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Ten Current Tracks That Prove 2015 Hip-Hop Is In A Very Healthy State (Audio + Video)

Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2015 05:10pm | Post a Comment

You can't blame some hip-hop fans for complaining that there's no good new hip-hop being made anymore, provided they are not making a blanket statement about all new hip-hop but merely referring to the bulk of what's popular in new rap & hip-hop these days. You know, the stuff that you hear blasted everywhere and repeated ad-nauseam on commercial radio. But the truth is that, if you take a little time and research to seek it out, there is in fact more good hip-hop being released now than ever. A lot of this new music's production and rhyme delivery pays respect to hip-hop's deep rich past while still pushing the genre forward and sounding new.

Below I have assembled ten tracks from the past few months with accompanying videos (some audio only) of new hip-hop that proves the genre is alive and well.  Alongside new hip-hop artists are many longtime acts who are still making quality music - even if not to the same wide an audience as they once commanded. I heard a few old school hip-hop fans comment recently how they didn't realize that Public Enemy (PE) were still around until seeing the longtime revolutionary group's recent live set on Jimmy Kimmel Live. PE never went away and recently released their best album in years - Man Plans God Laughs - that they performed the title track from on JKL (video below) in a "Fight The Power" medley since the song references back to the original from 26 years ago. NorCal legendary duo Blackalicious returned after a decade's absence with a powerful, fan-funded new album Imani, Vol 1 (LP version). Currently on a UK tour, they've been winning accolades for both the album and their performances. The NorCal duo have attracted a whole new wave of fans in recent times due to Daniel Radcliffe who did a rendition of their 1999 ABC tongue-twisting song "Alphabet Aerobics" on The Tonight Show a year ago.

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E-Lit's Scary Movie Guide: Top Five 1980's Classics + Top Five Modern Scary Movies

Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2015 11:02pm | Post a Comment

As anyone who knows E-Lit personally or who caught the Amoeba Berkeley staffer's Halloween-themed KALX radio show this past week can attest, the man is not just a big hip-hop fan. He also has a passion for, and good knowledge of, scary movies (especially 1980's classics of the genre) with a sizable DVD collection of scream-inducing scary films to prove the point. So to help set the tone for this Halloween, I invited E-Lit to draw up two top five lists of scary movies: an all-time favorite five plus a more modern era, recently-released scary movie top five list.

Both top five lists follow below with accompanying movie trailers and links to movie at the Amoeba online store. Or, of course, look for them on DVD or Blu-ray at the Amoeba stores. Among E-Lit's picks is the excellent Night of the Creeps (Fred Dekker's directors cut includes the ending he always wanted) about an alien experiment going wrong...horribly wrong. As noted elsewhere here on Amoeba.com, Dekker's Creeps is wonderful in how it "deftly mixes all sorts of genres while simultaneously having fun with them (the college and all the leading characters are named after famous horror movie directors)."

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Colorado Crush 2015 Street Art Festival in Denver Recap

Posted by Billyjam, October 28, 2015 10:51pm | Post a Comment
 

"Breaking down stereotypes surrounding graffiti and street art" all the while presenting it as a "positive medium of expression by bringing people together through art, music, and fun" was the outlined mission statement for Colorado Crush 2015 Street Art Festival that took place September 19th & 20th in Denver. The excellent annual public arts event in the Mile High City is the collective work of such street art enthusiasts as Jonathan Lamb of Like Minded Productions. Lamb and crew working hard behind the scenes at last month's successful Colorado Crush 2015 can pat themselves on the back for accomplishing their goals. 

Following the success of Colorado Crush 2014 (reviewed on Amoeblog), Lamb and the other organizers of this annual aerosol art festival raised the bar even further. This they achieved by inviting such a high caliber of street artists working in varying styles, and by expanding the outdoor art festival's wall space. This year it was again centered in the RiNo arts district of Denver, filling the walls of the long alley that lies in between and parallel to Larimer and Walnut streets for several long colorful blocks. This year they expanded that outdoor gallery to outside that area, providing additional wall space for more artists to paint their vibrant street pieces. The festival was concentrated into the two weekend days but officially began on the Monday when some artists began working on their pieces early. And as at previous Colorado Crush events, organizers rented heavy duty gear to help make the artists job as easy as possible as they tackled high walls.

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Sia's "Alive" Video Amps Anticipation For "This Is Acting" & Raises Bar For the "Lyric Video" Format

Posted by Billyjam, October 27, 2015 03:15pm | Post a Comment
 

One  week ago Sia published another video for her current global pop hit "Alive," which is the lead single off the Australian artist's anticipated next album, This Is Acting. The new album will be comprised of songs Sia originally wrote for other people including "Alive," which, along with Tobias Jesso Jr.she wrote for Adele.
Note that Sia, who has graced the Amoeba Hollywood stage twice over the years with memorable in-store performances in both 2006 and 2008, has not yet announced the release date for her new album.  However, the fact that there's only a few release weeks left to the year and that she will be the musical guest on SNL November 7th (with Donald Trump as host) both indicate that it should be within the next few weeks. The new "lyric video" version for "Alive"  replaces the original, month-old "audio" version of the same song that, despite having only the one still image, has already racked up almost 11 million YouTube views! After one week online the "Alive" lyric video has attracted 1.4 million views. Over time that number will grow exponentially but it undoubtedly will be eclipsed by the total number of views that the forthcoming third video for the song will likely attract. Coincidentally, earlier today that upcoming official Sia "Alive" music video was given its own promo video (see below).  With the tag "Sia - Alive - Trailer (Music Video Coming Soon)" that 25 second ad has garnered 60,000 views since this morning. No doubt when it does get published it will rank up their with the singer's previous video stats. These include Sia's much talked about "Electric Heart (feat Shia LeBeouf and Maddie Ziegler)" that, since posted at the beginning of this year, has 425 million views. Meanwhile, Sia's video for "Chandelier" off last year's 1000 Forms Of Fear has gotten 948 million views to date!  

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2Pac Producer Deon "Big D The Impossible" Evans Is Dead

Posted by Billyjam, October 21, 2015 04:20pm | Post a Comment

Rest in peace to Bay Area hip-hop producer Deon Evans (aka Big D, aka Big D The Impossible). He was known widely for his production work with Tupac Shakur in crafting such timeless 2Pac tracks as "If My Homie Calls" and "Brenda's Got A Baby" (co-produced with Underground Railroad), which was the lead first single off the rap icon's 1991 debut album 2Pacalypse Now. I got the sad news earlier this morning from longtime Oaklander Craig "C-Note" White, whose credits include working with Mac Mill back in the day when he was a part of the tight-knit East Bay rap scene along his old friend Deon Evans. This morning C-Note confirmed that Evans, who reportedly had a history of kidney and heart related health problems, had passed away sometime overnight.  Even more tragic is the fact that the multi-platinum hip-hop producer was still a relatively young man of 45 years old.

Back in the day, Deon Evans was part of the East Bay hip-hop fabric and working with other artists such as Berkeley rapper/producer Clever Jeff. He also contributed to Digital Underground and was a part of the extended family. DJ Fuze and Money B used to live a couple of blocks away and were always hanging out. His older brother James ran with the DU crew. The two appear in Digital Underground's "DooWutchYaLike" video. Pac was a part of that musical family too, and it is in hip-hop history books that Deon Evans' legacy will be mostly forever interlocked with Tupac's name. The list of 2Pac classics Evans produced includes "Changes," "Ghetto Gospel," "Papa'z Song," and "Point The Finga" with the latter two both off Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. On that 1993 2Pac album Evans went by his Big D the Impossible handle, and under it he also co-produced with Pac the album track "Something 2 Die 4." 

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