Sadness struck both Amoeba and the local Bay Area hip-hop community this week with the tragic passing of the much-loved Anthony Marin (aka Big Ant) who, at the young age of 37, died of heart failure last weekend.
A DJ/producer and multi-instrumentalist, not to mention an incredibly knowledgeable musicologist, Big Ant had been a fixture on the local hip-hop scene for many years -- ever since he moved north from LA in the nineties. Before working at Amoeba SF he had worked at Tower Records in the South Bay and Cue's in Daly City.
If you were into the local DJ or hip-hop scene you would have seen Big Ant over the years at countless events. A large framed man with a warm hug and a winning smile, plus an unbridled knowledge of all types of music (far beyond hip-hop), he had DJ'ed all over, played damn near every instrument it seemed (including guitar/drums/keyboards in Black Fiction - the experimental rock band he was a member of along with fellow Amoebites Jason Chavez and Tim Cohen), and was a ham at Karaoke. This evening, Friday June 6th, from 5PM to 9PM, those who knew this great man will gather in his honor at Milk, which is directly across the street from Amoeba on Haight St.
For more in depth tributes to Big Ant, visit 4AM/Jason Chavez's MySpace or the text/photo dedication to him on the homepage of the Amoeba website, where Jason Chavez, his best friend, wrote so poignantly: "The best lesson he taught me is the lesson that every loved one that passes teaches us, that we are all still alive and we need to live, love and find our purpose and passions for ourselves and our passed loved ones who are watching us and guiding us towards our destinies. Everyone stay up, he'd want us to." R.I.P. BIG ANT.
AMOEBA MUSIC SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE (6.6.08)
1) J-Live Then What Happened? (BBE)
2) TOPR The Marathon of Shame (Gurp City)
3) Giant Panda Electric Laser (Tres Records)
4) Subtle Exiting Arm (Lex)
5) The Cool Kids The Bake Sale (Chocolate Industries/A&M)
Every album on this week's Amoeba SF Top Five (thanks Luis) is worth having in your collection. It includes Electric Laser the second full-length from LA's tireless underground hip-hop trio Grand Panda, and Bay Area/Gurp City rapper TOPR who just played an Amoeba SF instore last week in support of his new album The Marathon of Shame. ("It was really good...he is an amazing performer; commanding, clear and consistant," reports Luis.)
Also charting is the all-around Amoeba fave J-Live (popular in all three stores), and Chicago's deservedly hyped duo The Cool Kids (Mikey Rocks and Chuck English), who on their new album track "One Two" accurately christen themselves "the new black version of the Beastie Boys" and whose instantly winning style, while rooted in ole skool hip-hop, is also equally modern. Think the Boogie Boys meets Spank Rock with a whole lot more thrown into their deep diverse mix.
Also charting this week at the Haight Street Amoeba is the new Subtle album Exiting Arm on Lex, which is the third and latest chapter in the ongoing adventures of Hour Hero Yes - the super-hero, alter ego of Subtle main-man DoseOne. Check back on the Amoeblog next week for an in-depth interview with this Anticon co-founder and former Amoebite, who will discuss many things, including how Subtle and Amoeba family member Dax Pierson is doing these days. Also scheduled for the Amoeblog next week is a review of Public Enemy's recent concert in Dublin, Ireland by guest Amoblogger Tall Paul Lowe who checked out the band at their 20 year anniversary concert celebration of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.
AMOEBA MUSIC BERKELEY HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 6.06.08
1) The Roots Rising Down (Def Jam)
2) Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple (Atlantic)
3) Atmosphere When Life Gives You Lemons, You Turn That Shit Into Gold (Rhymesayers)
4) J-Live Then What Happened? (BBE)
5) Lyrics Born Everywhere At Once (Quannum)
Thanks to Tunde at Amoeba Berkeley for compiling the above chart, which show that The Roots, Gnarls Barkley, Lyrics Born, and Atmosphere's latest albums are still selling briskly. East Coast emcee/DJ/producer J-Live, who is the newest chart entry, with his killer full-length Then What Happened?, will be interviewed on the Amoeblog in the next couple of weeks.
And note, if you are planning on heading to Berkeley Amoeba tomorrow (Saturday, June 7th), allow some extra time to swing by the Amoeba-sponsored World Music Festival (which includes a craft bazaar), happening in both Peoples Park (directly behind Amoeba) and in the cafes along Telegraph. It runs from noon til 9PM with an after-party planned for Ashkenaz on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley tomorrow night.
And finally, check out the video below from the San Francisco Freestyle Olympics at the Elbo Room in 2005. The 2008 Freestyle Olympics is planned to take place in the Darkroom of Club Six in two weeks, on June 21st, when the judges will be Subverse, Wonway, and Conceit, and the top prize will be $500. There is still time to enter; email firstname.lastname@example.org.