CLICK LINK BELOW THE COVER ART
CLICK LINK BELOW THE COVER ART
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Meek Gaborski
Hip-Hop Chess Federation Street Games Vol. 1 Mixtape
Rakaa Iriscience, Sunspot Jonz, Zion I and Tajai Speak on Rap, Chess and Life
October 21st 2013 San Jose, CA - The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is happy to announce it will release its first mixtape album Street Games Vol. 1 will be available for FREE download on November 15th 2013 at www.hiphopchessfederation.org. Street Games Vol. 1 mixtape will highlight the connections between music, chess and martial arts and their connections to unity, strategy and nonviolence. It is 100% curse free which making it an ideal teaching tool for urban education programs.
A Plus from Hieroglyphics hosts Street Games Vol. 1 and DJ Rob Flow oversaw the production. Additional production was provided by Ronnie Lee of the Seven Trees Music Center in San Jose as well as contributions by Mike Relm and Rhapsodist. Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples, Sunspot Jonz of Living Legends, Zumbi of Zion I, Black Knights, Quadir Lateef, Jasiri X, Asheru (Boondocks Theme Song), Tajai from Hieroglyphics are all featured on the HHCF compilation. Additional wisdom illustrating the power of chess, martial arts and Hip-Hop are given by authors Jeff Chang and Dr. Joe Schloss, Jiu Jitsu master Ryron Gracie and Women's chess Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade.
Part of preparing for the November 15th release, a series of songs and articles illlustrating the connected nature of chess and life will drop:
Adisa Banjoko, Founder of the HHCF stated “ Street Games Vol. 1 was made with no budget. All of the rappers, engineers and producers gave their time and their art to make this compilation possible. This is a project done funded with love only. Neither the HHCF nor any of the artists involved will profit from Street Games Vol. 1. This compilation is a testament to the power of art over aggression. In it we illustrate life strategies through chess, illustrate triumph of patience through the pain and a showcase a wisdom beyond war. We are thankful to all the artists, martial artists and educators who helped bring this idea to reality. It was orchestrated with the hope that teens and young adults trapped in American urban war zones will be inspired to actualize their potential.”
HHCF’s Street Games Vol. 1 Mixtape was made possible in large part because of the support from companies like OnTheMat.com, The Chess Drum, Chess.com, FluxResearch.com, CTRL Industries clothing, Hip-Hop Revolution on Facebook, Seventh Son Tattoo, and Open Mat Radio. A special thanks to Tools of War Jams, Hip-Hop Congress, All Tribes Zulu Nation, San Jose Zulu Nation and 206 Zulu Nation chapters.
Street Games Vol. 1 will be available for free download November 15th at www.hiphopchessfederatino.org !
About HHCF: The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is the world's first nonprofit (501c3) to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence. They host lectures, panels, and celebrity chess events to help at-risk, gang-impacted and gang intentional youth make better decisions in life. The HHCF has been featured on Good Morning America, Forbes, Chess Life, VIBE and Rolling Stone.
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.
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 2, Old Spice, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,Doctor Who, and Harry Potter. His Punisher/Spirit/Transporter remix won the 2009 Webby Award for Best Mashup/Remix.
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
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 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.