Yung Poppa – a rapper from South L.A

Listen to an audio story on Yung Poppa from Annenberg Radio News

“Hip-Hop is my mega phone, hip hop is my pedestal, I can describe hip-hop in so many ways, it’s like my sister who I love a lot and I love talking to, that’s hip-hop to me.”

Yung Poppa is a hip hop artist from South Central Los Angeles. He’s been rapping as long as he can remember.

“My first song I wrote when I was 11. I wrote the song, I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to write music, I wrote one song, then it was 2, then it was 3, and I don’t know how many are now,” says Poppa.

At the age of 24, he’s still writing songs and is determined to become known in the hip hop world.

He spends his days at a humble apartment off Crenshaw Boulevard that he and his cousin “Sleep” transformed into a recording studio.

imageThis is where Yung Poppa creates his music. A stack of papers in a plastic bag serves as the music library. The recording booth where Poppa raps is separated from the mixing room by just a heavy wool blanket. The studio is professionally equipped with an electronic keyboard neatly placed on a kitchen table along with a mixing board, computers and speakers.

“First thing I do, I start with the beat first, then you get your beats, lay it out and send it to pro-tools and let the magic happen,” says Poppa.

Proud to be from South LA, he raps about the daily struggles Angelinos face. “It gives me my inspiration – I utilize the effects of being from South LA, East LA, West LA and put it in my music.”

Poppa loves music. He taught himself the piano, the drums and the guitar. His music is influenced by many artists – from Ray Charles to Beethoven. He also uses a mix of East Coast and West Coast rap to create his unique sound.image

“Very few people in LA are lyrical. People in the East coast are very lyrical, they use metaphors, punch lines. People out here don’t use it, and they tell real stories. So what I do, I use lyricism and tell real stories and put it all in one, and you got yourself a little happy song.”

Yung Poppa’s career has been on the rise for the past year. With Sleep, he owns the record label Street Lyfe C.O.M.E., scheduled to release Poppa’s latest EP “Blunt Ashes” in October. ”I have 2 singles released right now, released for two months now on Itunes and Rhapsodies. A site we like to push is reverb” and it’s for free.”

Poppa has performed in various venues in Los Angeles and has opened to famous local hip hop artists such as MAN and Kendrik Lamar. His fan base has been expanding. He hopes that his next show will be in Arizona. “A Local buzz is cool, but I gotta branch out,” he says.

Yung Poppa may have a hard road ahead before he becomes famous but he has a source of inspiration. “My Grandma and my cousin who passed away, I do this for them. When I can’t get a verse out, I just think of them and I do it for them, everyday!”

Local company hosts annual Thanksgiving giveaway

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Thousands of people from across the city came for the Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. The music was cranked up loud; most people were dancing and clapping, even those in wheelchairs.

Everyone had a reason to be there. Some were there because times have been hard, and they needed to make a Thanksgiving dinner for their families. Others were there to get a turkey dinner and give it away to those who need it.

Boy’s murder on Halloween sparks anger in local community

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Happy and proud of his Spiderman costume, 5-year-old Aaron Shannon was getting ready for a Halloween party, when he was shot in the back of his head. The young boy’s death sparked anger in the community due to the heinous nature of the crime and the innocence of the victims.

Detective Douglas Pierce is one of the main investigators on the case. He says the Los Angeles Police Department was overwhelmed with the number of phone calls about the boy’s murder.

The Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offered a $100,000 reward for information in the case.

Marcus Denson, 18, and Leonard Hall, Jr., 21, both admitted members of the Kitchen Crips, were arrested last week. Despite their young age, both suspects have prior convictions. Denson was on probation for battery and criminal threats. Hall was on parole for a narcotic related crime.

Detective Pierce is in contact with Shannon’s family. He says “the arrests will not take the pain away.”


A viewing will be held Thursday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m at the Simpson Family Mortuary, 5138 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90037-3837.

The funeral is Friday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m. It will be at the City of Refuge Church, 14527 South San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 90248.


Picture courtesy of LAist

Organized campaigns monitor voter fraud at election polls


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Voters can call the Election Protection Hotline to seek free, confidential, non-partisan advice about registration and voting.

Sandra Thompson, an attorney and “captain” at the Los Angeles call center office, explains that when voters run into problems, the organization activates their mobile voter unit. She specifies that most of the problems the office has encountered are similar to the ones encountered in 2008, consisting mainly of voter registration. There are also incidents where many people, especially Latinos, have been inundated by Robocalls with misinformation.

To get in touch with the Election Protection Hotline, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Superintendent proposes budget plan for Los Angeles Unified School District

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Megan Rilley is chief financial officer for the superintendent’s office. She says these federal funds have saved jobs.

Rilley: One-time funding doesn’t solve the problems, especially if we have declining enrollment where our student population is coming down, and if our expenditures are still increasing. So, we have to really address those problems, which are more fundamental, systemic issues, rather than relying on every year, some new funding to come out of Washington D.C.

Next year, they are trying to save $142 million. The remedy will require furloughs and further salary reductions, but it will save 3,300 jobs, and it will also decrease the number of school days.

Rilley: I think for the 2011, 2012 school years, I think there will be job reductions. I don’t think that can be avoided. What we’re trying to do is minimize as much as possible the impact on the programs to the students and then to the employees that would potentially be effected.

The superintendent’s office has until July 2011 to find the best solutions for the school district.

Meeting addresses health of minority boys and young men

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Juan Segura, a resident from Oakland, CA, is 18 years old. Segura grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother who fought cancer. At the age of 13, he joined a gang.

But now, Segura wants a change in his life. He is inspired by Sessa Cruz, his teacher. Cruz is teaching Segura about his heritage. However, his past seems to haunt him. In May, Segura was a target of a shooting that he survived. But his best friend died after a gunshot to the head.

People who gathered at the Building Healthy Communities’ Tuesday discussed people like Segura. Studies shows that young men of color between the ages of 15 to 24 have a homicide death rate 16 times greater than that of young white men.

Manuel Pastor, a professor of American Studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said young men in minority groups are not able to get the education they need to be in the labor market. He also said the two-day conference and workshops allow young men of color to be heard.

Speakers at the town hall received a preview of a new book called “Changing Places: How Communities will Improve the Health of Boys of Color.”

The town hall meeting will continue Wednesday when Juan Segura will talk about his experiences.

The jazz world mourns Buddy Collette

imageListen to the audio story here:

Buddy Collette was born into a family of musicians in Los Angeles. He grew up dreaming of a career in jazz; he got that and much more. Collette played the saxophone, the clarinet and the flute, but he was also a jazz educator.

Collette was a key figure in the thriving Los Angeles music scene on Central Avenue in the 1950s. He helped keep Bebop alive, and he played a key role in the development of the Cool Jazz movement.

He was also a pioneer and a civil rights activist in the fight against segregation in the music industry. Collette was the first African American musician to play live on television.

Frank Potenza performed with Collette. He is now the chair of the studio/guitar jazz program at the University of Southern California. He said Collette is an iconic figure in Los Angeles and in the history of jazz.

Collette will always be remembered for his great music. One of his favorites was Blues for Torrance, a song he wrote as a tribute to California.

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