Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Saint Charles' Solar Music Group (SMG) Promoted Nephew E-40's Mr. Flamboyant on Sick Wid' It

Posted by Billyjam, October 13, 2015 11:23pm | Post a Comment

Back in '91 the above promo one sheet was mailed out to rap radio programmers like myself along with the E-40 and The Click promotional record featuring a radio version of E-40's "Mr. Flamboyant" EP. It was the introduction of radio to the "hot rap group" from Vallejo who would enjoy much success in that decade. The promo items were sent by E-40's uncle Saint Charles who, early on in his career, helped him and his family group The Click get their music out via his regional distributor / promotions company SMG (Solar Music Group). And boy did SMG have all areas of promo locked down as clearly outlined by their letterhead that boasted nationwide promotions "on the streets, in the ghettos, at the parties, in the clubs" as well "in the hood" and at college campuses, distributors, and retailers. The company had it lcovered and 40's uncle was instrumental in getting the rapper and Sick Wid' It Records on the map. In this case it was for the 12" pressing that had the radio version of "Mr. Flamboyant" (as distinct from the dirty "street" version of the song found on the cassette release). ["Mr. Flamboyant" also appeared on The Click album Down & Dirty.]

To assist in finding the song, Saint Charles circled the title on the label with a black sharpie pen - just to ensure no one would miss it. Also on the EP were the tracks "Tanji," "Club Hoppin," and "Shut It Down." Released on Sick Wid' It Records the EP was distributed by Rushforce Records who had in 1988 released the pre-Click lineup M.V.P.  By the time of this Sick WId' It release E-40 solo and the Click as a group had been releasing records and tapes on Sick Wid' It but soonafter each other member of the family crew would drop solo releases including Forty Wata's (and D-Shot's) sister Suga T who, in March 1993 on Sick Wid' It, would release her solo debut It's All Good.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah, Big Sean, THEESatisfaction, Fashawn, Churchward Pub DJ Battle + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2015 07:00pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top 5 Week ending 02:27:15

1) BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul (Lex)

2) Fashawn The Ecology (Mass Appeal) [also avail as LP and DL]

3) THEESatisfaction EarthEE (Sub Pop)

4) Big Sean Dark Sky Paradise (Def Jam) [
also a deluxe CD]

5) L'Orange After the Flowers (Mello Music)

The brand new number one hip-hop chart entry at Amoeba Music Berkeley this week (thank-you to E-Lit for providing the above top five chart) is the collaborative effort of Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah and Canadian jazz trio BadBadNotGood for their one-off, full-length, joint project Sour Soul on Lex Records - available for now in CD format only with a soon be released vinyl format to follow. While not billed as such, this new album could be considered the third part of a live collaborative trilogy by Ghostface since like his last two releases - last year's 36 Seasons and 2013's Twelve Reason To Die - Sour Soul is another production that finds the WU emcee rhyming with a live band. This time out it's BadBadNotGood who, as well as their own work as a trio, have previously collaborated with the likes of Danny Brown (who coincidentally appears here) and Earl Sweatshirt - although only on individual tracks, not a full length project as here with Ghostface Killah. The end result is a strong album whose standout tracks include "Mind Playing Tricks," "Tone's Rap," "Gunshowers (feat elZhi)," and “Ray Gun (feat. DOOM)” (see music video below).

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Rare 1992 E-40 & The Click Interview

Posted by Billyjam, February 3, 2015 04:14pm | Post a Comment

For this week's hip-hop history installment, rewind back 23 years to 1992 -- a time when E-40 and The Click's careers were on the verge of blowing up majorly. Below is an audio YouTube clip of a KUSF radio interview I conducted at that time with The Click's four members E-40, B-Legit, D-Shot, and Suga T, and with their producer Studio Ton.

It was before they had gone federal (signed to the national label Jive Records), E-40 had just released his solo album entitled Federal, and when The Click as a group had released the album Down and Dirty care of their game-changing little indie label Sick Wid It Records (both later reissued by Jive Records). It was a time when B Legit was still sometimes known as Legitimate B and when D Shot was sometimes still known as Mac D Shot. As for the group's name, it was also something they changed as they had originally been known as MVP. "Now we're The Click. We needed a spicier name," explains E-40 in the interview. "Back in 87…we was doing local stuff. It is really a family thing," said E-40 at the time.

Even back then, the Bay Area rap icon, who these days is known for tirelessly cranking out triple volume albums on an annual basis, was most prolific having recorded both a group album and a solo album simultaneously. "I was putting in work," he said modestly of his impressively busy recording routine back in '92 but again stressing how even with his solo album that it was "a family thing" with his fellow group members (all related) helping out in some capacity. In fact, all of the immediate Click  members as well as the greater Sick Wid It family crew were all very busy back then. Suga T was gearing up to record her debut album, It's All Good, that would drop the following year while extended Sick Wid It crew members Lil Bruce and Rhythm X were all prepping to drop solo joints. And while it was E-40 who would become the best known member of the Click as a group - each of the other three members were talented and historically significant in their own respective rights - Suga T as among the pioneering female rappers of the Bay's history, B-Legit as an incredible wordsmith with a most distinctive flow, and D-Shot was both a strong rapper and among the original wave of Bay Area rap compilation producers (along with Herm Lewis and Master P, who was still living in Richmond in the East Bay). 

Continue reading...

Top 25 Hip-Hop & RnB Song for Week ending January 2nd, 2015 with #1 = Big Sean feat. E-40

Posted by Billyjam, January 2, 2015 01:45pm | Post a Comment

If you lack the time or patience to tune in and listen to hours of commercial pop/urban radio to know what's the most popular music in hip-hop and RnB these days - as in this week - the above 8 minute, 20 second video is a nice concise summary of the top 25 contemporary pop rap/RnB tracks - based on Billboard, select Top 40, and other current pop chart lists. Included are Nicki Minaj ("Feeling Myself (feat. Beyonce)"), Dej Loaf ("Try Me"), Rich Gang ("Life Style (feat Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan)"), Ne-Yo ("She Knows (feat Juicy J)," Flo Rida ("G.D.F.R. (feat Sage the Gemini & Lookas)"), and Big Sean's "I Don't Fuck With You (feat. E-40)" which is this week's number one song and appears in full below.

Big Sean - I Don't Fuck With You (Explicit) ft. E-40

Top Ten Essential Hip-Hop Albums of 2014

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2014 11:13am | Post a Comment

10 Essential Hip Hop Albums of 2014

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)."

Continue reading...