Bop City Pacific
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Bop City Pacific


Band Hip Hop R&B


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Return of Slick"

Jazz-hop is back. It hit a decade ago, but you can take a trip to back to Bop City at Oakland's Uptown this week, when rappers HoFlow and Mic Blake and singer Caitlin Cornwell unveil their new album Swollen — Present to Past. If those names sound familiar, they should. Bop City's principals have been at the thick of the local live music scene since the early '90s in outfits like Alphabet Soup, the Mo'Fessionals, and Jungle Biskit. More urban than its predecessors, the new Bop City sound uses more rhymes than extended instrumentals, and Cornwell's exquisite voice adds undeniable smoothness to the rhythmic mix. - East Bay Express

"Bop City Pacific delivers a funky hip-hop sound"

BOP CITY PACIFIC may not look like a brand new band to some local club-goers.

That's understandable, given that Bop's three vocalists — Martin G. Reynolds, Caitlin T. Cornwell and Michael Blake — are all longtime veterans of the Bay Area music scene. The other cats on the bandstand, including drummer Ronnie Smith, keyboardist Jacob Aginsky and bassist David Ewell, have also been hitting it live in Bay clubs for years.

Yet as we know, looks can be deceiving. Don't trust your eyes. Trust your ears.

If you do, you'll find that East Bay-based Bop City Pacific is a much different project for its principals. Vocalist Cornwell is known for fronting such funk-soul outfits as the Mo'Fessionals. Rappers Reynolds and Blake have previously drawn acclaim with local acid-jazz champions Jungle Biskit and Alphabet Soup.

"Bop City Pacific is more funky and more hip-hop," says Blake, comparing his current project with Biskit and Soup. "The idea of Bop City was to fully integrate the hip-hop side with the instrumental band side and make them work together."

The result, the band hopes, is music that feels both timely and timeless.

"We're inspired by Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bob Marley," says Blake, who also goes by the stage name Micblake. "They were all able to put into song and verse very beautiful messages. They put it together in a way that was palatable to many different nations. You can still listen to Bob Marley. You can still listen to Stevie Wonder. (Their music) is like a good story."

If you're interested in getting a proper read on this exciting act, Bop City Pacific will be celebrating the release of its debut record, "Swollen, Present to Past," with two shows. The band will perform tonight at the Uptown Nightclub in Oakland and on Wednesday at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco.

"Swollen" is a solid debut, which is exactly what one would expect given the band members' track records. Yet as good as the record is, don't be surprised if the band comes across even better in the live arena.

That's where Reynolds' and Blake's experience in jazz comes into play. It's all fine and dandy if a player has chops in the studio. But in jazz, if you can't cut it on the live stage then don't even bother showing up.

Bop City Pacific's ability to put on an entertaining live show is one of the fundamental elements that separates it from other hip-hop acts.

"Being able to prove it live has been a part of my life for a long time, because that was the essence of jazz," says Reynolds, a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan who goes by the stage name HoFlow. "I'd rather be better live than be tight in the studio. I mean, you need to be both.

"There are rap artists who are recording artists. They are not live performers. Being able to put it down live and sound as good if not better than your CD... it's what gets me up in the morning. That's the part I love the most."

Bop City's roots run deep — both personally and professionally.

Reynolds and Blake have known each other since they were teens, having played football together at Berkeley High School. In the'90s, these old friends would team up again in Jungle Biskit and other local projects.

Cornwell, a Berkeley native who was raised in Oakland, is engaged to be married to Reynolds. The couple has two children: 6-year-old Ani and 4-year-old Mahari.

The Bop City story begins back in the mid-'90s when a super-group of hot local acid-jazz players went to play some gigs in Europe. The band took the temporary name the San Francisco All Stars and its ranks included Reynolds (a member of Jungle Biskit, Mingus Amungus and several other groups) and Blake (Broun Fellinis, Daddy Goddus, Alphabet Soup, among others).

The group was such a hit with fans that the players knew they were on to something. They also knew they needed a better name. They chose Bop City, minus the Pacific part, to pay homage to Jimbo's Bop City, the 1940s-era jazz club in San Francisco's once-flourishing Fillmore jazz district.

Jimbo's was the place where jazz cats would go after hours, once they had finished their regular paying gigs, and just jam. That's when the real hot stuff would hit.

Initially, Bop City (the band) wasn't all that different than Alphabet Soup or Jungle Bizkit. It was basically a smokin' good acid-jazz troupe that drew on some hip-hop elements.

But the band didn't take in its first incarnation, partially because life got in the way of the music. Both Reynolds and Blake were involved in other business endeavors. Blake eventually moved to Los Angeles to try his hand in that city's music business. Reynolds pursued a career in journalism and is currently an associate editor for this newspaper.

Both cats, however, kept in contact. Then, a few years back, they decided to restart the band. But restarting wasn't enough — they wanted to refashion it and do something new. They changed the name to Bop City Pacific to mark this new era.
- Oakland Tribune


Bopcity: BopCity EP
Bopcity: Swollen Present to Past



Bop City’s mission is to capture life, politics, passion, angst, joy, pain, love and family witin the lyrics we write, the songs we produce and the performances we present.

What is Bop City?

Bop City, where we dwell: It’s a place where the neo-funk smellz. A place I can shout out loud while not offending the crowd. Bop City is not physical. It’s a meta-phyzical, spiritual, where artists get lifted, everyday folk come to kick it and get twisted. Bop City is a state of mental, where booty, beauty, politics and passion, a dash of joy, a pinch of pain, a lot a’ love and la raza are intertwined into the delicious…bopalicious.