Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 06:05:09
1) J Dilla Jay Stay Paid (Nature Sounds)
2) Eminem Relapse (Shady/Aftemath/Interscope)
3) Method Man & Redman Blackout! 2 (Def Jam)
4) Marco Polo & Torae Double Barrel (Duck Down)
5) Tiye Phoenix Half Woman/Half Amazing (Babygrande)
The number one album on this week's Amoeba Music hip-hop chart is from the late great J Dilla, aka Jay Dee, the Detroit producer and hip-hop talent who tragically died from Lupus three years ago. The new album Jay Stay Paid on Nature Sounds was produced by J Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey (also suffering from Lupus) wtih Pete Rock acting as music supervisor of the project. The 28 track record is rich in beats of various styles and tempos and additionally features cameos from various emcees, including (his brother) Illa J, Mobb Deep, and Raekwon -- all guaranteed to appease the ever swelling base of Dilla fans.
And as seems to be the case with so many other deceased hip-hop acts, J Dilla continues to release a string of new albums posthumously. In addition to Jay Stay Paid, expect another J Dilla release coming soon. It is the second volume in the Dillanthology series on Rapster Records. Titled Dillanthology 2: Dilla's Remixes for Various Artists, the twelve track remix compilation, which will arrive in Amoeba on Tuesday, June 23rd, will feature Dilla's remixes for such artists De La Soul - "Stakes Is High" ft. Mos Def & Truth Enola (Remix), Busta Rhymes - "Whoo Ha" (Jay Dee Remix), The Pharcyde - "Y? (Be Like That)," Slum Village - "Fall In Love (Remix)," and Spacek as well as hard to find versions of tracks from The Artifacts and Masta Ace. For more info, click here.
Other new releases on this week's Amoeba SF hip-hop chart, thanks to Luis, include Eminem, Method Man & Redman, Tiye Phoenix, and the brand new one from rapper Torae and producer Marco Polo, who've teamed up to drop some hardcore rap ish that's reminiscent of mid-nineties New York flava. The Canadian producer and the Brooklyn MC, who first hooked up two years ago when Marco invited the emcee to guest on his Mick Boogie-helmed mixtape, The New Port Authority, have good chemistry, as proven by this Duck Down Records release, appropriately titled Double Barrel. The new album's many guests include DJ Premier, DJ Revolution, Lil Fame of M.O.P. & Rock of Heltah Skeltah, Guilty Simpson, and Masta Ace & Sean Price.
Also recently released and at Amoeba is the new solo joint from renowned beatboxer and former member of The Roots, Scratch, who has just dropped Loss 4 Wordz on Gold Dust Media. The guest driven album that ranges in styles from hip-hop to soul and reggae to dance, includes cameos from a diverse range of emcees and singers, including Talib Kweii along with Damon Albarn of Gorillaz fame ("Too Late"), Kanye West and Consequence ("Ready To Go"), MOP ("Get The F*** Outta Here"), Musiq Soulchild ("Tonite"), Peedi Crackk ("Let's Go"), and legendary producer Arthur Baker on the album's standout track "Girl I'm Gonna Find You."
What is most impressive about this album is that the skilled beatboxer performs many of the album's musical parts so well that you can't tell where his vocal parts -- created to emulate drums and other instruments -- stop and the real instruments begin. My personal problem with this album is that it is too polished and commercial radio leaning. I would have preferred (and expected) a rawer beatbox quality to an album from such an accomplished master of the hip-hop vocal art form.
If there was an award for "Bay Area hip-hop group with their business minds up to par with their emcee/DJ skills," it would go to San Francisco trio BPos (Johnny Venetti, Goodword, D-Wiz), who may not have a record deal yet for their fully completed debut album, but are already working their asses off in an attempt to get their name & music out there. In recent weeks they have performed in California and Nevada with sets that have included their just released, debut single, the song "I Don't Flow That Way," which, thanks to a bit of promotion push, is receiving a good deal of national radio airplay. The video below is a collage of the promising new hip-hop trio performing the song at three venues, including Mo's Place in South Lake Tahoe, NV, The Underground in Reno, NV, and at San Francisco's Club 6.
BPos "I Don't Flow That Way" Live at 3 locations (April 2009)
Amoeba Music, which has made many "best of" lists over the years, recently ranked on Playboy's A-list, where the San Francisco Amoeba was chosen as an A-lister. Playboy commented, "record stores like Amoeba are a dying breed. But this massive store in an old Haight-Ashbury bowling alley continues to charm everyone who walks in the door—and cause first-timers momentary paralysis at the overwhelming breadth of the place. It's got new and used discs of all genres from around the world, plus the kind of obscure out-of-print stuff that makes even the most hardened music geek squeal with pleasure—most of which you can listen to before buying." True that!
And tomorrow, Saturday June 6th, Ziggy Marley will perform his first-ever exclusive children's concert at Club Nokia, Los Angeles, in celebration of the reggae artist's first children's music album, entitled Family Time. The early Saturday (note 10:30am listed start time) performance is part of the ongoing Grammy Museum's monthly Musical Explorations family program. Amoeba Music is among the proud sponsors of this worthy event which will be immediately followed by fun, educational activities for kids and their parents to participate in, happening in the club's exclusive VIP Lounge. There, some good folks from Amoeba will be on hand selling various reggae and children’s music titles as well as giving away some fun freebies. Nokia Theater is located at 800 West Olympic Blvd Suite A335, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Tix info here.
Julia ChigambaAnother Amoeba related event happening tomorrow is the 6th Annual Berkeley World Music Festival. This big, spread out live music event happens in the vicinity of the Telegraph Ave. Amoeba store and is presented by Amoeba Music. It may not be hip-hop themed, but it should be fun. And it's free! Presenting live music up and down Telegraph Ave. in various shops and cafes, as well as in People's Park, located immediately behind Amoeba Berkeley, the day's festivities will include the official Amoeba Dance Party with Crafts Bazaar featuring Julia Chigamba & the Chinyakare Ensemble (see video above of the Zimbabwean artist), Freddy Clarke's Wobbly World, Markus James & the Wassonrai, Thomas Mapfumo and MC Stephen Kent. Inside Amoeba on Telegraph at exactly 6pm will be an all-ages performance by Moh Alileche. Free event runs from noon to 9pm. Click here for more info.
Also in the East Bay tomorrow (Sat, June 6th) is West Oakland's Green Scene at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, which is a celebration of both the new park and the many organizations that are creating healthy and sustainable communities in Oakland. Good stuff! It is a free event and happens at the park from 11:00am until 4:00pm. Click here for more info. And on Sunday is the annual Temescal Street Fair, with music, lots of local artists, a culinary stage, and children's activities, all happening 10am to 6pm on Telegraph between 45th and 51st St. in North Oakland.