Amoeblog

Record Release for New Z-Man Album "Flea Circus" - A Collaboration with Tahaj The First

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2015 06:58pm | Post a Comment

As most hip-hop heads in the Bay (and beyond) already know, San Francisco emcee Z-Man is one of the most talented and unique wordsmiths out there; albeit an underrated artist who ranks up there talent-wise with E-40 when it comes to channeling a brilliant mind into clever wordplay of the English language along with a generous dash of his own slanguage.  Z-Man possesses a gift for unleashing a non-stop flow of clever wordplay that is typically fun, party themed on the surface, but deep on the outset - the kind that demands repeated listens.  The artist is simultaneously a very gifted painter/artist who does most of his own album artwork dating back almost two full decades when he laced up the cover art for his nineties crew 99th Demention's debut tape and such other releases as the cover for 2003's Dope Or Dog Food. which was released via the Hieroglyphics label.    

"Z-Man is definitely one of the Bay Area's most underrated artists," concurred E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley where whenever Z-Mainey (as he is also known) drops a new release it is in big demand for those who are hip to Z-Man's mic skills, many via his membership of the Gurp City crew or the many other Bay Area hip-hop entities he is down with including One League and Solidarity Records. In fact it is via the Bored Stiff (Equipto, White Mic, etc.) associated label that Z-Man is releasing his brand album with a record release party tonight at the (soon to close) Elbo Room in San Francisco. Entitled Flea Circus the album is a joint collaboration with gifted Bay Area producer Tahaj The First who produced the new GoodWord (of BPos) track that was featured here on the Amoeblog last week and who has showcased his diverse production skills working with such other artists as Otayo Dub and young mic spitter Gigio. For tonight's record release  (so new it has yet to arrive in Amoeba) Tahaj and Z-Man will celebrate with a live set performing tracks from the new album on a bill hosted by the aforementioned Equipto with live performances by Aukwin, Xiomara & the Headband, The People's Tree, and  Murk Sauce (that's Gurp City's Brycon and Eddie K), with Troubleman on the turntables. More info on the Elbo Room show here. And below is Z-Man's video for the track "Cupcakin" from with five years ago and featuring Eddie Def on the cuts.

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D.I.T.C.'s Multi-Talented Lord Finesse Discusses Big L, The Music Industry, "Accident Music," His Future Book + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 4, 2015 12:17pm | Post a Comment

Unlike most hip-hop artists, who tend to excel in just one area of the genre, D.I.T.C. (Diggin In The Crates) founding member Lord Finesse is an equally amazing MC, DJ, and producer. Add to that a hella funny guy with a career in stand-up waiting for him if he ever wants it as proven by the funny sharp wit he displays when hosting DMC battles. Recently I caught up with the longtime Bronx born multi-talented hip-hop artist, at one of the Crotona Park Jams where he was just kicking back and enjoying the rich cultural vibe of park jam produced by Tools of War. He would perform at the same event two weeks later.

Being in the Bronx  park brought it all back for Finesse, as it was there as a kid that he got his sharp wit and quick comebacks he says. "Ah man all that comes from snappin' in the park when we were younger, and joking and snappin' all the time. So it's natural for me to just come up off the top. That's why the rhymes, the punchlines, they're designed that way," he said. On the hot topic of hip-hop as a culture with an important history versus rap as merely a commodity, Lord Finesse feels quite strongly. "All that stuff you hear on the radio when they say you could be great at rap and hip-hop without knowing the culture is like you trying to be a doctor without getting a degree," he said. 

In this digital age Lord Finesse contends that too many young artists rely solely on the Internet as their outlet when they need to go out on tour and "be ready to roll up your sleeves" meet the fans and connect with them. "If you think that you are going to throw up your little video on YouTube or put out your mixtape and think you are gonna be straight" that is too limited an approach he stressed. "Then you're not covering all bases." One of those bases traditionally has been   radio airplay but its importance has shifted over the decades compared with when Lord Finesse officially started his career in 1989.

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Iconic UK Singer/TV Personality Cilla Black Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, August 2, 2015 10:53pm | Post a Comment

Cilla Black's "Anyone Who Had Heart" (1964) is best selling UK record of all time by a female artist

While the average American may only know of Cilla Black, who died today at age 72, as a 1960's British pop star who was associated with the Beatles, in her native Britain she was a national treasure whose career as popular singer and TV personality spanned five full decades. Upon the announcement of her death today, British prime minister David Cameron joined countless others in paying tribute to the OBE recipient for her "significant contribution to public life." Just last year the beloved public figure, known for her easy going ways, constant smile, and natural manner, was the subject of a popular UK TV drama mini series entitled Cilla that focused on her early years as a singer. Those years were when the Liverpool native, born Priscilla White, started out working as a coat check attendant at her famous hometown Cavern Club that is closely associated with fellow Merseyside musicians The Beatles who she was close to.

In fact, it was John Lennon who introduced her to Brian Epstein and convinced the Beatles' manager to audition the young singer. That audition, nicely detailed in the ITV drama series in which the singer was played to perfection by Sheridan Smith, went horribly wrong but did not stop the determined young singer from her goals. The Beatles connection continued with Lennon/McCartney penning her first single "Love Of The Loved" in 1963, which was produced by George Martin. The track did well, entering the top 40, but it would be her next single, 1964's cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (a hit in the US for Dionne Warwick), that became a number one hit single and the biggest selling record for a UK female artist of all time. The single would be the first of many Top 10 hits for Cilla Black that included "It's For You," "Alfie" (from the movie Alfie and recorded at Abbey Road Studios), and her cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" that went to number 2 on the UK pop charts in 1965.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Top 5, Vince Staples, JMJ Son's Direct Marketing, "Local Produce 2" Among Final Hip-Hop Shows @ Elbo Room SF

Posted by Billyjam, July 31, 2015 06:50pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: Week Ending 07:31:15


1) Vince Staples Summertime 06 (Def Jam)

2) A$AP Rocky  At.Long.Last.A$AP (RCA)

3) Drake If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late   (Republic)

4) Slum Village Yes! (also in LP) (Nestra Music Group)

5) Pete Rock Petestrumentals 2 (Fat Beats) (also avail on vinyl)

One of this summer's signature hip-hop albums, especially for those in the same SoCal locale as its talented 22-year-old Long Beach creator Vince Staples, Summertime 06 continues to outsell every other new hip-hop album at Amoeba Hollywood this week where it's holding the number one slot. The Def Jam release, which had one of the year's most innovative rap videos for the album track "Senorita," just published another video from the album for track "Norf Norf." While a totally different style, it's another really great video from the rapper who deserves all the accolades he gets. The new music video (see below) perfectly matches the downtempo, moody, head-nodding beat-driven track. Throughout the video, as Vince raps the song's eerily repetitive refrain "I ain't never ran from nuthin but the police," he is seen being pushed and mistreated by the po-po, rapping from the back of the police car, and later down at the station as the cops shove his head into the ground. In a time when so many mainstream and major label artists tend to shy away from anything deemed slightly offensive to any group, Vince Staples is a breath of fresh air and an artist who will be around for a long time to come, I would bet.

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DJ AM Documentary Followed by Mix Master Mike Tribute/After Party @ SF Jewish Film Festival Today & Tom.

Posted by Billyjam, July 30, 2015 01:50pm | Post a Comment

During last year's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), the curators of the festival presented by the Jewish Film Institute dedicated a whole event to "the original American Jewish rappers" the Beastie Boys. The music theme continues this year during the 35th annual 2015 SF JFF (July 23 to August 9th)  when among the screenings will be the California premiere of the documentary on the tumultuous life and death of Adam Goldstein (better known as the late DJ AM) entitled As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM. The bio-documentary tells the bittersweet tale of the life of the DJ/remixer/producer/musician's rise to fame as superstar DJ on the Vegas strip, his early tireless, crate digging days, his underground club DJing days in LA in the '90s, his self-destructive substance abuse problems that he had put behind him, and his later membership of  both Crazy Town and of TRV$DJAM along with Travis Barker.

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