This blog entry is a look back at one of New Orleans's more obscure hip-hip labels, Tombstone. Tombstone Records was a notable New Orleans Rap label in the 1990s that released a handful of high caliber releases that sold over 100,000 albums around the South in three years before abruptly ceasing operations after a series of cataclysmic misfortunes.
It was founded by Elton “June” Wicker Jr. Most of the production was done by Merrill “Real Roc” Robinson, who also worked for Mobo. Other production was done by Ice Mike and the one-and-only Mannie Fresh. The label's biggest commercial success was the uncontested "Queen of Bounce," Cheeky Blakk, whose 1996 album Let Me Get That Outcha was a massive local hit for Tombstone before she jumped ship for Total Respect. Tombstone apparently operated on a shoestring budget with pleasingly dinky synths, cheap album covers and no music videos -- but unlike many local New Orleans labels of the 1990s, Tombstone seems to have been more fully committed to the compact disc format than most of their peers, forsaking the cassette for almost every artist.
Above is a quick, one-minute hand-held video clip of the graffiti on the outside wall of Amoeba Music San Francisco on Haight Street with music by my man OCDJ out of Baltimore. So popular has this wall become that most times when I stop by to gaze at its vibrant, colorful beauty I run into other graf fans who have traveled from as far away as Japan to take pictures or video of the graffiti. But just how good is this Amoeba wall graffiti? Apparently it is so good that photos of it are being sold. One photographer named Lee, who I ran into at the outdoor Friday market down by the Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building, was selling prints of the Amoeba wall graffiti image with the male characters (at about the 40 second mark in video above) for $40. And they are very popular, I was informed, especially with visitors to San Francisco.
As seems to be the case in many a household, the boyfriend and I are constantly at odds when it comes to the tv remote. I seem to have developed a not-so-controllable Bravo obsession, while for him, any time a broad shouldered man with a military-esque haircut, abnormally sparkling teeth and a mic headset spouts off sports stats of any nature behind a desk, he's hooked. And then there's NBA finals...for months and months it seems...but I digress...
However, my friends, all is not lost for our tv addicted heroes!
The cure, we have found, is Entourage. It equally and simultaneously satisfies his need for male-driven, bro-ing-down, fast paced drama (a la the sporting world), and my enjoyment of entertainment insider business jargon plus relationship drama between friends, lovers and coworkers.
In fact, I once postulated that Entourage is the new, straight male oriented Sex and the City.
We are currently in the midst of Season 5 at my home, which just came out on DVD. While the show has taken a bit of a hit with the critics, the boyfriend and I still can agree that it is one of the only shows we both can't get enough of. While this season meanders some and perhaps isn't as sharp as others, I am willing to give Vince & Co the benefit of the doubt and am hopeful for a strong, Travolta-style comeback for Season 6, which is currently airing on HBO.
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Weekly Top Six: 07:24:09 by Luis
1) Eyedea & Abilities By The Throat (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
2) Awol One & Factor Owl Hours (Fake Four Inc)
3) Twista Category F5 (GMG/Get Money Gang/EMI)
4) Yukmouth The West Coast Don (Smoke-A-Lot/RBC Records)
5) Biz Markie Ultimate Diabolical (Traffic Entertainment)
6) MHZ Table Scraps (Man Bites Dog Records)
Classic Hip-Hop Album Reissue:
The Beastie Boys Ill Communication (Capitol) (originally released in '94 -- extra tracks)
Super-duper thanks to Luis -- the hip-hop buyer at Amoeba Music San Francisco -- for providing this week's Top Six chart of the new hip-hop sellers at the Haight Street store, in both text and video formats. In the number one slot with a bullet is the new By The Throat album from Eyedea & Abilities, on which Michael "Eyedea" Larsen (aka Oliver Hart) demonstrates the mad mic skills that won him his rep as a killer freestyle battle rapper. Meanwhile, his partner, DMC champ DJ Abilities (Gregory Keltgen), has truly come into his own as a powerful producer with turntable skills to match. Fans of the duo should note that they are on the Rock The Bells tour, which will be stopping in SoCal at the San Manuel Amphitheatre in San Bernardino on August 8th and in the Bay Area the next day, August 9th, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.