Among the "good" of this year's Black History Month was Robert Glasper's excellent
Black Radio album on Blue Note released Feb 28th, 2012
Maybe it's because this is a leap year that Black History Month 2012, which ended two days ago, seemed a little out of whack. Or maybe it was because it was a Black History Month that started on a really bad note when, on the morning of Feb 1st, the tragic news that Don Cornelius of Soul Train fame had taken his own life was the first thing we were to read about. That was bad enough but this tragic news came hot on the heels of the world losing a string of other black music/cultural icons, including in just the preceding two weeks both Etta James and JImmy Castor. And then, of course, ten days later, on the eve of the Grammys, the whole world was taken aback with the shocking news that Whitney Houston had died at age 48. Not exactly a great time to joyously celebrate black history!
Jamoeblog Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 02:04:12
1) Gangrene Vodka and Ayahuasca (Decon)
2) Lushlife Plateau Vision LP (Western Vinyl)
3) Homeboy Sandman Subject Matter (Stones Throw)
4) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)
5) Wiley Evolve Or Be Extinct (Big Dada)
For a change from the usual sales-based Amoeba weekly hip-hop chart this week's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart is my own personal favorite brand new and soon to drop hip-hop releases. Topping the chart is the amazing Oh No and The Alchemist group Gangrene's third and latest collaboration Vodka and Ayahuasca on Decon. Also here is the recent Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( which gets better and better with repeated listens and the brand new Wiley
album Evolve Or Be Extinct - a double CD on Big Dada which will appeal equally to grime and hip-hop heads. Not out yet but worthy of mention It is the forthcoming Lushlife album Plateau Vision LP, which will be released in mid April on Western Vinyl, and is sure to propel to mainstream visibility the South Philly producer/emcee/musician who made waves last year with the much buzzed about mixtape No More Golden Days. As with that mixtape, which was an actual cassette tape, this new CD album blends mid 90's underground NY hip-hop flavor with Dilla/Madlib type production values. This is the sort of well produced album that will make you want to also track down the instrumental version. It's pure pleasure to listen to and Lushlife's flow is a treat to listen to. He is also joined by several well chosen guests throughout the 11 track album including Styles P, Canadian rapper Shad, Heems of Das Racist, and ex-Titus Andronicus garage rocker Andrew Cedermark who joins him on the album track "The Romance of the Telescope." My personal favorite tracks are the throwback eigthies/nineties sounding "Anthem" and the opening "Magnolia" which, over a dreamy hypnotic backdrop and a series of well chosen samples, finds Lushlife rapping about such things as graffiti and Coney Island. This is already making its way to becoming one of my year end top albums.
As reported a little earlier this morning by the LA Times' website Don Cornelius - the host and creator of the legendary black music TV show Soul Train - was found dead this morning in his Sherman Oaks home; the result of a gunshot wound to the head - an apparent suicide according to LAPD. The recently divorced Cornelius was 75 years of age. Man, that is some really sad news and - even worse - coming on this first day of Black History Month! Through Soul Train's 35 years of national syndication (it stopped production in 2006 but Cornelius had ceased hosting the show in 1993), Cornelius helped shape and define an entire culture through his positive presentation of black music, dance, and fashion. Rest in peace in Don Cornelius!