Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 01:29:10
1) BlakRoc Blakroc (V2/Cooperative)
2) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)
3) Jay Z Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)
4) Fashawn Boy Meets World (Loud)
5) Oh No Dr. No's Ethiopium (Stones Throw)
If the newest Amoeba Music Hollywood hip-hop chart above looks similar to the SoCal store's chart from three weeks ago, well, that's because it is exactly the same. All the top selling hip-hop releases from the past few weeks' weekly charts at the Hollywood store have been consistently selling well and hence holding steady in their respective chart slots at the Sunset Blvd. store. Both Jay-Z and the Black Eyed Peas' now months-old 2009 releases continue to sell phenomenally well, and not just at Amoeba but across the nation also. They are still simultaneously holding down spots on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, ranking at #9 and #31 respectively on the national sales based chart. Meantime, instrumental versions of seven of the great tracks off the recommended self-titled BlakRoc album, composed and performed by The Black Keys for the emcees Mos Def, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch, Ludacris, etc etc, were unveiled this week on the website The Black Keys Fan Lounge.
DJ Quest, the pioneering San Francisco turntablist who has been consistently pushing the envelope since the 1980's, has a busy weekend ahead of him that includes doing a guest DJ spot this afternoon (Friday) at 4pm on San Francisco's troubled Pirate Cat Radio 87.9FM. The station recently has been struggling financially to stay afloat after getting slapped with a $10,000 fine by the FCC. To help out the wonderful SF radio station, go to their website, or better yet, stop by their cafe/studios at 21st & Florida this afternoon when Quest is performing and show some support.
Tomorrow (Sat Jan 30th) DJ Quest teams up for the first time in a long time with his fellow Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters (later renamed Bullet Proof Space Travelers) founding member DJ Cue as part of a recommended show at 19 Broadway in Fairfax that also includes Casual, Z-Man, Dopestyle, and 2010 Bea. 9pm show. $22 at the door. $20 advance. Tix and general info here. And for more info on DJ Quest go to his recently launched new website.
Also happening tomorrow night in the Bay Area is the cool sounding new (fifth Saturday) party aptly dubbed SAMPLEd with DJs Shortkut, Dmadness, DJ Platurn, and Mpenzi. According to Dmadness, this new event is "is set to be a musical history lesson slash name-that-sample game, slash these are the breaks, slash all-out shake your body down to the ground, now get down. It is a place where beat-heads, record nerds, music lovers and beautiful people will all converge for some top notch edutainment." The event is at Paradiso Lounge at 2272 Telegraph Avenue (between Grand & 23rd) in Oakland, Sat Jan 30. 10pm - 2am. $10. 21+ Click here for directions/club info.
Unfortunately I will not be in town (Oakland), so will miss out on the event. But luckily, I am in New York, where I am heading to the Hip-Hop Karaoke Championships tonight at the Fillmore East @ Irving Plaza. This is an event that I have always been curious about and look forward to checking out this evening. The dozen contestants will include the talented Jewish Canadian emcee RDJ and African American female rapper Damali, and judges will include Buckshot (Black Moon/ Boot Camp Clik). Fillmore East is at 17 Irving Plaza NY, NY. Click here for info.
And later read post championship review here.
We may only be in the first month of the new year but the music world, including hip-hop, is losing a lot of talented artists. Last Friday, as first reported by the hip-hop blog RapRadar.com, Apache of the DJ Mark the 45 King & Queen Latifah-headed Flavor Unit hip-hop crew died suddenly. The exact cause of his death is still unknown. Born Anthony Peaks, the New Jersey emcee/writer was perhaps best known for his controversial early nineties, Q-Tip-produced hit single "Gangsta Bitch" (video below) on Tommy Boy, which riled up both feminists within the hip-hop movement at the time such as Dream Hampton and Kierna Mayo, and anti-obscenity/misogyny activists outside of hip-hop such as the Rev Calvin Butts and the late C. Delores Tucker.
"Gangsta Bitch" wasn't the only controversial track found on Apache's Tommy Boy album. Another was the semi tongue-in-cheek "Kill D'White People" and its accompanying promotional T-shirt ("Kill All The White People" -- inspired by the Eddie Murphy reggae group SNL skit). Ian Steaman, who as Rap A&R Representative at the time worked promotions, among other tasks at Tommy Boy, remembers how Apache "...could be a handful at times no doubt but he knew who he was as an artist at the time. And [he] stood firm on that, often to the detriment of his own career, and I'll always remember the 'Kill All the White People' promo t-shirts he insisted we make." Ian is one of the many folks traveling to Irvington, NJ today for Apache's funeral.
While Apache may have been known for these controversy grabbing songs that put him in the spotlight, he was actually happiest apparently working behind the scenes, including ghost writing for other artists such as Queen Latifah on her debut album. He would again work for Latifah in later years behind the scenes on the TV show Living Single. Ironically, after fading from the hip-hop world for many years, the artist, who had reportedly become a born again Christian, only recently had decided to re-enter the rap world, tentatively setting up some 2010 shows with Mark the 45 King.
Another (much younger and less widely known but highly gifted & promising) hip-hop artist to tragically pass away in the past week was teenaged SoCal beatboxer Jeff Da Beatbox Prince, who, according to Shing02 died from "nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which is a rare cancer in the throat and very sad for a young, talented beatboxer." Shing02 kindly visited the young artist on his death bed several times in the weeks leading up to his passing, since it was one of Jeff's last wishes to meet the LA based, Japanese hip-hop star. See one of the very sad & moving videos here of Shing02, along with emcee Cave, visiting the young artist last month as he is surrounded by his loving family and friends. The proudly self-described "100% Filip" West Covina, CA hip-hopper was only 19 years of age and never had a chance to shine and reach his full artistic potential. "We all hoped for a miracle but it was hard to see him in pain with the cancer spreading," said Shing02. Below are videos from both Jeff Da Beatbox Prince and Apache. Rest In Peace to them both!
Jeff Da Beatbox "Prince" (2007)
Apache "Gangsta Bitch" (uncensored version)
If, like me, you recently thought that you might have been hallucinating when you saw the (supposedly defunct) Vibe magazine on newsstands, fear not, you were not imagining things. The pioneering black music, culture and politics monthly magazine once dubbed "the black Rolling Stone," was launched back in 1993 by Quincy Jones and Time Warner. This Amoeblogger even contributed to it! It was announced last June that Vibe would join the legions of other faltering print publications and cease production altogether, quietly resurfaced recently in a newly reshaped format.
Now a quarterly publication with a broader editorial focus that attempts to include more lifestyle and other topics of interest, the newly revamped Vibe hit the streets and most newsstands in the past week. Not surprisingly, the online version of Vibe, which, like the magazine, has Jermaine Hall as its editor-in-chief (although longtime editor Rob Kenner is still involved), apparently plays a more prominent role in terms of readership statistics in this digital age. The new quarterly version of the magazine, whose premiere issue carries the imprint "Display under April 2010," plans on publishing three more issues in 2010.
Naru Kwina is one of the original Oakland rappers whose career spans 30 years and includes recording tracks with a very young Too $hort way back in the day. By 1987, under his then rap moniker Sir Quick Draw, he had released his own first record, the Baywave/Macola 12" single "Rapaholic," which was among the first wave of Bay Area rap releases. Kwina is one of the subjects in the new Rosie O Donnell produced HBO documentary A Family Is A Family Is A Family to screen this Sunday (Jan 31st) evening at 7pm.
Naru, who is featured with his wife Jora and their daughter Najorae in the trailer (below) at the :38/:39 point, figures that he likely will be in the final cut but doesn't know for sure yet and actually won't know until it airs on Sunday evening. "I have not seen the final cut," he said, "But I know that my daughter and I have a music video for a song called 'Love Is The Thing' that we composed for the TV special and there is supposed to be a full video of the song included in the show."
A Family Is A Family Is A Family HBO documentary trailer (2010)