AMOEBA MUSIC BERKELEY HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 01:25:09
1) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)
2) Common Universal Mind Control (Geffen)
3) 88 Keys The Death of Adam (Decon)
4) E40 The Ball Street Journal (Sic Wid It/Warner)
5) Atmosphere God Loves Ugly (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Thanks to Inti at Amoeba Music Berkeley for supplying this week's Hip-Hop Top FIve chart of the best selling albums of the week. As with both other Amoeba stores, the current Q-Tip and Common albums are both still selling steadily. So too are 88 Keys and the "Ambassador of the Yay Area," E40. In addition to the former Jive Records artist's first release through Warner, E40 is also one of the 40 odd artists featured on the fantastic new hip-hop rooted but musically diverse compilation N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo on Anti (more on this release later). Not on this chart but still selling well at Amoeba Berkeley, as well as elsewhere, and coming in at a close number 6, is Kayne West's 808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella Records). "I really like that album," said Inti from Amoeba, adding that, "It's a concept album and I always appreciate concept albums. And people are loving it and buying it."
This week's Top Five's newest chart entry, Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly, is in fact a reissue of the relatively slept-on 2002 release by the superb Minneapolis, Minnesota duo comprised of Slug (emcee) and Ant (beats). Atmosphere's stellar last album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (Rhymesayers) was the top selling hip-hop album at Amoeba Music for 2008. As time goes on and mainstream hip-hop gets more redundant and repetitive, it seems unique voices like Slug's (an intelligent, insightful emcee with a real gift for storytelling and flipping the script in a truly original way) over the dense innovative beats of Ant, rise to the top to get the attention they rightfully deserve.
Proof of this lies in the fact that Atmosphere counts among its fans many music fans who are not necessarily hip-hop heads. I personally know several people who are more alternative or rock music fans but who count Atmosphere as among the handful of hip-hop acts that they actually like and support.
Below is the cartoon version of the title track of Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly. It is culled from the Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 DVD (Rhymesayers Entertainment), where it is titled "Clowns Are Ugly," which comes as a bonus disc with the new reissue of the God Loves Ugly CD. This DVD, almost two hours in length, has 22 chapters, including lots of live concert footage and previously unreleased Atmosphere tracks. You will also notice other Rhymesayers members popping up throughout the DVD. "The camera followed us around so we smiled a little more than normal," says the cover of the DVD, which is a fun tour video that also includes instores and brief cameos from various folks -- from fans to a homeless toothless guy with a good voice that they meet on the street and who sings a short song. Meanwhile on the DVD itself at about the midway point on "Intermission" Chapter 12 a graphic pops up advising viewers to "Turn off the television and go out and play..."
"Clowns Are Ugly" cartoon for Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly title track,
off of the Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 DVD (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
The UK act known as Nightmares on Wax, essentially Leeds producer/DJ George Evelyn aka DJ EASE (Experimental Sample Expert), will tour the USA for the first time ever in support of their latest CD, Thought So (WARP). The tour will only feature eight American concert dates, including February 2nd in Los Angeles at Echoplex and February 4th in San Francisco at The Independent on Divisidero.
The anticipated tour, which rolls through New York this week, will include a "Sound System" event with various live vocalists and players including Ricky Ranking. Amoeba Music is currently in the process of giving away much coveted tickets to both the SoCal and NorCal shows. Lucky winners will also receive a special Nightmares On Wax promo package including the current CD, a rare 12’ on colored vinyl, a T-shirt plus more! For more info on how to win click here.
Personally, I am still coming down off the natural high of attending the Barack Obama inauguration in Washington DC this past Tueday. In addition to the actual inauguration ceremony and the parade that followed, there were tons of parties jumping off all over the place with many hip-hop artists, including (to name but a few) such artists as Bay Area singer/rapper Michael Franti, who was headlining at the Peace Inauguration Ball Tuesday and the Manifest Hope Party with Santogold, De La Soul, Moby, and LA DJ Troublemaker (who appeared as part of the Backyard Bangers on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol V) with hosts Rosario Dawson, Heather Graham and Michael Stipe.
In addition to celebrating the new president in the White House, the party was also celebrating artist Shepard Fairey's ubiquitous Obama HOPE print being inducted into the Smithsonian, of all places! Much props to the artist, who started out back in the day with his street level (literally) André the Giant sticker campaign.
Keak Da Sneak and San Quinn's recent collaborative album Welcome to Scokland (EHustle Entertainment) continues to build steam and rack up sales from fans of both longtime prolific Bay Area rap figures: Fillmore San Francisco's San Quinn and Oakland's Keak Da Sneak, whose illustrious history includes being a member of 3XKrazy and also back in the nineties coining the phrase "hyphy" -- not to mention dropping on average an album a year since he got into the game.
And longtime fans of the raspy voiced Keak da Sneak will remember him making a cameo, in 1994 at age 15, on C-Bo's The Autopsy album. Keak and San Quinn have just finished up production on the first video off Welcome To Scokland, for the party pop-rap track "She's Fine."
And finally, I leave you with a sneak preview of The Bran Flakes' forthcoming album I Have Hands, which will drop in a few months on Illegal Art (the label that has brought you Girl Talk and Steinski). Below is the wonderful video to the forthcoming album track "What It's All About."
The Bran Flakes "What It's All About" (Illegal Art)