Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Six Week Ending 11:04:11
1) Freestyle Fellowship The Promise (Decon)
2) Idle Warship (Talib Kweli & Res) Habits of the Heart (Element 9/Blacksmith Records)
3) M.E.D. Classic (Stones Throw)
4) Wale Ambition (Warner Bros.)
5) Statik Selektah Population Control (Duck Down)
6) Dessa Castor the Twin (Doomtree)
Special thanks to Luis F. Soria (aka Lou) at the Amoeba San Francisco store for this week's top six chart which sadly will be Lou's final contribution to this Amoeblog and to Amoeba Music too since he has just announced that he is moving on from Amoeba for good to focus all his time and energies on the other worthwhile projects he has going in his life. Like so many of his co-workers at the Haight Street store, who counted on Lou for not just music knowledge, but genuine friendship and support when things troubled them (he's one of that rare breed that actually give a damn about his fellow humans), I always enjoyed dealing with Lou. Whenever we spoke we would talk at length and in great detail about something we both love, hip-hop music. And it is that genuine love and passion for hip-hop by Lou, who is also a DJ, that will be missed the most. If it were not for Lou the hip-hop isles at Amoeba on Haight Street would not have showcased so many amazing (often well under the radar) hip-hop releases. And of all the regions represented none got more love from Lou than San Francisco and the Bay Area. Responsible for getting in so many homegrown hip-hop acts into Amoeba Lou will be missed not just by his co-workers at Amoeba Music on Haight but by the Bay Area hip-hop community at large. Good luck in all you do Lou and thank-you for being you! And please stop by Amoeba Music from time.
Peace out Luis F Soria - Amoeba Music San Francisco will miss you!
Meantime the final hip-hop chart supplied by Luis for Amoeba San Francisco includes in the number one slot the recommended return album, The Promise on Decon, by legendary LA crew Freestyle Fellowship; an album that has been getting an equally positive reception at both the Berkeley and LA stores.
Comprised of Myka 9, Aceyalone, P.E.A.C.E., Self Jupiter and DJ Kiilu Grand, Freestyle Fellowship are truly a supergroup yet remain unknown by mainstream hip-hop fans. Hopefully that might change with this new album from the group that formed two decades ago.
Freestyle Fellowship "Government Lies"
Idle Warship " Driving Me Insane " (2011)
In a close second place is Habits of the Heart by Idle Warship which is a rock fused group made up of neo-soul vocalist Res, Canadian artist Graph Nobel, and (drum roll) friend of Amoeba hip-hopper Talib Kweli who has done several in-stores at Amoeba over the years and whose Brooklyn based Blacksmith record label gets nothing but love at Amoeba by staff and customers alike. New to many folks ears Idle Warship have actually been around for four years now. They first formed Back in 2007 and two years later released the free mixtape Party Robot.
The sound of Idle Warship is accurately described by Amoeba.Com as "a young and restless rock/hip-hop/soul hybrid along the lines of N.E.R.D. and the band members’ individual works. Electro-tinged jams like “The Floor” benefit greatly from Res’s sprited singing. Res, the would-be starlet from the early '00s who never quite fit into any mold enough for a breakthrough, was always ahead of her time, and it’s wonderful to hear her again — she sounds as hungry here as she did on her excellent debut, How I Do. Kweli, never one for the spotlight to begin with, sounds re-energized in this outfit as a sideman (remember Black Star, with Mos Def?), while Graph Nobel is sort of the Pras of the package, the young gun who proves herself in small doses — check out her verses on “System Addict.” At times the project feels a bit dated (Is that Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams on “Katya”? Sure is!), but it also is a welcome reminder that meldings between hip-hop and rock need not lack soulfulness."
Rounding out this week's chart are the new joints from Wale, Ambition on Warner, and Statik Selektah, Population Control on the prestigious Duck Down label, as well as Stones Throw artist M.E.D.'s Classic which comes in CD and LP version (special limited edition 3LP version includes bonus instrumental tracks), and also Dessa's latest release. Dessa, the female star of the Midwest's Doomtree collective/label, rounds out this week's chart with her album Castor The Twin. Six months ago when the ever talented singer, emcee, spoken word artist & author was on the road with her fellow Doomtree artist on a tour that stopped in San Francisco at the Bottom of the Hill.
At that time, in an Amoeblog interview, she talked about several things including the Minneapolis, Minnesota hip-hop collective she is an integral part of and how it has helped shape her as an artist. "Doomtree has been the center around which my entire musical career has orbited. I’m not sure I can even make a credible guess at what my professional life would be like without these guys. They’re my partners and my friends and I consider myself a member of Doomtree before I consider myself a member of any another musical genre or community," she told the Amoeblog. Meantime the title for her new album, which features new arrangements of previously recorded songs, is taken, she says, from “the twin brothers Castor and Pollux of Roman mythology (the pair of bright stars in the Gemini constellation). Pollux was part god, a fighter with metal hands. Castor was the mortal of the pair, but the two were inseparable. I was drawn to Castor and Pollux because I liked the idea that each song on the album was the human twin of the more aggressive compositions that had been released on other projects.”
And finally I leave you with the just unveiled new collaborative project by visual artist John Coyne and former Amoeba Berkeley hip-hop buyer DJ Platurn the producer/remixer/DJ with the Oakland Faders crew. Together Platurn and fellow Oaklander Coyne worked on the audio visual over a period of several months to create the all original audio visual piece below, entitled "The Bones," which is made up of over 90,000 HDR still images along with HDR video and is a wonderful ode to the Town (Oakland, CA).