Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 12:16:11
1) The Roots Undun (MCA)
2) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)
3) Pusha T Fear of God II: Let Us Pray (Fontana)
4) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)
5) J Cole Cole World (Columbia)
Special thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Amoeba Music Hollywood store for this week's Amoeba Hip Hop Chart which includes staples of the past few weeks Drake's Take Care on Cash Money/Universal, J Cole's Cole World on Columbia Records, Pusha T's Fear of God II: Let Us Pray Fontana, and Eligh & Amp Live's Therapy At 3 via Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic. Meantime the number one hip-hop seller is the brand new album from The Roots Undun which was released last week (December 6th). Undun is the Roots' eleventh studio album but it is their first concept album. As outlined in the Undun preview video above that concept follows the life and times of the fictional young Redford Stephens - "a kid who becomes criminal, but wasn't born criminal" and who is "neither victim nor hero." As the online Amoeba reviewer accurately wrote of Undun: "Don’t let their spot as Jimmy Fallon’s house band fool you — The Roots haven’t softened one bit. Their latest release is a concept album about a youth drawn into street life until it results in his death, told in reverse. Despite all the inherent bleakness that would imply, lyrically, musically Undun is not so dour, buoyed by vibrant soul and touched by flourishes both electronic and orchestral that suggest how far the Roots have come as a band and as conductors of a sound they alone seem to inhabit.
The sumptuous “Make My” calls to mind the ambitious soul of Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, while the fluid and funky “Kool On” displays the band’s subtle musical chops while giving some of its most spirited rhymes. And “Lighthouse” takes its “face down in the ocean” metaphor to moving heights and could — gasp — sit comfortably on pop and hip-hop radio without even trying for that specifically. After its jazzy interludes close out the album, including an instrumental by Sufjan Stevens, you may want to spin the terse Undun again and again, both to unravel its conceit and to enjoy its musicality." Below is the album track "Stomp" featuring P.O.R.N.
The Roots "Stomp" (2011)
D.Willz "Fatty Pop" (2011)
Brand new Bay Area rap music video released this week is the 100% East Bay production of D.Willz' "Fatty Pop" video. Credit for this latest video by the Oakland rapper, for the song to be released in the new year, goes to the ever innovative Berkeley based Raremink production company run by brothers Finley and Morgan Wise. You may recall earlier this year seeing here on the Amoeblog an interview with both the brothers and D.Willz when the last music video project they worked together on ("Watermelon") had become a runaway viral hit. This latest video, which looks destined for the same fate, was directed, produced, and edited by Raremink with cinematography duties handled by Mike Epple.
Below is another new Bay Area rap video released this week. It is the latest from San Francisco rapper Roach Gigz: the video for his song "Big Fat Beats" taken from his latest release, the witty, high-energy Bitch, I'm A Player EP that was directed by Remedy.
Roach Gigz "Big Fat Beat" (2011)
And finally I leave you with another Bay Area rap video: Rick Flare's (aka Kwanz, aka DubStar) posthumously released "Family" which was made by Tony Rain for Strive Films and features lots of great footage his extended Bored Stiff family on the first anniversary of the sad passing of the much loved San Francisco rapper/member of Bored Stiff. The video, which was made out of obvious love, packs a powerful message about the importance of family and loved ones and features lots of footage of the late great Bored Stiff member - some of it culled from his "My City" video from last year interspersed with lots of footage of his immediate and extended families. Rest in peace man!
Rick Flare "Family" (2011)