Luis @ Amoeba San Francisco with run-down of new & noteworthy hip-hop, mid July 2010
Special thanks to my man Luis (above video) at the San Francisco Amoeba Music store for doing a nice in-depth run-down of the new and noteworthy hip-hop CDs and vinyl releases, including reissues, at the Haight Street store this week. As the ever knowledgeable hip-hop buyer (and DJ) notes, right now is a perfect time to stop by Amoeba SF and dig for vinyl in the vast hip-hop section of the store.
As with the Hollywood and Berkeley Amoebas, the new releases from Big Boi, Eminem, Drake, Nas + Damian Marley, Madlib, and The Roots are all in demand in San Francisco. And as noted by Luis, Phonte, who guests on the new Roots album How I Got Over, will be at the San Francisco Amoeba in one week when his group Foreign Exchange plays a free instore next Friday, July 23rd at 6pm.The critically acclaimed group (rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte + producer Nicolay), whose still in-production third album Authenticity is scheduled for an October release, play Yoshis SF later that night as well as the previous night (July 22nd) when they are billed to play with YahZarah, Darien Brockington, Zo! and live band.
In the new Chicago version of Time Out magazine, Big Boi is interviewed. The artist plays Sunday (July 18) at the big annual 3-day Pitchfork music festival in Chicago, kicking off at 3pm today. In the interview, Big Boi talks about his just released, long-delayed solo debut album Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty on Def Jam. Some of the insights he shares in this engaging interview include his answer to the question about what label the OutKast are on now. "OutKast is still on Jive," he said, though he has had major conflicts with them. Jive was originally supposed to release his solo album. The artist continued, "which is the funny thing about it. Jive Records was trying to block the songs that me and Dre [André Benjamin, a.k.a. André 3000 of OutKast] recorded for my album. They won’t let me put them on my album. How stupid is that?"
Recent reissues popular at the SF Amoeba include San Francisco rap group RBL Posse's two albums, A Lesson To Be Learned and Ruthless By Law. As you'll recall, original RBL member Mr C was tragically shot and killed on New Year's Day 1996 but his partner in rhyme Black C has continued making music under the group name and as a solo artist (including lots of collaborations over the years). His latest solo joint, RBL Posse Presents 70s Baby on The Rightway Productions, was released last month and is available at all Amoeba stores.
Also available at all Amoeba stores is the anticipated new album Maya, on XL/Interscope, from M.I.A. As you likely know from reading the Amoeblog, the big HARD LA Festival that she was scheduled to headline this weekend has been canceled. Too bad, since it had a killer lineup, including the (justifiably hyped) South African rap trio Die Antwoord. If they got a dollar for every YouTube view of their videos (including the one below for "Zef Side" at almost two and a half million hits), they could retire early in life. (Click here see what happened when Die Antwoord went shopping at Amoeba Hollywood recently.)
The good news (well, kind of good) for fans of this unique group, who performed their Miami-bass-meets-electronica style at Coachella a few months back, is that they will be playing in LA at El Rey tomorrow (July 18) and at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco tonight (July 17). Both shows are reportedly sold out (understandable, considering the buzz around this act), but, as with any sold out show that you really really want to attend, my recommendation is get to either venue early and you might be able to cop tickets from someone selling them or last minute tix at the ticket window -- or you could always check out Craigslist for tickets.
Among the hip-hop vinyl mentioned by Luis is the reissue of the late great Big L's Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, which, if you don't already own, is a must have for any serious hip-hop collection. Only 24 when he was fatally gunned down just blocks from his Harlem home, New York City rapper and D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates) crew member Big L possessed a distinctive rhyming skill with a knack for weaving thought-provoking metaphors into his gritty street tales. 1995's Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous was released when he was 20 and remains Big L's finest work to date, with every song on the album finding the emcee serving up cleverly structured lyrics that have stood the test of time and have gone on to influence countless rappers in his wake. For example, on the tough, street-talking "All Black," he unleashes this brilliant wordplay: "So don't step to this, cause I got a live crew. You might be kinda big but they make coffins yo' size too. I was taught wise, I'm known to extort guys. This ain't Cali, it's Harlem, nigga, we do walkby’s."
He goes on to spout: "I must warn, I got it goin on, word is bond. Ducks be gettin' thrown off platforms like PM Dawn." As you can see, Big L could be at once braggadocious & menacing, while also witty & profound. Production on this album was ably handled by Big L's fellow DITC collective members, including the hip-hop heavyweights Lord Finesse, Buckwild, and Showbiz. Lifestylez also featured many notable cameos, including one from a then little-known artist named Jay-Z and another then-unknown, Cam'ron (aka Killa Cam), who both respectively contributed to the album's two posse cuts "Da Graveyard" and "8 Iz Enuff." But, as such solo/non-posse Lifestylez tracks as "Danger Zone," "Put It On," "MVP," and "Fed Up Wit The Bullshit," show, Big L's commanding lyrical presence proves he can well handle the mic all by himself.
Die Antwoord "Zef Side"
Picked up a flier at Amoeba Berkeley other day that was a call out for extras in "an alternative hip-hop music video" being shot in Oakland on Sunday (July 18th). Only those with afro hair style may apply, according to the ad posted by firstname.lastname@example.org, who is still accepting extras for the video shoot, which is for SF emcee Dopestyle's new song "Attica (Relationships)."
The artist told Amoeblog, "The concept of the song is when you break up with someone you really cared for -- even though you may be officially single and a free man, your heart may still be behind bars trying to heal and get over that person. [It's] a prison of sorts and your heart won't be released from doing that bid until you get over that individual." The video shoot, which is expected to run from early Sunday morning until about 1pm, takes place in West Oakland.
And finally, I leave you with a brand new video from an Irish hip-hop crew named Lineage, who are based in Kerry, Ireland, although their members hail from further afield than that South West Irish county. The extended crew's member Alex O'Brien is from Kerry, Ireland; Miguel Ahumada is from Alicante, Spain; Cain from Orly, Paris, France; Kenneth Cobwood from New Jersey; Miri from London; Uzzy is from Bucharest, Romania; Polish Pol is from Krakow, Poland; and DJ Jus Mef is from California.
The video below, which was shot in Kerry over a three day period, is for the song "En Esta Family," which can be found on their debut album De Aqui y De Alla/From Here & From There. It was written and directed by Lineage and Olaff Steel. In addition to the many members of the extended Lineage crew, Northern Ireland emcee Jee4ce makes a cameo. For more information visit the Lineage website.