Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #63: Beaux Arts, Subway Scratching, Slick Rick The Ruler, Homeboy Sandman, Paul Mooney + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2014 07:27am | Post a Comment

Above is what was once the beautiful piece of New York City architecture that was Pennsylvania Station (circa 1918) that was considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style. However this stunning building - once one of Manhattan's architectural along with Grand Central Terminal - was tragically demolished in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Garden's current structure (the actual railway station is still underground). Tragic as this shortsighted move was, the silver lining to this dark cloud was that the absolutely ridiculous decision to destroy this magnificent building led to the landmarking and protecting of other buildings in New York City so that they would not suffer the same fate. Jackie Kennedy Onassis - a longtime advocate for historic preservation of buildings including a part of the White House - was among those outraged by such demolitions and she was instrumental, some years later, in making sure that the same fate did not happen to Grand Central Terminal - also a Beaux-Arts building - which could have been razed too in the 70's had she and others not stepped in to fight for its preservation.

Slick Rick, whose 1988 album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick was recently reissued on vinyl and is available at each Amoeba store, will be headlining at the Brooklyn Bowl on Friday, January 17th. The album whose fans include Nas (he called it the record, that featured tracks such as “'Children's Story," his favorite album of all time) is a true timeless hip-hop classic that, like Nas' Illmatic, earned the elusive five mics score from The Source magazine upon its release. What looked, at the time, like a very bright future for the artist turned out to be anything but.

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: 20 Years Ago Nas Released His Landmark Debut: Illmatic

Posted by Billyjam, January 14, 2014 12:51pm | Post a Comment

EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for Nas' Illmatic album (1994)

As we head into the second week of 2014 it just dawned on me that 1994 is now a full twenty years ago which means that it is now officially the 20 year anniversary of when Nas unleashed his landmark debut full-length LP Illmatic - the groundbreaking album that would change the face of hip-hop (especially East Coast) for some time to come.

What is especially impressive is that Nas was only 20 years of age when this record, packed with references to the Queensbridge projects in which he grew up, was released and was only 19 when he recorded the album - even younger if you include "Halftime" which was recorded and released two years earlier for the Zebrahead soundtrack in 1992 when he was still known as Nasty Nas. (Note that the "Halftime" 12" was reissued by Columbia Records for last year's Record Store Day and that Illmatic was reissued, with a bonus CD, for its 10 year anniversary).

While Illmatic may not have been the biggest selling rap album of the 90's it was perhaps the most universally critically acclaimed record with the Source magazine (back when it was still revered as 'the bible of hip-hop') bestowing its prestigious, highest rating of five mics. But beyond critical or commercial acclaim Illmatic as a recorded work stands truly stands the test of time - hence why so many artists have since paid homage to it (EG: Elzhi's 2011 release Elmatic) and why the album is held up as the blueprint for a truly classic hip-hop release (But is this the new Illmatic? is a common question posed when an artist drops a quality release). Not only is Illmatic the Queensbridge, NY emcee's own finest work but it also considered by most tastemakers as one of the quintessential 1990's hip hop releases. When it was released in April 1994 it was unlike anything else up to that point in time. Furthermore it was instrumental in shaping the New York hip-hop sound from that point forward.

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Review of Amoebapalooza Berkeley at The Night Light, Oakland - January 12th, 2014

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2014 11:57am | Post a Comment

You know how big music festivals like the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, or Rock The Bells always have different stages presenting different acts for concert goers to choose from? Well last night's Bay Area Amoeba Music annual music festival/staff party event, which takes its name from the aforementioned Lollapalooza, also had two different stages but at two different clubs on both sides of the Bay Bridge presenting Amoebapalooza 2014.

These events, one at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco and the other at The Night Light in Oakland, offered up a richly diverse night of entertainment for both East Bay and West Bay peeps. Since I missed out on the SF event, opting instead to head down to the Jack London Square area Oakland venue for the evening, I will be anxious to read about Amoebapalooza San Francisco 2014 here on the Amoeblog in the coming days. Meantime let me tell you about last night's Night Light East Bay Amoebapalooza: it was Fun with a capital F, and all for no cover at the door. Unlike the SF show it did not offer a non-stop parade of bands but rather a nicely balanced night with just two bands (both high caliber), a DJ (excellent), and a stand-up comedian (really good), complimentary pizza and tasty cupcakes baked by former Amoebite Ryan, plus prizes that nearly everyone in the house was lucky enough to win.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 01.10.14: E-40, Childish Gambino, Iamsu!, Flavor Flav, Midnite Cru, Jazzy Jeff & Shortkut, Sensational doc +

Posted by Billyjam, January 10, 2014 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top 5 Week Ending 01:10:14


1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

3)
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

4) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)

5) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

Childish Gambino, aka the rap alter ego of actor/comedian Donald Glover, is once again the number one, top selling hip-hop artist at Amoeba Hollywood for the third week in a row. Not bad for a guy who at first was not really considered a serious hip-hop artist but mostly recognized for his acting/writing/stand up comedy careers. But so successful is Glover's Childish Gambino rap career that he made the (what must have been tough) decision to quit the cast of the popular NBC sitcom Community (last night's "Bum Crack Bandit" episode was most entertaining) mid way through its current, recently returned, fifth season so as to be able to focus 100% on his rap career and do shows to support Because the Internet (Glassnote).

Happy 70th Birthday Jimmy Page

Posted by Billyjam, January 9, 2014 01:30pm | Post a Comment

Jimmy Page BBC Interview with Kirsty Lang (2012)


James Patrick Page, the man best known as rock guitar legend and Led Zeppelin main main Jimmy Page, celebrates his 70th birthday today. And for the occasion this Amoeblog celebrates with a live concert clip and two interviews from two eras four decades apart with the man who during a BBC1 television interview in 1957 when the then only 13 year old young Page, who was on as part of a group performing "Mama Don't Want to Skiffle Anymore" and "In Them Ol' Cottonfields Back Home," told the BBC interviewer that when he grew up he wanted not be a full-time musician but "to do biological research" in finding a cure for cancer. That classic early Page clip is included in the most recent (December 2012) BBC TV interview segment with Kirsty Lang. The other (much shorter) interview is with Page along with Led Zeppelin bandmate Robert Plant from a press conference back in New York City in September 1970 during the band's heyday. Meanwhile in the live concert clip, which is of Jimmy playing "Stairway To Heaven" double neck guitar solo, he appears to have been partying a bit before the show but still manages to nail it.

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