Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2009 04:06pm | Post a Comment
Messy Marv, aka The Boy Boy Mess
2009 was another good year for Bay Area rap/hip-hop, with a string of new releases dropping over the past twelve months, including the thirty four full-length releases listed below. Appearing in no particular order, these choices are based mainly on releases culled from the Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop charts compiled by Luis at the Haight Street store over the past year. Not every single Bay Area hip-hop release is included here (feel free to nominate any worthy omissions in the comments below), but many of them are, and they give a good sense of the vibrant Bay Area music scene for the year of 2009.

Three albums appeared on early 2009 Amoeba Hip-Hop charts but did not make the list below since they technically were each 2008 releases (released late last year):  E40's The Ball Street Journal, released on Sic Wid It and distributed through Warner Brothers; San Quinn's From A Boy To A Man (SMC/Fontana); and Keak da Sneak & San Quinn's Welcome To Scokland on Ehustl, which combined the best of "the Sco" (San Francisco) with the "O" (Oakland) on an album that was extremely popular in the Bay in '09.

North Oakland rapper Mistah F.A.B. may not have released a new solo album in 2009 but he did pop up on countless other artists' releases over the past year, including most recently on The Grouch's just released Three Eyes Off The Time. Mistah F.A.B  appears on the CD track "Mistah F.A.B.Already" with hella popular Fresno emcee Fashawn. F.A.B. also appeared on Fashawn's critically & commercially acclaimed official debut album, following a string of mixtapes, Boy Meets World on Loud, which was a hit at all three Amoebas. Mistah F.A.B. also released joint full-length projects in 2009 with both the Alchemist and Glasses Malone, with whom he unleashed The Sideshow CD.

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Posted by Billyjam, September 18, 2009 01:38pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Ten: 09:18:09  (c/o Luis)

Kid Cudi
1) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon: The End of Day (Motown / Pgd)

2) KRS-ONE & Buckshot Survival Skills (Duck Down)

3) Drake So Far Gone (Cash Money)

4) M.O.P. The Foundation (E1 Entertainment)

5) Q-Tip Kamaal the Abstract (Battery Records)

6) Nicolay City Lights 2 - Shibuya (Hard Boiled Records)

7) New Boyz Skinny Jeanz & A Mic (Asylum Records)

DJ Fresh8) DJ Fresh The Tonite Show (The Album) (Town Thizzness)

9) DJ Shadow Diminishing Returns (Reconstruction Productions)

10) Young Cellski/aka 2Took Mr Predicter (Inner City 2000)

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Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment

The brilliant, Ben Stokes-directed video above for Azeem's Air Cartoons' album track "Latin Revenge" (on Oaklyn Records with music production by DJ Zeph) takes place in the Mission District of San air cartoons azeemFrancisco. Inspired in part by Terry Gilliam's work and also by Azeem's music, the animated piece also puts a spin on the role of how police are perceived in society. In the video Azeem gains popularity as he peruses the streets of the Mission (eventually becoming a King Kong-like menace) as meanwhile a host of local neighborhood characters take notice. The police in the video are described by the maker as "enablers and cheerleaders."

I called up Azeem the other day to ask him what he thought about the new video. "It made me a fan and it's my video," he laughed, adding that, "All I can say about that video is that I can really almost take no credit for it. I just made the song. Like you and anyone else, I am fan of the video and I am amazed at the level of artistry that it incorporates." The video's animation was done by Ben Stokes (the video's producer/director) with additional animation by Patrick Siemer, who drew from the thousands of still photographs they shot, then cut up, mixed and matched, and then painstakenly animated using After effects.

Ben Stokes, also a part of Tino Corps, D.H.S.,, &  Meat Beat Manifesto, has been professionally making music videos for about 20 years. The Mission District, San Francisco-based Stokes started out doing videos back in 1990 in his native Chicago where he began directing & producing a lot of the pioneering hometown WaxTrax industrial music artists' videos such as Ministry and the Revolting Cocks.

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Posted by Billyjam, June 2, 2008 11:22pm | Post a Comment

Last week the label Illegal Art did the world a great favor and released a nicely packaged comprehensive retrospective of the best of hip-hop cut-n-paste pioneer Steinski -- something that has never been easily available before, and not all nicely presented together like this.

But this great collection beautifully showcases the legendary producer who, both along with studio partner Double Dee and as a solo artist, directly influenced so many artists, including most notably DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Coldcut

Steinski: What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective is something that belongs in every music collection.  The 2 CD set comes with a nice booklet and liner notes by Hua Hsu that include Steve "Steinski" Stein's comments on each of CD 1's fourteen tracks. Included are the three legendary "Lessons" with Doug DiFranco (Double Dee) -- the first one originating as an 1983 entry in a Tommy Boy Records remix contest -- plus the artist's most important solo outings and remixes including the JFK assassination-themed "The Motorcade Sped On," recorded under the name Steinski & The Mass Media that came as a track on a free 7" EP compilation given away with UK mag NME in 1987.

The second CD is the artist's relatively recent Nothing To Fear mix made for BBC London's Solid Steel radio show a few years ago, with song titles for all 28 tracks in the CD booklet.

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Posted by Billyjam, April 25, 2008 08:18am | Post a Comment

A quick glance at this week's Hip-Hop Top Five charts (all below) from the Berkeley, San Francisco, & Hollywood Amoeba Music locations (thanks respectively to Tunde, Luis, & Marques Newson) further proves what I've been feeling all along this year: that hip-hop is in one of the most exciting and healthiest states that it's been in for a minute. To my ears, nearly every new hip-hop full-length release dropping these days is quality shit. Sure, there's a few lemons here and there, but mostly new 2008 hip-hop is more likely to be on hit than sound like shit.

Another glance at these new rap charts also reveals that hip-hop has arrived at perhaps its most richly diverse stage in its 30 plus years.  It's as if in 2008 hip-hop has all grown up, multiplied, and gone forth and conquered the world (of music) with a wide range of sounds all qualifying as hip-hop today.  From the stripped down, style of Minneapolis' Atmosphere, to the bouncy hip-hop of the Bay Area's Lyrics Born (pictured above) with its funk foundation, to the trippy sounding Danger Mouse-produced new Gnarls Barkley, to the straight-up hard turntable hip-hop beats and cuts of DJ Quest, to the twisted soulful, ten-track, mostly instrumental,  grooves of the new one from the late J-Dilla -- a hell of a lot of musical territory is being covered under the hip-hop umbrella of '08.


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