Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 06:25:10
1) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)
2) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)
3) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)
4) Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives (Republic)
5) Reflection Eternal Revolutions Per Minute (Blacksmith/Rawkus/Warner Brothers)
This week's number one with a bullet at Amoeba Hollywood is the new Eminem album Recovery which many, including the artist himself, say is way better than his previous full-length release, last year's Relapse. In fact, on the new album track "Cinderella Man" the rapper goes so far as to label Relapse "trash." He goes even further on the new album track "Talkin 2 Myself," rapping, "Them last two albums didn't count," in reference to Relapse and its predecessor, 2004's Encore. "Encore, I was on drugs, Relapse, I was flushin' em out. I've come to make it up to you now," he promises of Recovery. The album finds the artist in full confessional mode, admitting his past pill addiction and also the weight he gained. "I'm hatin' my reflection, I walk around the house tryin' to fight mirrors / I can't stand what I look like yeah / I look fat," he raps on the song "Going Through Changes." Production wise, noticeably absent this time out is his longtime studio partner Dr Dre, who only produces the one track, "So Bad," which is one of Recovery's most instantly accessible songs. The rest of the production credit is split between a crew of producers, including Just Blaze, Jim Jonsin, and Boi-1da.
Some critics have already lambasted the new album, saying that it is not a big improvement on Recovery and that the 37 year old rapper has past his prime, that he has lost that cockiness, wit, and edge that made Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers such winners. But I disagree and give the man props for being mature enough to be totally honest about everything in his life, especially his drug addiction. And based on the preview clips of his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight, he has his sharp wit. On tonight's previously recorded show he does the Top 10 about advice for kids making topical cracks such as, "Don't get mixed up with drugs, gangs or oil executives." Also on tonight's Letterman show is Jay-Z, who, in addition to being interviewed, will be seen performing with Eminem on the rooftop of the Ed Sullivan Theater, not on the marquee outside as initially planned due to been denied permits. Jay-Z and Eminem's joint appearance is an early promo for their Home & Home stadium concert series in September in both New York and Detroit; dates are September 2nd & 3rd in Detroit, MI at Comerica Park and September 13th and 14th in New York at the New Yankee Stadium.
Speaking of hip-hop artists on late night talk shows, The Roots, who have gotten a huge amount of exposure since becoming the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, are back with a new album. Titled How I Got Over (Def Jam), it is their ninth studio album and it is their strongest release in a while. Longtime fans of the Philly group, who did a truly memorable live set at Amoeba Hollywood a few years back, will find How I Got Over reminiscent of earlier Roots albums. And that is a good thing, with the nicely produced new album serving consistently engaging songs from start to finish. Taking its title from Clara Ward's gospel classic (made popular by Mahalia Jackson), How I Got Over features a wide variety of guest artists, including Joanna Newsom, Patty Crash, Phonte Coleman, Blu, Peedi Peedi, Mercedes Martinez, and longtime Roots' crew soldiers P.O.R.N., Dice Raw, and Truck North. The album's lead single, "Dear God 2.0," reworks the Monsters of Folk song "Dear God" and features Monsters of Folk members Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket, and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes.
Previewed here a week ago, last weekend's QuestFest, named after DJ Quest, took place in San Francisco at the Tin Castle space. It "was totally epic," according to percussionist Albert Mathias (Live Human), who worked alongside Quest on planning the ambitious, all day free event that featured a long list of local turntablists, emcees, instrumentalists, and painters. "QuestFest was an event produced by artists for artists and I have to say that it really showed -- no last call, no pushy security, no cover charge," said Mathias. "All I can say is that the whole event was a highlight, starting with DJ Quest's students from Horizons Unlimited through the entire line-up of local luminaries, everyone represented. The whole show was excellent start to finish."
In this past week Tupac Shakur was honored (along with such other artists as R.E.M., Little Richard, Willie Nelson, and Patti Smith) by having one of his recordings inducted into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. The late rapper's 1994 song "Dear Mama" was one of 25 recordings by American recording to be inducted into the prestigious institution. Tupac is the third rapper to be included, following Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy. In honor of Pac, I leave you with "Dear Mama."
Tupac Shakur "Dear Mama' (1994)