1) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)
2) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)
3) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)
4) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)
5) LMNO After The Fact (Up-Above)
Since its release last week, Drake's latest full-length offering, Nothing Was The Same on Cash Money Records, has rocketed to the number one position on the latest Amoeba Hip-Hop Chart at the Hollywood store, where it even edges out recent month chart staples from the likes of Kanye West (Yeezus) and Jay-Z (Magna Carta Holy Grail) - the latter of whom makes a cameo on this latest from Drake. The Amoeba.com review gives this new Drake release (the artist's third studio album in as many years) a two thumbs up rating, calling it "some of his best material yet" and claims that the album "features some of Drake’s best rhymes yet." Of the Canadian-born artist's current status (one that draws a lot of criticism over such issues as his background as former child television star. Over the past week, Kendrick Lamar labelled him a "sensitive rapper."), "Drake’s got little left to prove. If the haters provide fuel for his fire, haters keep hatin’ cause Nothing Was the Same is a beautiful smackdown." Indeed when it comes to competition Drake is a clear all around winner in terms of popularity with music buyers. As well as topping the latest Amoeba chart, he also went to number one with a bullet on the Billboard album chart, selling a reported 658,000 units in its first week.
This week in New York City the weather is just perfect: sunny, no rain or fog, temps in the upper seventies, and none of that typical overbearing summer humidity. Ideal weather to cycle round town and enjoy sights like the above one taken yesterday morning heading east towards Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village where the fountain, that is normally turned off, was on in full force. Meantime in the park itself people, including NYU students, tourists, and neighborhood residents, all seemed to be in a good mood taking in the glorious weather of the first day of October in New York City. Near the fountain several members of ZTA (Zeta Tau Alpha) busied themselves spreading the word on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by handing out pink ribbons to passers by and with drawing images and messages on the concrete park ground with colored chalk (see pic below).
Meantime a little further down the island of Manhattan on this fine first day of October the vibe was less happy as tourists who had traveled to Battery Park at the end of the island to take the boat over to the Statue Of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island were disappointed to learn that, due to the government shutdown, that the National Park Service had closed the famous landmark. An estimated 15,000 people visit the Statue Of Liberty everyday but not yesterday or today or for as long as the Government shutdown (now, October 2nd, in day two) lasts. The Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island were not the only destinations shut down in New York City. The Park Service also closed The National Museum of the American Indian, Federal Hall, and Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace.
UTFO "Roxanne, Roxanne"
With so much mean-spirited dissing between rappers these days on social media websites like Twitter I am reminded of a simpler (pre Digital Age) era in hip-hop when one rapper had a beef with another he/she took it to the mic and did something creative and musical about it - keeping it real, real hip-hop, in other words. Hence for today's installment in the weekly Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I return to the 80's to the battle rap on record era and specifically the Roxanne battles/wars which pretty much kick-started and shaped the form on record. This approach to ironing out differences between individuals in hip-hop has never been restricted to just rappers/emcees. Indeed hip-hop's four elements - b-boying, graffiti, DJ'ing, and MC'ing - each have healthy histories of traditionally been rooted in non-violent forms of battle between rivals. Since the 70's graffiti crews have traditionally challenged one another via their vibrant street art. Hip-hop DJs / turntablists have long fought with one another via displaying their respective skills in DJ battles. Hip-hop dance b-boy/b-girl crews have gone head to head poppin, lockin, and breakin' etc. in celebrated dance battles. And, of course, MC's have battled one another in freestyle rhyme, whether on the street corner in a cipher, on stage, or on record since the beginnings of hip-hop forty years ago. They still do to this day. However many are too lazy to do so in person with their opponent but willing to do so from the comfort of their iPhone via a typed up diss of 140 characters or less .
Spoiler alert if you have not already seen the final Breaking Bad episode. After last night's final episode of Breaking Bad, fans of the award winning Vince Gilligan television series will likely be showing up at Amoeba Music this week in search of specific songs and releases by Marty Robbins, Groucho Marx, and especially Badfinger - all of whom were prominently featured in last night's nail-biting finale of the five-season, five-star television show. Fans will also be tracking down both Breaking Bad (Music From The Original Television Series) that includes the Dave Porter main title theme, and the full Dave Porter Breaking Bad (Original Score From The Television Series) - not to mention, of course, all the Breaking Bad DVDs/Blu-Rays available from Amoeba such as Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season (All Hail The King) DVD that was released back in March and includes the first half of the final (two-part) fifth season. Clocking in at a stunning 375 minutes, the DVD set includes such special features as Episode 504, shot by Vince Gilligan and narrated by the Breaking Bad Writers, Prison Stunt Rehearsal, Jesse Plemons & Laura Fraser Audition Footage, The Cleaner: Jonathan Banks as Mike, and much more.
1) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)
2) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)
3) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)
4) Terrace Martin 3ChordFold (Empire Dist.)
5) A$AP Ferg Trap Lord (RCA)
As he makes headlines this week over his humorless Twitter rants against Jimmy Kimmel's jokes, Kanye West's latest album Yeezus on Def Jam continues to sell well at Amoeba. Undoubtedly a most talented artist Kanye is at his best when he sticks to simply making music or overseeing his GOOD (Getting Out Our Dreams) music label. Personally I prefer when artists stick to simply making music and not making war with fellow artists as seems to be increasingly more common these days with examples including rapper turned savvy entrepreneur Jay-Z whose acclaimed latest/twelfth studio album Magna Carta Holy Grail on Def Jam is still charting at Amoeba nearly three full months since it arrived in the store. Jay-Z's recent verbal feud targets have included Harry Belafonte (who last month accused Hov of not being active enough in uplifting his race) and more recently Yoko Ono who he raps negatively about in a verse on the new (soon to drop) Justin Timberlake album The 20/20 Experience #2 that arrives in Amoeba early next week (read story here). In olden days feuds between artists would inspire creative response battle rap records. Nowadays they typically result in negative, nasty, name calling, Twitter rants. I miss the old days!