Today's richly vibrant, prolific, and diverse Bay Area hip-hop scene, with thousands of artists currently making a broad range of styles, humbly began in Oakland 32 years ago back in 1981. It was early in that year when the very first Oakland rap release (also the very first known Bay Area rap release) dropped: Motorcycle Mike's single "Super Rat." The record arrived in a time when hip-hop or rap music was still considered an East Coast/New York artform that, for some odd (elitist?) reason, could not hail from the West Coast. This belief was challenged with releases like releases like Motorcyle Mike's debut 12" rap single. That record by the artist, who was also known as Motorcycle Mike Dappa, was entitled "Super Rat" and was produced by Gerald Robinson and released on the tiny indie Hodisk Records -- the label run by Nicky Moore that also released the Numonics. Born Phil Lewis and influenced by Bootsy Collins as much as the Sugarhill Gang, Motorcycle Mike was, not surprisingly, a motorbike fanatic. Pro-Black in its message, "Super Rat" featured the early Oakland rapper drawing an analogy between the then much talked about Norwegian "super rats," who could not be killed by poison but instead got stronger, and the underdog black man in Oakland and other American urban areas who could not be kept down. Motorcycle Mike's original Oakland rap record was followed up later that same year from the East Bay city by the 12" single “Tally Ho!” on Walker Star Records from Steve Walker - an artist who would re-emerged some years later to record under the name Biscuit.
DJ Toure documentary (electronic press kit 2013)
Last Tuesday DJ Toure, DJ/producer and member of Oakland's longtime Hieroglyphics crew, released his long-awaited solo album, Toure's Theory: Session One, which initially was expected to drop last year but due to his busy schedule got bumped back until now. The prolific artist, who in addition to working with the Hieros crew including member Casual has, over the years, produced tracks for the likes Too $hort, Freeway, Devin The Dude, Phonte, Father Dom, Beeda Weeda, The Grouch & Eligh, Goapele, E-40, and Forty Wata's rapper son Droop-E, has been down with the Hieros since day - initially joining the crew as the DJ for his (elementary school mate) Casual .
The above Dylan Freitas-D'Louhy directed electronic press kit video gives some insight into DJ Toure's rich history (coming up in Oakland upbringing with fellow Hieros (Casual, Tajai, Opio, and A-Plus) as well as some background on the new album that includes many of the aforementioned artists he's worked with including members of the Hieros - Opio, Pep Love, Del The Funky Homosapien, and Casual; plus such Bay Area artists as Too $hort (see new video below for the album track "Mind Yo Business" that also features Jacoria Marzett.), E-40, Mistah FAB, Clyde Carson, B-Legit, J. Stalin, Nio Tha Gift, and The Jacka, as well as such other guests as Philly rap star Freeway.
3) Wiz Khalifa O.N.I.F.C. (Atlantic)
4) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist (Macklemore LLC)
5) 2 Chainz Based On A T.R.U. Story (Def Jam)
This latest hip-hop top five chart from the Hollywood Amoeba store features all current releases from the past month or more including the latest Big Boi and Wiz Khalifa albums (Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors and O.N.I.F.C. respectively) both released last month. Note that this week Def Jam also released a vinyl version of Big Boi's Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors. The other top five entries include Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' runaway indie success story The Heist, Kendrick Lamar's universally popular Good Kid M.A.A.D City --, and 2 Chainz' official debut Based On A T.R.U. Story which, since its release last August has been a steady seller at Amoeba. Both 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar are among the guests on the new A$AP Rocky full-length album Long.Live.A$AP on RCA: another hot new rap artist, whose official (as distinct from mixtures) debuted this week. More on it in the weeks ahead here on the Amoeblog. Another new release this week is DJ Mugg's Bass For Your Face on Ultra Music which finds the longtime hip-hop production talent venturing off into some electronic territory in addition to straight up hip-hop beats and includes cameos from a nice mix of talented emcees including Public Enemy's Chuck D, Dizzee Rascal, Freddie Gibbs, Danny Brown, and Roc Marciano.
1) Black C Still Ruthless (Rightway)
2) Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City (Aftermath)
3) E40 & Too $hort History: Mob Music (Heavy On The Grindl)
4) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist (Macklemore LLC)
5) Wu-Block Wu-Block (Entertainment One)
Thanks to Michelle at the Haight Street store for the above latest Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five chart which features in the number one slot the brand new release from longtime hometown rap hero Black C of RBL Posse fame whose new solo album is Still Ruthless on Rightway Productions. As you know RBL Posse, who hailed from the Hunters Point district of San Francisco, released some popular rap albums back in the nineties including their 1992 debut A Lesson To Be Learned on In-A-Minute featuring the hit and future dank anthem "Don't Gimme No Bammer" (Black C's brand new video below for the new album track "I Smoke" is a kind of sequel to that classic even referencing its lyrics), and RBL Posse's second album Ruthless By Law" on In-A-Minute in 1994. Their next album, An Eye For An Eye on Big Beat came out in 1997, a year after Black C's partner in rhyme Mr Cee was shot and killed in cold blood on New Year's Day 1996.
1) Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City (Aftermath)
2) E40 & Too $hort History: Function Music (Heavy On The Grind)
3) 9th Wonder & Buckshot The Solution (Duck Down Records)
4) E40 & Too $hort History: Mob Music (Heavy On The Grindl)
5) RZA The Man With The Iron Fists Score (Soul Temple Entertainment)
If you have not already been over to Amoeba Music (Hollywood, Berkeley, or San Francisco) this Black Friday weekend (through Sunday 25th) be sure to do so to avail of the many great deals and bargains like turntables on sale, the exclusive Black Friday RSD releases, and all of the releases on this latest hip-hop chart from the San Francisco Amoeba store. These include Kendrick Lamar's phenomenally popular Good Kid M.A.A.D City which is selling equally well in its DeLuxe CD format (bonus tracks) of the Dr. Dre presented release on Aftermath that has put Compton back on the music map. Meanwhile across the country in NYC Duck Down Records, who have had both a very prolific and successful year to date, are back in the charts again this week with the 9th Wonder and Buckshot collaboration that finds the producer and emcee as the perfect match. The 12 track album includes a couple of guest spots on two different tracks: "You" with Dyme-A-Duzin, and "Shorty Left" with a nice feature from North Carolina female rapper Rapsody who is signed to Wonder's label. Scroll down below to see the video for this track.