The new year is already off to a good start with lots of exciting brand new material dropping, or about to drop, such as P.O.S. (the unique Minneapolis Rhymesayers' emcee with the punk rock past), who will be releasing his anticipated new album Never Better on Rhymesayers Entertainment in two weeks (in Amoeba Music on Feb 3rd). I have only heard snippets off of the album so far, but they sound as good as I expected. The record was reportedly entirely written by P.O.S. while in a moving car and hence, I am told, it conjures "get-away cars, racing chariots, the pursuit of sirens, and the occasional rueful nighttime drive." I believe it based on his powerful past output.
P.O.S.'s last album, 2006's Audition, also on Rhymesayers, was one of the most innovative hip-hop albums of that year and perfectly melded the urgent energy and sonic assault of my two favorite genres, hip-hop and punk rock. Not too surprisingly, then, P.O.S. (or Stef, as they call him at the dinner table) has been invited on the Vans Warped Tour in the past, and will be on the road once again this summer for the 2009 Warped Tour. He is always a crowd favorite.
In the meantime the artist will be doing his own national solo tour starting next month in support of Never Better, with Cali dates in the first week of the tour, including a show at San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill on Monday, Feb 9th and the following night, Tuesday, Feb 10th, in LA at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Expect an Amoeblog interview with the artist that same week. Scroll down to end of article to hear Never Better's first single, "Goodbye."
Another promising upcoming release is the Nat King Cole tribute album Re:Generations on Capitol/EMI which features the Brazilian GIrls and a ton of other artists all (virtually) performing with the late great Nat King Cole and done in the tradition of the wonderful Verve Remixed projects. In addition to the Brazilian GIrls, the many collaborators include Cut Chemist, NaS & Salaam Remi, TV On The Radio, The Roots, and, not too surprisingly, Cole's own daughter Natalie Cole, who you will recall so famously previously virtually recorded with her late father for the great duet version of "Unforgettable" back in 1991, which was responsible for her winning three Grammys. The Re:Generations album doesn't drop until March 10th but in the meantime there is the "Club EP" version which features the Brazilian Girls, Cut Chemist, Bitter Sweet, Cee-lo, Nas & Salaam Remi. The two best tracks are Cut Chemist's and Brazilian Girls', both of which also appear in instrumental versions on the nine track EP.
While many artists are revered and appreciated for their art in life, that level of love and admiration or obsession only accelerates posthumously (assuming that their lives are cut short), especially when it comes to posthumous album sales and movies made about said deceased artists. Case in point is Biggie Smalls, who has both a biopic movie (Notorious) being released in theaters nationwide tomorrow (Jan 16th) and a documentary featuring all new interview and concert footage (Biggie Smalls Rap Phenomenon) being released straight to DVD in two weeks.
Scroll all the way down to see Sean "Diddy" Combs' take on Biggie and the new movie that opens tomorrow, and check back on the Amoeblog over the weekend for a full report on the new movie and its soundtrack and the new straight to DVD Biggie documentary. Note that the Notorious Soundtrack is already available at Amoeba Music.
Another example of a rap artist being celebrated as much, if not more, posthumously than in life is V-Town (Vallejo) rapper Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks (1970 - 2004), who is the subject of a one hour documentary being screened at 10PM on BET tonight. A part of their ongoing American Gangster documentary series, tonight's episode, which is produced by Bay Area mixtape master (who now lives in NY) DJ Vlad, is titled The Romper Room Gang and is described by the cable network as being about "Bay Area bank robbers who become hip-hop artists. The legacy of Mac Dre."
This series can often lean toward the sensational -- Mac Dre always denied his involvement in any robbery, plus he was never accused of bank robbery but rather of conspiracy for a robbery that never actually happened; The documentary should probably be taken with a grain of salt. But it should be seen nonetheless, especially for Bay rap fans like myself. It airs 10PM to 11PM tonight and if you miss it or don't get to TiVo it, you can be sure it will be re-aired on the network many times in the near future.
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 1:16:08
1) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)
2) Common Universal Mind Control (Geffen)
3) Kayne West 808s & Heartbreak
4) Scarface Emeritus (Rap-A-Lot/Asylum)
5) Ludacris Theater of the Mind
(Disturbing tha Peace/Def Jam)
Thanks to the hard-working folks in the hip-hop section at the Hollywood Amoeba Music for this week's top five chart of best selling full-length CDs, which indicates a strong continuation into the new year of what was selling well at the SoCal Amoeba right before Christmas. Q-Tip's widely lauded latest, The Renaissance, is in the number one slot. Also included is Common's universally popular December release, Universal Mind Control; Ludacris' latest, Theater of the Mind; former Geto Boys' Scarface's recommended new joint (Emeritus); and the AutoTune assisted latest from the loved/hated Kayne West, 808s & Heartbreak.
DJ NEWSLos Angeles' world famous DJ crew, The Beat Junkies, have kindly posted (for limited time only) a downloadable file of their Live in Japan - 10 Year Anniversary set from seven years ago in MP3 format. Click here to download the killer live in Japan set from August 2002.
Legendary hip-hop DJ Jam Master Jay, who was murdered seven years ago, may be gone but he is not forgetton. And this week along with his two surviving band mates in Run DMC, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels and Joseph "DJ Run" Simmons, he was honored by being inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. The actual induction celebration, whose other inductees this year include Little Anthony & the Imperials, Metallica, Jeff Beck, and Bobby Womack, will take place April 24th.
DJ Sep, longtime Bay Area club DJ and radio DJ (known over the years for both her shows on KUSF and her wonderful Off The Beaten Path on KPFA), is still active with her long-runhing night Dub Mission at the Elbo Room in San Francisco. For over a dozen years now, Dub Mission has presented DJ Sep, along with such other regular DJs as Ludichris and J-Boogie, plus countless live acts over the years. Dub Mission presents the best in dub, roots & classic dancehall every Sunday night. The Elbo Room is located at 647 Valencia Street @ 17th in the Mission District of SF.
P.O.S. "Goodbye" from Never Better (Rhymesayers) in Amoeba Feb 3rd
Diddy on Biggie movie coming out tomorrow