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 Hip-Hop Top Five Week End 12:12:14
1) Run The Jewels RTJ2 (Mass Appeal)
2) E-40 Sharp On All 4 Corners 2 (Heavy On The Grind)
3) Ghostface Killah 36 Seasons (Tommy Boy)
4) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation)
5) Wu-Tang Clan A Better Tomorrow (Warner Bros)
As mentioned in last week's Amoeblog hip-hop report there's been a slew of new releases dropping recently - something confirmed by my visit to Amoeba Berkeley this week where I talked with E-Lit in the Telegraph Ave. store's hip-hop section who did a nice overview of all the latest CD and vinyl releases featured at the store. See the video clip with the hip-hop buyer/DJ below in which E-Lit breaks down such new releases, including some of the top five chart entrants above, as Wu-Tang Clan's much hyped new joint A Better Tomorrow that dropped last week, and Wu member Ghostface Killah's 36 Seasons that dropped yesterday care of Tommy Boy Records and features such guests as Kool G Rap and Pharoahe Monch. Also released yesterday is the new 13 track J. Cole album 2014 Forest Hills Drive on Roc Nation - the follow up to last year's popular Born Sinner and most likely this one will be just as popular with fans of the North Carolina born multi-talented artist.
If it seems like an awful lot of tight new hip-hop releases are dropping right now or are about to drop, that's because there are. This is the time of the year - leading up to the holidays - when labels, especially major labels, traditionally unleash new albums, with hip-hop making up a good percentage of said releases. New, recent, and upcoming 2014 hip-hop albums include Trademark Da Skydiver's Return Of The Super Villain (Ihiphopdist); the Wu-Tang Clan's much-heralded return album A Better Tomorrow, which includes all living members the legendary Staten Island hip-hop crew; and Rick Ross' Hood Billionaire, which has been a major seller at Amoeba since its release late last month. Another recent release that continues to sell briskly at Amoeba Music is the highly-recommended second outing from El-P and Killer Mike (aka Run The Jewels), Run The Jewels 2. They just released a video for "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)," which is the second single and the best track on the album. The video appears below along with ones from the aforementioned Rick Ross, Trademark Da Skydiver ("Keep It 100"), and the Wu-Tang Clan's spanking new video for "A Better Tomorrow," which contains visuals created by Wu-Tang Clan "in the hopes of inspiring change and promoting unity throughout the world." Also below is the video for E-40's "Red Cup," which is the first single off the Bay Area legend's upcoming three-album set Sharp On All 4 Corners -(subtitled: Corner 1, Corner 2 and the Deluxe Edition). The popular party track features guests Kid Ink, T-Pain, and B.O.B.
Over the weekend he was the man of the hour as host of the big 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards. Meanwhile his studio output is a non stop laundry list of releases that boasts countless collaborations with anyone from indie rappers to pop stars. A couple of weeks ago I heard the new track he collaborated with Bay Area female vocalist Goapele on (a remix of the Oakland singer's disco-throwback styled single "Hey Boy"). Around that same time I heard excerpts from his fifth and latest in the Thats My Work mix tape series with Tha Dogg Pound (Kurupt and Daz Dillinger, along with production from DJ Drama). Then over the weekend I was reading somewhere that he recently confirmed that he's got a collaborative full length project in the works with Pharrell (with whom he has done one off tracks with before including the 2004 hit single "Drop It Like It's Hot").
STS9, Les Claypool's Duo De Twang, Hieroglyphics, E-40, Mac Lethal and more are set to perform at the uniquely SoCal Chalice Festival July 12-13 in San Bernadino, CA. Sure, there's a killer musical lineup, but this is also a celebration of all things cannabis, so live glassblowing, plentiful food trucks and yes--edibles--will also be spotlighted.
This is the first year for the festival, which takes place at the National Orange Show (NOS) Event Center and is sponsored by Hitman Glass. Chalice California is a two-day event dedicated to the culture and people surrounding cannabis concentrate, complete with educational seminars, competitions, and a glassblower village--not to mention some of the biggest names in hip-hop and dance music. Doors open Saturday at 12pm and Sunday at 11am.
You can pick up tickets at Amoeba Hollywood, where we've got individual day tickets ($40 for Saturday, $50 for Sunday), as well as a weekend pass ($70). Please note there is a $2 service fee per ticket. Or you can buy tickets online here.