Amoeblog

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 08.22.14: Dilated Peoples, Souls of Mischief, DREAM Day, Independent Hip-Hop Day + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 22, 2014 06:30am | Post a Comment

Dilated Peoples "Good As Gone" (2014)

Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 08:22:14

1) Dilated Peoples Director of Photography (Rhymesayers Ent) (also on clear vinyl LP format)

2) Kendrick Lamar Good kid, m.A.A.d city [Deluxe Edition]  (Aftermath)

3)  Quasimoto "Planned Attack" / Talkin' Shit" [Picture Disc] (7") (Stones Throw)

4) Freddie Gibbs Pinata (Madlib Invazion)

5) J-Dilla Donuts (45 box set) (Stones Throw)

At the Los Angeles Amoeba Music store this week the number one album in the latest hip-hop chart is the brand new, anticipated album from hometown heroes Dilated Peoples who return after eight long years (but don't call it a comeback!) with an incredible album.  Director of Photography on Rhymesayers Entertainment, that was also pressed up on clear vinyl LP format, is a wonderfully executed work that's all tied together with the theme of photography (see the video clip below - one in a series that the group explain the meaning behind this theme). With lots of references to hip-hop and to their hometown Directors is intricately produced with layered seductive bass-lines, bone tingling beats, and engaging rhyme flows that find Evidence and company at their finest. Well worth the wait. See video above for “Good as Gone” and check out such tracks as “Show Me the Way” featuring on the chorus Aloe Blacc. Writes the Amoeba.com reviewer: "Though it’s plenty rooted in classic hip-hop, Directors of Photography mostly avoids feeling dated with some of its more adventurous tracks. Record pops, lo-fi mics and a dark guitar lick give “Let Your Thoughts Fly Away” a terrific modern underground feel, its wicked bass comes through partway in to keep it engaging amid lyrics about “dreaming even though we’re wide awake.” And “Opinions May Vary” featuring great young hip-hop duo Gangrene is head-spinning in the best way, like riding out a bad trip and just going with it. Ditto the rest of Directors of Photography, a heavy dose of chemically altered yet classically minded hip-hop."

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #94: AfroPunk Festival, DMC US Finals, Charlie Parker Jazz Fest, Outdoor Movie Screenings

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2014 12:38pm | Post a Comment

Back in 2007, I interviewed James Spooner, maker of the 2003 documentary Afro-Punk, about the  AFROPUNK Festival, which was directly inspired by his film. The director/producer told me that he never dreamed that his passionately produced, low-budget documentary would go on to  jump-start a burgeoning cultural movement, inspire the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) annual arts festival, and name him as its co-curator.

"Afro-Punk was a film about being a black punk rocker in a white world. And we had a really good few screenings at BAM.... that escalated into doing a series with a bunch of other films that evoked the same feeling of black thinking or black rebellion all telling the 'other' black story," Spooner told me at the time, adding that the folks at BAM had the idea of building a whole festival out of it. Now in its tenth year, AFROPUNK Festival has grown exponentially into a much bigger and broader event with a lineup that is off the hook and transcends the subgenre that gave it its name.  





James Spooner's "Afro-Punk" 2003 documentary that inspired the AFROPUNK Festival


Among the myriad of diverse acts scheduled for this year's festival, are Bad Brains and Fishbone - both of whom were in Spooner's documentary - along with such others as  Meshell Ndegeocello, The Internet, Body Count, the Cro-Mags, CX KiDTRONiK, D'Angelo, The Bots, Trash Talk, SZA, Alice Smith, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings King Britt, and tons more. The newly-expanded AFROPUNK festival includes, in addition to punk, lots of DJs and producers performing. This year presents a special Tribute to DJ Rashad - the  influential late Chicago footwork producer who died back in April. Performing will be members of Rashad's Teklife crew, Chicago footwork pioneer RP Boo, Dance Mania ghetto-house originator DJ Deeon, Lit City Trax founder DJ J-Crush, and The Era dance crew from Chicago.  Another sign of the expanding festival is the newly added AFROPUNK AFTER DARK, which organizers say, aims to transform the neighborhoods of Brooklyn into a captivating playground of music and culture events in venues starting at 10:00pm and including the Black Weirdo party and King Britt's celebration of Sun Ra's centennial, The Beautiful Noise.  The AFROPUNK Festival 2014 happens this Saturday and Sunday (August 23rd & 24th) at Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park and other locations. For full listings and ticket information click here.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: A Tale of Two Biggies (Biggie Smalls Vs. Biggy Smallz)

Posted by Billyjam, August 19, 2014 09:43am | Post a Comment
The tale of two Biggies is the tale of two rappers with the same name, and with one of them having to change his rap name. It dates to back to the early to mid 1990's when legendary Brooklyn rapper Biggie Smalls of Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Records fame first arrived on the scene to some confusion among hip-hop fans at the time who were familiar with the other existing rapper named Biggy Smallz who was Thug Life and 2Pac affiliated. That Biggy started out a bit earlier in his rap career, beginning in 1991 at a young age.

Both rappers had drawn inspiration for their names from the 1975 movie Let's Do It Again and its character Biggie Smalls that was played by Calvin Lockhart. So by the time the Biggie born Christopher Wallace arrived on the rap map the other Biggy Smallz was already out there releasing hip-hop singles including 1993's "Cruisin" which, like 1994's "Nobody Rides For Free," was also produced by Johnny "J" who was also producing for 2Pac - an affiliation that he is best known for.  Reportedly it was Tupac Shakur who asked Christopher Wallace to change his name from Biggie Smalls to avoid confusion with his Thug Life buddy Biggy. Hence Christopher Wallace officially became The Notorious B.I.G. before releasing his major label debut. Although since some have suggested that it was not Pac's request for the name change but rather fear of legal copyright infringement from the producers of the Let's Do It Again movie that was the real reason for Wallace changing his name. 

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 08.15.14: G-Eazy, Shabazz Palaces, Madlib, MF Doom

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2014 10:51am | Post a Comment

G-Eazy "I Mean I (feat Nemo)" (2014)

Amoeba San Francisco Hip-Hop Top 5 Chart Week Ending 08:15:14

1) Shabazz Palaces Lese Majesty (SubPop)

2) G-Eazy  These Things Happen (BPG)

3) Madlib Pinata Beats (Madlib Invasion)

4) MF Doom Special Herbs, Vol. 5 & 6 LP (Nature Sounds/Fat Beats)

5) JJ Doom Bookend EP (Lex Records)

The number one selling hip-hop album at the San Francisco Amoeba Music store this week is the experimental hip-hop album Lese Majesty (also available in LP format) from Shabazz Palaces who just did a very well received in-store at the Haight Street store a couple of weeks ago (July 29th) in celebration of the new album by the Seattle based group fronted by Ishmael Butler (formerly known as Butterfly with Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire. The recently released Lese Majesty is the group's second  studio album and follow up to their critically acclaimed 2011 debut Black Up. And so far the new 18 track album, whose title is the French term for criminally insulting or offending a head of state, has been garnering rave reviews like its predecessor did including high praise from the Amoeba site which lauded the 45 minute new album for "challenging and expanding the hip-hop landscape, taking it to the moon and beyond.....like a galactic sonic roller coaster." 

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BPos' Goodword On "Positive Beings" - The Concept Album From His San Francisco Hip-Hop Crew

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2014 11:23am | Post a Comment

BPos "Higher" from Positive Beings (One League Entertainment, 2014)


Bay Area hip-hop crew BPos live up to their name of BPos [be positive] with their latest release Positive Beings which has been selling well at the two Bay Area Amoeba stores since its recent release. The new album, whose theme is all about choosing the positive path in life and working towards living life a positive human being -rather than a negative one. It is the expanding San Francisco based hip-hop's crew (now five members strong) fifth full-length release, featuring new member female rapper/vocalist Gyrl Ab'Strakt.

Their strongest to date it is once again released via their own indie label One League Entertainment.  Positive Beings is BPos' first ablum in two years and the first release since their critically acclaimed  Pos Tapes: The Album. In addition to its overriding theme of positivity that the album delivers the new release is also constructed like a radio broadcast from a fictional station with mic breaks (drops) throughout from longtime Bay Area hip-hop DJs like Kevvy Kev and this Amoeblogger. The group say that anyone who even casually listens to their new album, which since its recent release has also been garnering airplay across the country, will hear its message loud and clear- that "We are all positive beings." This week I caught up with the BPos' Goodword to have him give the Amoeblog some more insights into his group's latest release that includes a hidden track featuring none other than Masta Ace and others.

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