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) Marco Polo & Torae Double Barrel (Duck Down)
4) Method Man & Redman Blackout! 2 (Def Jam)
5) AZ Legendary (Real Talk)
This week's top five hip-hop chart from Amoeba Music Hollywood, courtesy of Ray at the Sunset Ave. store, has many of the same brand new hip-hop releases that were also charting high at Amoeba Music San Francisco last week, including Eminem, Marco Polo & Torae, Method Man & Redman, and J Dilla.
For the second week in a row the great new album from the late, great Detroit hip-hop producer, also known as Jay Dee, Jay Stay Paid on Nature Sounds is number one at Amoeba. And deservedly so, since this new release, which is overseen production wise by Pete Rock, unveils new beats by the late artist plus matches his music with a variety of other artists including his own younger brother Illa J.
The other new chart entry is the album Legendary from legendary emcee AZ, who's been putting it down since the early nineties and who first came to fame in 1994 when he made a cameo on "Life's A Bitch" on the Nas album Illmatic (he was the only guest to grace that landmark hip-hop album). He released his debut, Do Or Die (EMI), in 1995.
In the years since, the profilic AZ has recorded a series of releases, including his work with The Firm, as well as collaborating with a ton of other artists over time. For the new album AZ displays those rhyme skills that have kept him in the spotlight for so long, but in a more laid back setting than on recent releases by the New York artist such as his 2005 album A.W.O.L. or 2006's The Format. Standout songs on Legendary include "Before It's All Said & Done," "Money Makes the World Go Round," and "Good for Nothin,'" in which he addresses his childhood.
Poison Pen "BK"s Fat Boy" (live in The Dollar Van going down Flatbush, 2009)
Other new music worth mentioning on the hardcore tip includes the new single "AK (the less fortunate)" by Heavyweight featuring San Quinn, and Poison Pen (the sometime Immortal Technique affiliate who calls himself "BK's Fatboy" or "Fatboy from BK"), whose highly recommended new album The Money Shot on Gold Dust Media drops the first week in August. Meantime, check out the Brooklyn artist performing the song "BK's Fatboy" in an novel setting: in a Dollar Van headed down Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn. Note that The Dollar Van is a Brooklyn institution, offering cheap transportation of dubious legality to Brooklynites looking for an affordable alternative to cab fare. The totally cool "Dollar Van Demos" series is recorded to the surprise of the other passengers as witnessed in the video above.
When the now legendary graffiti art book Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant was first published in 1984, graffiti was not nearly as widely embraced or recognized as art as it is today. In fact, the two photo-journalists had great difficulty getting anyone to publish the book. But once it was published it went on to become a revolutionary and highly influential book. In the 1980's Subway Art become one of the main texts for the then still burgeoning global graffiti movement. No wonder it was dubbed "the bible of the graf movement" by artists the world over.
Just recently the book has been republished in a special 25 year anniversary edition by Chronicle Books in San Francisco. The new edition is an absolutely beautiful coffee-table size art book, 12" by 17" in size, which not only allowed the two photo-journalist authors to add pictures not included in the much smaller scale 1984 edition of the book, but more importantly, allowed them to increase the size of many of the photos so now they can be really appreciated. "It's more of a photography book," said Martha Cooper, of the new 25 year anniversary edition. Check back here on the Amoeblog next week for an interview with Henry Chalfant about the new edition, the globalization of the graffiti movement, and also about the movie Style Wars that he produced with the late, great director Tony Silver.
And finally, I leave you with a clip from the new TV show Hammertime based around the family life of Stanley Kirk Burrell, aka the once hugely successful Oakland rap artist MC Hammer, and his family, including his wife and six kids. "When life hits hard, Hammer hits back," reads the print promo ad for this new "real-life series" (read celebreality TV) on A&E TV that premieres on Sunday, June 14th, at 10pm. The fun clip below, which does not include Hammer himself, was filmed recently in Hollywood inside the trendy Live! On Sunset store, the self-described "interactive retail experience that provides an exciting global platform for California fashion and style."