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)."
Amoeba Music Hollywood Top Five Week End Jan 24 2014
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)
Album of the week: The Step Brothers Lord Steppington (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Go Hands On with Lord Steppington
For the twelfth straight year family, friends, and fans of slain Bay Area graffiti legend Mike DREAM Francisco will gather in a celebration of the beloved artist's life and legacy in what will be the biggest Dream Day (the official name of the day bestowed by the City Of Oakland) celebration to date at the Oakland Metro Operahouse where DJs, MCs, B-Boys and (naturally) graffiti writers will all gather and display their talents and honor the man who was killed not too far from the venue in cold blooded murder during a robbery on Feb 17th, 2000. Yesterday I caught up DJ/writer/TDK member Martin "WillieMaze" Aranaydo who, along with a tight knit crew of DREAM supporters has been tirelessly keeping the artist's legacy alive and looking out for the well being of the slain artist's son Akil who was only an infant when DREAM was killed. "Dream Day 10 we got the City of Oakland to officially acknowledge the anniversary, if you can call it that, of Mike's murder as Dream Day so we can imagine our city without gun violence," said Aranaydo yesterday, taking a break from prepping for tonight's event and recalling how last year was especially hard for everyone. "Dream Day 11 was a tough year [because] Akil's mother/Dream's partner, Nikki Sellers (aka The Dream Kween) lost her fight with cancer. We raised money to retain a lawyer when her family tried to keep Akil in Wisconsin. [So] money from the event went directly to bringing him home to this community that loves and honors the memory of his father."
Another individual busy getting for tonight's event is DREAM's brother Mike Francisco who I also talked to yesterday to ask him about the importance of this year's event and his feelings on everything? "This year marks the 12 year anniversary of my brother's passing, and as we're moving on to the 3rd annual celebration of Dream Day I feel a bit overwhelmed from all the love and support from the community," he said. "It seems like every year this event gets bigger and bigger, another historic lineup with some of the Bay Areas top DJs, MC's, BBoys/BGirls, and Graff writers, to top it off some artwork by Dream and his crew TDK. This year L*Roneous will be one of the co headliners along with Equipto from Bored Stiff, and L*Roneous will be filming a video for a track he produced for Dream, so as u can see it's going to be one memorable night." It certainly will be with, in addition to Equipto and L*Roneous, performances scheduled from Renegade Rockers, Dub Esquire, Mic T, DJ Shortkut, DJ Platurn, Tim Diesel, Pam the Funkstress, Sake One, DJ Fuze, Max Kane & Teeko, and WillieMaze himself too.
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 11:11:11
1) Wale Ambition (Warner Bros.)
2) Black Milk & Danny Brown Black and Brown (Fat Beats)
3) Lateef The Truthspeaker Firewire (Quannum)
4) People Under The Stairs Highlighter (Piecelock 70)
5) Mac Miller Blue Slide Park (Ingrooves)
Thanks to my man E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley for taking time out of his day in video above to run down all the new and recent hip-hop releases for this week's Hip-Hop Rap Up which includes longtime Oakland emcee & Solesides/Quannum star Lateef The Truthspeaker's first solo outing: the star-studded Firewire on Quannum which includes such Bay Area hip-hop greats (and longtime collaborators) as DJ Shadow, Dan The Automator, Lyrics Born (his partner in Latryx), The Grouch, Del the Funky Homosapien, Headnodic, and Chief Xcel (who handles production). The new Lateef the Truthspeaker album track "Oakland" that features Del The Funky Homosapien & The Grouch and appears below in audio play mode, I predict will soon become the new Oakland anthem.
Tonight's talent packed hip-hop show at Berkeley's the Ashkenaz with Dub Esquire (left), Mel Yel, Baby Jaymes, Westacy, Mic T., The Dime, DJ Tim Diesel and Dj Kool-C, is further proof that the Bay Area indie hip-hop scene is in a healthy state.
This afternoon I caught up with both Baby Jaymes and the night's headliner emcee Dub Esquire -- both Oakland artists -- to ask them about tonight's show and also their take on the state of the local Bay Area music scene. Do they agree that it is in a very healthy state right now? Dub Esquire, who cited Mel Yel, Dirt Nasty, The Bayliens, Mic T, & The Dime (all of whom are on his new album Rap Starz, which also features such talents as Del the Funky Homosapien and Living Legends' Lucky I Am) as among his fave homegrown talent to perform alongside, and who believes that the Bay scene is doing great pointed out that, "The hip hop scene in the Bay is ever changing. I would like to see more diversity instead of the same cats all the time. It's cool and all, but you gotta test yo' grit with all walks."