Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 05:14:10
1) Sage Francis Li(F)e (Strange Famous Records)
2) Roc Marciano Marcberg (Fat Beats)
3) Declaime Fonk (E1/Koch)
4) Blacastan Blac Sabbath (Brick)
5) Grand Invincible Cold Hand In The Dice Game (Zero Friends)
Luis' two bonus picks of the week:
-Gurp City's Own Yole Boys Self titled (Megakuts Tapes) (cassette)
-CX Kidtronik Wild Kingdom (vinyl + CD pack) (Stones Throw)
Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for supplying the latest hip-hop top five chart, in both text and video formats (above & below respectively), for this week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five chart + two bonus picks for the week. In the number one slot with the brand new album Li(F)e on the artist's Strange Famous label, is longtime alt hip-hop artist Sage Francis, who headlines the Fillmore in San Francisco June 4th, the Catalyst in Santa Cruz June 5th, and the Music Box @ the Fonda in LA June 6th. Like such other alt rap acts as Cage or POS, who have always straddled that line between rap and alternative rock, Francis, whose last two albums appeared on the predominantly punk label Epitaph Records, has pretty much made the full transition from hip-hop over to the rock side of the equation on this new release (the artist's fourth album since his 2002 debut on Anticon Personal Journals). With backing from a live rock band featuring members of Califone, plus various other collaborators, including Chris Walla, the 12-track album finds Francis in fine form, singing & rapping in his distinct, grave vocal style on tracks such as the hard-rocking singalong "Three Sheets To The Wind," the country-rock tinged "Slow Man" (below), the head banging "London Bridge," with its commentary on the US health care system, and the stripped-down instrumental and new age-y "The Best of Times (featuring Yann Tierson)," which is available for free download on the artist's site. You can also preview it on the homepage of this website and buy the CD directly here at Amoeba.com for $10.99.
Sage Francis "Slow Man"
Roc Marciano "Snow"
Another new chart entry is Roc Marciano's Marcberg on Fat Beats, which is pure, undiluted, straight from the heart hip-hop (the way it should be) with a stream-of-consciousness sounding flow over raw beats. The Long Island artist is known for (among other things) his UN crew that featured beats from Large Professor and Pete Rock. Here on the all self-produced collection Marciano shines on such tracks as the previously available (leaked) "Snow" (above), "Don Shit," "Real Raw" and "Thugs Prayer."
The album Fonk from Dudley Perkins (under his alias Declaime) is, as its title implies, pure funk-fused hip-hop goodness that takes listeners back to such early 90's West Coast funk drenched hip-hop as Volume 10 ("Pistol Grip" etc) on smoking tracks such as "Declaime MC," "Fame" (the lead single), and "Gangsta," which calls out all the fake wannabe gangsta rappers (and there are more now than ever) out there. Released on Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime's own label SomeOthaShip Connect (via E1/Koch), this recommended album is produced by Qauzedelic, who is an understudy of the funk master himself, George Clinton.
The other two new chart entries are Blacastan's Blac Sabbath on Brick, which, as Luis points out in the video version of the Top Five below, is done with a Black Sabbath inspired theme. The album's 19 tracks are hardcore hip-hop with Blac displaying his gift for storytelling throughout on such tracks as the unique “The Life Of A Tape,” on which the Hartford, CT emcee tells, in the first person, the life of a cassette tape. And from a producer (DJ Eons One) who appreciates cassette tapes is the other chart entry-- Grand Invincible's Cold Hand In The Dice Game on Zero Friends that was written about on the Amoeblog some weeks ago.
Luis @ Amoeba San Francisco: Hip-Hop Top Five for week ending May 14, 2010
More than any other genre, cassettes seem to be an ingrained part of the history of hip-hop's make up, thanks in large part to the historic significance to the genre of such items as "mix-tapes" and boom-boxes. One hip-hop collector I know only deals in cassettes because, as he says, "Most of the best hip-hop was released during the cassette tape era -- 80's to early 90's." He finds items on eBay and also at Amoeba Music, where you can unearth some real gems (and at great prices) in the stores' tape sections.
Additionally, current day hip-hop artists, like many experimental and psych rock artists these days, are putting out cassette only releases, generally limited edition tapes too. An example is the just released pair of Megakut releases mentioned in Amoeba Luis' video report above and pictured left. Some of the only fifty tape copies made of Megakut #2 by the Motel Crew (featuring DJ Quest, Luke Sick, Z-Man, and Doug Surreal) can be found at Amoeba Music San Francisco.
According to the label's Eons One, "Megakut releases tapes in editions of 250 (sometimes less) and all tapes will come with a download card." Other upcoming releases from this prolific Bay Area indie label include a Grand Invincible cassette EP (title TBA) and vinyl 7" single featuring the new track "Dead The Situation" feat Z-Man, Eddie K and Agent Striknine on 625 Productions, a full length from The Factory (formerly the 1628 Factor), as well as new 4 song tape release from the Federation's Stressmatic, and OG Redwood City hip hop from DJ Jester, Brewmasta and Spexx. There will also be a tape only release from new crew Illegal Substance featuring Eons One and others.
The ever active DJ Quest, who is part of the previously mentioned Motel Crew cassette release, is keeping pretty busy these days. Last week he was the headlining DJ at the kick off for the new San Francisco monthly party Fuck Fame. And this evening (Friday, May 14th) he will be at Amoeba Music San Francisco along with aspiring young DJs from the Horizons Unlimited program where he mentors, with the aspiring young DJs who will make their Amoeba appearance as part of the Haight Street store's wonderful Mandala series.
Tomorrow night the Fingerbangerz DJ crew is throwing their monthly Thick, which happens every third Saturday at the Agenda Lounge, with members Goldenchyld, Cutso, and G-Wrex playing a diverse mix of hip-hop and other nice sounds. There will also be a live beat remix performance by Squareweezy. This all happens at 10pm at the Agenda in downtown San Jose located at 399 South 1st St. 21+.
And tomorrow, Saturday, May 15th, on the opposite coast, the US DMC Regional Battles continue with the DMC East Coast DJ Battle + DMC Battle for U.S. Supremacy at Santos Party House. In addition to the DJs battling, who will be judged by IXL, Steve Dee, I-Dee, Marcus, and scratch creator Grand Wizzard Theodore, there will also be performances from reigning DMC World Champ DJ Shiftee, and scratch masters Excess with Toadstyle. The event, hosted by DJ Fatfingaz, starts early, at 4pm, and goes until 10:30pm. $20 admission. Santos Party House is located in Lower Manhattan at 96 Lafayette St. (between Walker & White) NY, NY 10013. I plan on attending and will report here later.
As reported last week by the Hollywood Reporter Andrea Berloff, who wrote Oliver Stone's true-life movie World Trade Center, is now on-board as chief writer for Straight Outta Compton -- the story about NWA. Should be good! And speaking of the legendary Compton crew, thanks to Inti at Amoeba Berkeley for directing me to a wonderfully in-depth and informative article from last week's LA Weekly about the first NWA release titled "Whatever Happened to NWA's Posse." Author Martin Cizmar goes back in time to the 1987 release of the album, pictured left, that introduced the world to NWA. He goes through each person pictured one by one and does a neat run down of what they have been up to then, before the photo was taken, after the photo was taken, and now. For example, Daryll "Kid Disaster" Johnson (aka K-Dee), who was still in high school at the time of the album's release, went on to work with Ice Cube on several projects up until the later 1990's. According to Cizmar, who did a lot research for the piece, the artist is currently, "in the trucking business. He's also still doing some radio work and performing live, including a recent concert with Michel'le."
Fans of classic soul & funk should make note of a concert at 330 Ritch in SF next Wednesday (May 19) with Adrian Younge, and the Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra, who composed the killer retro sounding soundtrack for last year's seventies Blaxploitation movie spoof Black Dynamite. The soundtrack, released on the Wax Poetics' record label, accurately captures the sound and vibe of the music of the decade it was trying to recreate, even going so far as to consciously use only retro instruments. Also on the bill are The Park, Bottom Hammer and DJ Shred One. 8pm show.
In a similarly retro themed feel is tonight's Mezzanine SF show, with good live funk grooves and breaks from both Breakestra and Fort Knox Five. This should be a really high-energy show, since both bands are smoking hot and play with an obvious passion. B-boy fans note that tomorrow in San Francisco (May 15th) there is a big charity competitive hip-hop dance event at the Palace of Fine Arts. Titled Hip-Hop 4 Hope Dance Competition, it will benefit the Asian American Donor Program (AADP). 7pm show. $15.
And finally, I leave you with the just completed video for "Doin' It Wrong (Remix)" from Dres of Black Sheep fame. The track, produced by Jim B, is from the artist's Prelude Remix EP, which, in turn is a kind of teaser for the legendary New York hip-hop artist's anticipated summer release, the album From The Black Pool of Genius, dropping this summer.