your personal, scholastic and professional world.

You will sleep better and worry less because you will make taking action your core instinct. In chess playing defense too long is always fatal. At some point you must commit to moving forward or die exhausted from reactive moves dictated by outside forces.

In order to ensure its full impact, you must use the 3PA > 1NT for 21 days straight. Studies show it takes 21 days for a habit to set into your mind. Allow this to become a part of your daily mental regimen and you will be unstoppable in any arena you walk.

Jay Z is not at the top of the world by accident. He is a chess player. 

Jay Z is not at the top of the world by accident. He is a chess player. 

Bishop Chronicles Mike Relm in SF Examiner

If you don't know, now ya know...

Mike Relm Feature in SF Examiner! :

This dude is cool...seriously cool. 

This dude is cool...seriously cool. 

A god among VJs, Mike Relm returns to the Independent on Friday for a fierce mashup set the likes of which have earned Relm more than 

13 million YouTube views and counting.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/music/2013/01/mike-relm-s-ghetto-blaster-slams-sf#ixzz2IxXKYYpO