Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 07:03:09
1) The Jacka Tear Gas (SMC)
2) Big Rich Heart of the City (3 Story Muzik)
3) Raashan Amhad Soul Power (Crown City Rockers)
4) Wu Tang Chamber Music (KR Urban/KOCH)
5) Dead Prez + DJ Green Lantern Pulse Of The People (Turn Off The Radio Vol. 3) (IMG)
Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart, which is 60% homegrown Bay Area talent this week, including the number this week at the Haight Street store: The Jacka and his latest full-length, Tear Gas. The album from the Mob Figaz member is doing well on the Billboard charts too. It debuted at #4 on the music trade magazine's Rap Charts, #12 on the R&B Charts, #13 on the Indie Charts, and at #93 on the Top 200 albums chart,
With studio assistance from a dozen different producers, this follow up to The Jacka's popular 2008 mixtape, The Street Album, is the hard working Oakland-born/Pittsburg-raised rap artist's most diverse sounding release to date. Tear Gas features mic guests from far beyond the Bay, including Houston's Devin The Dude and Philly's Freeway. Of course, the Mob Figaz member is also joined by some of his Yay Area peeps such as Mistah F.A.B., Andre Nickatina, and Zion I. Converted to Islam, The Jacka lets his faith be known on the album via lyrics such as "in Allah we trust, I try to purify my heart, because I’m a slave to my thoughts. I’m a monster out here, because I change when it’s dark" in the song "They Don't Know," on which he is joined by Freeway, who is a fellow Muslim.
The other two new Bay Area releases on this week's chart are the latest from Fillmore, San Francisco rapper Big Rich, Heart Of The CIty which, a few days ago, was Amoeblogged about here, and the second solo joint from Raashan Ahmad, Soul Power, which is being released via his group Crown City Rockers' own indie label. Last week the New Jersey born Bay Area artist threw a record release at the Root Down in LA for the thirteen song release, which was mostly recorded early this year.
As Raashan Ahmad explains on the Crown City Rockers' web site, "After touring the United States to promote my first solo album The Push, I discovered that I wanted to add more bangin’ songs to my live set. Soul Power is the result. When I say “soul power,” I’m talking about about what gives my soul, my spirit power–which is music! This project was especially born out of all that I learned being on the road." Read the Raashan Ahmad Amoeblog interview from last May when he released The Push (OM) and also did an Amoeba in-store at the SF location. And fans of his group Crown City Rockers can look forward to a new album from the group in the Fall.
Pulse Of The People (Turn Off The Radio Vol. 3) is the new release from Dead Prez and DJ Green Lantern on which the renowned DJ/producer joins forces with the talented revolutionary rap group comprised of Stic.man and M-1 for the latest/third part installment of their critically acclaimed independent series released on DJ Green Lantern's Invasion Music Group/Boss up Inc.. This release has cameos from Bun B, Ratfink, Styles P, Johnny Polygon, Chuck D & Avery Storm.
The welcome return of the Wu is marked with Chamber Music, this week's number four chart entry, which, as stated on the official Wu-Tang (formerly Wu-Tang Clan) website their website reports, contains only, "brand-new, fully sanctioned new material from the entire Wu Tang Clan. No outtakes. No bootleg material. No B-sides. No leftovers." However, not every person in the Wu-Tang's official membership (Ghostface Killa, Raekown, RZA, U-God, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, and GZA) is present and represented here.
Method Man, GZA, and Masta Killa are each noticeably absent, but Ghostface Killa, Inspectah Deck, U-God, RZA and Raekwon are included, as are such longtime Wu affiliates as Cappadonna and Killah Priest. Plus numerous other guests also step to the mic on this RZA executive produced release, including Kool G Rap, Sadat X, Masta Ace, AZ, Cormega, Sean Price, Havoc, Tre Williams, and M.O.P.
As its title implies, the new release (the group's best in a while) is a welcome return to the vibe of the Staten Island crew's landmark debut Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers), but of course, without regurgitating that classic 1993 album. The new Chamber Music features a nice balance of RZA beats and live instrumentation.
Other new releases include DJ-JS-1's latest, Ground Original 2: No Sell Out, on Fat Beats Records. The Queens NY turntablist, who famously gave Regis scratch lessons, was a member of the world famous Rock Steady Crew, a partner of Rahzel, sometime tour DJ for KRS-One, and also appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V, has been putting it down for the past fifteen years and is an equally good DJ/turntablist and producer. No wonder then, that he has produced such an impressive list of artists, including Common, Will Smith & Jazzy Jeff, Immortal Technique, Big Daddy Kane, Dilated Peoples, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, Pharoahe Monch, Brand Nubian, and Kool Keith. Some of these artists return the favor and appear on his new album, such as Pharoahe Monch, Kool Keith (with fellow former Ultramagnetic MC Ced Gee), Dilated Peoples' Rakaa, and KRS-One, who appears with Canibus on the great track "Clear 'N Present Danger."
Of the numerous other collaborators who bless the mic on Ground Original 2: No Sell Out, the impressive long list includes Large Pro, Sean Price, Blaq Poet, Killah Priest, Ill Bill, Aesop Rock, Vast Aire, Chino XL, Sadat X, AG, OC, Craig G, CL Smooth, Edo G, Prince Po, Akrobatik, J-Live, Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks, C Rayz Walz, Copywrite, PMD, Rahzel, Torae, Pumpkinhead, Jak D, Big Noyd, Q-Unique, Brother Ali, Slaine, Virtuoso, Pack FM, Supastition, Block McCloud, Trez, and Rugged Intellect. Also lending a hand is DJ Premier.
The BET Awards, which broadcast last weekend (6/28), was a mostly a dry, slow-moving mess (ask anyone who sat through it), but, in spite of itself, the show had a few memorable moments. Some of these were just plain cringeworthy though, such as at the beginning of the live annual television show's red carpet intro segment when Joe Jackson was captured on the mic and on camera for a quick impromptu interview just three days after his famous son Michael's shocking death. Instead of respectfully merely mourning his son, the elder Jackson appeared to be only shamelessly promoting his new record label.
Jay Z at BET Awards doing "D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)"
Jay Z at BET Awards doing "D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)"
Meanwhile, a much more appropriate, sincere, and fitting nod to the King of Pop came at the close of Jay Z's performance of his new song "D.O.A.(Death Of Autotune)" (see video above), when he uttered "Rest in peace to the King." Indeed, rest in peace M.J. But as I Amoeblogged here a week ago, there will be no rest for Michael Jackson for a long time to come. You can be sure of that. MJ's tragic and shocking death has merely kickstarted a frantic new stage in Jackson's career, albeit posthumously, and one that the media or opportunists won't let die for a long, long time to come.
Every day a new angle on the MJ tragedy unfolds. Today it was tickets to the Staples Center memorial event scheduled for next Tuesday. Yesterday it was speculation over who would fill Jackson's shoes and take his place at the upcoming 50 UK shows booked at London's 23,000-seat O2 Arena. Read the AP story here. Meanwhile, a quick search of eBay under Michael Jackson this morning (Friday July 3) revealed not just endless copies of Thriller (many opened and worn) being hawked for $300 or $1000 or more (and this best selling album of all time is so common that you would, in pre 06-25-09 times, routinely find copies of it for a dollar at Amoeba in the crates near the ground), but also numerous MJ domain names such as the Michael Jackson King of Pop premium domain being sold for the "buy it now" price of $21 million (say what?) but "all offers considered." Dang!
That nice round figure of $21 million was the same "buy it now" price quoted for the five items being sold as a pricey bundle on eBay tagged as Michael Jackson wore this to the American Music Awards 1981. Included here (wtih "free shipping") are five items worn by the King of Pop to the January 1981 ceremony, where he picked up two awards for his Off The Wall album. The eBay listing morbidly notes of the five items of material worn by MJ that "THERE IS A LOT OF MICHAEL'S (DNA) MAKE-UP ALL OVER THE FRONT OF THE SHIRT AND ON THE COLLAR." If only half of these numerous MJ eBay items in the $20 million plus category sell, MJ alone could save the economy, especially here in recessionary California, aka Brokeland (not Neverland).
Last week the Bay Area showed much love for DJ and former Amoeba Music San Francisco employee Frank Quattlebaum, aka DJ RasCue (formerly known as Rasta Cue Tip), by heavily supporting the Rescue RasCue Benefit to assist the unlucky hip-hop DJ/producer, who has had serious medical troubles lately and (like the other approx 50 million Americans) has no health insurance to cover his ridiculously overpriced medical costs. In desperate need of a kidney transplant, Rascue has been placed on the US kidney transplant list.
Last Thursday (6/25) DJs and other artists from hip-hop and other genres banded together for the big benefit that took place at Temple (old DV8) in SF, donating 100% of the proceeds from the $12 admission to helping Rascue and also, "raising awareness of the importance of organ donation." Lined up to play were Dilated Peoples, Bored Stiff, Hieroglyphics (who did a crowd-rousing version of "93 Til Infinity"), Zion I, Z-Man, Lunar Heights, Bicasso of Living Legends, and such DJs (spinning throughout the three spaces in the large club) as Miguel Migs, Mind Motion, Sake One, Fran Boogie, J-Boogie, Ra-Soul, Kevvy Kev, DJ Lex, DJ Marcella-LadyLu, and Santero.
Luis from Amoeba SF was there at the benefit for his friend and former co-worker and reported that, "There was a lot of positive energy there and a lot of love for Frank from all who was present. It was a great turn out with lots of great music all night. There was a lot of Michael Jackson played, of course, since he had just died that day." In addition to making money off the door, extra money was raised from selling the Got Kidney? t-shirts made for the event.
With this being the Fourth of July holiday weekend, there are tons of great parties jumping off, including two recommended ones tonight in San Francisco. 2Mex, Bored Stiff, and Deuce Eclipse plus DJ Pause on the ones and twos, are all performing at El Rincon on 16th and Harrison. All ages. 10pm doors. $15 admission.
Meanwhile, the legendary 90's SF hip-hop party Cream of Beat, thrown by the Pirate DJs back in da day, is back and better than ever! Tonight Cream of Beat Version '09 is jumping off at SOMA club Mighty, with a stellar turntable lineup, billed as "World Heavyweight DJ Battle -- 4 Rounds," that includes the Local 1200's DJ Fuze, Sake 1, and Namane, the Pirate DJs Mind Motion, DJ Ivan, and Dark Money, Triple Threat's Apollo and Shortkut, and the Original DJs Supreme and Pos Red.
Wow, what a Bay Area hip-hop DJ flashback! That is one legendary SF DJ line up! The show is tonight, Friday, July 3rd at Mighty, 119 Utah St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 21+, 10pm-2am, Buy advance tickets here and for more info click here.
And if you happen to be in Tokyo, Japan this weekend, there's a good show tomorrow night (Saturday, July 4th) at Daikanyama Loop with Kool Keith, Motion Man, Kutmasta Kurt, Shing02, DJ Sarasa, DJ C-Ken and more. It is all part of the Dr. Dooom vs Dr. Octagon/Motion Man (/サイプレス上野とロベルト吉野) tour that began in the States about two months back.
The Tokyo show, which is presented by Contrarede & Wax Poetics Japan, costs 3500 yen in advance or 4000 yen at the door, but if you miss it, most of the same players will be doing an appearance at the Tokyo Apple Store the next day (Sunday, July 5th). For more insights on these artists, read the Amoeblog Kutmasta Kurt interview from a couple of months back.
And in a few weeks at the Mezzanine in San Francisco, there will be screening of the wonderful documentary on the state of copyright, RiP: A Remix Manifesto, that heavily features Gregg Gillis (aka, renowned, sample happy Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania artist Girl Talk), Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, Brazil's former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow, amongst other interesting individuals involved in copyright infringement or legal grey areas within creative fields and the media/entertainment industry. Below is the trailer for the film that will screen on July 23rd at the SF club. The screening will be quite timely in light of such recent cases as the one involving the $1.92 million verdict against a Minnesota woman accused of sharing 24 songs over the Internet.
And finally, I leave you with two engaging tales. The first is the story about an interesting experiment conducted with a 13 year old over in Britain who was subjected to the decades old technology of the SONY Walkman.
As part of a behavioral study, the BBC convinced 13 year old Scott Campbell to swap his iPod for the 30 year old (once hip) technology of the cassette playing Walkman and to use it for one week.
Not surprisingly, the digital age teen was far from impressed with the archaic piece of electronics. Read Wired magazine's report here.
The other story is about the latest trend consuming some of those crazy, wild Japanese thrill seekers: the strange current Bagelhead fad as captured in picture below and reported this week on Manolith.Com