Amoeblog

"It's Hard Out Here For A Gimp" - Kalyn Heffernan of WheelGrabbers

Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2015 11:00am | Post a Comment

On the powerful new track "It's Hard Out Here For A Gimp" - found on the just released WheelGrabbers self-titled album - Denver emcee and front-person of Wheelchair Sports Camp, Kalyn Heffernan holds no punches. Over the song's head-nodding beats she unleashes a litany of  witty reactionary rhymes to a lifetime of being treated like some freak. This she ably does via enlightening engaging lyrics that, while consistently hard-hitting, are all good humored and never mean-spirited. "No matter where I go, all eyes on me. Everyone stop what you're doing; the human's movin'" - raps the wheelchair using, three and a half foot tall woman, who has the brittle-bone disability Osteogenesis Imperfecta - three factors of her life that total strangers will unabashedly  bring up upon crossing paths with her. "They're God blessin' me and I didn't even sneeze. On their knees questioning me excessively. Wanna know my life expectancy. Like it doesn't get to me?" she rhymes while exposing the less than tactful questions posed by the parade of patronizing people that she encounters on a daily basis out in public.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesday: 1986, The Year Run-D.M.C. Raised Hell And Helped Rap Crossover

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2015 03:03am | Post a Comment

When they arrived on the hip-hop scene in the early 1980's Run-D.M.C. distinguished themselves as the leaders of the new school of rap music. This claim by the Hollis, Queens, NY trio comprised of Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell was truly justified by the unique group who would be perhaps the most influential group of the genre with their hardcore rap sound. With 1984's self-titled debut on Profile Records and its follow-up; 1985's King of Rock, Run DMC were already hugely popular with fans of the then still burgeoning hip-hop music genre but it was 1986's Raising Hell  their third album that proved to be their breakthrough, crossover release. Raising Hell won them a whole wave of new fans - many of whom up until this point had dismissed rap as mere novelty and  passing fad in pop music. Run DMC's updated rock/rap version of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" deserves  much of the credit for breaking Run DMC (and rap/hip-hop along with it) into the mainstream. The conversion of the average mid eighties hard rock fan, who up to this stage was still resistant to rap because they saw it as a derivative of the then stigmatized genre of disco, went to Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith who joined on them on both the record and in the influential music video of "Walk This Way." The result was an inspired updated rap rendition of an already great rock song.

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Overview of Recorded Speeches by Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Posted by Billyjam, February 27, 2015 10:14am | Post a Comment

In honor of Black History Month as well as the legacies of both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X I present an overview of some of the available recordings of these two fine African American orators - two activists whose speeches have been sampled numerous times in countless hip-hop tracks - especially back in the golden era of hip-hop when the music was more political. Also in this Amoeblog are a couple of videos of the corresponding speeches by each of these historic political figures. First up is Malcolm X whose 50th anniversary of his death was last Saturday. That day marked the anniversary of when he was shot and killed in New York City on February 21st 1965. Over the years (many after his all too short lifetime that ended months before his 40th birthday)  numerous recordings of speeches by Malcolm X have been released on record and CD, and also digitally. These include the 36 minute Malcolm X Speaks To The People In Harlem (Excerpts), and the 2CD set The Wisdom Of Malcom X whose 29 tracks include such speech segments as "Police Brutality and Mob Violence," "F.B.I. and The Black Muslims," "White News Media," and "Black Women In Prison." Others include The Ballot or The Bullet (Complete Speech) LP, The Unstilled Voice LP, and In His Own Words.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah, Big Sean, THEESatisfaction, Fashawn, Churchward Pub DJ Battle + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2015 07:00pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top 5 Week ending 02:27:15


1) BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul (Lex)

2) Fashawn The Ecology (Mass Appeal) [also avail as LP and DL]

3) THEESatisfaction EarthEE (Sub Pop)

4) Big Sean Dark Sky Paradise (Def Jam) [
also a deluxe CD]

5) L'Orange After the Flowers (Mello Music)

The brand new number one hip-hop chart entry at Amoeba Music Berkeley this week (thank-you to E-Lit for providing the above top five chart) is the collaborative effort of Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah and Canadian jazz trio BadBadNotGood for their one-off, full-length, joint project Sour Soul on Lex Records - available for now in CD format only with a soon be released vinyl format to follow. While not billed as such, this new album could be considered the third part of a live collaborative trilogy by Ghostface since like his last two releases - last year's 36 Seasons and 2013's Twelve Reason To Die - Sour Soul is another production that finds the WU emcee rhyming with a live band. This time out it's BadBadNotGood who, as well as their own work as a trio, have previously collaborated with the likes of Danny Brown (who coincidentally appears here) and Earl Sweatshirt - although only on individual tracks, not a full length project as here with Ghostface Killah. The end result is a strong album whose standout tracks include "Mind Playing Tricks," "Tone's Rap," "Gunshowers (feat elZhi)," and “Ray Gun (feat. DOOM)” (see music video below).

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The Legend of Lead Belly Lives On With New Documentary and Releases

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2015 12:50pm | Post a Comment
He may have died 66 long years ago but the highly influential Delta blues artist Lead Belly's music is very much alive and well, as witnessed by the two new Lead Belly releases having dropped this month (Black History Month) - two CD releases whose content overlaps somewhat. A few weeks ago the Lead Belly / Woody Guthrie 1940 New York City radio station session WNYC Radio New York 12th December 1940 CD arrived in Amoeba via Keyhole Records. And this week the fine folks at the Smithsonian unleashed the 5CD set Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection which includes some of the same Lead Belly WNYC recordings found on one of the five CDs. The five CDs total include a total of 108 Lead Belly songs most of which are culled from the Folkways' deep archives - much previously released and found at Amoeba's online store. Sixteen of these tracks, collectors will be pleased to learn, are previously unreleased Lead Belly recordings.  Also included in the Smithsonian set is an engaging accompanying 140-page booklet that contains various essays, lots of photographs of the blues legend born Huddie Ledbetter in Louisiana in 1888, whose influences run long and deep with fans including the likes of John Fogerty, Kurt Cobain, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Tom Waits, Robert Plant, Lonnie Donegan, and Ben Harper.

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