Amoeblog

This Year Halloween Fell On A Friday

Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2014 10:53am | Post a Comment

"This year Halloween fell on a weekend" famously rapped Bushwick Bill in the Geto Boys classic 1991 hit single "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me" (found on their album We Can't Be Stopped). Weekend Halloween years are always the best. With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, there are tons of parties and late night Halloween themed events. This post is a sampling of some of the many things happening today and tonight for Halloween 2014 in the Bay Area, LA, and NYC. First up Amoeba Music is celebrating Halloween once again with a pet costume contest at Amoeba Berkeley at 2pm today. Meanwhile Amoeba San Francisco's varied Halloween festivities begin at 2pm today while 2:30pm is when Halloween festivities kick off at Amoeba Hollywood in a day that includes a charity auction with Jimmy Pardo at 4pm. Check this Halloween @ Amoeba 2014 post for full details on each of the three stores. And if you need assistance in compiling a Halloween soundtrack to listen to, check out Billy Gil's 13 Albums That Are Perfect for Halloween or go back to last year's great guide to Halloween vinyl by Kelly S. Osato: Horror On Wax: Halloween Vinyl Picks.
 

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YBCA's "Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition" Takes It Back To The End of The Golden Era

Posted by Billyjam, October 30, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) presents the retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition for two nights only on November 7th and 8th. This event takes it back to what most consider to be the final year of hip-hop's so-called Golden Era (1988 to 1993) - a time before hip-hop became hugely and crassly commercialized.

Under the curation of YBCA's Chief of Programs and Pedagogy Marc Bamuthi Joseph, this new show continues the theme of his 2012  Clas/sick Hip-Hop series. One of my personal favorite years in hip-hop history, 1993 produced incredible hip-hop releases from such artists as A Tribe Called Quest (Midnight Marauders inspired the poster for the YBCA show), Ultramagnetic MC's, Tha Alkaholiks, The Coup, Black Moon, KRS-One, Wu-Tang Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, Diamond D, Lords of The Underground, ONYX, De La Soul, Masta Ace Inc., Jeru the Damaja, Digable Planets, Volume 10, Cypress Hill, Brand Nubian, and Del the Funky Homosapien and his fellow Oakland Hiero crew mates  Souls of Mischief who released their landmark debut 93 Til Infinity that year.

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Pete Rock's Mixtape Tribute To Nas' "Illmatic" And Its Accompanying Documentary

Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2014 10:48am | Post a Comment

Fans of Nas' widely acclaimed 1994 debut album Illmatic (recently featured here in an Essential Records Amoeblog) will be pleased to know that legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock has just unleashed a remix of the hip-hop classic and a documentary. Amoeba friend Pete Rock (who was one of the contributing producers of the essential album along with DJ Premier, Large Professor, Q-Tip, and L.E.S.) uploaded the 44 minute album/documentary remix tape simply titled Time Is Illmatic earlier this week as a download via SoundCloud.

The film Time Is Illmatic is being screened during Nas' ongoing tour in which he is performing Illmatic in its entirety live onstage. The tour stopped in the past couple of weeks at the Fox in Oakland and the Orpheum in LA. Both the tour and the documentary have been earning rave reviews. So too has Pete Rock's new celebratory mixtape since it was uploaded on Monday of this week.

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20 Years Ago Common Released His Landmark Second Album "Resurrection"

Posted by Billyjam, October 26, 2014 04:28pm | Post a Comment

Hard to believe that it is twenty full years since Chicago emcee, poet (like his father), actor (which seems to have eclipsed his music career), Grammy winner, one time J Dilla roommate, and recent Amoeba What's In My Bag? subject (see video below) Common released his landmark album Resurrection that included, among such other amazing album tracks, the instant hip-hop classic "I Used To Love H.E.R." Although Resurrection was the first album by the artist then known as Common Sense to gain national widespread attention, it was actually his second album. 1992's Can I Borrow A Dollar? was his premiere full-length release and it portrayed an artist still finding his voice. Fast forward 22 years to July of this year to the release of Common's tenth studio album, Nobody's Smiling, and it's clear he honed that artistic voice.

The album, which includes such tracks as "Thisisme," "Book Of Life," and "Watermelon," spawned two singles: the title track that was released six weeks after the album dropped and  "I Used to Love H.E.R." that was the album's lead single released four weeks in advance of Resurrection. It is that single - one that still gives me goosebumps to this day when I listen to it - that singularly grabbed the hip-hop nation's attention twenty years ago and distinguished Common as an artist to be reckoned with. Via clever wordplay in "I Used to Love H.E.R," Common addresses hip-hop in the guise of a woman that he used to love but who has gone through many changes over the years including Afro-centric rap and (of course) gangsta rap, which at that time had pretty much taken over as the driving force in the genre commercially - particularly with the rise of G-Funk.

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Cream Bassist Jack Bruce Dead At Age 71

Posted by Billyjam, October 25, 2014 11:03am | Post a Comment

As reported this morning by several news outlets and confirmed by his publicist, Cream bassist Jack Bruce died at his home in Suffolk, England. While no exact cause of death was announced, it has been reported that the revered artist had suffered from liver disease. He was 71 years of age. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the lifelong musician -- who played and recorded solo, and with such artists as Ringo Starr and Frank Zappa (his latest solo album Silver Rails released back in March of this year - also released on vinyl) -- will always be best remembered as the bassist for the influential '60's British rock trio Cream along with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker (seen in photo above, circa 1967). The Cream classics "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room" (both hit singles culled from the Cream albums Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire respectively) are among the songs that Bruce wrote or co-wrote during the rock supergroup's all too-short career (1966 - 1968. Although they did reform briefly a couple of times in recent years including a decade ago for shows at Madison Square Garden and the Royal Albert Hall).  Check for Jack Bruce's solo discopgraphy and his Cream discography at the Amoeba online store. Meanwhile, below is a video of Bruce and Cream performing "White Room" at London's Royal Albert Hall when they reformed in 2005.

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