Amoeblog

The 20 Best 1980's Hip-Hop Albums

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment

When fellow Amoeblogger Billy Gil, who has done a number of Best Of lists in various genres, invited me to do some hip-hop best-of lists I had mixed feelings about the task. While I love drawing up lists of my favorite hip-hop releases from different eras and regions, I know that no matter what I include or how I position/rate it, later I will feel some kind of regret thinking that maybe I should have included or excluded a release or not ranked it as high on the list. And I am sure there will be commenters who will have the same critical thoughts (a la "I can't believe you didn't include ______ or that you ranked____ as number one," etc.). Simply put, it is difficult to narrow down Best Of lists because firstly it's personal and subjective, and secondly because a list I (or you) may draw up today will be different from one we might compile in a year's time. Musical tastes and opinions, especially in retrospect, are constantly in flux for me anyway.

Furthermore, sometimes an album or a single will rate high on one list (depending on the category) but not so on another. An example from this list would be Too $hort who would rank up the top of a Bay Area list but lower on an overall hip-hop album list of the 80's. Then there are all of those amazing hip-hop singles that were only singles, non-album cuts, or were culled from albums that otherwise were not as strong overall. Or in the case of Malcolm McLaren's 1983 album Duck Rock, which technically is a diverse genre album with hip-hop content and packaged in a hip-hop fashion from its cover art to how it is meshed together by the Worlds Famous Supreme Team radio show, it doesn't technically qualify as a hip-hop album. Add to my not included on the list 80's albums: such compilations as Mr Magic's Rap Attack series since I tried to focus purely on artist (vs. compilation) releases with the exception of one soundtrack on the list. Anyway, to combat all of this, I plan on doing many more best-of hip-hop lists with the goal being to include as many titles of great records as possible overall.
 

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Remembering Music Man Murray and His Records Via Richard Parks' Short Film

Posted by Billyjam, May 25, 2014 05:39pm | Post a Comment



It's already a few years old but since a lot of people might have missed it first time around, and even if not, thought it was time to now post here on the Amoeblog the short but most enjoyable 22 minute documentary film on Music Man Murray in the West Adams district of LA following many years in Hollywood. Like the record store that bore his name music man Murray Gershenz, a former opera singer, was truly a treasure. Sadly both are no longer with us. The store closed two years ago and Murray died last August of a heart attack at age 91. But in his rich lifetime Murray was a passionate lifelong record collector whose vast personal collection would have put many self-respecting crate diggers/collectors to shame. In fact it got so large that half a century ago, following 25 years of simply collecting records, when he counted approx half a million pieces of vinyl in his collection, he decided to open his record store to unload some of these records, as well as stay close to records.  As well as running the store in more recent years he had a more lucrative second career as a bit-part character actor in TV shows and movies. As such Murray appeared in such recent film and television productions as The Hangover, I Love You, Man, Mad Men, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Modern Family. But in the film above, lovingly directed by Richard Parks, the ever likable Murray plays himself doing what he loved most in life- being surrounded by records and music.

Peanut Butter Wolf To Celebrate DVD Release of Stones Throw Documentary Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton @ Amoeba Hollywood, May 28th

Posted by Billyjam, May 24, 2014 06:03pm | Post a Comment

Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton poster "In thirty years I want to see Stones Throw records either in the $100 bin or in the 99 cents bin," says Peanut Butter Wolf in the engaging new Jeff Broadway directed documentary about his label Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records).  He hopes that he doesn't see releases from the now iconic label of his, that he humbly founded back in 1996, in "the $5 bin." It's got to be the 99 cents or a $100 bin, one or the other. "I want people to really hate it or really love it," he stresses.

Those future decade crate diggers the DJ/producer and label founder born Chris Manak imagines, whatever their music tastes might be, are bound to find lots to love from the totally unique and independent Stone Throw Records label's incredibly diverse and prolific roster boasting hundreds upon hundreds of titles released over the past 18 years - all with that instantly recognizable logo known and respected the world over. Shoot, forget all the music releases; even those ubiquitous Stones Throw logo turntable slip-mats have become synonymous with DJ culture of the past two decades - as has The Turntablist's (aka DJ Babu) highly revered 1996 Stones Throw battle record release Super Duck Breaks.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 05.23.14: People Under The Stairs, Atmosphere, Iggy Azelea, Tyler, The Creator, MF Doom

Posted by Billyjam, May 23, 2014 09:45am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: Week Ending 05:23:14


1) People Under The Stairs 12 Step Program (also avail in LP) (Piecelock 70)

2) Atmosphere Southsiders (also avail in LP) (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

3) Iggy Azelea The New Classic (Island/Def Jam)

4) Tyler, The Creator Wolf (Columbia)

5) MF Doom Mm...Food? (Rhymesayers)

Released earlier this month is the brand new album 12 Step Program (also avail in LP) from longtime LA rap duo People Under the Stairs (PUTS) that has shot straight to number one on the new hip-hop chart this week in their hometown Amoeba. It is the ninth album from the talented pair, comprised of Double K and Thes One, of whom Amoeba.com wrote in the new album review, "The PUTS are aging like the luxury items they are, becoming better and more valuable with age, forever giving the impression that their most fruitful period is always the current one." I concur and for further proof scroll down to see a video clip from the new 12 track 12 Step Program.  Similarly the number two new chart entry is from another longtime indie hip-hop act duo Atmosphere. Of this new release from the emcee/production duo of Slug and Ant Amoeba.com accurately writes, "Slug brings that same honesty to his raps about getting older and wiser on Southsiders, a kind of refocusing for Atmosphere. Rather than try to recapture the fury of Atmosphere’s youthful early albums, Slug portrays a newfound ability to look outward and upward here." Agreed and the album, a 20 song set, deserves repeated listens to fully absorb all he has to say. Read the full review here.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #82: Memorial Day, Governors Island, Top Gun on the Intrepid, Farewell East Village Radio

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2014 01:26pm | Post a Comment


After one of the seemingly longest and most brutal (weather-wise) winters, New Yorkers are more than ready for Memorial Day and what it signifies: the beginning of the summer season. Traditionally this time of year in New York is when numerous events begin for the summer season. This weekend that will include the wonderful 172 acre public open park space Governors Island. A true oasis amidst the craziness of New York City, Governors Island offers the perfect one-day mini-vacation even though it is only a mere half mile or ten minute ferry boat ride from the lower tip of Manhattan. It reopens Saturday (May 24th) for the 2014 summer season but, unlike in previous years when it was only open weekends, this island of fun will be open seven days a week this summer. Furthermore, the park will now offers an additional 30 acres of space for the public to enjoy.

Governors Island amenities include sporting facilities, picnic areas, old buildings to view or explore, and lots of art on exhibit...and this is all free to see and do. There are even have bike rentals that are free at certain times (free weekday mornings for one hour between 10 a.m.and noon) and at other times moderately price), but you can always bring your own bike over on the ferry. Similarly entrance to the island park, a former military base and home to the US Army and Coast Guard that first opened to the public nine summers ago, is completely free. The ferry ride (formerly free) over from nearby the Staten Island Ferry Building is now just a minimal fee of $2 round-trip. There are lots of concerts and music events on the island too. For full info on Governors Island summer schedule and general info click here.

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