Amoeblog

VARIOUS ITEMS IN HIP-HOP FROM THE YEAR 2009 + TOP TEN

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2009 09:50pm | Post a Comment
El Michels Affair, Wu Tang
I don't know about you, but 2009 zipped by for me, although not without making its mark in terms of music being recorded and released, and also in terms of music news being made. 2009 was a good year for hip-hop. In sports hip-hop was more present than ever, with Jay Z and Alicia Keys performing in New York at the World Series, and the Oakland hip-hop group the High Decibels' music being featured in a beer ad during the SuperBowl and in consequent football games. It was a year when the Wu-Tang crew were omnipresent, it seems, both individually and also with their music being replayed or remixed by others (inc. El Michels Affair). It was also a year when Brooklyn rapper Sean Price was seemingly everywhere -- popping up in cameos on a multitude of other folks' releases and releasing his own great mix CD.
Themselves, Anticon
2009 was the year when Wale finally released his official debut album. It was also a year when the line between mixtape CDs and actual albums released on CD got very blurred. Artists who released both a mixtape CD and an official album in 2009 included Anticon duo Themselves. 2009 was also the year when, thankfully, use of the Auto-Tune technology decreased substantially. With his song "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)," Jay-Z may have helped speed up the process of its inevitable passing.  Below is a list of hip-hop and related music items from the past twelve months that caught my attention. Also below (scroll all the way down) is my list of Top Ten releases from 2009 that I really enjoyed.

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MILES DAVIS' KIND OF BLUE HONORED BY THE HOUSE

Posted by Billyjam, December 15, 2009 12:16pm | Post a Comment
Miles Davis Kind of Blue
As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Washington has decided to commemorate jazz great Miles Davis' album Kind of Blue. The House voted (409 to 0) yesterday to honor the landmark fifty year old recording's contribution to the genre. Kind of Blue, originally released by Columbia Records in August 1959, featured Davis along with saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian ''Cannonball'' Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb.

Michigan Democrat Rep. John Conyers, who sponsored the measure, said that Davis and the other album contributors ''made musical history and changed the artistic landscape of this country and in some ways the world.'' Indeed, the album's influence has been far reaching, influencing all types of music far beyond just jazz, including Latin, rock and hip-hop. And over the years many musicians have done their renditions or reinterpretations of Kind of Blue, including Portland, OR blip artist Andy Baio, who earlier this year recorded an inspired 8-Bit reinterpretation of the album that he retitled Kind Of Bloop.

Below is a video honoring Kind of Blue's fiftieth anniversary made in conjunction with Legacy Recordings' recent releasing of the album's Collector's Edition Box set which is available at Amoeba Music. 


Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary

HIP-HOP BEHIND BARS: A FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT BY X-RAIDED, PT V

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2009 08:08am | Post a Comment

Today we have the latest in the ongoing series by guest Amoeblog contributor, incarcerated Sacramento hip-hop artist Anerae "X-Raided" Brown. Here, he continues a topic that he began in a previous Amoeblog about the creative process in prison.

In the previously published first part he wrote about the fact that incarcerated individuals sometimes have an advantage when it comes to being creative because they can focus more easily on their art due to lack of distractions. In this second piece on the same topic, he writes about the importance of certain programs for inmates and one in particular that was cut some years back due to the state's budget crisis. As you know, California's budget crisis has only worsened in recent times and those in the prison system, where things are already chronically overcrowded, are feeling the crunch most.



The Creative Process in Prison, Part Two: by Anerae "X-Raided" Brown

art class in prison

Once upon a time, before California's well documented budget crisis, before the California Department of Corrections indisingeniously added "Rehabilitation" to their name, there existed a program titled Arts in Corrections. For this program, so called Free-Staff, often unpaid citizens that volunteered their time and expertise, would come into institutions to teach inmates such skills as how to play musical instruments, how to paint, or draw, or bead, and many other crafts and hobbies that would allow interested inmates to occupy their time in productive ways. And oftentimes Free Staff would learn a thing or two from random exceptionally talented inmates.       

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 12:11:09

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2009 07:07am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five: 12:11:09
Souls of Mischief
1) Souls of Mischief Montezuma's Revenge (Clear Label Records)

2) FELT FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers)

3) Wu-Tang Meet the Indie Culture, Vol. 2: Enter The Dubstep... (Ihiphop Distribution)

4) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)

5) Aesop Fables Living The Dream While Awake  (Weed Tracker Music)

Shout out to Inti at Amoeba Music Berkeley for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart which finds a local hip-hop crew on top, Oakland's Souls of Mischief and their first new studio album in a decade, the Prince Paul produced Montezuma's Revenge on Clear Label Records. The new album also includes production input from Domino (responsible for their amazing debut 93 Til Infinity). The four emcees, A-Plus, Phesto, Opio and Tajai, are in top notch form here. And, not surprisingly, these diehard Hieroglyphics members, who dropped their debut sixteen long years ago when they were still teenagers, have matured quite a bit, all the while keeping that Hiero/Souls flavor that made them so endearing in the Rosie Perez, Feltfirst place. It sounds like veteran yet ever-envelope pushing producer Prince Paul got the best of out of the crew, as witnessed on standout songs such as "Home Game," "Postal," "Proper Aim," and "Dead Man Walking." Also, Prince Paul can be credited with creating a cohesive album (complete with skits, of course) that deserves listening to in its entirety -- the way albums used to be.

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AFTER 12 YEARS JAWBOX REFORM TO DO ONE-OFF LIVE TV SHOW

Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2009 03:00pm | Post a Comment

The much revered (and missed) nineties alt-rock outft Jawbox performed last night (12/8) for the first time in twelve years! They played a one-off, one-song reunion show live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at NBC's New York studios in the famed 30 Rockefeller Plaza building, performing the song "Savory" (video above in case you missed their charged performance). The Washington DC group played their first show ever back in 1989 opening for Fugazi and were once signed to Dischord before surprising/shocking many by jumping to a major (Atlantic Records). The occasion for this surprise reunion was to celebrate the reissue of Jawbox's 1994 album For Your Own Special Sweetheart -- available at Amoeba Music -- featuring the song "Savory" that was once covered by the Deftones. And, despite the wishes of the many remaining fans of this post-hardcore band, the group's J. Robbins insisted in a recent statement that, besides last night's TV appearance, there would be no other shows or chance of a full-fledged reunion.
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