Take Fo' Records is a little known (outside of New Orleans) music label that truly broke ground with its motley roster of artists and progressive attitude, yet it's never received adequate recognition for its pioneering role in music. Whereas New Orleans's other big labels: Big Boy, Cash Money, Mobo, Parkway Pumpin', Untouchable, Tombstone and No Limit all seemed to consciously project a hard-as-nails image with tales of slangin', bangin', head bussin' and wig splittin', Take Fo' welcomed gangstas but also ball busters, dancer-cum-rappers, party starters and probably the first openly gay rapper. Despite the possible negative associations that might come with being part of this hip hop Island of Misfit Toys, the rappers on Take Fo' seemed unbothered and showed up on each others' albums in a show of courageous support.
Cinema Group Home Video 7004
Nice shot of the Rainbow above on the Silver, Platinum & Gold Lp. Below David Ruffin is rushing down Vine St. just North of Molly's Burgers. He's actually headed right to the strip of Hollywood Blvd. pictured on the Racer X back cover, which is the image to his right. Maybe he's running up for a quick peek inside the Cave strip joint, but most likely he had a transaction pending up on Yucca.
The "Lonely Street" that David Remsing is standing on? That would once again be the blvd. of broken dreams, in the same vicinity as the Racer X cover. The George Jones pictured above is contemplating a burrito @ Dos Burritos, which was directly west of the Pantages. It's now on the opposite side of the street about a block down. He's actually standing in front of the famous Frolic Room sign. I believe Randy Newman is on a downtown LA overpass...
Aah, two classic Sunset Strip covers, picturing the Whisky a Go Go in its prime along with a nice shot PJ's on the Freddy Cannon cover. The Crusaders take a stroll down Rodeo drive. The next row returns us to the dirty blvd -- not somewhere that I would crawl & writhe around on, but then again I'm not in WASP. To the left of Blackie we have the back of that George Jones record, with a full view of said sign. I'm sure that there was once frolic to be had at the Frolic Room, but the last time I walked in, there were 3 losers and a jukebox blaring Pearl Jam. Instead of rockin out to "Evenflow," I frolicked on down to Musso & Frank. Musso & Frank is Hollywood's oldest resturant, and their sign can be seen in the background on the LP to right of the WASP record.
Some classic theatre shots. The Rialto is still standing in South Pasadena, but is in pretty rough shape. Of course you have Graumans Chinese Theater in the center and then the Palladium, which has been renovated to look very much like it did on this Jerry Gray LP. A couple of eastside shots, including a nice pic of the Paramount Ballroom, surround the Muffs. You'll have to stop by the buy counter and ask Ronnie where they're at in the photo; he told me once but I've forgotten. I think it's in the Wilshire area, but I might be off on that one. Below we have a shot of the old Capitol Records Melrose Ave studio. The shoes I'm currently wearing came from the Supply Seargeant, pictured in the surreal take on Hollywood Blvd. that adornes the Little Feat record below. And finally, back to the Pantages, which was photographed and then painted over for this Mancini record.
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 02:20:09
1) Zion I The TakeOver (Gold Dust Media)
2) Madlib Beat Konducta Vols. 5-6 (Stones Throw)
3) 40Love BANGERANG! (No Label)
4) P.O.S. Never Better (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
5) Various Artists NASA: The Spirit of Apollo (Anti)
Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this latest Hip-Hop Top Five, compiled from weekly sales figures of new hip-hop full-length CDs at the Haight Street store. And in the number one (with a bullet) slot is the off the hook just released Zion I album, The TakeOver on Gold Dust Media. This is the sixth album from the Oakland based duo who released their first full-length back in 2000. Comprised of producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbi, who moved out to the Bay Area from Atlanta, GA thirteen years ago where they first met up as students attending Morehouse College, Zion I just get better and better as time goes by. And The TakeOver is without a doubt their finest release to date. It is also their most musically diverse, incorporating elements of hyphy, boom bap, dirty south, power pop rap, and more.
And impressively, much of the music is live, not sampled. "On this album we wanted to keep it more live and also electronic so as to just have it as a tight combination," AmpLive told me recently, noting that the drums on the New Orleans flavored track "Gumbo" are all recorded live. Meanwhile, guest artists on the album include Rhymesayers emcee Brother Ali; Oakland power vocalist Jennifer Johns, whose numerous other collaborations include recording with former Amoebite DJ Platurn; Devin The Dude, who collaborates on the infectious, hit-bound "Country Baked Yams;" female vocalist K. Flay, whose vocal style is reminiscent of Sinead O' Connor; and talented UK emcee Ty, who deserves more attention Stateside than he has gotten to date.