Amoeblog

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Earl Sweatshirt, L'Orange & Jeremiah Jae, Rapper Big Pooh, CRAYONE & Dregs, The Jacka + more

Posted by Billyjam, March 27, 2015 10:35am | Post a Comment

Among the brand new releases to arrive at Amoeba this past week is Words Paint Pictures by Rapper Big Pooh care of Mello Music Group who continue their flawless streak of releasing hip-hop that matters amidst so much pablum out there. This nine-track release features a bunch of collaborators including Ras Kass, Erik Blakk Soul Keith, Marv One, Apollo Brown (who did production for the lead single "Augmentation") and super producer L'Orange (who does a remix of "Augmentation").

Fellow fans of L'Orange, who I am a major fan of and last interviewed here on the Amoeblog in May of 2014 when he dropped his amazing Orchid Days, will rejoice to know that he is soon to unleash another album. Unlike Orchid Days when he paired up with various emcees, he will collaborate with just one mic wrecker this time, the Chicago wordsmith Jeremiah Jae (who many may know from the Dirty Collections 7" single series he has released via Warp Records) with whom L'Orange recorded the upcoming The Night Took Us In Like Family that will be arriving in Amoeba on April 21st.

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Influential Guitarist/British Folk Revivalist John Renbourn Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, March 26, 2015 03:43pm | Post a Comment

The influential British guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn died earlier today, reportedly the result of a heart attack, it was reported the Guardian. The 70 year old artist, known for his solo work as well as with the legendary jazz-tinged, progressive British folk group Pentangle, was described by Amoeba.com biographer J. Poet as "one of the Godfathers of Britain’s folk revival" and "one of the best fingerpickers in the world and if he never did anything else but help found Pentangle, the world’s first folk/jazz band, his place in music history would be secure." You can add to those accolades the huge influence the prolific artist's guitar playing has had on so many folk guitarists of the past several decades. Between his solo releases and those with Pentangle (with whom he formed with the late Bert Jansch) Renbourn recorded and released over 30 albums, getting nominated twice for Grammys. Wrote J. Poet in 2008 "He’s approaching his 50th year of music making with no signs of slowing down" which was absolutely accurate since Renbourn was busy right up to his death - currently on with guitarist / singer Wizz Jones. In fact he was due to perform last night (Wednesday March 25th) at the Ferry in Glasgow but, according to today's Guardian news report when he failed to show up a the Scottish music club "colleagues became concerned" which in turn led to police finding him dead at his home this morning (March 26th). Rest in peace.

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Isle of Wight Festival: From Outlawed Event to Celebrated Leader of "Festival Island"

Posted by Billyjam, March 26, 2015 12:00pm | Post a Comment

In recent years the prestigious UK Festival Awards named the once outlawed Isle Of Wight Festival the 'Best Major Festival' across the festival-rich United Kingdom that hosts such other well known annual festivals as Glastonbury, Reading, and Creamfields. But once upon a time - back five decades ago - so controversial was this short-lived rock music festival off the southern coast of England, that began as a counterculture event during the "summer of love" in 1968, that following its overwhelmingly popular third year it got shut down by the government. In fact so notorious the shutdown of the event dubbed "the Woodstock of Europe" that it even earned a British Parliament Act named after it.

Following the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, which horrified many locals when it attracted an estimated 600,000 long haired hippies to this once quiet small southern English island. For context that was nearly five times the population of the island - hence the uproar by the ill-prepared citizens of the island whose loud vocal complaints were heard by politicians. Hence why before the next year's festival could take place the British Parliament had passed the "Isle of Wight Act."  That act introduced new legislature that made it illegal to present gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special license.

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Assata Shakur Celebrated In Womyn's Legacy Program At National Black Theatre

Posted by Billyjam, March 25, 2015 01:12pm | Post a Comment
In their ever continued dedicated display of hip-hop, as a wide cultural movement, that can be utilized as a tool to uplift, educate, and fight against social injustices The Universal Zulu Nation present another program for Women's History Month (or Womyn's Legacy Month as they present it) with a special program tonight that focuses on the controversial figure Assata Shakur. Aptly entitled "Assata Shakur, Cuba, Black August & the role of Womyn in using Hip Hop Culture as a tool for Liberation & Revolutionary Struggle" today's (Weds March 25th) three hour program takes place at the Universal Zulu Nation's NYC chapter's favorite venue; Harlem's National Black Theater. The program will present Shakur in different mediums including a screening of Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolondo's award winning film Eyes Of The Rainbow - the documentary film with Assata Shakur that is set in Cuba and features music and dance. The program will include guest speaker Sister Monifa S. Perry. There will also be a reading of portions of The Autobiography of Assata Olugbala Shakur, as well as a discussion on Black August and the role of women (womyn) in using the rich cultural movement that is hip-hop as a means to empower and fight for liberation in a revolutionary struggle.

The documentary Eyes of the Rainbow, which appears in full below,  tackles the never dull life of Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who in 1973  was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in which she was accused of killing a New Jersey State Trooper, and who escaped from prison and was given political asylum in Cuba. This film views Assata in an Afro Cuban context, including the Yoruba Orisha Oya, goddess of the ancestors, of war, of the cemetery and of the rainbow. Eyes of the Rainbow was dedicated by Rolondo to "all women who struggle for a better world." As such Assata, who is considered a terrorist by some but a hero to others and has famously referenced herself as a "20th century escaped slave," is a prime example of an African American woman leading the struggle in the fight of calling for social justice.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Number One Hip-Hop Singles of 1990

Posted by Billyjam, March 24, 2015 09:31pm | Post a Comment
The following list of number one hip-hop singles from 25 years ago is based on a combination of sales and radio airplay and comes care of Billboard magazine who calculated the initially published charts throughout 1990 in the weekly music magazine. Some were culled from albums released in 1989 but all singles charted in '90 with Salt-N-Pepa's "Expression" (remembered by many by its repeated catchy hook "express yourself") holding down the number one slot for the longest at eight consecutive weeks from mid January through mid March that year. Meanwhile Candyman's pop rap single "Knockin' Boots" spent five weeks at number one. Interestingly Vanilla Ice's ever-popular mega hit "Ice Ice Baby" only spent one week at number one on the hip-hop charts in 1990. However it soon crossed over to the separate pop singles chart where it enjoyed much more success going to number one for 13 weeks. The East Bay based, Tommy Boy act Digital Underground's biggest hit single of their career "The Humpty Dance" was number one for five straight weeks beginning on St. Patrick's Day, 1990. BDP artist D-Nice's "They Call Me D-Nice" spent four weeks at number one as did "We're All In The Same Gang" by the appropriately named West Coast Rap All-Stars, featuring Ice-T, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Young MC, Digital Underground, MC Hammer, King Tee, Body & Soul, Def Jef, Michel'le, Tone-Loc, and Above The Law's Cold 187um & KMG, which spent a month at number starting on July 21st. Meanwhile Ice Cube, with his debut solo post N.W.A. single "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" from the album of the same name, spent three straight weeks at number one beginning on June 9th, 1990 - but never had an official video made for it.  Most of the others spent one or two weeks at number one. For exact number of corresponding weeks at number one to individual hip-hop single see number in brackets following title of song, all below in video format in chronological order of release as singles.

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