1) Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra Records)
2) Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
3) Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids (Def Jam)
4) Michael Franti & Spearhead The Sound of Sunshine (Capital)
5) Andre Nickatina & Tha Jacka My Middle Name Is Crime EP (I-Khan Distribution)
Special thanks to Amoeba Berkeley's DJ Inti, whose year end list is posted on Amoeblog, for this final Amoeba hip-hop chart of the year. "Due to the holiday shopping rush, some releases that haven't shown up in a while show a spike in sales," Inti told me, explaining that the Michael Franti/Spearhead album released back in early summer is back on the top five for the Telegraph Avenue store. Meanwhile, the more recently released albums from both Kanye and Cee Lo continue to sell well and likely will into 2011. Speaking of Kanye, a leaked version of the new video for his album track "Monster" surfaced earlier today on several sites including YouTube. Click here to see the video/song that features Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Rick Ross but be forewarned that the audio quality is poor.
New hip-hop releases at Amoeba, as in albums dropping over the past week or two, include both Ghostface Killah's impressive new solo release and Andre Nickatina & The Jacka's collaborative EP release, My Middle Name Is Crime, on Nickatina's I-Khan Distribution label. The 8 song release from these two much celebrated Bay Area rappers follows their series of singles together.
Quietly released last week, Ghostface Killah's Apollo Kids is his ninth solo album and a huge improvement on his disappointing, more R&B flavored Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, In contrast, Kids is much harder, abrasive & immediately engaging. In addition to carefully enlisting some excellent guest emcees (including Busta Rhymes, The Game, Joell Ortiz, Jim Jones, Black Thought, and fellow Wu-Tang Clan soldiers Raekwon, Method Man, and U-God), the Staten Island emcee is in his best lyrical form in years.
Over soulful samples, Apollo Kids' excellent tracks include the street banger "Troublemakers" featuring Raekwon, the infectious salute to the old school, "In Tha Park," with Black Thought, and the album's bumping lead single, "2getha Baby." Unfortunately, since this highly recommended album was released only last week (Dec 21st), it will miss out on being included in many year end best-of lists -- somewhere it deserves to be.
Ghostface Killah "In Tha Park" (2010)
Vast Aire's "Sour Diesel" featuring Double A.B (2010)
Above is the brand new video for Vast Aire's "Sour Diesel" featuring Double A.B., courtesy of Man Bites Dog Records. Produced by Dub Sonata, it is a kind of teaser for Vast Aire's forthcoming full-length, Ox 2010 Street Odyssey, scheduled for a February street date. Album guest appearances will include Guilty Simpson, Cappadonna and Raekwon.
When you got lemons, make lemonade. And when you've got cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and you are an emcee, you call yourself The Chemo Kid and address your life issues rather than run from them. That's what the now 26 year old Queens, NY born, Cali based emcee Giovanni Goodman (aka The Chemo Kid) did. The video below offers some insight on the artist and his life challenges plus URLs on how to find out more about him.
The Coup "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a 79 Granada Last Night"
There are New Year's Eve parties galore tonight! Some of the recommended Bay Area ones include The Coup (above in video) along with Rupa, plus DJ Abel Dee at the New Parish in Oakland. Hosted by none other than Lyrics Born, who maybe will perform a song off his great 2010 release As U Were (Decon), and with an admission price of $40 (inexpensive by NYE standards), this is one of the better deals to choose from out of a good, solid night of entertainment. Doors are at 8:30pm. New Parish is located at 18th @ San Pablo in downtown Oakland. More info here.
And finally, in the spirit of this holiday, to help you ring in 2011 in a hip-hop style, here is the brand new recording by San Francisco artist QM, "Happy New Year," that he just recently laced up with production assistance from Grip Grand, and is giving away for free download to anyone who wants it. Download QM's "Happy New Year!"