Amoeblog

Thinking of Dilla on 10-Year Anniversary

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2016 08:32pm | Post a Comment


"One of the most important musicians of our time. When we think of John Coltrane,
Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder
, and Marvin Gaye,
J Dilla will be going down along that history line of greatness!" 
- Common  (XXL Magazine)

Ten years ago today exactly the world lost hip-hop production genius J Dilla. Also an emcee, the artist was born James Dewitt Yancey and was also known as Jay Dee.  He died on February 10th, 2006 at the age of 32  following a battle with lupus. But even on his sickbed he worked on music, a lot of it for the album Donuts (Stones Throw) that was released just three days before his tragic passing. The quote above by Common, who was roomies with Dilla after he moved from Detroit to LA in 2004, is typical of the type of reverence Dilla receives from his peers. Similarly to Common, Madlib also made a Dilla/Coltrane cross reference. "Dilla was like a Coltrane," said MadLib who had collaborated with him as JayLib. "When Coltrane was there, everybody tried to follow what he did. And when he died mothafuckers didn't know what to do," said MadLib in the documentary Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records

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Hip-Hoppers For Bernie Sanders

Posted by Billyjam, February 5, 2016 01:00pm | Post a Comment



Killer Mike, seen above with the Vermont senator whom he endorsed and has done a series of appearances and interviews with, may be the most visible hip-hop supporter of Democratic presidential runner Bernie Sanders. But the politically and socially conscious Run The Jewels emcee is not alone when it comes to hip-hop (and rock) artists who have shown support for the 74-year-old Vermont senator whose polls routinely show a large following among both young and minority voters. No wonder since Sanders routinely addresses topics that directly effect or at loudly resonate with the members of these oft ignored demographics. These include slashing the escalating high cost of college tuition, demilitarizing police departments across the US, remedying the uneven ratio of young black and Latino men incarcerated, rescheduling weed from a class A drug, and going after the (currently) entitled so-called 1% by making Wall Street accountable for its central role in the 2008 financial crash.

Other hip-hop artists to publicly put support behind Bernie include Berkeley's Lil B (The BasedGod), Stretch Armstrong, and  Z-Trip, who 8 years ago had endorsed Barack Obama, doing some speech remixes and teaming up with Shepard Fairey (another Bernie supporter). Scarface of Geto Boys fame believes in Bernie as does fellow Southern rap pioneer Bun B of UGK (RIP Pimp C). The Trill creator told the Miami New Times this week that Sanders gets his endorsement for being transparent. Some note Sanders' track record dating back to his college days when he fought for housing equality in Chicago.

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Homeboy Sandman At Amoeba Berkeley Feb 4th 2016

Posted by Billyjam, February 3, 2016 05:48pm | Post a Comment

Hip-hop fans in the Bay Area have an opportunity to catch one of contemporary hip-hop's most innovative emcees when Homeboy Sandman stops by Amoeba Berkeley Thursday, February 4th at 4pm. The in-store will be the Queens, NY emcee's first ever visit to the East Bay Amoeba Music store. The always down-to-earth hip-hop-loving emcee who breaks all negative stereotypes of rappers will perform a few songs from his deep back catalog. That set will be followed by an informal meet and greet with fans.

"With hip-hop they think you can only rap about horrible criminality and misogyny, or else rap about how you don't rap about that, when the truth is you can rap about anything. I have always loved making songs about stuff that people haven't made songs about," Homeboy Sandman said in one of his previous Amoeblog interviews. That quote was from an interview the school teacher turned full-time emcee did back in June 2010 around the time he had just released his album The Good Sun on High Water/Fat Beats before he signed with Stones Throw Records. Since signing with Peanut Butter Wolf's famed record label, he's released a string of solo recordings including his Subject: Matter EP, the Hallways LP, and the First of A Living Breed album.

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Oakland's Unique "Tech and Soul Food 2016 Black History Month Speaker Series"

Posted by Billyjam, February 2, 2016 06:12pm | Post a Comment


Bay Area Black History Month events in this leap year include the Tech and Soul Food 2016 Black History Month Speaker Series at Impact Hub Oakland. The unique tech-talk-meets-soul-food series takes place over lunch and dinner on Wednesdays catered by Oakland's La Christa's Cafe with a choice of vegan, vegetarian, and meat soul food. The noon to 2pm and 6-8pm programs feature speakers addressing cultural and educational aspects of the modern tech age, all from an African American perspective. Brief talks are followed by a Q&A session. But the main portion of the program is an hour and a half workshop designed to further educate attendees on varied technology topics.

Blacks Online will be the topic discussed by Dawn Elissa Fischer who is a noted professor from San Francisco State University's trailblazing Africana Studies department. Kumi Rauf of I Love Being Black will speak on Online Stores (2/10). Brian Drayton of Oakland Spokes will giving an indepth talk on the innovative ways to utilize crowd sourcing for businesses (2/10). Meanwhile, both Melonie Green (KPOO, Omni Gallery) and "The Uber Rapper" Ashel Seasunz will speak on the topic of Arts and Technology (2/24). Green Technology will be the topic discussed by Ujamaa Villages (2/17).  Kicking off the new series tomorrow (2/3) will be Dream Nefra who will speak during both lunch and dinner sessions on the topic of  Blacks in Technology History.  As well as being a speaker, Dream Nefra is also the organizer of the series that comes under the recently formed Oakland-Berkeley Soul Food Tech meet-up group that is described as a group for people who are "in alliance with the African American community of Oakland, have web development skills to share or be helped on issues in technology" as well as providing soul food.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up: New Releases, Reissues, Top 5, The Pharcyde, Too $hort, The People's Tree, Sketch McGuiney feat Sean Price & Ras Kass

Posted by Billyjam, February 1, 2016 05:55pm | Post a Comment
 

Now that February has arrived, 2016 hip-hop will officially kick into full gear with lots of new releases dropping. January is traditionally a slow month for new releases. This year was a little different since there were additional January releases that were reissues of older classic material, mostly on vinyl but some on CD too. These included latest (and there's been a few!) reissue of KMD's storied second album Black Bastards. The new 2LP pressing comes with gatefold pop-up album cover design and booklet included. Released by MF DOOM's record label Metal Face Records, it was recently profiled here on the Amoeblog.  Another 2016 vinyl reissue is Lil Ugly Mane's Mista Thug Isolation LP c/o Hundebiss, which is among the entries on the latest Amoeba Berkeley Top Five hip-hop chart (see below). That chart, courtesy of E-Lit, also includes the must-get 2LP reissue of the classic 1995 album from The Pharcyde, Labcabincalifornia, c/o Bicycle Music Company

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