Amoeblog

Serengeti talks about "Family & Friends"

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2011 09:38am | Post a Comment
For the past decade, unique and refreshingly quirky Illinois hip-hop wordsmith Serenegeti has been quietly amassing a large body of work (about sixteen albums worth) via a string of solo albums matched by an equally impressive series of collaboration projects with such other artists as Polyphonic and Hi-Fidel - not to mention a slew of memorable cameo appearances in verses on other emcee's albums. Clearly rarely idle this prolific Mid West artist recently found time to relocate west to Cali. He now calls Los Angeles home and for his just released latest (and perhaps most accessible to date) album,  Family & Friends released on CD and vinyl, he reconnected with the Cali based Anticon label through whom he also released the 2009 Polyphonic collab Terradactyl. He also recorded parts of it in Oakland, CA in Why? front-man Yoni Wolf's home studio.  The new album's other producer, Advance Base (otherwise known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) also has a knack for bringing out only the very best in this left-of-center lyricist. The result is Serengeti's best (and one of 2011's best hip-hop) albums to date.

For Family & Friends Serengeti delivers more of his trademark engaging stories (his albums are like books with the songs been character-driven chapters - this one an 11 chapter collection of short stories) delivered in a stream-of-consciousness sounding flow. As usual you know it's Serengeti the moment he opens his mouth and you hear his distinctive voice followed by these  lyrically rich, deep tales of complex characters - all personas (part fiction, part reality) that he adapts so convincingly that you are sure he is talking in first person, and from first hand experience.

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MC PAUL BARMAN AMOEBLOG INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2010 02:14pm | Post a Comment
MC Paul Barman "Owl Pellets" from his new album Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud

New Jersey born, New York City based MC Paul Barman first caught the attention of the hip-hop world a decade ago when he arrived (seemingly out of nowhere) with his Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, A Prince Among Thieves, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Souls of Mischief etc.)-produced It's Very Stimulating EP, which won critical praise and instantly cemented his place as an unabashedly nerdy hip-hopper. A most clever wordsmith, he was labeled by some as a thinking man's emcee. And while his unique lyrical style may not have been every rap fan's cup of tea, he won respect for not fronting, just being himself, and for MC Paul Barmantackling topics not addressed by your average rapper.

He also won the respect of many hip-hop artists and over the years has collaborated with such acts as MF DOOM, Deltron 3030, Masta Ace, and has toured with such acts as Blackalicious and Del tha Funky Homosapien, who is one of the many guests on his new album, Thought Balloon Mushrooom Cloud (Househusband). The album, which touches on such topics as sampling, owls, AIDS, and circumcision, is the self-described "Jewish atheist'"s first official release since 2002's album Paullelujah!. I recently caught up with the artist to talk about Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud and some of the new rhyme styles unveiled on this recommended new album.

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 04:17:09

Posted by Billyjam, April 17, 2009 06:17am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 04:17:09
jadakiss the last kiss
1) DOOM Born Like This (Lex)

2) Jadakiss The Last Kiss (Roc-A-Fella)

3) Aceyalone Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones (Decon) 

4) eLZhi Witness My Growth (Fat Beats)

5) UGK UGK 4 Life (Jive)

DOOM, the artist formerly known as MF DOOM, continues to sell well at each Amoeba Music store with his latest album Born Like This on Lex. Last week he was #1 at Amoeba Hollywood, two weeks ago #2 at Amoeba San Francisco, and this week the masked mic master is number one at the Berkeley store, and deservedly so. It's a great album that demands repeated listens! And number two at the Telegraph Ave store this week is the brand release from Jadakiss, The Last Kiss on Roc-a-Fella. If there ever was a cameo-laden, star-studded rap release, this is it. Dizzam, does it have a lot of guests! Jadakiss has eye-catching, big name stars to collaborate with on the 18 track CD -- he only has three tracks to himself! Guests include Lil Wayne, Nas, Mary J. Blige, Young Jeezy, Styles P, Pharrell, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon, Ne-Yo, and Faith Evans, to name but some. Evans, the singer and widow of Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, appropriately appears on "Letter To B.I.G.," a truly touching tribute to the late, great Biggie Smalls that is also found on the recently released soundtrack to film B.I.G. biopic Notorious.

AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP: 04:10:09

Posted by Billyjam, April 10, 2009 07:22am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music HFloRida Rootsollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 04:10:09

1) DOOM Born Like This (Lex)

2) Flo Rida R.O.O.T.S. (Poe Boy/Atlantic)

3) UGK UGK 4 Life (Jive)

4) Jim Jones Pray IV Reign (Columbia)

5) Madlib Beat Konducta Vols 5 6 (Stones Throw)

Miami pop rap act Flo RIda is In the number two slot this week with his just released second album R.O.O.T.S. The record includes the already major hit "RIght Round" -- the unavoidably popular track that reworks Dead Or Alive's mid-eighties synth-pop hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” to which it owes its phenomenal success. Despite contributions from the likes of Ne-Yo, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Pleasure P, and Nelly Furtado, this sophomore album on Poe Boy/Atlantic, while better than Flo Rida's debut, comes off as hollow and ten years from now will most likely forgotten. The problem? Like most mainstream hip-hop, it doesn't sound like it is coming from the heart or soul but instead comes off as music manufacturejim jones pray iv reignd out of a desire to score a quick pop hit.

Meanwhile, Harlem artist Jim Jones' delayed latest album, Pray IV Reign -- his first for Columbia -- is a superior record and sounds like it is made from the heart. But it too suffers from a common problem in rap these days, the derivative factor. In this case, the former hype-man is constantly channeling 2Pac, not only copping Shakur's whole rhyme flow and inflections, but going so far as to even loot some of his trademark phrases ("Keep your head up," he spits on the new album track "Let It Out").