1) The Roots Undun (MCA)
2) Elzhi/Will Sessions Elmatic / Elmatic Instruments (Fat Beats)
3) Oddisee Rock Creek Park (Melo Music)
4) Blu & Exile Below the Heavens (Sound in Color)
5) Snoop Dogg Doggumentary (Priority)
This is the second in the three part Best of 2011 Hip-Hop series for the Amoeblog. The first Best of Amoeba Hip-Hop 2011 featured all the releases in 2011 that were popular sellers at the three Amoeba stores over the past year. The next, third will be this Amoeblogger's personal favorites of 2011. Meanwhile this one features the hip-hop picks by Amoeba staffers (both current and former) from the three Amoeba stores. The above top five is from the great Luis F. Soria who, up until recently when he left Amoeba to undertake some other projects, was the main hip-hop man at Amoeba Music San Francisco. He is missed but his former position, has been taken over by Robert whose list is down below, is in good hands.
Luis' top pick of the year for best hip-hop album is from a late in the year contender - the excellent recently released latest album from The Roots (Undun which just released on December 8th) who, now in their third decade as a band and many lineup changes, look like they will be around for a long time to come. Of the Roots' Undun album and its accompanying video/movie shorts Luis made this keen observation, "I love how in this day and age of people making one song so they can have their YouTube video, the Roots make a continuous concept album that flows like a good book!" And as for Luis' favorite in-store at the San Francisco Amoeba in 2011? "My favorite instore was Equipto, for the release of Ilyich," he said. "There was a great turnout of both new school and old school heads showing love for a Frisco Legend!"
Jason Chavez (aka 4AM) Top Five Releases and Favorite Local Performer of 2011
1) Kool Karlo & Folklore Ken Spliffy Jr. EP
2) Henry Quester Sessions At The P.M. EP
3) Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun Monumetal
4) Shabazz Palaces Black Up
5) Kendrick Lamar Section 80
DJ/producer/spoken word artist and hella nice guy Jason Chavez, aka 4AM, who used to work at Amoeba SF submitted the above top five for his favorite releases of 2011. And as for Jason's favorite show of 2011? He said, "I actually haven't been to any concerts this year. However there is this dude that randomly plays saxophone at random places on Treasure Island at night. I dig that; free show with all the seating you need, ha ha!"
Robert at Amoeba SF's Top Five & Fave Show of 2011
1) Rashad and Confidence The Element Of Surprise
2) Shabazz Palaces Black Up
3) L'Roneous Notes Of The Righteous Outlaw
4) J-Live S.P.T.A. (Said Person Of That Ability)
5) Reks Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme
Thanks to Robert, who recently took over hip-hop duties from Luis at Amoeba San Francisco, for the above well chosen top five list. As for Robert's favorites show in 2011? "Great moment was a sorta Invisibl Skratch Piklz reunion in SF, with DJ QBert, Shortkut, and D-Styles performing together (maybe for the first time since 2000)," he said.
Ray Ricky Rivera's Top Five + Fave Amoeba Hollywood Instore of 2011
1) The Roots Undun (MCA)
2) J. Cole Cole World
3) Evidence Cats & Dogs
4) Madlib Medicine Show #12
5) Lupe Fiasco Lazers
The above top five is from Amoeba Hollywood hip-hop department's Ray Ricky Rivera who is also a hip-hop recording artist and (as of five months ago) a dad. Like Luis at Amoeba SF Ray is feeling the brand new Roots album Undun. As far as instores over the past year at the Hollywood Amoeba he said, "I really dug the Tokimonsta instore back in August. She played some dope beats and crazy mashups. There were a ton of people there to see her and that was cool!"
E.Lit's Top Five + Five Picks + Fave Bay Area Hip-Hop Show of 2011
1) Sims Bad Time Zoo
2) Qwazaar & Batsauce Bat Meets Blaine
3) Open Mike Eagle Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
4) Gel Roc Beautiful Tragedy
5) Blueprint Adventures in Counter-Culture
6) Void Pedal Omni-Colour
7) One Be Lo L.A.B.O.R.
8) Astronautalis This is Our Science
9) Sole & the Skyrider Band Hello Cruel World
10) Candy's .22 A Girl and Her Gun
Thanks to E.Lit at Amoeba Berkeley for his top five plus five (top ten) of 2011 and also for always being so cool to deal with and for always being so passionate about the music he works with. E.Lit's favorite show of the year, he said was, "Awol One & Factor, Ceschi & Anonymous Inc., Cars & Trains, Kirby Dominant and Megabusive at Elbo Room," adding that there were, "Lots more amazing shows" too.
And finally below is former Amoeba Berkeley employee DJ Inti's picks for the past year/well four months which he submitted in video format along with some words on each, noting that "It's always so tough breaking down the years top jamz for Billy Jamz into just 5, but here ya go - not in any particular order. My tops of 2011 but probably more like the last four months. my head is like a sieve and I consume music like a fiend!" Follow DJ Inti on the interwebs at Mixcrate, Tumblr, and Facebook. Thanks Inti. U da man!
DJ inti (former Amoeba Berkeley employee) Five Artist/Video Picks of 2011
Danny Brown - heard a bunch of rumblings about this guy from people on the east in the last couple of years. i finally took the time to check this dude out. wow. video is old, but whatevs, its new to me.
Shabazz Palaces - took him a minute to release something on LP The wait was worth it. Interestingly he put it out on Sub Pop, a Seattle rock label. you may remember him from a lil 90's rap group named Digable Planets.
Azielia Banks - although not realy hip-hop (it's more like a club banger type track). where do we draw the line these days anyway? it is most certainly, a hit though. Check out her raps, hilarious, and good.
Pupajim - I love that old low bit rate sound of 80's Jamaica. although as a youth, all I wanted to hear was roots and dub, with real horns not synth ones. Funny that huh?
Kwick - At any one time I'm probably listening to more old stuff than new, constantly finding jams upon jams from the past. As a kid in the 80's all I wanted to listen to was rap music, rapity rap music. The DJ's who played hip-hop (mostly college radio) at the time, would always throw in some boogie stuff. I did not want it! It was always so lame to my 9 year old discerning years. But now, today, all I want is some heavy synth bass line, deep drum machine beat, dance track, from my youth, that i poo pooed on at the time. Again, funny that huh? PS: Dig the breakdown at 3 minuets and 24 seconds. Personally, I was never in the South Bronx's at the birth of hip-hop to go nuts when the DJ's would kut up the records. at that moment, in this song, and many others like it, I definitely get the urge to.