Mr. Lif Signs Multi-Album Deal with Mello Music Group But Insists You Don't Call It A Comeback

Posted by Billyjam, October 6, 2015 11:50am | Post a Comment
Legendary Boston emcee talent Mr. Lif, who came to fame last decade via Def Jux with his sharp politically tinged lyrical assault and whom it seems we have not heard from last decade either solo or with his group The Perceptionists (with Afrobatik and DJ Fakts One), has just signed a multi-album deal with  Mello Music Group. The announcement came yesterday from the prestigious, eight year old, Arizona based label whose roster of artists released includes Oddisee, L'Orange, Open Mike Eagle, and Apollo Brown whose very recent album Grandeur is the latest release from the label, who said that the deal will include several albums over the upcoming two years 2016 and 2017.

Meanwhile the artist himself, in reaction to how the average hip-hop fan assumed that he had hung up the mic for good since he had not released anything since 2009's I heard It Today, also made a statement to insist that this should not be called a comeback by the post-millennium underground hip-hop star. "I’ve been very active musically for years but I haven’t been putting records out," the Massachusetts artist born Jeffrey Haynes insisted, adding that, "I’ve been touring the world with Thievery Corporation and otherwise living in the studio, constantly making songs.” Fans, who were introduced to the artist via such now indie hip-hop classics as his 2002 EP on Def Jux I Phantom, can look forward to his first in the Mello Music Group album series in early 2016.  In the meantime the label has announced that it will be reissuing the (long out of print) 14 track, double LP I Phantom on November 27th. That underground classic from El-P's now defunct Defintiive Jux features an impressive array of artists (production and mic) joining the Boston emcee throughout including El-P, Edan, Insight, DJ Fakts One, Aesop Rock, Jean Grae, and Akrobatik. You can find Mr. Lif's previous releases on the Amoeba website. Below is the video for the track "The Sun" off 2009's and another with Thievery Corportion from 2011.

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Run The Jewels Announce Tour & Tracklist For "RTJ2" On Nas' Mass Appeal Records

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2014 01:31pm | Post a Comment

Run The Jewels - the super talented hip-hop power duo of El-P and Killer Mike - has just announced new tour dates along with track listings,  contributing guests, and artwork details for their forthcoming  sophomore release. With cover art almost the same as last year's self-titled debut on Fool's Gold (only in a different color), the new album on Nas' new Mass Appeal Records is  slated for release on October 28th. Aptly titled RTJ2, the album will feature guest spots by Zack de la Rocha, Travis Barker, Diane Coffee, and BOOTS (note this is not Boots Riley of The Coup but BOOTS the sometimes BeyoncĂ© collaborator).

The Run The Jewels has been attracting attention of late for their impressive recent tour sets, including a stop in the Bay Area last month at Outside Lands and the previous month in New York at the Governors Ball. They've also been garnering attention with new audiences care of Killer Mike's recent guest appearance on CNN, speaking out on the grander implications of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson (see video below).

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2012 Year End Best Of Hip-Hop: Part II

Posted by Billyjam, December 28, 2012 03:49pm | Post a Comment

This second part in the 2012 best of hip-hop series is a Top 130 album chart that is based on sales at Amoeba Music over the past twelve months. It is comprised of nearly all 2012 releases, but since it reflects sales in 2012, there are a few previous year crossover releases such as late 2011 albums like The Roots' Undun (MCA).

The list is a combo of both CD and LP releases since more releases were issued on vinyl in 2012 than in the previous years. (Ironically, major labels who were the ones trying to kill off vinyl back in the early 1990's as they were pushing CDs heavily have issued a lot of vinyl versions this past year.) There are some EPs included here as well as full-lengths such as Homeboy Sandman's Subject Matter on Stones Throw and  Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope). The chart is compiled based on the weekly hip-hop top five sales charts from the three Amoeba Music stores (Hollywood, Berkeley, and San Francisco) submitted to the Amoeblog over the past year. This is a good gauge of what was popular and selling at the three Amoeba stores and via the Amoeba online store for 2012. It also should be noted that the first top fifty chart entries far outsold the next eighty releases. Not surprisingly Kendrick Lamar topped the chart with his commercially / critically acclaimed Good Kid M.A.A.D City CD on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. In addition to such other as across the board (national commercial) hits like 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story, Kanye West Good Music Cruel Summer (Def Jam), Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 (Atlantic), and Nas' Life is Good (both on Def Jam), Amoeba shoppers also picked up a lot of indie label releases in quantity such as Aesop Rock's Skelethon (Rhyemsayers Ent.), El-P's Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum), Gangrene Vodka and Ayahuasca (Decon), and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist (Macklemore LLC). As well as new releases the chart also features some reissues such as The Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde [Expanded Edition] (Delicious Vinyl), Notorious B.I.G.'s  Ready to Die, and  RBL Posse 20th Anniversary (Rightway Productions) which was a reissue of their three 1990's albums.

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2012 Year End Best Of Hip-Hop: Part One

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2012 11:00pm | Post a Comment
Catchiest damn hip-hop song of 2012: MaLLy & The Sundance Kid "Shine" from The Last Great….

Another year over, a new begun - well almost - so it is time to look back at 2012 in hip-hop, which in my opinion has been a really incredible year especially in terms of indie releases. I will focus primarily on indie releases in this first of a two-part hip-hop 2012 retrospective. Indeed 2012 was a great year for the genre with a wide and rich variety of hip-hop being made by artists from all over, including some incredibly well-made videos - all done on tight budgets.  Year-end lists are by their very nature subjective and this one is certainly no exception. Like all year end "best of" lists, it is wide open to change and alterations (additions or deletions) at a moment's notice. Odds are I wont even agree with my own picks this time next month since my tastes are constantly changing and since there is just so much good music that I am constantly catching up on.

However with that said if I had to pick one hip-hop song based on pure catchiness of both production and lyrics, a song that grabs me as much today as when I first heard it eight months ago, it would be MaLLy & The Sundance Kid's "Shine" (video above) from their 2012 album The Last Great….

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"Rap is like the lowest art form of art on the planet earth," Says MURS in latest WIMB

Posted by Billyjam, August 28, 2012 11:40am | Post a Comment

MURS What's In My Bag? (2012)

  Since the above What's In My Bag? (WIMB?) Amoeba video clip with MURS was uploaded to YouTube yesterday it's been drawing a lot of strong, mixed reactions mostly focusing on the bold statement on the art of rap made by the longtime Cail emcee. "Rap is not good enough to be associated with great music," said MURS when asked if he might sample an Ethiopian album he had picked up at the Hollywood Amoeba store. "Rap is like the lowest art form of art on the planet earth," he continued, semi-apologizing, "Sorry. I love it. But it's true." He then qualified this statement by saying that, "There's no other form of music in the history of music that totally denigrates women and promotes violence and killing of one another for senseless reasons." "We have to call it what it is and hopefully by calling it what it is we can improve it." he said adding, while he sincerely felt that way, that he was also a fan of rap and was about to pick up a Waka Flocka Flame album. YouTube comments related to this video, which rated 67 likes to 1 dislike at time of posting this Amoeblog, ranged from "haha this guy is awesome! best explanation of rap ever" and "this guy seems really cool. his views on his own genre are really interesting," to "Completely idiotic point of view" and "WTF?….if you think that murs why the fuck do you want a Wocka Flocka cd?"

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