Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:09:10
1) Meth, Ghost, Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)
2) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)
3) Madlib Medicine Show 3-Beat Konducta in Africa (Stones Throw)
4) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)
5) Jedi Mind Tricks presents Army Of The Pharaohs: The Unholy Terror (DCide Records)
For those disappointed by the recent Return of the Wu album on Gold Dust Media that sounded, by its title, like it would have been an all new Wu-Tang Clan album but in actuality was really a collection of recycled (mostly previously available) Wu related material mixed by Mathematics, two recommended new releases on this week's Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart should nicely ease that disappointment. While neither are officially Wu Tang Clan releases, one features three original members of the legendary Shaolin crew on an album that is like a throwback to their brilliant mid 90's sound, while the other new release is perhaps the closest thing to a current day collective carrying on the legacy of the great Wu-Tang that you will hear these days.
Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon (aka Meth, Ghost, Rae) have joined creative forces to unleash Wu Massacre which, with the album's many producers including the Wu's RZA and Mathematics plus cameos from such other Wu alums as Cappadona and Inspectah Deck, is essentially a new Wu-Tang album -- and a really good one too, serving up such bangers as "Pimpin' Chipp" and the soulful 70's infused single "Our Dreams" (below) which is the only RZA produced song on the twelve track album. Mathematics handles the majority of the album's production with further contributions from Scram Jones, Emile, BT, Ty Fyffe and Digem Tracks Productions. While there is certainly no filler on Wu Massacre, it is over too fast, with the total running time of a little under half an hour, which leaves you thirsting for more Wu or at least Wu styled music.
Meth, Ghost, Rae "Our Dreams" (2010)
This gap is filled by respected indie East Coast hip-hop crew Jedi Mind Tricks' (JMT) presents The Army Of The Pharaohs crew which is really an extended Jedi family release -- a kind of a indie hip-hop supergroup with many emcee members including, of course, the collective's founder, JMT's own Vinnie Paz wrecking the mic alongside the likes of Outerspace, Apathy, Doap Nixon, King Syze, Des Devious, Reef The Lost Cauze, 7L & Esoteric, Celph Titled, Demoz, and some others. The sound here is hard and abrasive and aesthetically is probably most reminiscent of the Wu-Tang Clan, although, good as Army is, they individually lack the distinct personalities of the great Wu. But like much of the Wu, all of the songs here are posse tracks with typically three, four, or five MCs sharing verses, such as the hardcore "Drenched In Blood" on which Planetary, Demoz, Crypt The Warchild, King Syze, and Vinnie Paz all contribute.
Also on this week's chart are the two simultaneously released records E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift and Day Shift on Heavy on the Grind Ent. which last week topped the Amoeba San Francisco Hip -Hop Chart. Great producer Madlib again locks down a spot on this week's chart with the third installment in his ambitious 2010 twelve part album series with Medicine Show 3-Beat Konducta in Africa on Stones Throw. An anticipated forthcoming album on the same Peanut Butter Wolf founded label is Aloe Blacc's Good Things album. Below is the brand new Kahlil Joseph directed video for the album track / single "I Need A Dollar." Good stuff!
Aloe Blacc "I Need A Dollar" (2010 Stones Throw)
Malcolm McLaren "Buffalo Gals" (Island, 1983, Duck Rock)
The tributes and obits that will appear today and in the coming days for Malcolm McLaren, who died yesterday at age 64 from cancer, will likely focus on the British impresario's role as the godfather of punk-rock and as the famous manager of the equally famous and always controversial Sex Pistols, but his pioneering excursions into hip-hop and world music (even opera) are equally, if not more, significant. McLaren wasn't technically a music producer and while he gave a shot at rapping and singing (as in the above video) his strength was really in discovering new styles and sounds before they bubbled up from the underground, and then taking and presenting them to the world.
Countless interviews with Afrika Bambaataa include Bam recalling his first encountering this curious British figure in the early eighties in New York City as he was taking a keen interest in hip-hop and DJ scratching as well as the street style of double dutch, along with African and other world music including merengue, as well as ye olde American square dancing tunes. This was before Paul Simon or Peter Gabriel delved into world music & before most non-black producers/ entrepreneurs took hip-hop seriously. One notable exception would be David Byrne and Brian Eno, whose My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts from around the same era also incorporates various strains of global sounds but their presentation and production is quite different.
The result was McLaren's 1983 masterpiece Duck Rock, which, while billed as a Malcolm McLaren recording, in actuality was many different artists joining McLaren, including NYC hip-hoppers the Worlds Famous Supreme Team [from their radio show including its call-in segments, which were sampled and mixed throughout the album ("Do ya scratchin'? What is it"). The single (and video above) of "Buffalo Gals" was highly instrumental in spreading hip-hop, which was still a culture in its infancy at the time, worldwide. Other featured contributing artists were South Africa's uncredited Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, Thomas Dolby, and of course producer Trevor Horn (Art Of Noise, Buggles etc.). But the diverse record, which reportedly ran way over schedule as well as way over budget, is one of the greatest albums of all time. If you don't already own it, go cop it at Amoeba. Rest in peace, Malcolm McLaren.