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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: RIP Dot-A-Rock & The Jacka, Flip with Phat Kat & Elzhi, DJ Rob A with Masta Ace + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 6, 2015 11:34am | Post a Comment
Tragic news for Bay Area rap fans this week when they learned that popular longtime Bay Area rapper Dominic "The Jacka" Newton was shot and killed in East Oakland on Monday night (Feb 2nd) - the result of a bullet wound to the head. 

According to reports the 37 year old, Oakland based, Pittsburg, CA born hip-hop artist died doing what he loved most: rapping and freestyling with a group of seven hip-hop friends of his sitting in a van - The Jacka was standing outside beside the van when the shooting took  place. A very prolific artist, who has released numerous solo projects and collaborative projects (he's worked with everyone), The Jacka was a constant best-seller at the two Bay Area Amoeba Music stores including such releases as his 2009 Freeway collaboration Highway Robbery and his 2009 album Tear Gas which remains his best selling album to date (the video for the Traxamillion produced album track "Glamorous Lifestyle" appears below).

  
  
Andre Nickatina (featured in the above "Glamorous Lifestyle") was just one of countless fellow Bay Area artists that The Jacka collaborated with over the years. Others  include Berner, E-40, Guce, Keak da Sneak, and Friscasso The Jeweler (recently profiled on the Amoeblog) while on a national level he's worked with such artists as NYC emcee Cormega, Southern rapper Paul Wall, and Philly rapper Freeway. (Highway Robbery cover right). Ever since the news broke on Tuesday of The Jacka's shooting murder many online commenters have cynically suggested that being a gangsta rapper that he had he had it coming to him (IE: live by the sword die by the sword). However the truth is that while he rapped about the street "lifestyle" and all that went with it - he did so in a non glamorizing way - but in a real observant way.  Those who knew him all describe him a good person and an artist first and foremost. And what a prolific one too!

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 08:05:11: Wu-Tang, Teeko, San Quinn, MellowHype, Elzhi, Mista B, DMC, Buck 65, Tragedy

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2011 01:13pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 08:05:11

1) Wu-Tang Legendary Weapons (Entertainment One Music)

2) Teeko Light Up the Darkness (Mellow Orange)

3. elZHi  Elmatic (2 DopeBoyz)

4) San Quinn Can't Take the Ghetto Out A Niigga (Prominent House Records)

5) MellowHype Blackenedwhite (Fat Possum Records)

The Wu-Tang's anticipated latest, Legendary Weapons, dropped last week and since has shot to the number one position on the latest Amoeba Music San Francisco hip-hop chart, which comes courtesy of Luis at the Haight Street store. So is it a great album and does it live up to the Wu-Tang (formerly Wu-Tang Clan) legacy? Yes and no. No it doesn't top 36 Chambers - but then nothing will ever surpass that timeless, pitch-perfect, hip-hop masterpiece that the Shaolin crew burst onto the scene with eighteen long years ago. But yes it is a really strong hip-hop album from the Wu who, even though they appear here minus the major player Genius/GZA and the lesser Wu warrior Masta Killa, still deliver a kick ass album with Legendary Weapons whose production is handled by the production trio of Fizzy Womack, Noah Rubin, and Andrew Kelley who keep true to the RZA formula (RZA is credited as the "executive producer" which I assume means he popped into the studio here and there to look over the trio's shoulders and make sure they delivered that unique WU flavor.)  As well as the RZA on board for this release are Wu-Tang core members Ghostface, Raekwon, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, and U-God as well as cameos from a variety of talents including AZ, M.O.P., Termanology, Trife Diesel, and Killa Sin. Below is a sample track from the album; "Never Feel The Pain," that features Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Tre Williams.

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Elzhi Pays Tribute To Nas Classic

Posted by Billyjam, June 8, 2011 11:00am | Post a Comment

Elzhi "It Ain't Hard to Tell" (from Elmatic, 2011)


While you cannot repeat the greatness of a hip-hop classic verbatim, you sure can pay homage to it. Case in point is the fantastic new Elizhi tribute to Nas' timeless "It Ain't Hard To Tell" from the hip-hop legend's critically acclaimed 1994 debut album Illmatic. The inspired tribute track by the underrated gifted Detroit emcee Elzhi (video above directed by Michael Castelaz) appears on his new 10-track mixtape CD Elmatic which, in conjunction with XXL magazine is available for free download here. It was produced entirely by Will Sessions with guest spots from both Illmatic beatmaker Pete Rock and Detroit rapper Royce da 5’9” (who this month will be dropping the Eminem collab Bad Meets Evil's Hell The Sequel EP on Shady Records)

It is now 20 years since Nas first appeared on record when in 1991, then known as Nasty Nas, the teenaged MC made a memorable cameo on Main Source's single "Live At The BBQ." from the album Breaking Atoms. The following year he made another great guest spot on 3rd Bass' MC Serch's "Back To The Grill Again" single. Serch became Nas' manager and was instrumental in him signing with Columbia Records and hence in launching the career of one of hip-hop's greatest lyricists. The single "Halftime" from Serch's soundtrack for the 1992 movie Zebrahead was Nas' official solo debut. The song would also appear on Nas' debut album Illmatic which would not be released until two years later, in 1994.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 03:19:11: Lupe, Talib, Raekwon, Blu, Elzhi, Moe Green, De La Soul, Skratchpad, Bootsy Collins + More

Posted by Billyjam, March 19, 2011 06:25am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 03:19:11

1) Lupe Fiasco Lasers (Atlantic) CD

Love him or hate him, Lupe Fiasco’s new one was last week’s best seller by far, selling out the first day we received it and steadily moving units since. Lasers has apparently been disowned by Lupe himself in interviews, which is somewhat of a testament to his testy personality, but he’s clearly tapped into a special realm of the pop music spectrum if he can appeal to Top 40 crowds and seasoned rap listeners alike.

2) Talib Kweli Gutter Rainbows (3D/Javotti Media) CD

Back in stock! I wrote up a bit on this one the other week, but it was out of stock for a sec and now that it’s back on the shelves it’s moving quick. Talib Kweli’s latest is his first independently released solo project in a minute, boasting production from the likes of Oh No, Marco Polo, S1, and Khrysis amongst others. Gutter Rainbows is one crafted for Talib’s long-time fans for sure.

3) Blu Amnesia (Nature Sounds) 10”

New limited 10” single from everybody’s favorite new school West Coast MC, Blu. Taken from his upcoming full length HerFavoriteColour, which was released as a download a while back but is now newly remastered and available to the DJs on wax. The title track and two additional songs on this 10” highlight not only Blu’s natural flow, but also his interesting lo-fi soulful production. Limited and smooth as hell.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 09:06:08

Posted by Billyjam, September 6, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment
young jeezy
Amoeba Music San Francisco Top FIve 09:06:08


1) Young Jeezy The Recession (Def Jam)

2) The Game LAX (Geffen/Interscope)

3) eLZhi Preface (Fat Beats)

4) The Jacka & Lee Majors The Gobots (Million Dollar Dream)

5) Arabian Prince Innovative Life: The Anthology: 1984 - 1989 (Stones Throw)

Thanks to Luis in the hip-hop section at Amoeba Music, San Francisco for this week's Top Five chart. The top slot belongs to the brand new release from Young Jeezy, The Recession, which hit Amoeba shelves on Tuesday this week. This is the third Jeezy album, following 2005's Lets Get It: Thug Motivation 101 and 2006's The Inspiration. Although the title The Recession might imply that the record would be all about the US economy (interest rates/foreclosures etc.), it only very, very briefly tackles the US economy at large. Instead, it concentrates more specifically on hood economics, i.e., drug dealing. Hence, The Recession, over some great beats, is brimming with (yawn) street tales of making cash and selling 'caine and the glorified day-to-day trials and tribulations of a gangsta. 

"All I got to my name is two bricks and one felony," raps Atlanta native Jeezy in his famous husky voiced, dirty south flow on the track "Crazy World" -- one of many detailing the struggles of the hustler lifestyle which, personally, I find tired and played out at this stage in the game. I mean is Young Jeezy keeping really real and rapping about his life as it really, or is he just trying to sell the most CDs? Does Jeezy really have to slang drugs on the corner after all his success in the rap music biz? Or is he just fronting by making up these played-out, over-romanticized drug dealing tales, geared for the target gullible white rap consumer? This is music manufactured for the wallet more than from the heart. With that said, I did enjoy most of the production, athe game LAXnd also the album's few guests, including NaS, who upstaged his host here. I guess it's not so much the topic of gangsta but more in how an artist retells a story we've heard a million times already.

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