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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The D.O.C.

Posted by Billyjam, April 21, 2015 06:00pm | Post a Comment
A key contributor to both Ruthless and Death Row Records' most significant releases, The D.O.C. is best known for his own landmark 1989 Dr. Dre-produced debut album No One Can Do It Better whose success, due to a tragic accident that destroyed his larynx, he would never be able to replicate. But that album remains a true hip-hop classic. The D.O.C. was born Tracy Curry (aka Tray) in Houston,TX but moved to Dallas where in 1986 he became a member of the hip-hop trio Fila Fresh Crew along with Fresh K and Dr. Rock.  Originally he went by the rap name Dr. T but later switched it to Doc T.  The Fila Fresh Crew relocated to the Compton area of LA where, through Dr Rock's World Class Wreckin Cru era affiliations with Dr. Dre, landed several of the trio's tracks on the 1987 album  N.W.A. and the Posse. This Macola/Ruthless release was essentially a compilation showcasing the talents of extended N.W.A. family (including Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Yella, and the Arabian Prince) plus the Fila Fresh Crew whose own poorly-received album, titled "Tuffest Man Alive" - featuring the same songs,  would be released on Macola a year later. Neither that album nor the single from it, "Dunk The Funk" would experience much success and the act soon disintegrated.  By this stage the D.O.C., a skilled battle emcee who displayed a superior lyrical finesse and a knack for writing memorable rhymes, had already moved on to work with the members of N.W.A. In no time he had proved himself an invaluable part of the Ruthless creative team.  In tandem with the young and talented Ice Cube (the main writer) he ghost-wrote a good deal of Eazy-E's 1988 debut album Eazy-Duz-It (the two also guested on the opening prelude track "Still Talkin'" ). Not long afterwards he got busy both ghost-writing for and contributing vocals to N.W.A.'s landmark 1988 Straight Outta Compton album on which he appeared on the track "Parental Discretion Iz Advised."  By this time he had changed his name to "The D.O.C." - apparently abbreviating "Doc" to  D.O.C. as a direct influence of N.W.A.'s use of periods between each abbreviated letter of their name.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Number One Hip-Hop Singles of 1990

Posted by Billyjam, March 24, 2015 09:31pm | Post a Comment
The following list of number one hip-hop singles from 25 years ago is based on a combination of sales and radio airplay and comes care of Billboard magazine who calculated the initially published charts throughout 1990 in the weekly music magazine. Some were culled from albums released in 1989 but all singles charted in '90 with Salt-N-Pepa's "Expression" (remembered by many by its repeated catchy hook "express yourself") holding down the number one slot for the longest at eight consecutive weeks from mid January through mid March that year. Meanwhile Candyman's pop rap single "Knockin' Boots" spent five weeks at number one. Interestingly Vanilla Ice's ever-popular mega hit "Ice Ice Baby" only spent one week at number one on the hip-hop charts in 1990. However it soon crossed over to the separate pop singles chart where it enjoyed much more success going to number one for 13 weeks. The East Bay based, Tommy Boy act Digital Underground's biggest hit single of their career "The Humpty Dance" was number one for five straight weeks beginning on St. Patrick's Day, 1990. BDP artist D-Nice's "They Call Me D-Nice" spent four weeks at number one as did "We're All In The Same Gang" by the appropriately named West Coast Rap All-Stars, featuring Ice-T, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Young MC, Digital Underground, MC Hammer, King Tee, Body & Soul, Def Jef, Michel'le, Tone-Loc, and Above The Law's Cold 187um & KMG, which spent a month at number starting on July 21st. Meanwhile Ice Cube, with his debut solo post N.W.A. single "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" from the album of the same name, spent three straight weeks at number one beginning on June 9th, 1990 - but never had an official video made for it.  Most of the others spent one or two weeks at number one. For exact number of corresponding weeks at number one to individual hip-hop single see number in brackets following title of song, all below in video format in chronological order of release as singles.

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Music History Monday: December 15

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 15, 2014 10:46am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: December 15, 1967The Who Sell Out, the third studio album by The Who, is released. Produced by Kit Lambert, it is recorded at Talentmasters Studios in New York City; IBC Studios, Pye Studios, De Lane Lea Studios, CBS Studios, and Kingsway Studios in London; and Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles from May - November of 1967. The band's third release is a concept album that includes songs interspersed with fake commercials and public service announcements, mimicking the British pirate radio station Radio London. The band will actually be sued by a number of companies whose real products are parodied on the album. It will spin off the classic "I Can See For Miles" (#10 UK, #9 US Pop). Original pressings of the album include a short instrumental cut in the runout groove. The first 1,000 copies of the original stereo and first 500 mono copies of the UK LP will come packaged with a psychedelic poster of a butterfly painted by artist Adrian George. The art had originally been intended for the album's cover, but is rejected. The rarity of these initial pressings have sold in recent years for more than $1,000 each or more on the collector's market. The album is reissued on CD in 1995 with ten additional bonus tracks including outtakes not included in the original release. It is reissued again in 2009 as a two CD Deluxe Edition featuring the original mono and stereo versions of the album, with 28 bonus tracks.The Who Sell Out will peak at number 13 on the UK album chart and number f48 on the Billboard Top 200.
 

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Essential Records: The Pharcyde's 'Bizarre Ride II'

Posted by Billyjam, November 17, 2014 02:23pm | Post a Comment

The Pharcyde

Each person has their own personal way to judge and rate the music they love. For me the criteria for rating an LP an "Essential Record" includes two key qualities: first, it's an all killer, no filler album (no temptation to ever skip over any track); and secondly, it is such a quality release that it doesn't age one bit over time (the timeless factor). Sometimes an Essential Record gets even better over the years. Such is the case with The Pharcyde's remarkable 1992 debut album, Bizarre Ride II (Delicious Vinyl), which sounds even more amazing today than it did when I first heard it 22 years ago. I say this after playing the 57 minute record from start to finish twice in a row today, having not listened to it in a few years. Damn, that J-Swift-produced album is so incredibly good! It's packed with soul, passion, and richly varied but cohesive beats and flows - from jazzy to old school to next generation - with varying BPMs. But, most notably, the album was totally unlike anything else at the time.

In late 1992, the SoCal-based Delicious Vinyl record label released Bizarre Ride II within just a few weeks oThe Pharcyde Ya Mamaf fellow LA based hip-hop artist Dr. Dre's G-Funk classic, The Chronic. While the two landmark hip-hop releases may have been linked by timeline and geography, they could not have been further apart in sound and style. Even Bizarre Ride's wild, fun, cartoonish cover art set it apart as a record that did not take itself too seriously. The album effuses a feeling of nonstop fun all the way through, as proven by the numerous impromptu-sounding hilarious studio bits that were mixed in or left in the final recording, like at the end of "Ya Mama" where they are just riffing off of each other. Unique, too, is how many of the "skits" on Bizarre Ride sound like songs, such as the 2:10 long "Quinton's on the Way (Skit)" which is like a Louis Armstrong inspired jazz song that captures the guys having fun in the studio with their different sounding voices and tones perfectly in contrast with each other.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 05.09.14: Iggy Azelea, Nas, Drake, Eminem, YG, Dre's Beat$, PUTS, Zion I, Premier & Jakk Frost + more

Posted by Billyjam, May 9, 2014 08:57am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: Week Ending 05:09:14


1) Nas Illmatic XX (Sony Legacy)

2) YG My Krazy Life (Def Jam)

3) Iggy Azelea The New Classic (Island/Def Jam)

4) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)

5) Eminem The Slim Shady LP (Interscope)

Celebrating its twenty year anniversary is Nas' flawless, classic 1994 album Illmatic which has been especially reissued by Sony Legacy for the occasion as  Illmatic XX. The album, which includes such hip-hop timeless gems as "N.Y. State of Mind," "It Ain't Hard To Tell," and "The World Is Yours," by the Queensbridge emcee is this week's number one chart entry at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store, where also charting in the latest top five is another 90's rap classic: Eminem's 1999 megahit The Slim Shady LP (Interscope) which finds itself back in top sales this week at the SoCal store. Other current top five chart entries include Drake's Nothing Was The Same on Cash Money, and YG's My Krazy Life (Def Jam) which drew inspiration from various West Coast hip hop classics as Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Speaking of Dr. Dre, the famous former N.W.A. member/influential solo artist who has made a huge impact as a hip-hop producer, looks about to make his biggest (financial) mark as co-creator of the audio equipment and music-streaming service Beats Electronics known for the headphones that carry his name (Dre Beats) if the company, as has been reported over the past 24 hours, gets purchased by Apple at a reported $3.2billion price tag!

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