Hip-Hop Rap Up: Homeboy Sandman, Open Mike Eagle, ElZhi, Elucid, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Ghostface Killah

Posted by Billyjam, May 16, 2016 05:20pm | Post a Comment
Hip-Hop Top Five 05:16:16

1: Homeboy Sandman Kindness For Weakness (Stones Throw) (avail as LP)

2: Open Mike Eagle & Paul White Hella Personal Film Festival  (Mello Music) (LP version)

3: ElZhi Lead Poison (Glow 365)

4:  Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid  (Rhymesayers Ent.)

5: ELUCID Save Yourself (Backwoodz)

With so much amazing music from bygone eras in hip-hop's rich history to listen back to and/or catch up on for the first time, it's easy for hip-hop fans in 2016 to ignore all the new music being made. But to do so is to miss out on some incredible ground breaking music in the still unfolding genre. Simply put contemporary hip-hop is in an incredibly healthy state right now! This I can confirm from recently listening to a stack of new albums, mostly releases of the past few weeks such as the ones listed in the above top five list. On each the production is dope,  but it is the emcees who truly blew me away. Each effortlessly display innovative forward-thinking lyrical finesse coupled with top notch mic delivery skills. 

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New Hip-Hop Releases: Drake, ElZhi, Homeboy Sandman, Dilla, Berner, Chuuwee & Trizz

Posted by Billyjam, May 7, 2016 01:35pm | Post a Comment
Top Five New Hip-Hop Albums: 05:06:16

1: Drake VIEWS (Republic)

2: Homeboy Sandman Kindness For Weakness (Stones Throw) (avail as LP)

3: ElZhi Lead Poison (Glow 365)

4: Chuuwee & Trizz  Amerikka's Most Blunted 2 (Below Systems)

5: J Dilla Jay Love Japan (Vintage Vibes) (avail as LP) [Reissue]

"Like a day spent inside someone else’s head," is how Drake's new album VIEWS  (Republic) is summed up in the Amoeba Review of the anticipated album that arrived in Amoeba yesterday. The Canadian star's first official album release since 2013's Nothing Was The Same and first full release since last year's "commercial mixtape" full-length If You're Reading This It's Too Late, VIEWS is already a bonafide commercial hit. The new album may have only dropped yesterday (as physical release but a week earlier as digital via certain outlet) but by midday Friday first week sales figures were released noting how the album was even outselling Beyonce's hugely hyped Lemonade that also arrived in Amoeba yesterday.

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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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