AMOEBA MUSIC SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 01:31:09
1) Murs/9th Wonder Sweet Lord
2) Atmosphere God Loves Ugly (Rhymesayers)
3) Dälek Gutter Tactics (Ipecac)
4) X-Clan Mainstream Outlawz
5) Cappadonna Slang Prostitution
Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for supplying this week's Hip-Hop Top FIve chart of the best selling albums of the week at the Haight Street store where the new number one is the album Sweet Lord by Murs and 9th Wonder. It was recorded about two years ago by the Los Angeles emcee and the North Carolina producer but not first released until a few months when it was made available as a digital download only; the album is only just now available to buy on CD. 9th Wonder, who is one of the best and most in-demand hip-hop producers today, and Murs, who is among the brightest and most gifted lyricists in the genre, have worked together before. Most recently they collaborated on a few tracks off of Murs' major label debut Murs For President, released on Warner in late September. In the studio they have a wonderful chemistry. As Murs raps on the Sweet Lord track "Are You Ready?" -- "Welcome ye'all to the 9th Wonder, Murs' dream. Ghetto music with a purpose..two of the world's most respected musicians are now at work. I suggest you listen."
The rest of the ten track album is really, really good (you wouldn't expect less from the talented duo) and features such other standout songs as "Free," "It's For Real," and "Nina Ross." "Nina Ross," which is a very clever song, is one of those great hip-hop tracks that draws you in thinking it is (yet) another tale of a hip-hop guy scamming on girls or (in this case) on the one girl, Nina Ross. Instead Murs flips things up in this engaging tale. And as the story unfolds it turns out that Nina is the one in control of the situation and that the guy is the one been taken advantage of -- or rather being taught a lesson for his past sexist & explloitive attitudes & deeds towards women.
Atmosphere's reissue of God Loves Ugly on Rhymesayers, which was written about on the last Amoeba Music Weekly Hip Hop Round Up and comes as a CD/DVD set, is at number two this week. The CD has been in constant rotation on my system. Number three on the Top Five is the brand new Dälek album Gutter Tactics on Greg Wreckman and Mike Patton's Ipecac label, which arrived on Amoeba shelves Tuesday this week. While the Newark, New Jersey duo of emcee Dalek and producer the Oktopus (known simply as Dälek) may not appeal to all hip-hop ears nor by any means get the typical Top 40 rap dance floor moving, their most unique, industrial noise driven, dark dense beats and politically charged lyrics (although sometimes really heard to decipher due to being buried a bit back in the mix) and occasional samples (including Reverend Jeremiah Wright on the album opening track) will appeal to fans of metal, noise, and drone-like experimental, darkly atmospheric hip-hop.
Also just released this week are the new albums from X-Clan and Cappadonna. Cappadonna's new album, Slang Prostitution on ChamberMusik Records, is the Wu Tang member's fourth solo full-length; his last official album was 2003's The Struggle. For his new 19 track album the emcee is joined by Raekwon, Masta Killah, Joey Lee, 3rd Diglah, Jo Jo Pellegrino, Ratchet, Lugar, King Just, G-Clef Da Mad Komposa, Percise, Lounge-Lo, and Ghetto Philharmonic -- the latter two of whom are featured on the album's lead single "Somebody's Got To Go."
Acclaimed DC hip-hop artist Wale will be in the Bay Area tonight, Saturday Jan 31st, when he shares a bill with UCB and Blu & Exile at the Mezzanine in San Francisco. The Washington DC artist, whose name is pronounced wah lay, was in SF eleven months ago during last year's Noisepop festival at which he played the annual fest's Electropop music stage. Since then he dropped one of the best mix tape releases of 2008: the Seinfeld-themed Mixtape About Nothing. Unsigned when he played SF a year ago, the talented emcee got signed to the Interscope-distributed Allido Records shortly after that gig .
What makes Wale's music unique is that it draws from DC's Go-Go music history, sampling some of that sound in his contemporary hip-hop -- something that landed him in hot water a few years back. That was in 2006 when Wale was still relatively unknown and DC music veteran Ronald "Dig Dug" Dixon of legendary Go-Go band the Northeast Groovers (NEG) first got wind that some upcoming rapper named Wale had not only sampled NEG's music without permission but had also jacked his stage name as the single's title and refrain; Clearly, he was not happy with all this news. But upon learning that Wale also hailed from the nation's capital, the home of Go-Go music, and that the single "Dig Dug" was in fact a heartfelt homage to both NEG and Go-Go music, all bad vibes soon subsided and the young hip-hop hopeful got the elder's blessing.
In the three years since getting that blessing, Wale's career has taken off at an exhilarating pace. One of his projects over the past few years was hooking up with producer Mark Ronson who was so impressed with his 2007 100 Miles and Running mixtape that he tracked down the artist to work with him. Additionally Wale performed at the 2007 MTV VMA's, appeared on the cover of URB, and got numerous write-ups and gushing features in such publications as XXL, Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly, who honored him as one of the top 8 artists to watch out for.
9PM doors for tonight's show at Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St. San Francisco. $15 21+ Tix online here.