Amoeblog

Contemporary Irish Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 21, 2013 07:03pm | Post a Comment
      
                    Rob Kelly "Jack The Ripper" (2013)

Since its humble beginnings in the 1980's Irish hip-hop has gradually grown and developed to its current vibrant state.  From starting out as a predominantly derivative genre hip-hop in Emerald Isle has, over the years, clearly found its own voice and distinctive style. And while this identity first took root in the 90's, with acts like Scary Eire showcasing a unique Irish take on the genre, it is really only in the past five or six years that Irish hip-hop has become a most distinctive sub-genre of the global hip-hop movement with more artists than any previous time in its short history contributing to the art form.

As an Irish born hip-hop fan, who left the country just as hip-hop was taking root there, upon each return visit I have been actively following hip-hop in Ireland and can report that it is currently enjoying its healthiest & most innovative state with a slew of excellent new songs and albums been released over the past twelve month period alone - many from artists who just arrived on the scene in the past half decade. Over the past few decades it has been interesting to watch this Irish strain of the American born musical genre go through its slow but steady development. For this Amoeblog I have selected a brief sampling of Irish hip-hop videos from the past year or so to give an overview of the scene over there.

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2012 Year End Best Of Hip-Hop: Part II

Posted by Billyjam, December 28, 2012 03:49pm | Post a Comment

This second part in the 2012 best of hip-hop series is a Top 130 album chart that is based on sales at Amoeba Music over the past twelve months. It is comprised of nearly all 2012 releases, but since it reflects sales in 2012, there are a few previous year crossover releases such as late 2011 albums like The Roots' Undun (MCA).

The list is a combo of both CD and LP releases since more releases were issued on vinyl in 2012 than in the previous years. (Ironically, major labels who were the ones trying to kill off vinyl back in the early 1990's as they were pushing CDs heavily have issued a lot of vinyl versions this past year.) There are some EPs included here as well as full-lengths such as Homeboy Sandman's Subject Matter on Stones Throw and  Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope). The chart is compiled based on the weekly hip-hop top five sales charts from the three Amoeba Music stores (Hollywood, Berkeley, and San Francisco) submitted to the Amoeblog over the past year. This is a good gauge of what was popular and selling at the three Amoeba stores and via the Amoeba online store for 2012. It also should be noted that the first top fifty chart entries far outsold the next eighty releases. Not surprisingly Kendrick Lamar topped the chart with his commercially / critically acclaimed Good Kid M.A.A.D City CD on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. In addition to such other as across the board (national commercial) hits like 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story, Kanye West Good Music Cruel Summer (Def Jam), Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 (Atlantic), and Nas' Life is Good (both on Def Jam), Amoeba shoppers also picked up a lot of indie label releases in quantity such as Aesop Rock's Skelethon (Rhyemsayers Ent.), El-P's Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum), Gangrene Vodka and Ayahuasca (Decon), and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist (Macklemore LLC). As well as new releases the chart also features some reissues such as The Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde [Expanded Edition] (Delicious Vinyl), Notorious B.I.G.'s  Ready to Die, and  RBL Posse 20th Anniversary (Rightway Productions) which was a reissue of their three 1990's albums.

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Special DJ Set At Amoeba San Francisco @ 2pm Today by DJ/Producer/Detroit Hip-Hop Ambassador House Shoes

Posted by Billyjam, June 16, 2012 08:25am | Post a Comment

Michael "House Shoes" Buchanan
, the noted Detroit DJ/producer & hip-hop mentor who plays a special DJ set at 2pm at Amoeba San Francisco today in celebration of his new album Let It Go (available in both CD and vinyl formats at today's Amoeba in-store in advance of Tuesdays June 19th release), has long been Detroit hip-hop's greatest ambassador. Most notably back in 1996, via his small but influential House Shoes Recordings label, he released J Dilla's (then known as Jay Dee) Unreleased EP.

House Shoes was also central in promoting a whole slew of other hip-hop artists from Detroit. This he has done over the past couple of decades both while he was living in the Motor City (he left in 2006) and since he moved to LA several years ago. In LA House Shoes was a part of the LA Fat Beats store right up to its closing events two years ago but wherever he goes, it seems he can't but rep his hometown city of Detroit which he travels back to frequently.

The long list of Detroit artists he has worked with include Guilty Simpson and Elzhi.  And no doubt today's Amoeba DJ set by House Shoes will include a lot of Detroit hip-hop - many of his own productions including tracks off his brand new anticipated, long overdue debut album. Note that he also recently released the 12" EP The Time which was a hot seller at the Hollywood Amoeba store - it went straight into the top five chart the week it was released. He has also released a couple of records two years ago - one via Dublin, Ireland indie label All City (profiled on the Amoeblog here). On Tuesday next, June 19th, Tres Records will release House Shoes official debut album Let It Go and today only at Amoeba San Francisco you can purchase advance copies of the album (and get them signed) at the in-store DJ set which begins at 2pm. More details here.

Record Store Day Jumping Off in California, New York, & Ireland: RSD 2011 Report Pt I

Posted by Billyjam, April 16, 2011 02:18pm | Post a Comment

Hours before Amoeba Music San Francisco opened its doors this morning for the highly anticipated fourth annual Record Store Day, a really long line had formed outside on the sidewalk that snaked down Haight Street in the direction of Golden Gate Park, and wrapped around the back of the store through the McDonalds parking lot and across to the next street. This long line was filled with music fans and record collectors all anxious to get their hands on many of the much coveted limited edition RSD 2011 exclusive releases that are available today and while supplies last.

To be fully prepared for when they finally got inside the store, many of these Amoeba SF shoppers had gone online to Amoeba.com and downloaded and printed out the PDF file that meticulously lists every RSD 2011 release.

        
         Outside Amoeba Music San Francisco before doors opened for RSD 2011

As you will see in the video above, shot today by Audra, the guy who wrangled the first place in line outside Amoeba had driven three hours to San Francisco from King City, CA to secure his coveted spot at 6am this morning. Despite all the folks vying to get into the store for the limited number of releases, it has been civil and "very friendly" according to one person in line on Haight Street, who added that after all the time shared by these strangers in line this morning they had become "all neighbors and friends."

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The Roots of the Irish Disco/Dance Club Scene

Posted by Billyjam, March 17, 2011 06:10pm | Post a Comment
Paul Tarpey (Cheebah crew, Limerick, Ireland)
In keeping with the theme of Saint Patrick's Day for today's Amoeblog, I invited my good old friend, fellow Irishman and longtime fan of hip-hop and electronic music Paul Tarpey to be a guest Amoeblogger. For this post Paul, who is a Limerick-based DJ, photographer, & writer from that Irish city's Cheebah crew (who throw amazing parties and run the Cheebah and All That website), has sketched out a history of the Irish dance music club scene. Nowadays dance / electronic music and clubs are an integral part of the Irish music landscape. But it wasn't always that way; on the contrary. Long resistant to both hip-hop and electronic dance music, the homeland of U2 and countless other rock bands was for the longest time supportive of rock to the point of being discriminatory against disco and later dance/beat driven genres, something the guest Amoeblogger calls "rockist."

Tarpey said he felt compelled to research and write this piece when he "realised that the period before 1993 was overshadowed by the rockist history of the Irish music scene and that these early days merit some sort of record before memories fade and we forget about that scene’s pioneering activities." Here is what the Irish hip-hop/electronic music historian had to say:

Assemble any metropolitan club history, from the Paradise Garage in New York to The Hacienda in Manchester, and the same details are arrived at: innovative DJs within a specialised environment create their own rules to soundtrack a communal experience while being spurred on by a dedicated crowd. These classic night spots build slowly and peak after a few influential years, leaving behind them reputations and energy flashed memories. The Irish files to be dusted off from this period contain sections marked Flikkers and Sides. In remembering the history of these Dublin dance clubs, we consider the roots of an Irish dance movement that is as important in its own place as those overseas mythical dance palaces with their own associated cultural legacies.

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