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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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Overview of 1990's Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
The 1990's was an amazing decade for hip-hop music: one which enjoyed the second half of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop, the birth & proliferation of the indie hip-hop movement, the end of the Afro-centric movement and, propelled by the success of the early decade success of the G-Funk Era, the commercialization of the gangsta rap style that continues to this day.  So for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I present a broad overview of the  decade that was the 90's. A by no means inclusive of that very prolific decade this look at the decade merely scratches the surface, selectively highlighting a handful of releases and events (with each year getting a mention) that helped shape the 1990's in hip-hop.

In 1990 revolutionary, militant and Afro-centric hip-hop was in full effect and looked like it would be around forever. Examples included such popular socially & politically charged albums released in that first year of the decade as Public Enemy's third full-length album Fear Of a Black Planet, Ice Cube's first post N.W.A./solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment,X-Clan's To The East, Blackwards, Brand Nubian's One For All, Poor Righteous Teachers' Holy Intellect, Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It, Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum's self-titled Marley Marl debut, and Lakim Shabazz's Lost Tribe of Shabazz.

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Gilbert O'Sullivan Tells His Side of the Story in Landmark Sampling Court Case Against Biz Markie that Changed the Direction of Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 29, 2010 03:00am | Post a Comment

The extremely shy and usually elusive Irish born singer/songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan made a rare public speaking appearance over the weekend and addressed his landmark court case against Biz Markie that forever changed the direction of hip-hop music. Fielding questions Sunday afternoon at the Branchage Film Festival in Jersey, UK, following a screening of the Aidan McCarthy directed bio-doc Out On His Own: Gilbert O'Sullivan, the artist, who scored a series of hits in the UK (and to a slightly lesser degree in the US) in the early 70's including "Nothing Rhymed," "Alone Again (Naturally)," "Clair," and "Get Down," gave his side of the story of the notorious 1991 court case that he won but also gained the ire of countless hip-hop artists and fans alike.

Gilbert O'Sullivan "Alone Again (Naturally)"

The landmark case, settled in a New York court, was the first sampling lawsuit to go to court and became historic because it forever altered the course of recording hip-hop music. Up until then hip-hop artists were accustomed to freely borrowing snippets of previous recordings, and pretty much sampled whatever they wanted to. If challenged they tended to settle out of court, or in many instances the rap artist would ask permission (sometimes offering money) right before using a particular sample. This was actually Biz Markiethe case with Biz Markie and Gilbert O'Sullivan, but things did not go as hoped for by the Biz and his O'Sullivan sampled song, "Alone Again (Naturally)."

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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP (VIDEO VERSION): 07:24:09

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2009 03:11pm | Post a Comment


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 cagefreestyle 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.

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NOBODY DOES IT QUITE LIKE THE BIZ

Posted by Billyjam, June 3, 2009 08:39am | Post a Comment
Biz Markie
Biz Markie
, who came to fame during hip-hop's golden era as the beatboxing rapper with a sharp wit & comedic streak, initially won fans with such records as "Just A Friend," "Vapors," Pickin' Boogers," and "Make The Music WIth Your Mouth, Biz." But these days he is better known for his movie and TV roles, including playing the beatboxing alien in Men In Black II or his ongoing entertaining part in the Nickelodeon TV kids show Yo Gabba Gabba! where he does his short but fun "Beat of The Day" segment.

Along with the Fat Boys and Doug E Fresh, Biz Markie ranks as one of the early ambassadors of beatboxing, credited with bringing the hip-hop art form to the masses. In the music history books the Biz will also be immortalized in the early 1990's landmark sampling court case with Gilbert O'Sullivan which would forever alter (read: stifle) the direction that hip-hop production would thereafter take.

Born Marcel Hall in Harlem, and later living in Long Island, Biz Markie started out beatboxing and rhyming in the early eighties while just barely into his teens. But it would be his beatboxing skills specifically that would first get him noticed. Thanks to crossing paths with then up-and-coming producer Marley Marl in the mid-eighties, he got a break doing his human beatbox routine for Marl related Juice Crew acts like MC Shan and Roxanne Shante, with whom he would make his rap world debut, appearing on her 1986 record "Def Fresh Crew." That same year he released his debut 12", the EP "Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz" on Prism Records. Two years later this Marley Marl produced record would be followed by his debut (and best) album, 1988's Goin' Off. His consequent three albums, 1989's The Biz Never Sleeps, 1991's I Need a Haircut, and 1993's All Samples Cleared! were not produced by Marley Marl and consequently never reached the pinnacle of greatness that his debut did.

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