Amoeblog

The Sugarhill Gang's Big Bank Hank Has Left The Building

Posted by Billyjam, November 11, 2014 08:45am | Post a Comment
Sugarhill Gang "Rapper's Delight" (1979)


Famous for such rap rhymes as "Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn. Say if your girl starts acting up, then you take her friend" and "I'm here and I'm there, I'm Big Bank Hank, I'm everywhere" rapper/member of the pioneering popular rap act The Sugarhill Gang Big Bank Hank - born Henry Jackson of the Sugarhill Gang (along with Wonder Mike and Master Gee) died earlier today according to reports from such industry insiders as Lee"DJ Flash" Johnson. "He had stage four cancer," reported DJ Flash of the 57 year old New York City born pioneering rapper whose hit 1979 single "Rapper's Delight" directly influenced him and and so many others back in the day.  DJ Flash, who began his rap career in the early 80's on the West Coast,  told the Amoeblog this morning that, "Big Bank inspired a generation. Every true hip hop fan can remember where they were they were the first time they heard Rappers Delight. His passing will be felt around the world!" In honor of the rapper, responsible for introducing so many around the world (outside NYC) to rap/hip-hop for the first time, below are the lyrics from his first verse in the late seventies Sugar Hill Records hit single  (corresponding video above - abbreviated version) that was reportedly recorded in one take. [Note that however famous those lyrics were they were in fact ghost written by Grandmaster Caz - as outlined in this 2013 Amoeblog interview with the Cold Crush member who said he never got credit for them.]

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Rest In Rubble, 5Pointz

Posted by Billyjam, November 10, 2014 05:50pm | Post a Comment

As we approach the one year anniversary of the controversial whitewashing of 5Pointz -  the once vibrant outdoors aerosol art mecca in Long Island City, Queens - I thought it time for an update on what's going on in the site that was a free public outdoor art gallery for two full decades. It was on November 19, 2013, when most of the colorful aerosol pieces by world famous street artists were whitewashed over after being officially condemned to make way for high rise luxury condos. It was yet another casualty in the expanding gentrification of New York City's five boroughs. 

Following frequent visits to 5Pointz over the past three months since the demolition of the square block area at Jackson Avenue and Davis Street began, I can confirm that the December 31st projected completion date of the demolition process should be right on schedule. Once that's done, then the construction of two 47 to 50-story luxury apartment buildings will begin. After these two high rise buildings (which will house 1,000 apartments) are completed, the owner of the property promises to allocate a good deal of wall space for aerosol artists to return to the site and continue doing their work. However, most artists have vowed to never return to contribute their art. Of course, what actually happens when these new buildings are fully completed - likely sometime in 2016 - remains to be seen. Even though the fight to save 5Pointz in its original status is long lost, artists and activists have been closely monitoring the new developments. Hence when news surfaced that the owner of the property was going to name the new luxury apartment towers "5Pointz" and have the name trademarked, these artist/activists loudly protested saying that the developers were merely trying to capitalize off the work and reputation the artists who had voluntarily shared their art at their own expense over the past 20 years by using the name that Meres One had given the space after taking it over from when it was Phun Factory.
 

As a longtime fan of 5Pointz, it was a place I would frequently visit to enjoy the new art, take pictures, and run into folks I know like longtime NY/NJ aerosol artist DEMEROCK (originally of the Wallnuts crew). At 5Pointz, especially on the weekends, there always seemed to be something going on from hip-hop video shoots to photo shoots taking place (one time I saw a bride and groom in formal wear get their wedding pics taken with graf as backdrop). Even if I didn't walk by, I'd make a point of taking the 7 train as its elevated tracks offered the perfect view of 5Pointz and its multitude of colorful pieces. Naturally then when I stopped by earlier today to witness the increasing piles of rubble and the few remaining buildings with nary a few pieces of art left, it was a sad thing to witness. The one part with some art that still remains (pictured at top above) includes the aerosol-sprayed lettering in large-scale font "END OF AN ERA" that adorns the top part of building and pretty much sums it up. While longtime supporters of the old 5Pointz vow that they'll have nothing to do with the new apartment towers, it is the end of that era and a new (albeit more sanitized) era will take its place where artists will again be welcome to share their art on designated wall space. It is my guess that most artists will be happy to share their work there. Meantime though, I spill a lil on the curb for the old 5Pointz, which now rests in rubble. Below are a few "BEFORE" photos from 2013 and 2012 that correspond with the "AFTER" as in now shots above.
 
 
5 POINTZ BEFORE shot from 2012

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Serengeti, Hail Mary Mallon, Domo Genesis, Kounterclockwise, Wara from the NBHD, Jon Dubb, Mac Jeff

Posted by Billyjam, November 7, 2014 08:29am | Post a Comment
This week's report will be a run-down of the new and soon to drop new hip-hop starting with Chicago emcee Serengeti's latest album Kenny Dennis III - to arrive in Amoeba next week (November 11th) in both CD and double vinyl formats care of Joyful Noise Recordings - one of about ten different labels that the ever prolific artist has unleashed his 20-plus releases (LPs and some EPs) spanning a busy dozen years dating back to his 2002 debut Dirty Flamingo on F5 Records. Although no longer with Anticon (this time - he'll likely be back again) he's wisely enlisted the production help again of Jel and Odd Nosdam for the album that was produced in Berkeley, CA. I will go into full detail in the coming week with a dedicated Amoeblog on this absolutely incredible, must-get, latest Serengeti release. But in summation briefly for now: it is a brilliant creation that continues the trials and travails of his hilarious "Kenny Dennis" alter ego character with narration help from Anders Holm (known as one third of the hilarious Workaholics collective from Comedy Central) who contributes to about half the album tracks. Below you will find the animated video for the album track "Win Big" that features both Holms and Serengeti in full-on skit/narration mode. Note that to fully enjoy this album you really have to listen to it in its entirety and in its presented sequence. Pick up the new Kenny Dennis III at Amoeba next week.

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New Dengue Fever Album 'The Deepest Lake' (January release) Further Expands Band's Sound

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2014 08:55am | Post a Comment
Diehard Dengue Fever fans fiending for new music from the eclectic Cambodian and American sextet will be pleased with today's news that the popular LA based band, who have not released an all new album since June 2011's Cannibal Courtship, have announced the release of an all new album four weeks into the new year. Scheduled to arrive in Amoeba in (colored) vinyl and CD formats on January 27th, 2015 the new full-length entitled The Deepest Lake will be the band's fifth album and will not only continue their unique melding of psych/surf/Cambodian pop but also expand into new musical territory with the additions of African percussion and vocals that have drawn comparisons to legendary LA punk pioneers X.

Described by the band's Senon Williams as their "most challenging record to date" the bassist explained the new musical terrain covered by the band, now in their second decade together as a group, as them wishing "to explore some ideas we’d experimented with in the past to try and capture a more expressive sound. Musically we went with a more raw approach while vocally Chhom Nimol came through with her signature power, intimacy and passion." The ten track LP will include such songs as "Deepest Lake on the Planet,"  "Still Waters Run Deep," and "Taxi Dancer." Dates for a corresponding tour for The Deepest Lake will be announced later this month. Meanwhile below is a video of Dengue Fever performing live at Amoeba Berkeley back in June of 2008.
 

Dengue Fever live at Amoeba Berkeley (2008)

Ariel Pink Unveils Brand New Single & Video for "Picture Me Gone" From Forthcoming 4AD Album 'pom pom'

Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2014 02:00pm | Post a Comment


Ariel Pink "Picture Me Gone" (Nov 4th, 2014 - 4AD)

"I backed up all my pictures on my iCloud
So you can't see me when I die,
I left my body somewhere down in Mexico,
Give Find My iPhone app a try
."
                                                            
Today, November 4th, friend of Amoeba Ariel Pink  unveiled his latest music video for "Picture Me Gone" which is the latest advance single from the Los Angeles artist's anticipated new album pom pom to be released via 4AD in two weeks on November 17th. You can purchase the track as of today as a download here from Amoeba.  The artist will follow the full-length release with a concert for hometown fans on Thanksgiving weekend at LA's Regent Theater on Friday November 28th (his official US tour in support of the album kicks off in San Francisco in early February, 2015 - following a series of sold out Australian dates in January). The second video collaboration with director Grant Singer, who worked with Aerial a couple of months back on the music video for the forthcoming album track "Put Your Number In My Phone" (see below along with Pink's WIMB? video from two years ago), this latest video was shot across fifteen LA locations and features the characters Pam, Candace and Heather "squeezing into their second lives within a latex skin, in pursuit of sexual encounters and inner content" according to the artist. Director Singer describes the story line of the video as one that "follows a day in the life of three men in Los Angeles in their search of meaning and happiness." To be released in various formats by 4AD on November 17th you can now pre-order the new 69 minute, 17 track Ariel Pink album pom pom in CD format and/or on record/ vinyl format. 


Ariel Pink "What's In My Bag?" (2012)

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