HOLLYWOOD AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP TOP FIVE:
1) Nas Untitled (Def Jam)
2) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)
3) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
4) Suga Free Smell My Finger (HMF/Warner)
5) Jean Gray + 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith/Warner)
Thanks to Scott Carlson in the hip-hop department at Amoeba Music Hollywood for this week's top selling albums chart, which includes in the number three slot the brand new release from SoCal's Suga Free, Smell My Finger, which dropped earlier this week.
Lil Wayne's hot selling new album (#3 on Amoeba chart) has caught the attention of Abkco Music who are suing the rapper, his songwriters, and his label (Cash Money - a division of Universal) for "copyright infringement and unfair competition" over a new Lil Wayne album track that appears to heavily borrow from the Rolling Stones song "Play With Fire" which they own rights to.
SF rapper Z-Man's group One Block Radius (the alt rock trio he is a part of when not doing solo stuff or with his Gurp City familia) have signed to Def Jam. The Cali based One Block Radius accurately describe their unique, pop-ready sound as "Pharcyde meets Steve Winwood meets Sublime meets Outkast meets Hall and Oates" and drop their major label debut in September.
Tragedy, once again, struck Oakland's Hall family, whose son Jesse Hall was murdered back in 1992. Jesse Hall was also known as hip-hopper Plan B, whose close affiliations included the late graf great Mike DREAM Francisco and emcee Saafir, with whom he recorded a great track. Last weekend Plan B's younger brother Bobby Hall II (an aspiring emcee and DJ), who was only nine when his elder sibling was killed, was himself murdered on the mean streets of East Oakland, CA. As of this writing no one has been arrested in the case.
Plan B/Jesse Hall, often the subject of DREAM's work, was only 22 when he was killed near his parent's home. (Eerily, some years later DREAM was also murdered on the East Bay streets.) His younger brother Bobby Hall II, who was killed in the 6800 block of MacArthur Blvd. at approximately 11PM last Saturday, was 25 years of age. Prayers go out to his parents Bobby and Mona Hall -- two good, good people who I know from back in the day and who have suffered more pain than any parent should ever have to endure.
California, both SoCal and the Bay, was nicely represented earlier this week at the 2008 DMC US Battle for Supremacy Champion and the 2008 DMC Team Champions held at the Knitting Factory in New York where, along with others such as Steve Dee, DJ Scratch, DJ Spictacular, Roc Raida, and Roli Rho, I was one of the DJ competition's judges. It was a fun night, with DJs flying in from all over the map to compete and the ever-entertainingly funny host DJ Fat Fingaz keeping the whole event moving along smoothly; and all without uttering curse words onstage, a condition laid down by the contest's chief organizer Christie Z Pabon.
Entertainment at the big DJ battle event included Grand Wizzard Theodore (creator of the scratch and also one of the night's judges), who between battles threw down a fun party rocking set that ran the gamut of styles from old school beats and breaks to dancehall and new hip-hop. The best part was when he played KRS-One's "MCs Act Like They Don't Know," in which the blastmaster drops Grand Wizzard Theodore's name. The DJ made a point of scratching and repeating that portion of the track a few times.
NorCal was represented in the team battle segment by East Bay turntable quartet the Warriors Krew featuring DJ Hoeks, Jays One, DJ Habit, and DJ Quantum, who went up against two other DJ teams -- each allotted six minutes to show their group skills. But it was Los Angeles area DJ Team the Angry Ex's/DRUNKS crew -- a duo comprised of super-swift turntablists Lotus and Etronik -- who took the title for their inspired set that included them trading off on each other's turntable/mixer set-ups without missing a beat -- literally. As the winners of the 2008 DMC Team Champions, the pair won roundtrip flights to London, England in late September, plus accommodations to compete in the 2008 DMC World Finals.
GZA/Genius of Wu Tang Clan fame is preparing for the release of his fifth album, Pro Tools, which is scheduled to drop on August 19th and will feature help (mic +/or production) from RZA, Masta Killa, Mathematics, and Black Milk among others. Also scheduled for release on August 19th is the debut album, Superpsychosexy, from The One. Although it will be appearing on the OM hip-hop label, it's actually more funk-flavored, sexed-up R&B/soul.
Rapster/BBE have just announced that the forthcoming edition of their Beat Generation series, whose previous contributors included the late Jay Dee, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Pete Rock, will be handled by Madlib. Madlib's contribution to the series, which is scheduled for a late September release, will feature collaborations from the likes of Talib Kweli, Murs, Guilty Simpson, Oh No, and MED.
Longtime much respected hip-hop DJ/producer Primo (aka DJ Premier) will be making a special turntable guest spot at the San Francisco monthly The Cross Over at Club Six tonight, Friday July 25th. Also wrecking shop on the ones and twos at the Sixth Street club will be DJ Apollo, Ant Marshall, A-Ron and more. Yay Area rappa' The Jacka, a popular artist at both the San Francisco and Berkeley Amoeba Music stores, will be throwing a release party for his just-completed new video, "All Over Me" feat Matt Blaque, at DJ Lando's Levitate party at SF club Suede tonight (7/25). See the new music video below: