Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:23:10
1) Murs & 9th Wonder Fornever (SMC Recordings)
2) The Beastie Boys RSD Mystery (Capitol Throw)
3) Meth, Ghost, Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)
4) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)
5) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)
So successful was Record Store Day at Amoeba last weekend that one of the releases only sold on that day (last Saturday) made it to number two on the latest Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Chart. As reported by Amoebite Daniel Tures in his recent Record Store Day Mania at Amoeba Hollywood Amoeblog, "hip bands and artists from the Flaming Lips to the Beastie Boys released exclusive, limited-edition vinyl items available at independent record stores only, which were the subject of an intense shopping free-for-all that looked like a pro wrestling cage match grand slam." Many of these records were 7" releases. The Beasties were one of the few 12" and there were reportedly only a 1000 copies pressed up with indie stores all over each getting their limited share to sell. And even though the contents of the Beastie's sealed twelve inch, appropriately titled RSD Mystery, were indeed a mystery (Capitol Records, who pressed it up, promised that it contained "two unreleased" tracks wrapped in a white jacket with only the Beasties logo on it), fans fiended for them nonetheless. In fact, they snapped them up in record time (pun intended) for their collections.
So what exactly is on that limited run, previously unreleased Beasties' RSD Mystery record? It took me a while to find out, since most collectors who copped a copy have kept the record unopened in its pristine white shrink-wrapped packaging. But finally I found out from the Vinyl Bandit: "the Beastie Boys Mystery 12" is odd. One side is mostly turntable tricks, the other is an original jam based on samples of "Da Funk" by Daft Punk." Although uncredited it is probably safe to assume that the turntable tricks side (at least) is care of Mixmaster Mike. Besides all of the great vinyl to be found, there was much more to RSD at Amoeba Hollywood, including an inspired late afternoon DJ set by Spinderella of Salt N Pepa fame, who kept shoppers and staffers alike grooving to her diverse set that featured all vinyl with scratching. Fresh!
Also on the new weekly chart are the recommended new Wu-Tang Clan themed Wu Massacre from Meth, Ghost, Rae on Def Jam, and the two simultaneously released E40 albums Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift and Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift, both on Heavy on the Grind Ent. label and each selling extremely well at each Amoeba since their release a few weeks ago. And topping the new chart is the latest collaboration from Cali emcee Murs and North Carolina producer/DJ 9th Wonder, Fornever on SMC Recordings, which is perhaps the most commercially accessible of all four albums they've done together. After listening to the album a few times now I think the best song out of the album's (way too short) ten tracks is "Cigarettes & Liquor."
Speaking of the ever-talented 9th Wonder, Little Brother, the North Carolina hip-hop group that introduced most of the hip-hop world to 9th Wonder has just released its very last album, LeftBack, on Hall of Justus Records this week. "We gonna do this thing one last time," Little Brother emcee Phonte says at the start of the album track/lead single "Curtain Call." For the song he is joined by his partner in rhyme Big Pooh, with sick production by Khrysis (9th Wonder exited the group 3 years ago and this new LP features several producers including J.Bizness, King Karnov, S1, and Caleb). The video for "Curtain Call" below was directed by Matt Koza (who has done vids for the likes of RJD2 and Foreign Exchange), features cameos from Chaundon, Big Dho and Jozeemo. LeftBack is Little Brother's fourth album. Their debut, The Listening, appeared on the Bay Area, Beni B run indie label ABB Records in 2003.
Little Brother "Curtain Call"
DJ NEWS: Last Friday, April 16th, was the first of the 2010 DMC Regional Battles in New Orleans. Battle DJ champ, killer turntablist, party rocker and 4OneFunk crew member Mista B, who was runner up in last year's US DMC Finals, was both a performer and judge at the NOLA event. "I hope the DMC goes there every year because New Orleans as a city hosting a regional is great. There is so much history there with the music that there is a constant groove going on," the San Francisco DJ told me, adding that the actual battle was "a good all around event although only six DJs battled. I felt the crowd made the most of it. But it was good that me and [DMC World Champ] Shiftee performed to give the people their money's worth. Good job to Concept [who won the battle] as well. I hope he does well in NYC." The NYC US DMC finals is not until August 7th, after four other DMC Regionals take place in Denver (May 1st), NYC (May 15th), Long Beach, CA (May 21st), and San Antonio TX (May 28th).
West Coast DJ/producer DJ Icewater, who recently relocated to Brooklyn from Oakland, got inducted into the Oakland Faders DJ crew right before leaving the Bay a few months back. To celebrate the event the SoCal born DJ, who has been the touring DJ for The Pharcyde for the past few years and is currently doing dates all over as DJ for Shing02, laced up a wonderful new reggae mix CD entitled Burn Babylon Burn that proudly bears the Oakland Faders logo on its cover.
DJ Vlad, another Bay Area DJ that migrated to NYC, had some good news last Thursday when a judge awarded him $300,000 in a ruling against rapper Rick Ross, who apparently set loose his beefy entourage on the DJ/video producer/web-journalist in a 2008 incident in Houston, TX in which Vlad in a video-taped interview questioned Ross' street cred, namely the fact that the anti-authority posing, gangsta rapper Ross was once a prison guard (in street cred this is worse than being a cop). I contacted Vlad yesterday for a statement on the whole case. "My lawyer asked me to stay out of the the media for now," he responded, "But here's a statement I made after the decision" for the Daily News.
Simon Green, aka the Dutch producer Bonobo is labeled electronic but also delves into instrumental hip-hop territory, as witnessed by some tracks off his great new fourth album Black Sands on NInja Tune. He will be doing a special DJ set at Amoeba San Francisco today as part of the Mandala Presents series at 5pm at the Haight Street store. Later tonight he performs at Mezzanine.
Also tonight (April 23) in San Francisco there is a great DJ line up at Mighty: J-Rocc, DJ Apollo, and Carey Kopp. Hosted by Fran Boogie, the event starts at 10pm and goes til late. Mighty is located at 119 Utah St., San Francisco. $5 presale tickets. $10 at door.
The well-worth-watching movie Up In The Air, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, & Amy Morton (now avail on DVD at Amoeba) also features a brief cameo from Cut Chemist. In his cameo the LA DJ is spinning Chic's "Good Times" at the fictional Alpha Tech company party. He also even has some lines when he gets on the mic to introduce Young MC, who is looking less young and slim these days but is sounding as good as ever in his live version of "Bust A Move."
Today, during the ongoing Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, legendary late NYC hip-hop DJ Junebug is honored in a new documentary that first screened at SXSW. Entitled White Lines And The Fever: The Death Of DJ Junebug, it is the bittersweet tale of the rise (and fall) of the pioneering hip-hop DJ who came to fame spinning in the Bronx hip-hop mecca Disco Fever (which also gave birth to a record label of the same name), where he also took to selling coke for extra money -- a lot of extra cash, as the movie tells it. This was what led to his tragic death at a young age. Clocking in at just under a half hour, it is really well made documentary featuring Kurtis Blow, DJ Hollywood, Disco Bee, and Sweet G, and directed by Travis Senger, based on a Wax Poetics article from a few years ago penned by film co-screenwriter (and former Bay Area resident) Mark Skillz. Trailer below.
White Lines And The Fever: The Death Of DJ Junebug Trailer
Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal: Since Guru of Gang Starr tragically passed earlier this week at age 43 after battling cancer for a year, there has been an outpouring of remorse from hip-hop fans all over the globe who are still coming to grips with the reality that this hip-hop icon is gone from us, and at such a young age. There has also been a lot of speculation and rumor mongering surrounding the relationship between Guru and his musical collaborator/business manager Solar (not to be confused with the French MC Solaar, with whom Guru also collaborated) that included reports that Solar was keeping Guru's family members from visiting him in hospital. There were also questions surrounding the authenticity of a farewell deathbed letter presented by Solar that was supposedly written by the dying Guru in which the late rapper is quoted as saying such things as, "I do not wish my ex-DJ [his Gang Starr partner DJ Premier] to have anything to do with my name likeness, events, tributes etc."
This letter and other issues were tackled in a television interview this week conducted with Solar by MTV's Sway. Yesterday HipHopDX.com did a pretty good wrap-up of the interview and all the rumors circulating. The piece includes the video interview. Meanwhile the site SOHH ran a piece Wednesday that included both a statement from Guru's sister Patricia Elam and from DJ Premier, who makes reference to the alleged deathbed letter by his late partner. The online piece also includes the deathbed letter at the center of the controversy. Below is an excerpt from the Sway MTV interview with Solar in which he addresses this deathbed letter and its authenticity.
Many of us here in the US may have forgotten (if only temporarily) about the devastation of the recent Haiti earthquake, but that unfortunate country is still in disarray, scrambling to get things back on track. So tomorrow Saturday April 24th, the Bene-Fitted 4 Haiti fashion, music, art show is a most worthy event you should consider supporting if you are in the Bay this weekend. As organizer Kia Bautista says of the recommended mixed media event, "[It represents]San Francisco's community coming together," adding that the line-up includes the rap artists Rappin' 4Tay, Ad Kapone, TC, and Baldhead Rick (who are also part of next month's Frisco Legends tour) as well as Bay Area graffiti living legend CRAYONE. The event, Bautista adds, will also include a hip-hop jewelry showcase, Juel Clothing Co., showcasing SFC clothing, and Cecilia Aragon displaying "her talents in deconstructed and recycled clothing -- pretty in punk!" There will also be live graffiti spraycan art outside during the show which happens at the Blue Macaw at 2565 Mission St. in San Francisco, Also involved in event are Powerhouse SF promoters, Soul Style Entertainment, & BMB Events.
And finally, I leave you with the cool looking new video-game styled, animated video for the radio hit ready song "To The Beat" from promising East Bay rap crew League510. The group is signed to the Hiero's Clear Label Records and their soon-to-drop debut album will fully introduce their self-described new "Town Techno" sound, which takes up where hyphy left off in a kind of post The Pack production style. In the video below, courtesy of Axiom Media Group and Tim Lillis, League510 members TK, Mont, Mr. Knowitall, and DJ Blacksmith are shown leading an alien invasion landing in the Bay Area.
League510 "To The Beat"