Amoeblog

Hip-Hop Top 5 LPs, Young Thug, EXT, Ron Jon Bovi, DJ Quest, Macklemore's Hip-Hop Cred, ADA's Megamagic, Tone Tank & Serengeti

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2016 08:05pm | Post a Comment
Traditionally in the music industry Tuesday was the day of the week when new albums got released. Back in the pre-Digital era, Tuesdays were when music fans had no option but to go to the record store to buy new albums the day they were released. And, on occasion, anticipated big name releases would result in stores staying open late Monday night//Tuesday morning past 12:01am to sell select new albums at the first possible moment. Times have changed, not just in the way people get new music but also the day new music is officially released. 

Nowadays Friday is new release day. And last Friday, Feb 26th, was the day that Macklemore Ryan Lewis released their new album This Unruly Mess I've Made (Macklemore), which is the long-awaited follow up to the Seattle duo's 2012 release, the break-out surprise hit album The Heist. Unruly Mess's title no doubt refers to the mess as he sees it in Macklemore's life since he blew up huge and became more popular than everyone, and most likely even he, ever anticipated. In his personal life he's faced demons too, famously relapsing. The mainstream pop rap star has struggled with maintaining the respect of hip-hop fans, no matter how hard he's tried. Everyone recalls, following the 2014 Grammys in which The Heist spun a ton of awards, how the "Thrift Store" rapper publicly shared his private text to Kendrick Lamar, telling the Compton rapper he was "robbed" for not getting Best Rap Album of the year for his good kid, m.A.A.d city.  That Instagram share of his text to the Compton rapper backfired in the court of public opinion. Hence it wasn't surprising when, after this year's recent Grammys in which Lamar eventually won in that category for To Pimp A Butterfly, many could not pass the opportunity to take to social media to joke how "Macklemore was robbed."  Getting so much grief from hip-hop fans for not being true to the genre has to sting Macklemore since the guy obviously loves hip-hop to the core. And with the new album he has gone out of his way, it seems, to demonstrate his respect for hip-hop culture and its pioneers. This began with the new album's lead single and its accompanying video from last summer, that featured the three hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, and Kool Moe Dee on the track "Downtown." Note Big Daddy Kane was in the video but not on the track. That video ended up getting over 100 million YouTube views and has likely given more deserving shine to these hip-hop icons (especially the largely slept on Caz) that they've received in their respective careers. Of the 13 track album, another love letter to hip-hop's history is the head-nodding song "Buckshot" in which  Macklemore reached out to two other hip-hop heroes of his. Hip-hop legends KRS-One and DJ Premier collaborate on this track that is an ode to graf art and hip-hop culture.


Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Old School Indie Bay Area Records By Acts With Names Identical Or Similar To National Stars

Posted by Billyjam, March 1, 2016 07:44pm | Post a Comment
While recently digging in the 12" crates of Bay Area rap/hip-hop from the late eighties / early nineties I realized how there were a few artists with twelve inch singles at that time who had stage names similar to or exactly the same as other hip-hop artists. One of them I remembered. It was Diamond D who had releases out in late eighties and early nineties including his 1989 single "Diamond Sez." I remember this because when I interviewed DITC (Diggin In The Crates) founding member Diamond D (or technically "Diamond") he told that it was because of  the East Bay rapper that he had to change his name. That was in 1992 when the DITC producer/rapper released his classic hip-hop album Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop along with his crew and under the artist name Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics. Note that Diamond D's record (on Crystal Ball Records out of Hayward) was billed as Diamond D featuring Deryck "D."

Meanwhile back in mid 1988 when Compton rapper The Game was 8 going on 9 years of age, up in the Bay Area Power Records, out of Hercules when that area code was still 415, Bay Area artist The Game released the 12" single "Savin It All For You."  Boasting a total of five different versions the 12" single was produced at Richmond's Starlight Studios which was a popular spot with Bay Area artists for many years. Of course by the time the better known artist The Game first appeared on the rap scene in the first half of the 2000's the other The Game had gone. [Note The Game's latest release is the late January four LP set The Documentary 2/2.5 LP - pictured left]

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Kosha Dillz Preps for Another "OY VEY SXSW" Showcase + Upcoming 2016 Album "What I Do All Say And Pickle"

Posted by Billyjam, February 29, 2016 12:39pm | Post a Comment

2016 looks like it will be an even better year for hard-working, talented and unique rapper Kosha Dillz. "I'm already crushing it. I've been so busy lately. And I'm really lucky on many levels including just being a working rapper and making a living from doing what I love," he told the Amoeblog yesterday by phone while taking a break from planning his upcoming popular annual showcase in Texas. The one of a kind Jewish freestyle rapper is returning to Austin in a couple of weeks for the annual SxSW music festival to throw another one of his popular OY VEY! SXSW showcases, happening March 17th at Sledge Hammer. Dubbed the "#1 Jewish rapper in Korea Town that raps in Spanish Hebrew and English" (see last year's entertaining video for "SPAN-HEBRISH" down below) has been working hard and building his career for the past decade, and building an arsenal of accolades along the way. Last month he was at the Sundance festival for the screening of the indie movie Scumbag that he made his acting debut in. While in Park City he made a point of doing some of his trademark street performances. Both fun and lucrative, they're a key part of how the 100% independent hip-hop artist has managed to carve out his unique career path, and make a good living from it. A year ago outside the 57th Grammy Awards, he figures his street performance netted him over $50,000. It also landed him in a Chevrolet commercial where he said "pretty dope dude." A few years back his song "Cellular Phone" was licensed for a Budweiser ad that premiered during Superbowl. And last year he landed a spot on Vans Warped Tour, performing all over the US on over forty concert stops.

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Bay Area Rapper, Cannabis Activist / Entrepreneur Berner Unveils First Episode In New "Marijuana Mania" Series [Video Version]

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2016 08:35pm | Post a Comment

Berner "Come On" from his 2014 Bern One Ent album Drugstore Cowboy


That old adage "do what you love" is perfectly applicable to the weed loving, nationally acclaimed prolific Bay Area rapper Berner. For the past decade plus this rap artist, weed activist/entrepreneur born Gilbert Anthony Mano has crafted a unique and phenomenally lucrative and fun career, all the while balancing his two main life passions of weed and rap music. Having built a strong rep as rap recording and performing artist, to date Berner's rich back catalog boasts 14 albums including his most recent full-length release found at Amoeba,  Drought Season 3, which is just one of many dropped on his own prolific Bern One Ent. record label. Equally respected by rap fans and peers, Berner's countless studio collaborations over the years include full length releases with such fellow Bay Area artists as Messy Marv, Equipto and the late great rapper The Jacka with whom he recorded the three part aforementioned Drought Season trilogy. Others in the really long list of Berner collabs include B-Real, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle, Young Thug, and Too $hort. Perhaps even more widely known in hip-hop is his longstanding relationship and collaborative work with Wiz Khalifa. Having been down since day one with the Pittsburgh, PA based, fellow weed loving hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa, the Bay Area artist counts himself as among those part of Khalifa's elite Taylor Gang Ent. label crew along with such others as Project Pat, Chevy Woods, Ty Dolla $ign, and Tuki Carter.

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Countdown To Sale of Prince Concert Tix @ Paramount Oakland (Feb 28) - US Kick Off of Piano & A Microphone Tour

Posted by Billyjam, February 24, 2016 11:31am | Post a Comment

Ever since last night's last minute announcement of Prince's two back to back (7pm & 10pm) concerts at Oakland's Paramount Theater this coming Sunday evening (Feb 28th), fans have been anxiously awaiting the moment to cop coveted tix to see the Purple One. That countdown is in its final half hour now for the paperless-only Prince concert tickets (reportedly no hard tix to limit counterfeiting) that go on sale at 12 noon today, Wednesday February 24th, only through Ticketmaster (so don't go to Paramount box office on Broadway).

Ticket prices range from $99 to $275 for the two "intimate solo setting" Oakland concerts by Prince, who in previous years has played last minute shows at Bay Area venues such as the DNA Lounge, kicking off the artist's North American Piano & A Microphone tour. That new tour coincides with the 57-year-old singer's latest/39th studio album HITnRUN Phase II (the sequel to the September 2015 CD released album HITnRUN Phase One). Famously disgruntled with the music industry for many years now, this latest Prince album is being released digitally only via Jay Z's Tidal music platform. While no one knows (likely even Prince himself) exactly what songs he will perform in Oakland this weekend, odds are they will include a tribute to his Bay Area-based former collaborator Vanity, who recently died at age 57, as well as such Prince classics as “Little Red Corvette” (see video below of song from his 1999 album), “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Controversy.” The artist performed all of these songs at a recent Australian concert as well as a  cover of (another Bay Area act) Sly & the Family Stone’s “Stand.”

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