Amoeblog

Brian Coleman's Bay Area Book Tour In Support of "Check The Technique Volume 2"

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2014 01:22pm | Post a Comment
Respected longtime music journalist/hip-hop fanatic Brian Coleman will be in the Bay Area this week to promote his brand new book Check the Technique Volume 2 (Wax Facts) that picks up where the 2007 published first volume and its 2005 predecessor left off with "more liner notes for hip-hop junkies" as the engaging, information packed 526 page new book accurately promises on its cover.

Spanning 25 chapters with over 80 interviews and tons of accompanying images Coleman has meticulously presented the back story of 25 albums and 325 hip-hop songs (some eighties but mostly nineties) with the artists, producers, plus some label execs associated with them weighing in on these recordings. The end result is a page turner packed with  insights and answers to questions you might have had, or had not thought you wondered about until reading this enlightening book.

The chapters include The Coup Steal This Album, Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop, Dr. Octagon Dr. Octagonecologyst, Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted & Kill At Will, Masta Ace Incorporated SlaughtaHouse, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo Wanted: Dead Or Alive, ED O.G & Da Bulldogs Life Of A Kid In The Ghetto, Jeru The Damaja The Sun Rises In The East, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, and KMD Black Bastards. Meanwhile the accompanying artist interviews include ones with such hip-hop acts as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ice Cube, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Mantronix, MF Doom, and Company Flow.

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AFI spinoff group XTRMST

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2014 08:23am | Post a Comment


The Blue Man Group gone red, gone bad, and acting like characters from The Warriors is what I first thought upon seeing the brand new music video (above) from traditionally structured, new hardcore punk band XTRMST. The song "Conformist" is a lead single by the self-described "straight edge hardcore" (with some electronic instrumentation thrown in) group formed by veterans Davey Havok and Jade Puget  of NorCal's legendary long running "goth punk" group AFI. The song is a taste of what's to come on the AFI spinoff supergroup's self-titled debut that will be released (oddly enough) by electronic dance producer/artist/label owner Steve Aoki through his Dim Mak record label. Look for the 14 track album at Amoeba Music when it will arrive in stores next week on November 17th.

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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