Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 03:19:10
1) U-N-I A Love Supreme 2.0 (Traffic)
2) Ludacris Battle Of The Sexes (DTP Recordings)
3) V/A Decon Presents Never Not Fresh (Decon)
4) Kidz In The Hall Land Of Make Believe (Duck Down)
5) Grieves with Budo 88 Keys & Counting (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Super talented SoCal duo U-N-I top this week's Amoeba Music San Francisco hip-hop chart with their recommended A Love Supreme 2.0. The record was written about in last week's Hip-Hop Round Up when it was also included on the Hollywood Amoeba's top five chart along with such other releases as Ludacris' ever popular Battle Of The Sexes on DTP/Def Jam. Number two at the San Francisco store, the album is number one in the country this week according to the latest Billboard album chart, arriving at the number one spot with a bullet. Typically a compilation is always a good bet since you get a nice variety of music and the best representation from each artist, but the new Decon Records compilation Decon Presents Never Not Fresh raises the bar quite a few notches. It is an excellent 13 track (plus "Intro" and "Outro" tracks) collection of some of the best tracks from the Decon vaults, including Aceyalone & RJD2 (who appear throughout, as well as together on "All For You"), Dilated Peoples ("Spit It Clearly" with The Alchemist), Jay Electronica ("Exhibit A"), Jurassic 5 ("Ducky Boy," which was first reissued a little over a year ago by Decon on the J5 Deluxe Reissue), Skillz ("Take It Back"), Del The Funky Homosapien ("I’m Gonna Make It"), Zion I ("Ride"), and more, with tracks featuring such hip-hop talents as Casual, Chali 2na, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, Lateef, Haiku D E’tat, Evidence, 88-Keys, and Izza Kizza. Below is the trailer for the compilation.
Decon Presents Never Not Fresh
The Kidz In The Hall "Jukebox"
The Kidz In The Hall return with a vengeance with their third album, Land Of Make Believe on Duck Down. The Chicago duo of Double-O and Naledge put a slightly new (more polished, mainstream-ready) spin on their sound on this record, as epitomized by the lead singles "Flickin'" and "Jukebox" (video above). Kidz, who have been hella busy promoting this new (mostly Double-O produced) project, are running round doing Austin this weekend, with a ton of gigs at the big South By South West (SxSW) festival (details on theirs and other shows later on in this report). Another Amoeba chart entry this week that hails from the Windy City is Chicago born/Colorado raised/NYC based Benjamin Laub, aka Grieves, who released his indie debut album Irreversible three years ago. Since then he has been busy both buildng an audience through touring and honing a unique style through recording in the studio. His most notable time in the studio was perhaps in Seattle with the talented producer and multi-instrumentalist Budo, with whom he recorded the all original (no samples) 15 track limited released titled 88 Keys & Counting, which also features a guest spot from Luckyiam of Living Legends. This album, previously only available digitally, has been just released by Rhymesayers as a kind of prequel to the official Grieves & Budo's Rhymesayers debut which is coming later this year.
Grand Invincible "The Way We Revolt"
According to Luis, who supplied this week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Chart, the Got Kidney? benefit hip-hop compilation overseen by RasCue and featuring Zumbi from Zion I, Rasco, Kev Choice, Melina Jones and many others that was written about here a few weeks ago, is now available at Amoeba in CD format. Another new Bay Area release is Grand Invincible's Cold Hand In The DIce Game on the Alex Pardee artist collective's ZeroFriends label, featuring such great tracks as "The Way We Revolt" (see video above, shot mostly in SF's Mission District), "Gutter," "No Eject"and "Chill To The Limit." Fans of the slept on, bygone era Bay Area hip-hop crew Sacred Hoop will instantly recognize the distinctive and commanding raspy voice of Luke Sick, who, along with DJ/producer DJ Eons (formerly guitarist with 90's power-violence grindcore group Spazz) make up Grand Invincible. As is evident from the above video, Eons and Luke represent the Bay Area's party-fueled Gurp City collective. Another Gurp City member (also featured in the Grand Invincible video) is the super-talented, one-of-a-kind emcee (and also a gifted painter) Z-Man, who has also just released a new joint. It's an EP (so far only digitally available) titled Show Up, Shut, And Rap and it features DJ Eddie Def tearing it up on the cuts on three tracks including the super sick opener "Going Hard." Good stuff and Z-Man is in his typical fine lyrical form on all of the EP's eight tracks including ones with cameos by BOAC and Bored Stiff.
Speaking of the Bay Area this evening, a promising new club night titled San Francisco Fast Forward is jumping off at Yoshi's in San Francisco. Presented by the Artist Alliance and the California Public Education Fund, the new weekly is described by its organizers as a way "to break out of the traditional musical boxes that are hampering tha SF scene and dance music in general, and utilize Yoshi's large and multi-faceted space to highlight key DJs, artists and tastemakers in tha Bay Area's diverse music, art, fashion and suhshi foodie scene." In the main room the DJs spinning hip-hop, soul, and party music will be DJ Haylow, Ren Vinyl Archaeologist, DJ Boogie Brown, NeoGeo, and Abel Dee. Meanwhile, in the second smaller room the vibe and sound will be straight up reggae dancehall roots and world music with such familiar hometown selectors as Jay Yzer, Iire Dole, Javier and others working the decks. Yoshi's is located at 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA. Only $5, 21+, 8pm-11pm. Portions of profits will go to support the California Public Education Foundation. For more info, click here.
Down in Austin, TX right now is the SxSW music and film festival (March 12th - 21st), which this year seems to have a significant increase in the ratio of hip-hoppers at the traditionally indie rock dominated annual event. Among the many hip-hoppers set to perform are this week's chart entrants Kidz In The Hall (KITH), who will be doing a set at 1pm (Central Time) today (Friday) along with Rakaa, The Cool Kids, Cool Calm Pete, 88-Keys, Bad Rabbits, Hey Champ, and French Horn Rebellion at the L4M Showcase @ Aces (222 East 6th St) which goes til approx 5pm. A little later this eve KITH play at the Duck Down Showcase, which starts at 7pm and goes all night, along with B-Real of Cypress Hill, 9th Wonder and Buckshot, Sean Price & Black Milk, Pharoahe Monch, Blue Cholars, Skyzoo, Promise, Marco Polo, Torae, Ruste Juxx, Nottz, and "special guests." The recommended Duck Down Showcase is at the Scoot Inn (1308 East 4th St). As with all of the hot tipped SxSW shows, even if you have a badge, get there early to ensure admission.
Other shows at SxSW include tomorrow's Grand Hustle and Creative Control Presents Hustle and Flow Invasion at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard with Young Dro, Stalley, Big Kuntry, Yung LA, Dom Kennedy, Big K.R.I.T., Laws, Skotch Davis, Grip Plyaz, LEP Bogus Boys, Carter, Curren$y, J. Ivey, KITH, and Donnis. 7pm start & goes all night at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard (1106 E. 11th St.). Brooklyn based emcee Bisco Smith, who just released his latest album The Broadcast, is performing at SxSW with DJ Lokash and Turnbull Green this afternoon at 4:15pm at the Beyond Race Daytime Jam @ Union Park located at 612 West 6th St. which goes from 2pm to 7pm. Tomorrow (Saturday) Bisco and friends will be doing a set at the Audible Treats Artist Showcase at The Independent (501 Brushy St.) which runs from 7pm to 2am. DJ Spooky + Diplo will be playing tonight at the Virgin Mobile 508 SxSW Party at 11pm to 12:30am at 508 E. 8th Street (corner of Red River & 8th– across from Stubbs) and tomorrow (Saturday) night at midnight, DJ Spooky along with DJ Yoda and others will be at The Phoenix, 409 Colorado St. For more information on the multitudes of performers and showcases visit the official SxSW website.
Shing02 informs me that his good friend the Japanese producer Jun Seba, aka Nujabes (pictured above), who produced "Battlecry" (theme for animated series Samurai Champloo) and "Luv(sic) Parts 1-3" recently passed away following a fatal car accident. He was only 36. Reported by his label (in Japanese) here, Shing02 wrote about the producer this week on his site, saying, "Nujabes has touched so many people around the world, even beyond his dreams. He was a mysterious character to most, as he avoided the public limelight, rarely conducted interviews, so only a few got to know the man behind the signature production. Yet it continued to amaze me how young listeners of all backgrounds learned of his enigmatic name, and expressed support for his music.......The last time we talked in January, Nujabes emailed me to wish Jeff Resurreccion, a 19-year old beatboxer who had just passed way from cancer, his heartfelt condolences."
As reported here last week, rap star Lil Wayne after two postponements finally had his one year sentence in Rikers Island handed down by a New York City court. He should only serve eight months if he can maintain good behavior. However Weezy's troubles won't end there. On Tuesday an Arizona judge issued a bench warrant for Wayne for failing to appear for a hearing on drugs and weapons -- a 2008 case for which he pleaded not guilty. Since the artist born Dwayne Carter was already locked up in the NYC correctional facility he could not make it to the AZ court date this week. But once he gets out of jail he has to go straight to court and possibly back to jail down in Yuma County, Arizona. Meanwhile Lil Wayne's critically panned latest album Rebirth continues to sell well, recently reaching gold status for sales of 500,000.
And finally, I leave you with a great clip that has been forwarded to me by five different people in the past week. Entitled "Fuck Shit Stack" by Seattle's ever creative Reggie Watts (video directed by Duncan & Ben), this song and video is one of the most spot on spoofs / parodies of current popular hip-hop that I have seen in a while. And I love how through his constant use of the explicit lyrics Watts cleverly diffuses the offensiveness of said words. Brilliant! Look for Reggie's Live Special on DVD Why Shit So Crazy?! at Amoeba Music.