AMOEBA SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE:
1) GZA Pro Tools (Babygrande Records)
2) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)
3) Messy Marv Cake & Ice Cream (Siccness.net)
4) Ice Cube Raw Footage (Lench Mob)
5) Stacy Epps The Awakening (JapanNubianMuzzik)
Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for this week's hip-hop top five album chart. In the number one chart slot is Pro Tools, the latest from Wu-Tang's GZA, aka The Genius. Note that this is the fifth solo release from one of the founding members of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan, who dropped their groundbreaking debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) fifteen long hip-hop years ago.
Although Pro Tools was originally slated to be a compilation overseen by GZA or a "GZA presents WU" type album (and it essentially still is, due to the numerous collaborators) it is officially listed as a GZA solo release. Taking its name from the production software popular with music producers, Pro Tools features many contributing talents, including production from RZA, True Master, Mathematics, Black Milk, Bronze Nazareth, Arabian Knight, and Dreddy Kruger, as well as guest vocal appearances from RZA, Masta Killa, Sean Price, and GZA's son, Young Justice (Kareem), who joins his pops on the tracks "Groundbreaking" and "Cinema." The Pro Tools track that most hip-hop fans have already heard is the advance leaked track, the 50 Cent diss rap, "Paper Plate," which continues the artist's beef with the G-Unit main man.
Speaking of Wu Tang Clan members, Killah Priest is at the Voodoo Lounge @ 14 South Second St. in San Jose tonight (Aug. 22nd) on a bill that includes Sunspot Jonz of Living Legends fame. More info on this 21+ show: southbayhiphop.com
Another Amoeba San Francisco chart entry that dropped this past Tuesday is Ice Cube's latest Raw Footage on his label Lench Mob and featuring such guests as WC, The Game, Young Jeezy, Butch Cassidy, and Musiq Soulchild. The album's lead single, "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It," has actually been circulating (as both a video & single) since the beginning of this year with the follow up single "Do Ya Thang" (video below), very recently dropping.
This new album from the NWA founding member comes right before the theatrical release of his newest movie, The Longshots, in theaters today. Of course, it's hard not to take note of the radically different images portrayed by the actor/rapper: Ice Cube as cuddly family guy in many of the movies he makes these days (e.g., Are We There Yet?) and Ice Cube as gangsta rapper. Naturally, Cube himself is well aware of these conflicting images and how they can be perceived, especially by haters, and addresses them in "Do Ya Thang," when he raps that he is "so fucken hood mang, they call me the boogeyman," dismissing those who try to diss him by calling him a "movie star' by telling them, "fuck you, pour nigga a lil drank."
Number 3 on this week's Amoeba San Francisco chart is hometown gangsta rap hero Messy Marv's latest, Cake & Ice Cream, on Siccness.net. The longtime Fillmore rapper, who makes no bones about his cocaine dealing past, continues to celebrate the street life on Cake & Ice Cream ,as is evident from just a glance at the CD title and cover art. On the new 19 track release, Messy Marv, who I think possesses one of the greatest voices and flows in Yay Area rap, is joined by such local talents as Keak Da Sneak, Yukmouth, Mistah FAB, Turf Talk, The Jacka, Guce, and Dubee. Also on board with Marv are San Diego rappers Mitchy Slick and 12 Gauge Shotie.
Other entries on the Amoeba SF hip-hop chart include Immortal Technique and Stacy Epps. Epps is the super-talented Atlanta singer/emcee who just dropped her debut The Awakening and was in LA and SF to promote it. She was the subject of a recent Amoeblog. Meantime, Immortal Technique's album The 3rd World has been out for a couple of months or so already, but after his recent instore performance at Amoeba Music San Francisco, which was "pretty amazing" according to Luis at the Haight Street store, Amoeba shoppers bought up near every copy in the store, putting the album back on the album charts.
Speaking of memorable recent Amoeba instores, last Friday, surrounded by row upon row of vinyl at Amoeba Berkeley, Afrika Bambaataa -- one of the founding fathers of hip-hop -- must have felt right at home. He spun an impromptu DJ set, arranged just the evening before, that lasted close to two hours and covered a good deal of musical ground, including lots of eighties music. Look for photos of the event to be posted on the Amoeba site soon.
"It was a real decent turnout, especially considering it was such a last minute event. And he was definitely showing his old school style....playing a lot of 80s that included some 80's house," reported Tunde from the Berkeley store, where this week's top five hip-hop sellers include Diplo/Santogold, NaS, elZhi, Zo! & Tigallo, and Gnarls Barkley. On a completely different tip, look at the image of BAM above and then scroll back up and look at the recent pics/images of Ice Cube. Spot the similarity? Seems like Cube -- with beard and dark glasses -- is morphing into Bambaataa, don't you think?
Old school LA hip-hop producer & rapper Arabian Prince is scheduled to do a free instore performance at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store today at 8PM. If you can make it, get yourself over there to witness part of the history of LA/West Coast hip-hop from the 80's. The Arabian Prince released his solo debut, Situation Hot, 23 years ago and the following year joined a group that would change the face of hip-hop, N.W.A.
This Amoeba performance is in celebration of the new retrospective release that looks back on the SoCal artist's career two decades ago: Arabian Prince: Innovative Life The Anthology 1984 - 1989, a Stones Throw release compiling the best of his early electro-rap material. Don't miss this free event! For a taste of what his set might include, peep the tech video below of the artist at last year's NAMM conference demo'ing Reason 3.0 software and how it applies to electro and analog effects.