Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2009 09:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top FIve: 12:04:09
Black Keys, RZA, Blakroc, Mos Def
1) BlakRoc Blakroc  (V2/Cooperative)

2) Lil Wayne The Carter Documentary DVD (Cash Money/Universal)

3) Birdman PRICELE$$ (Cash Money/Universal)

4) DOOM Unexpected Guests (Gold Dust Media)

5) Juvenile Cocky and Confident (Atlantic Records)

Blakroc by BlakRoc, the number one new hip-hop release from the Hollywood Amoeba store this week, is one of those refreshing albums that pushes the boundaries of what rap or hip-hop is, or can be. The Blakroc project, which was initiated by rapper Jim Jones and produced by Damon Dash, is a large scale collaborative affair between the Black Keys (who you'll recall worked with Danger Mouse on their last album) and a slew of high profile hip-hop talents including Mos Def, Q-Tip, Raekwon, RZA, Pharaohe Monch, Ludacris, and the late ODB. But to label BlakRoc simply another rap-rock fusion (a melding that so often comes off sounding forced) is selling it short. The album comes off sounding fresh and never forced with the Black Keys' (guitarist & vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney) dirty, guitar driven, big drum beat sound proving to be the perfect match for the album's numerous emcees. Because it is far from your typical cliche rap release, this album will not appeal to all rap fans, which is why it is so worth listening to. For a taste of this album, check out the video below for the album track "Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)" featuring Mos Def and Jim Jones.
Birdman Cash Money Lil Wayne
Cash Money Records holds down two new releases on the new Top Five, a CD and a DVD from Birdman and Lil Wayne respectively. The 90 minute documentary takes an in-depth look at the highly successful New Orleans rap artist Dwayne Carter Jr., aka Lil Wayne, aka Weezy, aka the self-proclaimed 'greatest rapper alive." It includes lots of interviews, behind the scenes segments, and, of course, concert footage. The movie, which won positive reviews when it screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival, also offers a pretty revealing look at Wayne and what makes him tick (and also what gets him high). You get to see the popular and prolific artist, who has been a star since his early teens, as an alternately funny and short-tempered fellow. Unfortunately -- due to the timeline of its creation -- the film doesn't include his latest legal problems (gun possession) and the likely jail time he may soon serve. There is a ten minute excerpt from the documentary below. 

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Posted by Billyjam, December 1, 2009 07:27pm | Post a Comment

Grotus live in Rouen, France - 1994.

The expression "ahead of their time" pretty much sums up the musically unique, genre blending, multi-media 1990's Bay Area group Grotus. Grotus was an amazing band, especially live, that appealed to fans of punk, industrial, metal, two drum-set percussion, samples, and politically outspoken lyrics. Unfortunately though they were also one of those really good bands that never fully got the type of credit grotusor, more importantly, the level of success that they deserved and the band called it quits in 1996, only five years after they released their debut album.

Grotus' original members Adam Tanner (keyboard, guitars, sampler) and John Carson (keyboards, bass, sampler) formed the band in San Francisco in 1989. Drummer/vocalist/sampler player Lars Fox joined afterward and together they honed their unique sound and steadily built up a strong local following, getting much airplay on stations like KUSF and KALX, and gigging at a variety of venues, often with the band Consolidated with whom they were friends. Drummer and DJ Bruce Boyd joined the group after they released their debut in 1991. His addition gave Grotus the two drummer sonic assault that helped define their powerful sound.

Grotus' record labels included Spirit Music Industries, Alternative Tentacles and the major London/Polygram, and between them all the band released a series of singles, EPs, and albums. They played on stages alongside such groups as Nine Inch Nails and Mike Patton's Mr Bungle, for whom they opened on a 1992 US tour. For the next four years the band toured tirelessly, winning diehard fans along the way in countries such as France, where the above live concert clip was shot and where they recorded a live album in 1994. Grotus' three studio albums are Brown (1991), Slow Motion Apocalypse (1993), and Mass (1996). While most of the Grotus catalog is out of print (Slow Motion on Alt Tent is still in print on CD), you can usually, with a bit of digging in the vinyl and CD sections, track down copies of their records at Amoeba Music. Recently I caught up with member Bruce Boyd to ask him some questions about this great SF group.
Amoeblog: You joined the band after it had been around for a minute. Can you give folks an idea of what point Grotus was at when you joined and how you came to join the fold?


Posted by Billyjam, November 27, 2009 07:07am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Ten: 11:27:09

FELT 3 Slug Murs
1) FELT FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers)

2) Rakim The Seventh Seal (Ra Records)

3) Gift of Gab Escape 2 Mars (Cornerstone/RAS)

4) Edan Echo Party (Traffic Entertainment)

5)  Cellski Chef Boy Cellski: Culinary Arts Institutiion (Inner City 2k)

6) Messy Marv Draped Up and Chipped Out Vol 4 (Click Clack Records)

7) Sean Price Kimbo Price (Vision Mktg)

8) Fatgums X Bambu ...A Peaceful Riot (Gamma Gums Music/Beat Rock)

9) Wale Attention Deficit (Interscope Records/Allido Records)

10) OC & AG Oasis (Nature Sounds)

Thanks for this Thanksgiving week's Hip-Hop Top Ten chart go out to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco, where the number one new release is the highly recommended, Aesop Rock produced third release in the FELT series (featuring Slug of Atmosphere & Murs of Living Legends), FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez, which was written about here when it was number two on last week's hip-hop chart at Amoeba Berkeley. And this week's number two comes from perhaps the most influential and respected (particularly by other artists) hip-hop emcee of all time, Rakim, who has just released his latest solo album The Seventh Seal.  As immediately proven by Rakimthe album's Rakim as Grim Reaper cover art, The Seventh Seal takes its title from the dark 1957 classic film of the same name by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. In the movie, a medieval knight confronts the meaning of life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess with the personification of Death -- the Grim Reaper.

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Posted by Billyjam, November 26, 2009 08:00am | Post a Comment

Happy Thanksgiving, Amoeblog readers! Above is Gloria Gobbler's reinterpretation of "You Can't Hurry Love" from a turkey's perspective, with reworked lines such as, "You can't gobble me on Thanksgiving Day. Why not eat tofu? Feed yourself the vegan way." And if you enjoy Thanksgiving themed, turkey perspective song parodies done to animation, check out the reworking of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" -- "U Can't Stuff This" or The Giblets' reinterpretation of Queen's "We Will Rock You" -- "We Will Eat You."  

And don't forget that tomorrow, Friday, November 27th, is when Amoeba kicks off its annual Holiday Toy Drive at all three Amoeba Music stores. When you come in to Amoeba over the next few weeks (cut off dates vary from store to store) we strongly encourage you to spread the love to those not as well off this year by bringing in a new, unwrapped toy for some needy child in your community.

And to help you feel even better about donating a toy for some poor kid, as a thank you for your generosity, Amoeba will give you a $2 coupon valid for any item over $3.99! All toys collected will be distributed to a local charity: Amoeba Hollywood will donate to Five Acres, Amoeba San Francisco will collect toys for Compass Community Services, and Amoeba Berkeley will provide toys to A Safe Place. For full details on the Amoeba toy drive run dates and the charities involved, click here.

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Posted by Billyjam, November 23, 2009 05:01pm | Post a Comment

More than any other popular musical form, hip-hop is perhaps the most consistently (and often apologetically) misogynistic and homophobic genre in all contemporary pop music. This is something that Lady Gaga speaks about in the video clip above, taken from an interview with host Touré from on On The Record, that will broadcast later tonight (Monday, Nov 23rd at 9pm) on Fuse TV.  Of course, this is not exactly breaking news to anyone No Homowho listens to popular rap, but it is nonetheless refreshing to hear a high profile person address homophobia in popular rap music. This is something that encompasses recurring anti-gay lyrics in songs and also the whole "No Homo" obsession, popular within hip-hop circles for several years now, whereby the words "NO HOMO" are instantly said aloud by a person right after they utter  something that might possibly be construed as "gay sounding." This two word statement absolves them from the ultimate crime (of being perceived as "homo"). This "No Homo" subcultural movement even spawned its own fashion line that includes the "No Homo" baseball cap (pictured).

In her interview, Lady Gaga, as always, is very supportive and defensive of her large gay following. When pressed by Toure as to which high profile homophobic hip-hopper she is referring to, she won't say. Truth is that it could be a great many rappers out there. But more than likely it is 50 Cent who she is referring to, since recently on the Angie Martinez radio show Fitty in a mocking derogatory tone referred to the scheduled Lady Gaga and Kanye West Fame Kills tour as the "gay tour." (the tour got cancelled due to Kayne's VMA outburst combined with lackluster advance ticket sales). This is the same rapper who in Spin magazine a few years back opined, "In hip-hop, there’s certain standards of things you can’t do. Being gay isn't cool -- it's not what the music is based on." Of course, many, including anyone within the so-called "homo-hop" subgenre of hip-hop, would argue that such a notion is nonsense. But, despite the growing numbers of queer rap artists, this hip-hop subgenre remains mostly a totally separate (and underground) world, and one that does not generally crossover into popular rap. Simply put, while most of the rest of popular culture has at least superficially embraced gays, it looks like it is still a ways off before popular hip-hop will accept its first openly gaHeavy D & The Boysy rap star.

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