Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Amoeba Hip-Hop Top 5 Chart, Hiero Day 4 Preview, New Paris Video/Single From Forthcoming "Pistol Politics"

Posted by Billyjam, September 7, 2015 08:09am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top 5 Chart: Week Ending 09:05:15

1. Dr. Dre Compton (Aftermath/Interscope)

2. Eligh 80HRTZ (Legendary/Crowsnest)

3. The Foreign Exchange Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey (Foreign Exchange Music)

4. Z-Man & Tahaj the 1rst "Flea Circus" (Solidarity)

5. Method Man The Meth Lab (Tommy Boy) (avail in LP)

Riding high off the buzz surrounding the new N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre's new album Compton  which has been selling extremely well despite some mixed reviews on the long awaited solo album (with many mic guest spots including Kendrick Lamar) from the high profile producer/ entrepreneur who first came to fame via N.W.A all those years ago.  Among the other top five chart entries from Amoeba's Berkeley store above include The Foreign Exchange Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey, Living Legends star Eligh's newest release 80HRTZ, Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man's The Meth Lab that is available from Amoeba in both CD and LP/vinyl formats, and Bay Area power duo of longtime unique emcee Z-Man (recently profiled on the Amoeblog) and producer Tahaj the First. These two Bay talents joined forces on Flea Circus that is available at the San Francisco and Berkeley Amoeba stores and is released via legendary underground San Francisco hip-hop crew Bored Stiff's prolific label Solidarity Records. Note that the SF group's main star Equipto (along with Otayo Dubb) will be among the performers at Hiero Day today - read on for more details. 

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Gifted & Prolific San Francisco Hip-Hop Artist Z-Man Both Raps And Paints, Creating All His Own Original Album Art Work

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2015 09:09am | Post a Comment

"There was a time when I asked myself should I draw all the album covers?" said Z-Man, quickly answering his own question. "Fuck it man! I'll do all the album covers - and others too! Yeah, it's a lot of work but it is so gratifying,"  grinned the longtime San Francisco hip-hop artist recently in an Amoeblog interview, while referring back to a previous period in his long, colorful, illustrious and richly varied and prolific career as both a painter and a hip-hop artist.

Some multi-talented rappers such as Lord Finesse or J-Live also DJ and produce their own albums but uniquely talented, but Z-Man has the distinction of painting all of his own album cover art too. And he has been doing so since day one when he hand drew the cassette cover art for his old Daly City based hip-hop crew 99th Demention's album release in 1996.

And ever since that premiere release, that will celebrate its 20 year anniversary next year, Z-Man he has been consistently doing both the music and cover art for his albums (and others) with the most recent examples being for 2014's The Opening Act (with Elon on Gurp City) and his brand new Solidarity Records release "Flea Circus" with producer Tahaj Edwards. In the photo on top  up above Z-Man is seen holding up the album cover's original art that he painted, like most of his work, at his cramped but creative Western Addition district San Francisco home studio in the home where he grew up. I recently stopped by Z-Man's home, in the building where he grew up as a child and has seen the area around him become gentrified.

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"Better Call Heller" is the N.W.A "Straight Outta Compton" Biopic Spin-Off Series Just Waiting To Be Made

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2015 11:48pm | Post a Comment

Since its release three weeks ago the F. Gary Gray directed N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton has garnered a ton of press and generated newfound interest in not just the subjects of the film but in the whole history of West Coast rap. Everywhere you go over these past days there's some N.W.A related thing unfolding; from Ice Cube and Dr. Dre on the cover of Rolling Stone, to N.W.A getting heavy radio rotation (a quarter century later) on retro/throwback stations such as San Francisco's Q102, to N.W.A themed "Straight Outta Oakland" Oakland Raiders T-shirts (simultaneously bootlegging both the copyrighted logos of the football team and the gangsta rappers) being hawked by the roadside near the Oakland Coliseum this past Sunday when they hosted the Arizona Cardinals.

It is only natural that with all of this interest (read: more profits to be made) that there'll be a sequel movie such as Straight Outta Compton II: The Dr. Dre / Death Row Story. That's just one of many from the film that contained several story arcs that it didn't have time to fully develop in its packed 2 + half hours. In fact knowing Hollywood's love of bankable projects it could easily evolve into a franchise of seemingly never-ending sequels until it fizzles out with the final lackluster installment of Straight Outta Compton XI: Whateva Happened To Yella?

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Herm Lewis's Influential Early '90s SF Rap Compilations on His Black Power Productions Label

Posted by Billyjam, September 1, 2015 04:24pm | Post a Comment

Back in 1993, an unknown in the music business named Herm Lewis would have a major impact on San Francisco Bay Area indie street rap with the release of his pioneering San Francisco rap compilation Herm: Trying to Survive In The Ghetto. Featuring such hometown artists as RBL Posse, I.M.P., JT Tha Bigga Figga, Rappin' 4-Tay, Cold World Hustlers, G.R.P., Young Cellski (aka 2Took), and Fly Nate, the compilation was a virtual blueprint of the SF rap music that defined that period in Bay Area hip-hop history. (Scroll down to see the original "one-sheet" for the local Bay rap record that was produced via Oakland's now defunct Music People and distributed via San Rafael's City Hall Records.)

The San Francisco community activist's compilation was bookended by his positive powerful messages of peace and unity, which garnered a lot of attention and resulted in him being invited to give talks at countless community events. The compilation had a slow but major build selling all over the country and had two major effects. Firstly it introduced audiences in faraway places like Detroit and Kansas to an entire unknown subgenre of hip-hop, one that had been mostly a regional sound 'til then. Secondly, its success kick-started the whole Bay Area rap compilation movement that lasted many years.

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SF Cops Recover Stolen Red Hot Chili Peppers Telecaster

Posted by Billyjam, August 28, 2015 09:59pm | Post a Comment


A valuable instrument with a rich rock music history stolen in a San Francisco burglary just under two weeks ago was recovered by the San Francisco police yesterday, as first reported by local NBC News and SF Gate today. The stolen vintage instrument, a 1966 Fender Telecaster guitar, was played in concerts by the Red Hot Chili Peppers between the years 1988 and 1992, and again between the years 1998 and 2009 when John Frusciante was a guitarist with the band (he initially joined in 1988 to replace then guitarist DeWayne "Blackbird" McKnight of Parliament-Funkadelic fame). Valued at $30K, plainclothes SFPD offices recovered the Fender, which was not in Frusciante's possession at the time of the August 16th robbery in SF's Bayview district. 

Reportedly the former RHCP guitarist had passed along his valuable axe to an associate who was, in turn, to pass it along to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a temporary loaner for an upcoming event. Above, in a video posted a short time ago today by YouTube member "Officer Manfredi," you can see the guitar being returned at the SFPD station. Below is a video of Frusciante playing the guitar at a Chili Peppers concert in Japan in 1990 when he joined Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and Chad Smith live at Club Citta, Kawasaki as part of the Mother's Milk tour.  Among Frusciante's other prized guitars in his collection are a 1962 Fender Stratocaster, a 1955 Gretsch White Falcon, and a custom 1969 Gibson Les Paul.

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