Amoeblog

Golden Era Hip-Hop Star Cool C Granted Stay of Execution

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2015 11:10pm | Post a Comment
For much of yesterday social media was abuzz with the news that hip-hop golden era star Cool C, the Philly rapper born Christopher Roney, would be executed for the two-decades old charge of first-degree murder of a Philadelphia police officer in a 1996 failed PNC Bank robbery in the Pennsylvania city.  It was a tragic tale of a once famous artist, one who back in the late 80's was signed to Atlantic Records and rapped about "The Glamorous Life" (see video below), but who today (January 8th 2015) following nineteen years in prison after been sentenced to death was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. Note that back in 2006 he was originally scheduled to be executed but due to litigation issues had that fate postponed. Fast forward to last month and the rapper, who committed the attempted 1996 bank robbery with fellow 80's Philly rap star Steady B and another rap colleague of theirs born Ernest Mark Canty (they both got life without parole for their parts in the failed heist), was set to be executed but due to a last minute stay of execution once again had it postponed  - but not for long.  Then late yesterday word surfaced in the evening that Cool C had been granted a second stay of execution. In the meantime in the comments of news sites and on social media there were endless emotional posts and comments - many mostly by those who were not familiar with the music of Cool C - with the majority taking a vocal stand against the "cop killer," "s "thug" etc. for killing a police officer. That prevalent outrage and distaste toward the 45 year old Cool C, who during the 1996 botched bank robbery shot and killed single mother of two Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird, comes at a time when emotions are high in regards to attacks on police with political stances more polarized than ever.

Continue reading...

Kevvy Kev's Wu-Tang Wednesdays @ 2800 In San Francisco

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2015 06:25pm | Post a Comment
Kevvy Kev's Wu-Tang Wednesdays ain't nuthin to mess with! The pioneering Bay Area hip-hop DJ, who began his career a full decade even before the famous Staten Island hip-hop collective first took the music world by storm, began his popular new WU weekly (Wednesdays at 2800 24th Street in San Francisco) back in late November out of a passion for the group and 90's classic hip-hop - specifically the Wu-Tang Clan who helped shape the decade's hip-hop sound. "It needed to be done. That’s always been the mission: Give the streets what they need," he told the Amoeblog earlier this afternoon taking a brief break from digging in his deep crates for records that include the ones in his top five below.

As for what Kev thinks makes the Wu-Tang such an important and essential music group? "At no time before, and arguably since, has that much talent been assembled in one package with that sort of game-changing production, concept, and execution. It was literally the perfect storm, and that’s why it hit the entire culture like a thermonuclear bomb,". he replied quickly adding for further emphasis, "And you know what a bomb sounds like, right? Bong bong!"

As a club and radio DJ (his long-running KZSU show "The Drum" is both highly influential and legendary  - read the Amoeblog profile on it and Kevvy Kev here) he has personally known the Wu members from their inception - even before in fact. "I met RZA first, as a solo artist when he was on Tommy Boy," he recalled, continuing. "After that record, he went solo and released "Protect Ya Neck" independently, and the streets went crazy! So when Loud picked up the group, they flew ‘em out to Cali and did a run from LA to the Bay. The [Bay Area Hip-Hop] Coalition handled the Bay Area part of the run, so we had a chance to build with the clan," he recalled pausing for a moment. "Too many stories to go into here, but you can imagine!" And as for Kevvy Kev's top five favorite Wu-Tang Clan joints of the moment - whether group, solo, or side projects? "With the caveat that this list changes frequently and for often arbitrary reasons,," he replied. "For the purposes of this list, I’m only picking songs from the Wu albums - not solo joints or collabos."

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: April 1992 KUSF Top 30 Hip-Hop Chart

Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2015 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Just dug up the Top 30 airplay chart (left) from 23 years ago from the weekly KUSF FM  hip-hop radio show I did at that time on the beloved, now sadly defunct San Francisco radio station that used to reign supreme at 90.3FM. The radio show I did was on Sunday evenings after the Spotlight guest DJ feature program and before The Germ's demo tape show. It was a good time in the history of hip-hop when the genre was still in its so-called "golden era" epitomized by artists like 3rd Bass, Black Sheep, and Gang Starr and by such releases as Showbiz & AG's Soul Clap EP, Ultramagnetic MCs' Funk Your Head Up album (with the single "Poppa Large"), and A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory which even though it was released seven months earlier was still getting airplay due to the sheer quality of its content - every track on point - examples including "Buggin' Out," "Butter," "Check The Rhime," "Show Buiness," and "Jazz (We Got)." 

Other golden era classic tracks included on this chart are House of Pain's breakout crossover hit "Jump Around," the Beastie Boys' "Pass The Mic," and Main Source's "Fakin' The Funk." The accompanying video for that song, in which the lyrics even reference "the year of 92," can be seen below. As is evident from the video the song was used on the soundtrack to the film White Men Can't Jump that was released at that same time. Another rap heavy soundtrack included on this chart is the excellent Juice OST that got released  a few months earlier and included tracks from such acts as Eric B. & RakimEPMD, Cypress Hill, and Naugthy By Nature - but oddly not Tupac Shakur who starred in the movie and had just released his solo debut 2Pacalaypse Now. As well as the Bay Area based 2Pac there were some other Bay Area artists associated with the movie - well with the excellent soundtrack specifically. These included producer Ant Banks as well as Too $hort, and MC Pooh. The latter artist who also went by the name Pooh-Man is separately featured on this chart with the single "Funky."

Continue reading...

Ghostface Killah's "36 Seasons"

Posted by Billyjam, January 5, 2015 04:15pm | Post a Comment


A popular album at Amoeba Music since its release four weeks ago is Ghostface Killah's latest release, 36 Seasons (Salvation/Tommy Boy), which is the Wu-Tang Clan artist's eleventh solo studio album release since he unleashed his debut solo (the RZA-produced Ironman) back in 1996. It is the artist's latest since last year's Adrian Younge-produced Twelve Reasons To Die. For 36 Seasons, Ghostface collaborated in the studio with Brooklyn-based production outfit The Revelations.


The result is an album that has met positive feedback from fans who love it, with many even considering it the artist's best solo work to date. Alternately, those who have dissed it call it unoriginal and claim that the artist is merely going through the motions and regurgitating past formulas. I see where they are coming from but I disagree. I love how Ghostface continues to demonstrate what a gifted storyteller he is. With the help of album collaborators such as Kool G Rap and AZ, he weaves intriguing tales all tied into the album's theme of a returning hip-hop superhero to his rough and rugged streets of Staten Island following beeing away for 36 seasons (nine years). 

Continue reading...

Longtime Grand Ole Opry Member "Little" Jimmy Dickens Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, January 3, 2015 03:45pm | Post a Comment

According to several published reports today, country singing legend and longtime regular at the Grand Ole Opry "Little" Jimmy Dickens has died. With the cause listed as cardiac arrest (following being hospitalized from suffering a stroke a week ago), Dickens died yesterday in a Nashville-area hospital at age 94. According to a press release issued by the Grand Ole Opry, he was the last living member of the Grand Ole Opry who was actually older than the radio show itself. In his long lifetime, "Little" Jimmy Dickens became famous for his novelty hit records beginning with 1949's "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)," "I'm Little but I'm Loud," "Sleeping At The Foot of the Bed," and "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" - the latter of which (a 1965 number one hit single) was reportedly inspired by Johnny Carson's Tonight Show sketch "Carnac the Magnificent." See the video interview below in which he talks about the mixed blessing of becoming known primarily for his novelty songs, as well as other topics such as what he wanted to be remembered for in life.

"Little" Jimmy Dickens, who earned his name for his diminutive stature (he stood 4' 11"), was a man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and would routinely get laughs by drawing attention to his own height with such witty catchphrases as calling himself "Willie Nelson after taxes."  Dickens first joined the Opry cast in 1948 and would stay with them right up the end making his final appearance on the Opry stage just two weeks ago on December 20th, 2014 - the day after his 94th birthday. Dickens, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983, leaves behind a back catalog of music spanning several decades as many record labels and including a few dozen singles and twelve albums in addition to a string of various artist compilations he appeared on. Look for Dickens' material at Amoeba online as well as in the Amoeba stores.

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  >>  NEXT