1) DJ Qbert - Extraterrestria + GalaXXXian (Galactic Butt Hair Records)
Although only released digitally in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign (vinyl to arrive at Amoeba in 2015), this instrumental album (Extraresstria) and its rap/emcee counterpart album (GalaXXXian) rate as my top pick(s) for the best hip-hop released in 2014. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking so; Extraterrestia is up for a possible Grammy award. The stated goal of DJ Qbert's new album, which the artist considers as a Wave Twisters Part II, is to present the sound of skratch music in the future as he sees it, or - as he said upon the release of the new project - "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." The "Jimi Hendrix of the turntables" ably accomplishes both solo as producer/DJ as well as with such album collaborators as Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, and Chad Hugo, who (along with Tipsy) co-produce the album's best track - the soothing, dreamy, ethereal "Ascender (Agartha)."
If you haven't already made your way to the ever-popular, Amoeba Music sponsored, excellent exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) which opened three months ago on April 19th (Record Store Day) at the downtown Oakland museum in its Great Hall exhibition area don't fret as you still have some time - well not much, but some - since it is open through tomorrow Sunday July 27th. To mark the end of this wonderful hands on exhibit, that paid homage the joys of analog and vinyl with lots of local Bay Area folks (including many Amoebites) offering their input on the subject, today Saturday July 26th will be the final weekly Talk & Play program of the three month long exhibit in which experts in specific areas of music/records informally chat to a museum audience while dropping the needle on the records that they are referencing in their talk/lecture.
Today - from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Great Hall - the Talk & Play session will be David Katznelson (record producer, and president of Birdman Recording Group) and friends who will be presenting a Talk & Play they call Every Record Has a Story. David's co-hosts will be Steven Baker (former president of Warner Brothers Records), Britt Govea (Folk Yeah Productions founder), and Josh Rosenthal (founder of Tompkins Square Records) - all of whom will share their favorite music/records and tell stories and secrets related to collecting said records. David Katznelson is among the many record collecting musicologists who have curated crates (that museum goers can personally play on provided turntables) at the Vinyl exhibit. For this final fourth installment in the Digging in the Crates of OMCA's "Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records" Amoeblog series I have included David's crate: The influence and genius of the Velvet Underground, along with those of two other contributors: Sylvie Simmons whose crate is Grrl Power - women in rock from pop to punk, 1960-1980, (she also curated Sylvie Simmons the Americana crate), and the museum's own Rachael Aguirre (Administrative Assistant & OMCA Lab - Curatorial and Experience Development) whose crate is titled Sound track for Dungeons and Dragons: Onyx Discs of Epic Sound: A Dungeons and Dragons Soundtrack. Meanwhile the photos in this blog are either provided by OMCA or James Mak of Joysco Photos who kindly shot this photos on behalf of the Amoeblog (thank-you James!).
With an invite from DJ Toph One who holds down Vintage - the weekly weekend warm-up parties at South of Market San Francisco club F8 Friday evenings from 5pm to 9pm - longtime Bay Area photographer Tim Devlin (aka Timi D…) recently launched an historic hip-hop themed B+W and color photo exhibit of his work spanning the years 1992 to 2011 and including lots of Bay Area icons of the genre with a focus on DJs/turntablists. "There are a lot of classic locations for the time and the era such as KUSF, which is no longer there, and San Francisco's long gone Justice League [currently The Independent] on Divisidaro with all the great Twist [artist Barry McGee] pieces visible in the background," the photographer said a couple of weeks ago at F8 on Folsom and 8th Street shortly after completing hanging all of the current exhibit photos that just scratch the surface of his vast body of work. A few hours later that evening an in an informal opening party the club would feature J-Rocc and VinRoc and other DJs. Coincidentally VinRoc is among the many DJs featured in the photography exhibit. Others include VinRoc's fellow Triple Threat crew member DJ Apollo. In turn Apollo's fellow former ISP (Invisibl Skratch Piklz) crew members Qbert and Mix Master Mike are also among the turntablist subjects of the exhibit.
During last evening's Bay Area hip-hop themed Talk, Play, and Sip session I hosted at the Oakland Museum of California - as part of OMCA's ongoing Amoeba sponsored VINYL: The Sound and Culture of Records - several participants addressed in their shares the importance of hip-hop as a vehicle for a message of upliftment and/or awareness rather than simply mindless escapism and glorification of consumerism, sexism, and casual violence. Speakers including Bas-One, Adisa Banjoko (below), and Eric Arnold each addressed the topic as did DJ Platurn (pictured above) who observed that to his fellow speakers, who all came up in the era of politicized, positive thinking hip-hop via artists like Public Enemy and the Bay Area's Paris, were all conditioned to view hip-hop as a powerful medium of message and change. DJ Platurn's Talk N Play 45's record selections reflected that too, especially Too $hort's classic 1990 single "The Ghetto" (off Short Dog's In The House) which addresses the poverty and economic disparity of urban areas like Oakland. Also noted at last night's OMCA session was how Bay Area hip-hop has traditionally included many politicized artists. One such current example is Dregs One who, along with host Equipto and a grip of other SF artists and speakers (see flyer for full lineup), take over Slim's tonight in a benefit hip-hop show that will address pressing local community issues such as evictions, gentrification, and police brutality.
Childish Gambino "3005" (from Because the Internet - his number one album at Amoeba)
1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)
2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)
3) Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)
4) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)
5) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)
Shout out to Ervin at Amoeba Hollywood for this week's hip-hop chart that reflects the best sellers at the SoCal store and pretty much repeats last week's chart from the store. Meanwhile a brand new release not on this chart but selling well and likely to be on next week's chart is the The Step Brothers' Lord Steppington on Rhymesayers Entertainment (CD & 2 LP vinyl) that is really an amazing album. I have listened to it repeatedly over the past week and each listen hear some new part due to its intricately layered production - thanks to the endlessly talented duo of The Alchemist and Evidence who make up the Step Brothers and are joined by a excellently chosen group of guest emcees throughout the 14 tracks including Oh No ("Draw Something") and Styles P ("No Hesitation").