Ranking statesman of Bay Area beats, Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist, packed his schedule this week, catching DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist at the Fox Theater Tuesday, Common and Jay Electronica at the Regency Wednesday, and appearing at his own free debut of “Funkology” at Pop's Bar in the deep Mission on Friday. Spinning “360 degrees of pure funk” – past, present and future – he says, “I'm gonna educate them on music, but at the same time it's going to be fun. As Afrika Bambaataa said, 'It's all about peace, unity, love and having fun.'”
We could all use some of that this week.
Ren is the longtime Bay Area force behind news and culture website TrueSkool.com – keeping the pulse of hip hop, soul and reggae music and shows in the Bay and beyond.
Throwing parties and DJing in the Bay since 1999, Ren brings his world-class curatorial skills to the newly renovated Pop's, whose owner also owns Madrone. “I wanted to kind of do the funk, but I also like all styles of music and the funk was kind of like the basis for dance music, just in general, ” he says.
Ren grew up a hip-hop head in New York, B-boying back in middle school in 1983. His first digs into hip hop led to James Brown, Sly, George Clinton and other greats. Those grooves wended their way through the '90s rave scene on the East Coast.
After he burned out, new loves like groove parties, acid jazz, Digable Planets-era hip hop, and Daft Punk “always went back to the funk.”
When he's not DJing events, Ren [does marketing] for Another Planet and Goldenvoice, and works on growing TrueSkool.com into a social network.
“It's a lot of hard work to keep everything updated. From the beginning, I always wanted to give it more than my own show announcements,” he says, “I wanted to educate people.”
Ren's [highlights for 2014 included opening] for Pharoahe Monch, 9th wonder, and Nightmares on Wax.
Witnessing 16 years of changes in Bay Area music, the father and husband says, “I think we're doing just fine, there's so many venues now. It's still as diverse as ever. In terms of the S.F. scene, I can't really say anything bad about it. It's thriving. I think tech has definitely helped to keep things alive. I definitely am optimistic.”
IF YOU GO
Funkology with Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist
When: 10 p.m. Nov. 28
Where: Pop's Bar, 2800 24th St., S.F.
Tickets: Free, ages 21+