Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Wk ending 07:27:12
1) Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
By far the current bestselling hip-hop title in the store is this new self-produced solo album from Aesop Rock, which really shines a spotlight on the man’s originality and talents. This one is possibly his strongest offering to date, with superb production
that really matches his vocals and carves a niche in hip hop that is all his own. One listen through this, and my immediate thought was “no other person in hip hop makes music that sounds like this.” Support brilliant original music and pick this up!
Skelethon is available from Amoeba in both CD format and album/LP format.
2) Nas Life is Good (Def Jam)
The latest from [Nasty] Nas is more of what fans should expect from the man: some hot singles, raps about his daughters and his current state of mind, plus his signature voice and flow. Production credits include No I.D, Buckwild and Salaam Remi. This is grown
man rap music that reflects Nas’ life in an honest way that most mainstream artists steer away from. Cool stuff.
Nas' Life is good is available from Amoeba in CD format, LP/vinyl format, and also in Deluxe Edition CD format.
3) Open Mike Eagle 4NML HSPTL (Fake Four Inc.)
The latest from LA’s own Open Mike Eagle is his strangest album to date, boasting some very off-kilter electronic production from UK producer Awkward and a healthy dose of odd comedic lyrics. Open Mike Eagle has a very original style of rapping that’s made him one of the more unique voices of the LA scene, so of course this one’s gonna be worth checking for. Took me a couple of listens before I wrapped my head around it, but once you do it’s worth it!
Open Mike Eagle's 4NML HSPTL is available in CD format.
4) Masta Ace & MF DOOM MA_Doom: Son of Yvonne (Fat Beats)
The legendary Masta Ace’s first real solo album in eight years is a collaboration with none other than the hip hop supervillain himself, MF DOOM. Hard to go wrong with Ace on the rhymes on the DOOM on the production, though I gotta say I find it disappointing that the majority of the beats on this one are from old volumes of Special Herbs and have been flipped by other rappers previously. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see a guest spot from fellow Juice Crew legend Big Daddy Kane(!) on there.
5) The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde [Expanded Edition] (Delicious Vinyl/Traffic)
Speaking of legendary rap groups, the Pharcyde has been re-releasing tons of their catalog in deluxe packaging this year and it’s all been selling well. They’re gearing up for the re-issue of Labcabincalifornia next week, but this deluxe 3 CD version of Bizarre Ride II contains the album instrumentals and a “Remix and B-Cydes” disc plus some detailed liner notes from J-Swift. And of course you get the original album, which is as classic as classic hip hop gets. Be on the lookout for a Pharcyde in-store at Amoeba Berkeley August 4th as well!
Special thanks to my man E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for supplying this week's top five as well as his reviews of each of the new chart entries. And as E -Lit and myself both agreed recently - something this latest Top 5 confirms - 2012 is already one hell of a year for hip-hop releases. E-Lit also gives a nod to Frank Ocean’s new Island/Def Jam release Channel Orange which he noted "outsold everything listed here, but since it’s an R&B album I didn’t include it in the hip hop bestsellers."
Upcoming new albums to look out for include this coming Tuesday's (July 31st) release from Dark Time Sunshine's (Grayskul emcee Onry Ozzborn and producer Zavala) which will be titled ANX and that Okayplayer is currently streaming a preview of. With beats "straight out of another dimension" the album will crazy packaging as well promised No liner notes, tracklisting or album credits anywhere to be found. It comes with a 6 page booklet that consists of pictures of the galaxy and nothing else, E-Lit told me. Note that the Pharcyde Amoeba Berkeley in-store is a Fatlip and Slimkid3 DJ set and signing on Saturday August 4th at 4pm.
Concerts in Northern Cali today include Los Rakas along with The Holdup at the Monterey Reggaefest. More info. And a week from tomorrow (Sat August 4th) Los Rakas will share another bill with The Holdup in addition to turntablist king DJ QBert, SF rap talent Roach Gigz and a slew of other great acts including Twista, Tribal Seeds, Iration, and The Expendables at the X Fest in Modesto. More info. And below are a series of new music videos for some other good new hip-hop including the Bay Area's own 40Love with Zion I's Zumbi, REKS with J NiCS, Alias & Fakts One, and the latest solo joint from Madchild of Swollen Members titled "Out Of My Head" in which he honestly bares his soul & examines his state of mind ten months into sobriety.
Madchild "Out of my Head" (2012)
40Love "Tiki Tiki (feat. Zumbi of Zion I)" (2012)
REKS “Bang Bang (feat. J NiCS)” (2012)
Alias & Fakts One "Sorry" (2012)