Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 05:22:09
1) Eminem Relapse (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
2) Method Man & Redman Blackout! 2 (Def Jam)
3 Busta Rhymes Back On My B.S. (Flipmode/Universal Motown)
4) Tanya Morgan Brooklynati (Interdependent Media)
5) DOOM Born Like This (Lex Records)
Released this week, Relapse, the sixth studio album from Eminem, went straight to number one on the Amoeba Music Hip-Hop chart. And most likely this anticipated album from Slim Shady, produced by Dr Dre, willl also top most other charts this week, including Billboard's. Even though many critics have already panned the album, most saying that the once controversial Em is now attempting to stilll sound shocking and merely duplicating his old formula with a twist of Reggaton, most music fans are hungry for, or at least curious to hear what Eminem Version 2009 is all about. After all, it is the artist's first new album in five long rap years -- since he dropped Encore in 2004 -- which is a virtual eternity in the ever shapeshifting hip-hop genre. Typically, fickle rap fans move on but Eminem ain't no ordinary rapper and a lot of people want to see/hear what's new with the artist who withdrew himself from the world and became dependent on prescription drugs.
In true Eminem tradition, his personal life -- in this case his openly admitted addiction to prescription drugs and some other issues, including, of course, his mother -- is fuel (fodder?) for his art. And drugs are certainly a prominent theme on Relapse, and not just the repeated lyrical references. The album cover spelling of the name Relapse cleverly utilizes the "Rx" symbol as used in prescriptions (Dr. Dre, naturally, is the prescribing doctor), while the cover art illustration of the artirt's head (above) is made up by a mosaic of thousands of pills.
Reportedly while in the studio for six months with Dr. Dre recording for this project, Eminem recorded so many tracks (over 100) that he may release a sequel (Relapse II) sometime later this year. Stay tuned.
Also released on this Tuesday was the long awaited new Meth + Red collab Blackout! 2, the second album by rap duo Method Man & Redman and the first joint (pun intended) album in ten years from the weed loving hip-hop pair who, in addition to rapping together, have also acted as a team in the weed themed movie How High and its forthcoming sequel. The new album has many weed references, including the THC themed track "Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers." The album's many guests include Meth's fellow Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah and Red's fellow Def Squad associate Keith Murray. Bun B. appears on the track "City Lights."
Busta Rhymes, who has had both label and legal issues over the past few years, has finally unleashed his new album this Tuesday after many hiccups along the way. The long awaited Back On My B.S. on Def Jam from the talented emcee with the distinctive flow is number three on the Hollywood Amoeba hip-hop chart. The record was originally going to be released two years ago on a different label (Aftermath Entertainment through Interscope Records) under the title Before Hell Freezes Over. The album got delayed and then went through a series of name changes, including Back on My Bullshit, Blessed, and B.O.M.B., before settling on Back On My B.S. Album tracks include "I Got Bass," which was unveiled as a video about six months ago and has cameos from DJ Scratch, Bangladesh, Fabolous, Alfamega, Swizz Beatz and the Flipmode Squad.
In what has become a way too familiar recurring scenario in the hip-hop world, yet another rapper has been senselessly killed and has left behind music that lyrically seems to predict his death. On Monday (May 18th) afternoon in LA, 21 year old Atlanta rapper Dolla (real name: Roderick Anthony Burton II) was fatally shot in the head while out on a shopping spree with DJ Shabbazz near the La Cienega Boulevard entrance to the Beverly Center -- not a location where one would expect a deadly shootout at 3 in afternoon.
Reportedly the shooting followed a heated argument between several individuals and the suspected shooter, 23 year old Aubrey Louis Berry, was soon after apprehended by LAPD at LAX, still armed with the alleged murder weapon. On Wednesday he was charged with murder and his bail was set at $5 million. Berry is scheduled to be arraigned today (May 22) and according to several reports, including one by KTLA, the fatal shooting likely stemmed from an argument last week with an events promoter back in Atlanta.
Dolla, who was a protege of Akon's and who had contributed to the soundtrack for the movie Step Up, left behind many recordings, including the 2008 mixtape Another Day Another Dolla and the popular songs "Who the Fuck is That?," "Make a Toast," and the prophetic song "Georgia Nights," (above) which eerily seems to predict his early death with the lyrics: You see the rain on my window pane/Waking up in cold sweats having dreams of going out with a bang/Sure my poppa died by the gun, I'll die by the gun/And if I ever have a son he'll probably die by the same...Poppa died at 25 so he must have been great/They say the good die young so I must be on my way.
With this being the Memorial Day holiday weekend and the official warm up for the summer of '09 for many folks, there are tons of great shows and parties jumping off this weekend including in the Bay Area. Tonight at 330 Rich in San Francisco is the return of Happy Feet featuring Bobbito (aka Kool Bob Love) and Rich Medina, who will be throwing down lots of cool Latin and Afro flavored beats and breaks for the dance floor. The two just compiled the highly recommended 2CD compilation collection The Connection Volume One: Modern Explorations in Afro-Beat and Afro-Latin, for which Bobbito handled the Latin side and Rich the Afro side, that includes such kick ass tracks as "Let It Roll" by Aiff, "Rumba Cultura" byTotin, and "Salsa Scratch" by Rob Swift feat. Bob James and D-Styles.
Also jumping off tonight is Suite Jesus -- the art and DJ music party at 111 Minna Street -- with artwork on exhibit by One Eye, Chrissy Lynn, Mei Lin, Matt Davidson, Sarah Fredericks, Liz Caruana, and Sam Valensky and music by Satva, Mochipet, The Gaslamp Killer, and J-Boogie.
Tomorrow night (Saturday) at Mezzanine in San Francisco Stephen Jackson, II Trill Enterprises, Ice Age Ent., & Double Dose Ent. present Bun B and Mike Jones in concert. Tix are $20. On Sunday night Lady Sovereign is in town in support of her recent new album Jigsaw at Popscene at 330 Ritch in San Francisco. And that same night is a cool hip-hop/Latin/reggae party at Club Six produced by Angel Magic, Bayonics & Loco Bloco, the 5th Annual Carnival Fete with 20% of all proceeds going to very worthy Mission Neighborhood Center. In the three rooms of the big Carnival party are Bayonics, Native Elements, J Boogie's Dubtronic Science, Los Rakas, Loco Bloco, DJ Santero, DJ Walt Diggz, DJ Leydis, Jonny Mack, DJ Apollo, D Sharp, Ren The Vinyl Archaelogist, Young Fiyah, Jah Warrior Shelter, DJ Jah Yzer, DJ Irie Dole, DJ I-Vier, DJ Serge, DJ Relic, DJ Green-B, Broken Silence, and Stepwise. Wow: what a lineup! Admission for the party, which runs from 9pm til 4am, is $10.
And finally, I leave you with a video of Greg Brady of the Brady Bunch bumping some Biggie at school: