Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 02:12:10
1) Slum Village Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1 (Barak Records)
2) Slug & Murs + Aesop Rock FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
3) Strong Arm Steady In Search of Stoney Jackson (Stones Throw)
4) Evil Empire/Drake It's Been A Pleasure (Urbane)
5) Young Lay Black N Dangerous (Atlantic)
That classic newly reissued Slum Village CD, Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1 on Barak Records, that has been a popular item at Amoeba San Francisco recently, is similarly doing well at the Berkeley Amoeba Music, where this week it is number one. Other chart entries at the Telegraph Avenue store include the Khaynree-produced 1994 release from Vallejo rapper Young Lay Black N Dangerous (this is the album that includes the killer track "Got 2 Survive" featuring Ray Luv, Mac Mall and 2Pac), the third installment in the FELT series (Slug and Murs, who teamed up with producer Aesop Rock this time out), and the Evil Empire Drake mixtape CD It's Been A Pleasure (with a very impressive guest list that includes Gucci Mane, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne & Young Money, Usher, Young Jeezy, & Rick Ross).
The other chart entry is the highly recommended new Madlib-produced Strong Arm Steady (SAS) joint In Search of Stoney Jackson on Stones Throw. SoCal's SAS, whose ever-changing membership currently includes Mitchy Slick, Phil Da Agony, and Krondon (Xzibit hasn't been with the crew for four years now), kills it on this release, particularly with songs such as the weed anthem "Cheeba Cheeba." He could not have teamed up with a better producer than Madlib, who shines throughout, including on the non-emcee track "Chants." In addition to Madlb's sick production, he also scratches on the album. So does J-Rocc, who, along with Talib Kweli, Guilty Simpson, Little Brother’s Phonte, Planet Asia, Fashawn, and others, is among the album's many guests. Many of these folks, including J-Rocc and Planet Asia, were in the house at the great record release party at LA's Fat Beats last month.
Freeway & Jake One's The Stimulus Package arrives in Amoeba on Tuesday
And the award for the best album and CD packaging of the year (so far, at least, and I'm doubtful that anyone will top this) goes to the good folks at Rhymesayers Entertainment, who went all out on the amazing job they did for the new Freeway & Jake One album The Stimulus Package, which gets released on Tuesday Feb 16th. The impressive package, which was designed by Brent Rollins and seen in the video above, includes a card with links to download the instrumental versions of the Jake-One tracks. The CD version, which is similarly impressive, is designed to look more like a well worn leather wallet. Fortunately, the music contained inside is equally impressive. Freeway was formerly on Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella label, for whom he sold a half million of his 2003 album Philadelphia Freeway. He delivers one great track after another.
Album highlights include the chant along hip-hop anthem "Throw Your Hands Up;" "Never Gonna Change," with an atypically hip-hop sick, minimalist original track featuring Steve Gardner (violin & voila), Heather Houseman (cello), & G Koop (key & bells); "Money," which features Omillio Sparks and Mister Porter; and the anti drug "The Product," where Freeway talks in the first person of the hard drug and eloquently lays down the way people from all walks of life can fall victim to coke, heroin, pills etc. He raps, "Yes I am the product. Instead of hooked on phonics. I got everybody hooked on me. Yes I'm the product. I'm the narcotic. I got all these rappers working for me." On Tuesday in New York Freeway and Jake One are throwing a record release party at the Highline Ballroom with Joel Ortiz also on the bill. Click here for more info.
A couple of nights later, Feb. 18, at NY's S.O.B.'s, legendary hip-hop figure Lord Finesse, best known as the leader of the D.I.T.C. (Diggin In The Crates) crew will be throwing a birthday bash / 20th anniversary celebration and performance along with The Congregation Band and special performance by the great emcee Rakim plus Rasheed Chappell.and DJ Boogie Blind.
There are also a lot of old school heads rumored to be attending, including Brand Nubian, The Beatnuts, DJ Premier, Da Beatminerz, Large Professor, Rich Medina, Kenny Dope, Black Sheep and Nice & Smooth, so who knows who might jump up on stage. Click here for more info.
Regular Amoeblog readers may have noticed a lapse in the guest Amoeblog series by incarcerated rapper Anerae "X-Raided" Brown, who not only somehow managed type up and transmit several Amoeblogs, but more impressively, also somehow recorded a series of new tracks in the latter part of 2009, and all from behind bars at California's Salinas Valley State Prison. The reason for the lapse unfolded when his label, Bloc Star Entertainment, announced via press release that, "After receiving a tip from a confidential informant, prison officials searched a cell assigned to notorious Sacramento gangsta rapper Aneraé “X-Raided” Brown on December 22, 2009, and discovered a cell phone and a WAV/MP3 recorder in his possession."
The raid by prison guards resulted in the discovery of "a Roland R-09HR WAV/MP3 recorder, hidden inside of an Arts in Corrections keyboard and a Nokia cell phone, a charger, and an extra battery hidden inside of two typewriter cartridges," according to Bloc Star, who noted that as a result, "Brown was confined to quarters for 72 hours for possession of contraband and issued a rules violation report days later." The site also noted, "Brown was interviewed by prison officials and refused to say where and how he obtained the contraband, yet they are fairly certain that the contraband was introduced into the facility by the state employed laundry room supervisor and that the situation has been contained." It may take longer for Brown's next guest Amoeblog.
And finally, I leave you with a trailer for this summer's hip-hop documentary The True School Park Jam Series, which shines a light on the amazing, historical hip-hop NYC park summer series of the past several years organized by Christie Z of Tools of War, along with a crew of hard working hip-hop fanatics. The film, shot and edited by Mark Carranceja for Noisemaker Media, features (among many others) Afrika Bambaataa, Kool DJ Red Alert, and The Original Jazzy Jay as they reunite on the wheels of steel for the first time in over 25 years. As the release date draws closer the Amoeblog will do an in depth interview with Christie Z on the film and the Park Jam series itself.
The True School Park Jam Series / 2010 Trailer