1) Aceyalone Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones (Decon)
2) DOOM Born Like This (Lex)
3) Eddi Projex I Got The Streets On Fire (Town Thizzness/Fontana)
4) UGK UGK 4 Life (Jive)
5) V/A Dillanthology (Rapster)
6) eLZhi Witness My Growth (Fat Beats)
In the top slot of this week's Amoeba Hip-Hop chart is the brand new project from LA hip-hop veteran Aceyalone, who never ceases to surprise with the directions he takes. Titled Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones, this retro styled project, which is totally unlike anything the founding member of Freestyle Fellowship has done before, is kind of like if you were to beam Ace back in a time machine to the sixties and place him smack in center stage during a Motown Records revue as soul bandleader complete with back up singers (The Lonely Ones) knocking out one catchy soulful hit after another, yet all delivered via lush modern day studio sensibilities. The end result is a Gnarls Barkley styled project that is bound to win Aceyalone fans that he never would have appealed to in previous incarnations.
MF DOOM, who many believed had hung up the mic and the mask for good, is thankfully back with a much buzzed about new album, Born Like This on Lex. Now billing himself simply as DOOM, the new album, which like all of his output takes a few listens to fully appreciate the sheer depth of, is up there with his classic MMM...Food, an album that one can never tire of.
Smart, engaging lyrics, killer beats and dope samples including, naturally, lots of cool cartoon samples, this album is one of those rare hip-hop releases that transcends indie hip-hop and pop rap: it is all of the above and more. I bet come December this album will be showing up on lots and lots of Best of 2009 lists.
UGK (short for UnderGround Kingz), the veteran rap duo from Texas whose founding member, producer Pimp C, passed December 2007, have just released UGK 4 Life on Jive, their eighth and most likely final album (unless surviving member Bun B has more tracks hididen somewhere). Selling well at Amoeba and elsewhere, this 18 track album delivers more of that raw Dirty South sound that these Southern rap vets helped shape. Another new rap offering on the Amoeba chart is the Bay Area's Eddi Projex release I Got The Streets On Fire on Town Thizzness with distribution through Fontana, the label that has taken a keen interest in Bay Area hip-hop talent of late. They also distribute Paris' Guerrilla Funk label.
Because eLZhi's last solo release got the gifted lyricist a lot of much deserved attention, Fat Beats have reissued the former member of Slum Village's 2006 mixtape Witness My Growth. Good call too, since his rhymes still sound fresh, as do the beats courtesy of the likes of J Dilla, Black Milk, Alchemist, and Kareem Riggins. Another reissue of sorts is the recommended Rapster J-Dilla produced collection Dillanthology, which proves what a truly gifted producer the late Dilla was. If you are a diehard hip-hop collector you most likely already have all or most of the eleven tracks on here, such as Common's "The Light," De La Soul's "Stakes Is High," A.G. feat Aloe Blacc's "Hip Hop Quotable," The Pharcyde's "Drop," or The Roots' "Dynamite." But what struck one most about hearing these tracks all together, plus the other six equally killer cuts, is just what a soulful and flawless producer Dilla really was, and how his place in the hip-hop hall of fame is firmly cemented.
Shout-out to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for supplying this week's hip-hop chart. Luis just got back recently from Austin Texas after attending the South By South West (SxSW) festival, which he said was "amazing but overwhelming because there was just so much stuff happening everywhere." And what was the best showcase he attended? "Oh man it had to be the Rhymesayers one with Brother Ali and Jake One and the rest...And I saw other shows too, like Kanye and Common, but the Rhymesayers was even better. Brother Ali was amazing," enthused Luis.
This time of the year, right after SxSW and WMC and with Coachella about to jump off, means that tour season is well underway both here in the States and abroad. And right now over in Europe The West Coast Hip-Hop Festival is going strong and featuring an impressive lineup with Tha Dogg Pound, E-40, Too Short, Xzibit, WC, Ice Cube, and DJ Muggs. My man DJ Sniper over in Holland checked out the show in Amsterdam a couple of nights ago and he said it was, "off the hook" and he forwarded me a YouTube link to part of Too $hort's set, with the Oakland legend doing his trademark nasty raps. If you check out the link here you will witness how the Dutch rap fans know every single word of Shorty the Player's rhymes.
Another longtime Oakland mic fiend, Del the Funky Homosapien, is about to embark on a tour next Wednesday, April 8th. But the day before he will be releasing a new album -- it's not for sale, it's free! Titled Funkman, the 13 track new album, the follow up to last year's Def Jux release 11th Hour, will be available for free as of Tuesday, April 7th exclusively here. Then the Funkman tour that kicks off the following day will feature fellow Hiero A Plus, as well as Mike Relm, Bukue One, and others. Tour details here or check the video below of Del's "stimulus address."
IN DA BAY THIS WEEKEND: Tonight, Friday, April 3rd in San Francisco at Mighty (119 Utah Street), there is a musically diverse DJ lineup covering hip-hop, soul & funk, house, and Afrobeat, with DJs J-Boogie + Sake One as Leftism, DJ Platurn, Hakobo, Prince Aires, Rob G, Don Kainoa, and, as the headliner, deep house legend Osunlade. Doors 9pm. 21 + $15.
Tomorrow night The Conscious Daughters are doing a show at 330 Ritch in San Francisco in support of their just released third album The Nutcracker Suite on Guerrilla Funk. Should be a great show since DJ Pam the Funkstress of the Coup will be joining them live as their DJ. Also on the bill is DJ Zita, founder of SF's premiere female DJ crew, Bay Area Sistah Sound (B.A.S.S.). Conscious Daughters are also about to embark on a cool sounding hip-hop tour that will also tentatively feature Paris, Talib Kweli, Pete Rock, Zion I, Planet Asia, and T-Kash. Final details on this tour are still being hammered out. Check back here or directly on guerrillafunk.com for updates as they unfold.
SKRATCH NEWS: Turntablism is alive and well over in the West of Ireland. Next Weds, April 8th and running through Sunday April 12th, in Galway will be the third Community Skratch Games, the annual skratch DJ themed hip-hop event put together by Galway-based turntable quartet Vince Mack Mahon and some other (Irish) West Coast DJs and producers, offering up music workshops, artist showcases, and DJ battles. Check back on the Amoeblog next week for a more detailed look at this Irish hip-hop DJ event. Meantime check out this site.
The ever-active Queens NY turntablist Rob Swift (X-Men/X-ecutioners & Ill Insanity) is keeping busy on the solo tip, having just released his second DVD, As the Technics Spin, which is well worth checking out. As DJ ALF noted, unlike so many turntablist videos out there, this one has more of a universal appeal, beyond the skratch nerd circles. ALF praised Swift for the way, in the new DVD, he "broke it down in terms of how perhaps a DJ's mind works when he or she is doing a show with others in a crew or solo," and also how the veteran turntable artist, "explained that he likes to play a song for about eight bars or so to let people hear what the artist made, then his interpretation of the song. This DVD is perfect for those who may have watched the clip of Rob Swift and the rest of the X-ecutioners in the film Scratch and wanted to learn more...and it has good extras," said ALF. For more info on Rob Swift, hit up his website and his MySpace. And be on the look out for Dust To Dust, his latest full length CD that pays homage to the B-Boy movement of the 1970's.
DJs and fans of Scratch Live, take note that Rane in association with Serato have just unveiled a new audio interface for Serato Scratch Live. The new Rane SL 3 was unveiled earlier this week at the Musikmesse show in Frankfurt. Below is a video of the SL3 being introduced in a press conference at the German show two days ago. Thanks to DJ Lunis who recorded the clip. Click here for part two.
Rane's new SL 3 unveiled at Musikmesse 2009