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
Who We Are...
Bop City is a team of Berkeley/Oakland bred performers and
producers whose individual expertise and life experiences
has brought them together to form a unit devoted to music,
entertainment, enterprise and education.
Individually and collectively, we have traveled the globe.
We’ve found that the soul of our music is in the soul
of many countries and cultures. The music and its message
embodies a phrase often associated with the Bay Area: Think
globally, Act locally. We believe it’s possible to change
the world through music, one person at a time.
Martin G. Reynolds ("HoFlow")
: Vocals, Music Production
This Berkeley, California native has been involved with
music from a young age. HoFlow's first instrument was the
trumpet, which he played throughout high school. He set down
his horn to pick up a microphone, and has since emerged as
one of the Bay Area's premier lyricists. HoFlow is a Chips
Quinn Scholar and earned his degree in journalism from San
Francisco State University, while balancing a full-time position
in the young powerhouse group Jungle Biskit.
HoFlow employs his literary skills as a city editor with The
Oakland Tribune. "Being a journalist has helped me become
a better songwriter, and being a lyricist has helped me become
a better journalist," he said in an interview with L.A.
He is an original member of Mingus Amungus
and appears on both the group's CDs, "Live
in Cuba" and "Isms".
With Mingus, Jungle Biskit
and Bop City, he has toured Cuba, Europe
extensively, including shows in Istanbul, Turkey, Berlin,
and Frankfurt, Germany, Brussels, and Gent, Belgium, Milan,
and Bergamo, Italy, Rotterdam, Holland, Lustinaeu, Austria,
Athens, Greece, Washington, D.C., New York City and St. Petersburg,
Florida, to name a few cities. He has also performed alongside
such artists as Joshua Redman, Wu
Tang Klan, shared the stage with Carlos Santana,
Christian McBride, Pete Escovedo,
John Santos, The Coup, The
Mingus Big Band and a host of other notable performers.
In 1997, HoFlow and Mic Blake came together when Mic joined
Jungle Biskit. In 2002, they teamed up to create Bop City.
Their contrasting vocal tones and styles give Bop City the
distinctive sound that is their trademark.
Caitlin T. Cornwell : Vocals,
Caitlin Cornwell was born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland,
Ca. Her singing career began at 4-years-old when she took
the stage for the first time at the high school where her
father taught. As a child, she performed at the Julia Morgan
Theater in Berkeley and with the Oakland Children's Chorus.
She later joined with the Interfaith Gospel Choir,
which enabled her to sing along side artists including Tramaine
Hawkins, Linda Rondstat, Bobby McFerrin, The Neville Brothers,
MC Hammer and others. With Interfaith for four years,
Caitlin was then a member of the Bay Area funk sensation the
Mo'Fessionals for three years, selling out
every club across San Francisco.
Afterward, she landed a record deal with Interscope/Bel Air
Records. When that deal was complete, she departed the label
and went on to sign with Atlantic/Big Beat Records along side
long-time singing partner Zoe Ellis, and formed The
Braids. The Braids released the album "Here
We Come", which featured the hit Queen remake "Bohemian
Rhapsody". The song hit No. 44 on the Billboard
charts, was an even bigger hit overseas and was featured on
the High School High movie soundtrack that went gold, selling
more than 500,000 copies.
Caitlin also joined with Grateful Dead
Lesh and was featured on his album "Phil
Lesh and Friends Live at the Warfield" which was
recorded and released in 1999. After a hiatus following the
birth of her son, she joined the accapella sensation SoVoSo
in 2003 to-2004. She left the group to devote more time to
Bop City. Caitlin is a polished pro and icon of the Bay Area
music scene. She has performed at every major night club and
performance venue in San Francisco and Oakland, including
Slim's, Yoshi's, the Warfield, Great American Musical
Hall, the Paramount Theater and many others.
Michael “mic” Blake
: Vocals, Music Production
Michael Blake started out his professional music career in
high school when he hooked up with Michael Marshall,
who later formed the group Timex Social Club,
known for their international hit “Rumors”.
With Timex, Mic toured with RunDMC and other
prominent artists. His experience on the road inspired him.
He returned with a vision to mix sampling and turntables
with live instrumentation. Mic took this vision and applied
it to the local hip-hop scene, throwing parties that included
dancing, but with spoken word and live music, this at a time
when few were combing all three genres. After high school
he joined groups the Broun Fellinis and Daddy
Goddus, later becoming a member of Alphabet
Soup. With “Soup” Mic helped produce
two albums “Layin Low in the Cut” and “Strivin.”
The album featured the single, and video “Take a Ride,”
which aired regularly on BET. While with Alphabet Soup, Mic
had the opportunity to cross paths with artist who cross genre
and generation and include: Angel, Guru, Brooklyn
Funk Essential, Mingus Amungus, The Mo’ Fessionals,
Groove Collective, The Roots, Queen Latifa, Jru the Damaga,
War, Primus, and Charlie Hunter, among others. Mic
has a unique deep, rich vocal tone. It could best be compared
to that of the great singer and composers, Barry White and
Isaac Hayes. He brings a fire to the studio and stage that
ignites a track and enflames a show.
In 1997, Blake joined Jungle Biskit and
helped create the Bop City Project. As Bop
City, the group had two European tours and released a six
song self-titled EP. In 2002, Blake and HoFlow moved to take
the music further. Working together, and with their extended
music family, they set out to put the Bay sound back on the
Smith : Drums
It might be said that drummer Ronnie Smith’s percussive
passion came long before his mentors taught him to shuffle
a beat or set a good groove in the pocket. In fact, his desire
may be more innate than learned since the girth of his family
tree has guttural roots in gospel and Motown. Though he was
recognized early on as a talented vocalist, it was the splash
and thump of his grandfather’s drum kit that kept Ronnie
spellbound. By the time he was wearing down the skins of his
first drum set in the pulpit of West Oakland’s Greater
Mingleton Temple, Ronnie was well on his way to leaving his
mark as one of the great left-handed drummers of the East
Born, raised and still based in the East Bay, Ronnie has
completed several national and international tours and continues
to gig regularly on all circuits—from Jazz to Blues
to Rock & Roll and everything in between. Each experience
lends brogue and texture to the skills he’d already
honed under the mentorship of greats like Billy “Shoes”
Johnson (Maze), Larry Braggs (Tower of Power), Barry Finnerty
(Miles Davis, Crusaders, Brecker Brothers) and Tony Lindsay
Ronnie’s musical flavor further gained it’s exquisite
seasoning in the company of The Braxton Brothers, Ledisi,
Goapele, Gospel Hummingbirds, Sista Monica, Jon Hammond and
Late Rent, Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws, Annie Sampson, Samba
Ngo & the Ngoma Players and many notable others.
Currently, Ronnie came together with long-time friends and
musical brethren John “Jubu” Smith (Maze), Eric
Smith (Lalah Hathaway), Errol Cooney (Fantasia) and Carl Wheeler
(Maze) to form the band Legally Blynd. The band is working
on a release of their first CD. Other projects on his current
roster include appearances with Mike Marshall (Timex Social
Club) and Bob City - a live hip hop/jazz amalgam of members
from renowned Bay Area bands, Alphabet Soup and Jungle Biskit;
and recordings for the John Hammon Group and up-and-coming
Blues artist Leah Tysse.
Jacob Elijah Aginsky : Keyboards
Jacob Elijah Aginsky started playing the piano at five years
old. By the time he was eleven, he showed enough talent to
be admitted into the San Francisco Conservatory. Within a
few years, however, he had quit in search of a good jazz teacher.
Since then he has studied with notables Randy Craig,
Mark Levine, Herbie Hancock and Eddie Marshall,
as well as going through the University of California at Santa
Cruz and San Francisco State's Music Performance program.
Based primarily in the Bay Area, Jacob first toured Europe
in the summer of 1995 with his Pacific Blue Jazz Quintet to
promote sales for the independently produced album, "Schmoozin'"
(APCD001). In the fall of the same year, he was invited to
tour solo through Japan as a harlem-stride style pianist.
Since his return in 1996, Jacob Elijah has produced two new
jazz recordings entitled ". . . And Some"
(NR0029) and "Travelogue" (NR0030) distributed
under the Noir Records label, and most recently "Live,
in solo concert" (APCD006) recorded in 2001.
In recent years, Jacob has become more involved with the
DJ community, exploring the boundaries between the contemporary
rhythms of trip-hop, jungle and drum-and-bass and the spontaneity
and improvisation of jazz. He has recorded with some of the
finest turntablists, including DJ Quest and
Cut Chemist. Jacob Elijah
has also been working alongside drummer Eric Garland
on their new project Subnautic, the wonderfully talented vocalist
Gretchen Lieberum on several albums, and
DJAiko in BeatDestruct.
David Ewell : Electric Bass