Amoeblog

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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El-P Enjoying Life Post Definitive Jux

Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2012 05:05am | Post a Comment
Few hip-hop artists have the luxury of enjoying a fan-base dedicated enough to patiently wait around five full years for a new album to drop. Aesop Rock, who two days ago had an incredible turnout for his Amoeba SF in-store in support of his first album in five years - the incredible new album Skelethon on Rhymesayers, is one of these lucky artists. So too is his colleague & indie hip-hop contemporary El-P who has similarly returned after five years with an awesome new album -  Cancer4Cure released recently on Fat Possum.
 
The Brooklyn, NY producer, emcee, label owner & CEO, who has put his record company Definitive Jux on hiatus, also fully produced the, equally stellar, new Killer Mike album R.A.P. Music released by William Street. And it is because he has more time to focus on making music and not overseeing his iconic indie hip-hop record label, he told me, that he had the time and energy required to properly focus on both of these meticulously produced new albums.


El-P "The Jig Is Up" from his new album Cancer4Cure 
 
Beyond focusing more on his art and musically fine-tuning his sound in the half decade since his last album (2007's I'll Sleep When You're Dead) El-P has also matured significantly on a personal level - although, ever the artist, El-P rarely differentiates between his music life and his personal life. "Not to sound corny but really your greatest artistic endeavor is how you shape your life," he told me recently before performing at the Regency in San Francisco as part of the national Into The Wild Tour also featuring Killer Mike, plus Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire and Despot.  Been free of the record label responsibilities El-P said has, "been a great stress off of my back" and that by not doing the label (which is why his new album came out on Fat Possum) has freed him up immensely as an artist. He has also had time to reflect on the passing - four years ago from lung cancer - of his friend/collaborator Camu Tao to whom the album is inspired and named for. Like Aesop Rock, Camu Tao was also on the Definitive Jux label and was also a member of The Weathermen along with Tame One, Yak Ballz, and Breeze Brewin.

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