To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: March 3, 1972 - Music of My Mind, the fourteenth studio album by Stevie Wonder is released. Produced by Stevie Wonder, Bob Margouleff, and Malcolm Cecil, it is recorded Media Sound Studios and Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Crystal Industries in Los Angeles from mid 1971 - early 1972. After recording for Motown since the age of 12, Stevie Wonder's contract with the label expires when he turns 21 years old on May 13, 1971. In spite of millions in record sales and earnings generated, he will find that there is only $1 million held in trust for him. Instead of renewing his contract with Motown, he'll move to New York and begin working with Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil of Tonto's Expanding Head Band who will assist him in taking his music to the next level. Experimenting with synthesizers, Wonder will block book studio time and record for several months before re-emerging with a new sound and career direction. Having fielded several offers from rival record companies, he will re-sign with Motown Records but strictly on his own terms. He will negotiate a deal that gives him complete artistic control, his own music publishing company, and one of the highest royalty rates in the music business. Released as the first album under his new deal, Music of My Mind will be a major turning point for Stevie Wonder, beginning an era that will produce some of his most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work. Spinning off two singles including "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)" (#13 R&B, #33 Pop), and "Keep On Running" (#36 R&B, #90 Pop), Music Of My Mind will peak at #6 on the Billboard R&B album chart and #21 on the Top 200.
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
1) Rick Ross Teflon Don (Def Jam)
2) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)
3) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
4) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)
5) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)
Special thanks to Marques at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store for this week's in-person Top Five Hip-Hop Chart (scroll down to see video clip) from the Sunset Blvd. store where I spent much of Wednesday and Thursday this week soaking in all the loveliness of being surrounded by so much music Damn but the huge, cavernous two-level Hollywood Amoeba is just so vast that you seriously need to pace yourself if you go shopping there. The hip-hop section alone, where I stumbled upon records and DVDs that I had never even seen before, is worth the trip.
Besides crate digging and talking music with a slew of impressively knowledgeable Hollywood Amoebites, I also had the honor of moderating Wednesday evening's Q&A session with The Teacha himself, Hip Hop legend KRS ONE, who, in support of his latest book, The Gospel of Hip Hop, came for an exclusive Amoeba Hollywood instore that involved him talking about his unique hip-hop history-meets- life- manual publication, and also responding to questions from myself and some Amoeba customers who had bought the KRS book. One such customer was General Jeff (pictured above with KRS) from the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, who had a great question about homeless youth -- something that KRS, as a former homeless youth himself, enthusiastically responded to in enlightening detail.
At 6pm today (July 28th), KRS One (aka The Teacha & longtime ambassador of all things Hip Hop) will celebrate the publication of his in-depth book, The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument presented by KRS One for the Temple of Hip Hop (Powerhouse Books), with a special Amoeba Music Hollywood appearance. Unlike most Amoeba instores, which tend to be music concerts followed by a meet and greet/CD signing, today's standing room only KRS instore event, to be held in the SoCal store's cozy Jazz Room, will involve the veteran Hip Hop artist, activist, educator, author giving a lecture related to The Gospel of Hip Hop, taking some questions from the audience, and signing copies of his book. It is still possible to get in on today's special event. For full information & exact details click here. And if you are unable to attend today's event but would like to purchase a copy of the book online from Amoeba you can do so by clicking here. If you have any questions that you would like KRS to answer please write them in the comments below, and, as moderator of today's KRS lecture, I will do my best to have the man answer your question.
Today's KRS One Amoeblog is the sixth and final part in the series leading up to his instore and includes another audio excerpt from the recent Amoeblog exclusive KRS phone interview. After spending even a short time in the company of KRS you quickly realize that to say he does not take Hip Hop lightly is quite an understatement. The man lives and breathes it. His famous line, "rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something to live," are truly words that he lives by. In conversation he mentions Hip Hop continually and clearly never stops thinking about it and its ramifications. "I think Hip Hop is the savior of American society; Hip Hop itself brings cultures together because it gives people a chance to talk and to really see what the other guy is thinking and in a peaceful way," he told me when I asked about the real meaning of Hip Hop as a culture and a lifestyle.
In celebration of Hip Hop legend KRS One's recently unleashed 800 + page book, The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument presented by KRS ONE for the Temple of Hip Hop published by Powerhouse Books, the Teacha himself will make a special exclusive Amoeba Music Hollywood appearance tomorrow (Wednesday, July 28th) at 6pm. He will present a lecture, Q+A session, and book signing for those lucky to gain access to the standing room only Jazz Room section of the Southern California Amoeba store.
For more information on how you can still attend this unique Amoeba instore appearance by the man who literally wrote the good book on Hip Hop, click here. And if you cannot attend this one off event but would like to purchase a copy of the book online from Amoeba and have KRS sign it for you, you can do so by clicking here. Also, should you have any questions that you would like presented to KRS, please write them in the comments below and, as moderator of his lecture at Amoeba Hollywood, I will do my best to have him answer your question.
Meantime, this is the fifth in the six part KRS One Amoeblog interview, with each installment leading up to the KRS instore on July 28th. On the topic of the Gospel of Hip Hop, KRS One insists, "If we are going to create a kulture, an international kulture, then we are going to have to dig a little deeper than rap music CDs and Wild Style movie watching. We're gonna have to actually know, to the deepest aspect of our being, who we are and what we mean. And this is done in mathematics. This is done through language. This is done through gnostic knowledge, dreams, visions, miracles. And to live that even you have to live a dangerous life. You have to live on the edge. You might get arrested. Your friend may die. And people don't want to go that path. They don't want to investigate anything that deep. So for me there is no debate. I have delved deep into Hip Hop for my own survival by the way, love of craft, and my own survival."
Boogie Down Productions "My Philosophy" (1988)
At this point I asked KRS a question. Who are some of his favorite emcees or Hip Hop artists in general? He said that there were too many to mention every one, but that he counts Supernatural among his favorites, quickly adding, "People like Chris Rock I think encompass the kulture of Hip Hop. He applies the sight of Hip Hop to another medium and you could see Hip Hop in another way by looking at him." However, KRS was somewhat critical of both Will Smith and Queen Latifah, not as emcees but as high profile movie actors in a position to represent Hip Hop more than they do.