As hip-hop buyer for Amoeba Music in San Francisco, Luis (who spins at parties under the name DJ el-S) is always on the go and always listening to new hip-hop music. Throughout a typical hectic day at the Haight Street store, he deals directly with artists, orders from distributors, and even finds time to price the store's extensive used vinyl hip-hop section.
Consequently, Luis knows his hip-hop music: inside and out; so I was really happy to catch up with him recently to hear his views on music, his personal favorites, a good place to grab a bite near Amoeba, and to find out what the Top Five Sellers at Amoeba Music San Francisco were this past week.
Hip-Hop Top Five at Amoeba SF:
1) T.I. vs T.I.P.
2) Beastie Boys The Mix-Up
3) Pharoahe Monch Desire
4) Jaylib Reissue
5) The Block Report DVD (see video clip below)
AMOEBLOG: What is the most popular reissued hip-hop album/CD in stock at Amoeba?
LUIS: The Jaylib re-issue...though Traffic Entertainment Group has put out some old Cold Chillin albums with lots of extra goods...very interesting.
AMOEBLOG: How'd you end up working at Amoeba?
LUIS: A good friend, Jim Henderson, told me they were hiring.
AMOEBLOG: What's unique about working at Amoeba Music?
LUIS: The freedom I have to implement my ideas & methods toward a successful business. They really trust you and let you do your thing. They believe in you and that makes you want to do a better job, I think.
AMOEBLOG: What's your take on the current state of the Bay Area hip-hop scene?
LUIS: It's great! There's such a variety of flavors...so much talent...be it DJ's, conscious rap, hyphy, or more thug oriented. Everybody's got a unique style that separates us from the rest of the country and sets trends at the same time.
LUIS' TOP FIVE FAVORITE ALBUMS:
1) Nas Illmatic
2) Organized Konfusion Stress
3) Raekwon Only built for Cuban Linx
4) Gang Starr Hard to Earn
5) Jay-Z Reasonable Doubt
AMOEBLOG: For someone who wants to take a break from digging in the crates at Amoeba San Francisco, what are some good places to grab a bite nearby?
LUIS: Papalote Mexican Grill over on Masonic & Fulton. It's the best!!! The salsa is screamin! But if you want something really close to us, I'd recommend Ploy II Thai Food (1770 Haight Street).
AMOEBLOG: Where do you see the future of the music biz?
LUIS: I think online certainly is easier for people that don't want to get out there, but there'll always be those who prefer to see and feel vinyl. And there will always be people who just crave the environment of music. I think that Amoeba has done a great job of making our stores exciting and fun to be at!