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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #81: The Dream House, CASH Music Summit, DMC NYC Part II, Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards + more

Posted by Billyjam, May 13, 2014 06:55am | Post a Comment

Checked out legendary drone sound installation art space The Dream House in TriBeCa (pictured above) last weekend and it was amazing. Luckily I got to check it out when I did since the long running space is about to temporarily close again this Sunday (May 18th) before taking a break until its next (22nd season) in mid September.  A long running collaborative "Sound and Light Environment" piece, that dates back to 1993, by sound artist/composer La Monte Young and visual artist Marian Zazeela the Dream House is presented by the MELA Foundation. There at 275 Church Street there is a non descript door with no sign but just a buzzer that will get you inside and up the long steep flight of stairs to the third floor exhibit  - a floor below where the minimalist exhibits' creators live. Luckily too since any other tenant would surely not wish to live above such a wall (floor?) of sound which is one long continuous hypnotic humming single frequency drone care of giant speaker stacks in the long purple light fused room that overlooks Church Street looking up towards Canal. The shaggy carpeted floor is strewn with pillows to lay down and relax on and get the best effects of the drone. The guy at the door suggested moving your head around to get alternate soothing effects of the loud (but not deafening) throbbing drone. For some attendees the experience is a religious like one that transcends visitors beyond this lower Manhattan space.

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Lily Allen Announces US Tour In Support of Her Long Anticipated New Album "Sheezus"

Posted by Billyjam, May 12, 2014 12:37pm | Post a Comment

Lily Allen "Sheezus" - title track from
Sheezus (2014)


Lily Allen,
whose long awaited latest album Sheezus arrived in Amoeba last Tuesday care of Parlaphone Records (via Warner) in both regular and deluxe CD (bonus disc with 5 additional tracks) versions, has just announced that she will touring the States in September for the first time in five years. That last tour by the UK singer/songwriter and actress coincided with her last studio album - It's Not Me, It's You.  Part of the reason for the long gap between albums by the oft times controversial artist had to do with Allen's reportedly stepping back and taking time out from the rock n roll lifestyle and an effort to focus on her family. In 2010 she officially announced that she was taking a break from music for a few years to raise her young family and to set up her own record label. 18 months ago she returned from her hiatus with the release of both her cover of fellow Brit act Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," and the track "Hard Out Here" - both UK hits at the time, with the digital only "Hard Out Here" now in physical format and included on the new album (see video below).  Sheezus is a departure from her previous more ska flavored style with more electronic and pop sounding production values now taking center stage. Meanwhile Allen's voice is as powerful and commanding as ever while lyrically she never fails to grabs listeners' attention by not holding back on sharing her opinions on everything, especially the state of pop culture. Even the new album title is a reference to Kanye while on the new album's title track she takes an honest evaluation of women in pop music; how they're perceived and marketed.  Sadly many have misunderstood this track (video above) as a diss to her fellow female pop artists while it is anything but. 

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 05.09.14: Iggy Azelea, Nas, Drake, Eminem, YG, Dre's Beat$, PUTS, Zion I, Premier & Jakk Frost + more

Posted by Billyjam, May 9, 2014 08:57am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: Week Ending 05:09:14


1) Nas Illmatic XX (Sony Legacy)

2) YG My Krazy Life (Def Jam)

3) Iggy Azelea The New Classic (Island/Def Jam)

4) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)

5) Eminem The Slim Shady LP (Interscope)

Celebrating its twenty year anniversary is Nas' flawless, classic 1994 album Illmatic which has been especially reissued by Sony Legacy for the occasion as  Illmatic XX. The album, which includes such hip-hop timeless gems as "N.Y. State of Mind," "It Ain't Hard To Tell," and "The World Is Yours," by the Queensbridge emcee is this week's number one chart entry at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store, where also charting in the latest top five is another 90's rap classic: Eminem's 1999 megahit The Slim Shady LP (Interscope) which finds itself back in top sales this week at the SoCal store. Other current top five chart entries include Drake's Nothing Was The Same on Cash Money, and YG's My Krazy Life (Def Jam) which drew inspiration from various West Coast hip hop classics as Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Speaking of Dr. Dre, the famous former N.W.A. member/influential solo artist who has made a huge impact as a hip-hop producer, looks about to make his biggest (financial) mark as co-creator of the audio equipment and music-streaming service Beats Electronics known for the headphones that carry his name (Dre Beats) if the company, as has been reported over the past 24 hours, gets purchased by Apple at a reported $3.2billion price tag!

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #80: WTC BASE Jumpers, F Train's F Grade, Bob Dylan Art Show, Slick Rick + Other Concerts

Posted by Billyjam, May 7, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Just released video of Marko Markovich's BASE Jump off the 1 WTC (Freedom Tower)
 3 am on September 30, 2013. Yesterday Markovich and his fellow jumpers were in court


Above is a brand new video, posted to YouTube a couple of days ago, of the controversial NYC BASE jump in the wee hours of September 30th last from the Freedom Tower at the location of the World Trade Center. This latest video was take from the point of view (head cam) of jumper Marko Markovich who was the first of the three base jumpers to parachute from the 1,776-foot-tall building before getting arrested for the daredevil stunt - but not at the time of the incident, only in recent weeks when the first video of the jump was uploaded to YouTube. This second video, which is much longer than the previous one posted, captures both the amazing view from so high up above Downtown Manhattan floating downwards as well as the nervous anticipation by the 27 year old Markovich and his fellow jumpers. In the video you can hear the three jumpers (who were all arrested along with their lookout person) say how they hope they won't end up in the local NYPD Precinct arrested for felony charges. Unfortunately for them the posting of that first video in late March was exactly what led to their arrest on felony charges. Meanwhile Monday's posting by the jumpers of this second video to YouTube, which asked viewers to donate to their legal fund and to help make BASE jumping legal, was a strategic one since the following day (yesterday May 6th) all four would be in court on charges of burglary, reckless endangerment, and jumping from a structure - that could result in them serving some serious time behind bars. They all pleaded not guilty with their lawyer stating that his hope that the charges would be reduced from felony to a misdemeanor. The case continues in six weeks when they all return to court.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Posse On Broadway"

Posted by Billyjam, May 6, 2014 09:34am | Post a Comment

Sir Mix-a-Lot "Posse On Broadway" (1988)

While Sir Mix-a-Lot is often wrongly dismissed as a rap one hit wonder for his international crossover mega-hit single "Baby Got Back" the Seattle rapper/producer actually boasts a rich catalog of quality posse on broadwayhip-hop - much of it in the years, on his own Nastymix Records label, leading up to his well worn 1992 hit single about him "liking big butts and I don't know why" and the Def American released album Mack Daddy from where it was culled. In fact he released his very first record seven years before "Baby Got Back." And four  years before his big hit propelled the now 50 year old artist born Anthony Ray into mainstream status he released his debut full-length album Swass which included the hip-hop 'golden age' classic "Posse on Broadway."  A single off the album released on the successful North West indie rap label that he himself founded, "Posse" struck a nerve with rap fans not just in Seattle but everywhere at the time. This was thanks to such factors as its great lyrics, the track's irresistibly powerful 808 kick-drum fueled beat, and also because listeners made the song lyrics relate to their own town's "Broadway" (every city has a Broadway it seems) whether they were in Oakland, San Francisco, New York City or wherever. Of course, the "Broadway" Sir Mix-a-Lot (who called the Bay Area his second home and spent a lot of them there) was referencing in "Posse On Broadway" was the street in his own hometown of Seattle.  Located in Seattle's Capitol Hill district, it was on Broadway where he and his "posse" famously "stopped at Taco Bell for some Mexican eatin' But Taco Bell was closed, The girls was on my tip. They said go back the other way we'll stop and eat at Dick's. Dick's is the place where the cool hang out. The Swass like to play and the rich flaunt clout. Posse to he burger stand so big we walk in twos." (Scroll down to see full song lyrics.)  A few years back when I interviewed more recent era Seattle underground hip-hop artist D. Black and asked him if Dick's Drive-In, the famed Seattle fast food institution immortalized in "Posse On Broadway," was still in business? "Yes, Dick's is still there on Broadway, although I don't eat there anymore cos it's not Kosher," added the next generation Seattle emcee, who practices Judaism. In fact today's best known Seattle rapper Macklemore filmed his (The Heist featured track) "White Walls" video at Dick's. 

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