Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment
Gift of Gab

Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Weekly Top Ten: 11:06:09
GIft of Gab
1) GIft of Gab Escape 2 Mars (Cornerstone Ras)

2) Masta Ace + Edo G Arts & Entertainment (Traffic Entertanment)

3) Mr. Chop For Pete's Sake (Now Again Records)

4) Sene & Blu A Day Late & A Dollar Short (Shaman Work)

5) R.A. the Rugged Man Legendary Classic Vol 1 (Green Street)

6) CunninLynguists Strange Journey Vol Two (Piece So Strange Music)

7) Jern Eye Vision (MYX)

8) Themselves CrownsDown (Anticon)

9) Killa Keise Yellow Tape Zone (Step It Up Entertainment)

10) Kam Moye (aka Supastition) Splitting Image (MYX)

Special thanks to Luis (pictured below) at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Ten Chart. The chart has a really nice, diverse mix of new releases, including several homegrown Bay Area albums such as the Haight Street store's top selling rap album this week, GIft of Gab's Escape 2 Mars. This is the second official solo album release, a follow up to 2004's 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, from the talented Quannum emcee. Gab is also is one half of Blackalicious (with Chief Xcel) and a founding member of Bay Area rap-supergroup The Mighty Underdogs (with Lateef the Truth Speaker of Latyrx and producer Headnodic of the Crown City Rockers). To help celebrate this new release, which hit Amoeba shelves on Tuesday, the much loved Bay Area MC did an Amoeba SF instore on the release day. "It was really cool and he [Gift of Gab] was awesome on the mic," reported Luis of Tuesday evening's free concert. The artist was joined onstage by Dnae Beats who produced Escape 2 Mars, which was released by Cornerstone Ras. Luis Amoeba San Francisco

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Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2009 09:43am | Post a Comment
Jason Bitner Cassette From My Ex
Since the release last week of Jason Bitner's engaging new book Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, the St Martin's Griffin published, 212-page anthology of 60 short stories, has been striking a nerve with  readership of a certain age who can directly relate to and recall its pre-iPod subject matter: the bygone era of the homemade mixtape -- specifically mixtapes made to woo new crushes or love objects.

An image that pops into many minds would be the Rob Gordon character played by John Cusack in the  Stephen Frears directed film adapatation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity and his obsession with making the perfect mixtape, regardless of how long it took. Or as Shirley Manson of the group Garbage wrote for Cassette From My Ex's jacket cover, "Anyone who understands the obsessive attention to detail, the time it took to collate, select, and edit the content of a perfectly executed mix tape, or just someone who appreciated the rhythms and nuances of such extraordinary artifacts will treasure this collection of stories, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that such exquisite efforts were not made in vain and indeed there was a time when a humble cassette tape was perhaps the greatest gift of all."

For Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, Bitner, who is best known as a co-founder of the wonderful Found magazine series, compiled first-person essays about mixtapes fueled by crushes or love (some tragic, some hilarious, many in-between) written by sixty different writers, many of them journalists & musicians. Contributors include author Rick Moody, This American Life's Starlee Kine, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, The Magnetic FieldsClaudia Gonson, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, Mortified's David Nadelberg, and former Rolling Stone writer and MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2009 09:00am | Post a Comment

Forget MySpace and check out MyFace, or, rather, the art that gifted face paint artist/illusionist James Kuhn does, displayed on both his Flickr page and his Face Paint In Motion YouTube channel. The self-described James Kuhn"Artist, Face paint illusionist, Drag Queen, Performance Artist, and full time Christian" has been uploading videos of his face paint art, such as the Rocky Horror "Sweet Transvestite" themed clip above which he posted two days ago, or the brilliant Golden Girls clip (below) that he produced and uploaded six months ago.

Ever the perfectionist, Kuhn said of the Golden Girls piece at the time, "I planned on painting Sophia on my forehead! but ran out of room... I need a bigger head! I am not too happy with this one, I should have searched for better pics to use as my models. The ones I pulled up were too small and Bea was in black and white. I should not try such a big project on a weeknight! Better for Saturdays when I can play all day long and am usually more rested. I gotta get some new glasses too."

On the Three Oaks, Michigan artist's YouTube channel, which is subtitled BibleArtWork, Kuhn has an impressive 234 different videos of various face paint illusions uploaded, usually with a cool accompanying soundtrack, ranging from Bettie Page Pin Up Girl to Miss Piggy & Kermit to Dracula and many, many more.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 30, 2009 06:57am | Post a Comment
 World Series Game 2 Jay-Z & Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind"

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:30:09
sean price
1) Jay-Z Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)

2) Fashawn Boy Meets World (Loud)

3) Sean Price Kimbo Price (Vision Mktg)

4) Del the Funky Homosapien & Tame One Parallel Uni-Verses (Gold Dust Media)

5) Sene & Blu A Day Late & A Dollar Short (Shaman Work)

Clearly Jay-Z is the king of the world, or at least of hip-hop right now. Not only is the phenomenally successful and popular artist number one (still) on the Amoeba Music chart with Blueprint 3, an album that came out almost two full months ago, and one that is doing equally well elsewhere, but last night Jay-Z along with Alicia Keys wowed the baseball world with a moving four minute performance of "Empire State Of Mind" (video above) during the World Series at Yankee Stadium. As a diehard, decades long fan & supporter of hip-hop music and culture from back when the genre was still being dismissed as a "passing fad," I found last night's well received performance another wonderful bit of validation and endorsement of a music form that I love and respect so much. In fact, so moving was last night's performance that it no doubt inspired the Yankees achieve their 3-1 win against the Phillies, which puts them at a tie, in this second game of the Series, which shifts to Philadelphia over the next three games, starting tomorrow, Saturday.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2009 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Pleasant Vallley State Prison

The Creative Process in Prison
by Aneraé "X-Raided" Brow

I am entering my fourteenth year of imprisonment in the California Department of Corrections and (so-called) Rehabilitation. The entire time, I have written songs for myself and others, as well as short stories and essays, and even a column for Murder Dog magazine and a blog on my MySpace X-Raided behind barspage. The thing that stands out in my mind, in terms of what it's like trying to be creative in this environment, is that the opportunity to do so just may be more available than in other settings. There can be a lot of solitude and isolation in prison, and for someone who knows how to utilize the lack of distractions it can be fertile ground for creativity.
I once joked to a friend that when Moses needed to think, he went up Mount Sinai and came back down with the Ten Commandments. Jesus went out to the desert and was tempted, then returned stronger. When Muhammad was stressed from the things he was seeing in his environment, he went into a cave where the Qur'an was revealed to him. All of them received their messages or strength at a time of trial and difficulty in their lives and the common denominator is that they had solitude with which to better hear the voice when it spoke to them. I joked to my friend, maybe we can utilize our solitude in order to better hear the voice as well. The voice of creativity, that is. It's all the same. All ideas come from somewhere. How do we explain that an idea just pops into our heads out of the blue?

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