When it comes to "essential" hip-hop records they don't come much more essential than Nas' 1994 landmark, ten-track debut album Illmatic. The album's 20 year anniversary is being celebrated in grand style this year with a nice vinyl reissue of the album, the recent theatrical release of the award winning documentary about the album, Time Is Illmatic (see trailer below), and an ongoing tour by the famed Queensbridge emcee - fittingly titled the Time Is Illmatic Tour - in which the emcee performs the entire album in track-listing order following a screening of the new documentary. Nas' current California tour dates include two nights at the Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct 19 & 21) and two nights at the Orpheum Theatre in LA (Oct 18 & 22).
Welcome to the final installment in the one hundred part weekly New York State of Mind (NYSOM) Amoeblog series that began two years ago. For this 100th Amoeblog I want to run down some events happening in the coming days/weeks ahead as well as include a random series of NYC themed music videos that I have not yet included in the many NYC music videos already posted to this Amoeblog series. Ongoing events of interest include the Greenpoint, Brooklyn weekly No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) which is happens Tuesday evenings for a little over an hour in a church basement hall is the total antithesis of the overpriced bottle-service night clubs of Manhattan. Founded in New Zealand and with satellite parities like this one in Brooklyn dotted round the globe (Chicago and San Francisco are the other two spots in the US), the rules of NLNL are simple and straightforward and posted by the door upon entry. "No watching, no cell phones, no breakdancing" is what is not allowed. What is allowed/encouraged is to make a dancing and having fun - in near darkness except for a dimly lit ceiling light show that takes your eyes a couple of minutes to adjust to.
On the night I attended NLNL the dance music played by the non-billed DJ (a guy dancing who routinely ran over to hit play for the next song off his iPhone that was plugged into the decent sound system) ranged from trap to deep house to past decades pop hits such as Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen," Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al," Dr. Dre & 2Pac's "California Luv," Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," and The Cardigans' "Love Fool." NLNL, NYC happens every Tuesday from 8.15pm – 9.30pm at 129 Russell St, Brooklyn, NY 11222. No alcohol. All ages. $5 donation. More info here.
Open Mike Eagle "Informations (feat. Kool A.D.)" (2014)
One of LA's greatest emcees Open Mike Eagle, who the LA Weekly just named Best Rapper of 2014 in last week's issue of the weekly paper, has just today published today the brand new Jay Brown directed music video (above) for his 2014 track "Informations" which is a commentary on the state of modern technology and how one deals with it all.
The lyrically engaging track from the Project Blowed veteran, which features a memorable guest spot from Bay Area emcee Kool A.D. of Das Racist fame, is culled from Open Mike Eagle's current album, Dark Comedy, that was released jointly by Mello Music / Fat Beats a couple of months ago and is available in both CD and LP formats - and is recommended for those into progressive hip-hop.
DJ Woody's "The Nature of Battle" dedicated to the 2014 DMC World Championships
In anticipation of this weekend's big battle DJ event in London - the 2014 World DJ Championships in London tomorrow, October 5th - UK battle DJ veteran DJ Woody has just laced up the above killer tribute video/audio mix as his "dedication to all the DJs who ever took their skills to the battle." Woody, who gave up battling some years ago to concentrate on his career as a mixed media DJ career (he does amazing video sets), knows a thing or two about DJ battling with a rich resume that boasts such titles as the 2001 World ITF Champion, and the 2002 World Vestax Champion.
With their premiere release at their new label home slated for an early December release Staten Island's favorite sons the Wu-Tang Clan announced today that they signed with Warner Brothers Records (WBR). A 20th anniversary album entitled A Better Tomorrow, arriving in Amoeba on December 2nd, will be the first WBR release from the group who came to fame two decades ago via Loud Records (distributed by RCA). The current WBR Wu line-up is almost the same as it was back in the day (minus of course the late Ol' Dirty Bastard) and including RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna. "Wu-Tang Clan is excited to join the Warner family of esteemed artists. After 20 years in the business with different label outlets, we are delighted to be amongst a team of industry professionals who understand our unique artistry and will help spread it to the masses unadulterated. RZA and his brother Divine CEO of Wu-Tang felt synergy with executive/producer Rob Cavallo and Cameron Strang, and decided Warner Bros. would be a suitable home for their brand and band, and a great place to carry on the Wu-Tang saga. In the words of Ghostface, when it comes to being signed to Warner Bros., 'we're getting Bugs Bunny money.'" - said the group collectively in a prepared statement sent out this afternoon. To date Wu-Tang have released five studio albums and countless compilation and individual member albums. Let's hope that their WBR signing will result in many more new albums. And while awaiting the December 2nd release of their new album check for all currently available Wu-Tang releases here.