Now seven years strong Zion I's annual hip-hop showcase the Hella Fresh Fest takes place this year on Halloween night in the at the Metro with a lineup that continues Zion I's Zumbi and AmpLive's tradition of presenting a rich cross section of contemporary hip-hop talent to join them in concert. In addition to Hella Fresh's tradition of showcasing the best of homegrown hip-hop (Sol, Erk tha Jerk, Bang Data) they've also booked such out of town talent as Rhymesayers' Seattle emcee Grieves, and Funk Volume's Dizzy Wright. Also on the bill will be Triple Threat DJ Vinroc while the Hella Fresh hosts will be Chris Riggins and Panama by way of Oakland duo Los Rakas who performed at Hella Fresh 2011. That Hella Fresh Fest took place at the Fillmore in San Francisco while last year's was at the DNA Lounge. But this year it will be in the place it was meant to be. With the name Hella Fresh it has to be in Oakland so it is perfect that it will be at the Metro in Oakland - and on Halloween night with live art by Haven Arts. Good news for young hip-hop fans is that the show will open those under 21. It is a 14 and over show! Below are a series of videos of the acts on this year's bill along with a highlights of last year's Hella Fresh Fest. Buy tickets here or try and win them from the Amoeblog. Audible Treats have passed along to the Amoeblog two pairs of free tickets for Hella Fresh Fest 2014. All you have to do is email me (email@example.com) by Thursday (October 23rd, 2014) at midnight (Pacific time). The names of all entrants will be printed out and from those names two will be randomly chosen. Those two winners will be contacted by Sunday October 26th to inform them that they've won. One entry per person. Must be 14 or over. Thank-you!
Amoeba San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:08:12
1) El-P Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum)
2) Killer Mike R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)
3) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)
4) Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope)
5) Oddisee People Hear What They See (Mello Music/Fat Beats)
Once again at Amoeba the number one entry this week on the San Francisco hip-hop top five chart is El-P's truly amazing new album Cancer4Cure which I have worn out from listening to over and over. The only other recently released new hip-hop album that I have played quite as much (a bit more actually) is the number two Amoeba chart entry this week - also coincidentally produced by El-P; Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music on Williams Street. On my WFMU hip-hop radio show this week I both opened and closed with selections off this all-killer album: the title track and "Reagan" which, with a slow smoldering lead in with some Ronald Reagan samples (in which he admits his lies) is followed by one of the best critical evaluations of the former Republican prez who has been repeatedly in the news of late with so many Republicans citing hm as an example of a fine leader. Killer Mike does not share this view as confirmed with the songs closing lyrics: "I leave with these four words - I'm glad Reagan dead." Another new hip-hop track that samples Ronald Reagan is the track "Zero Dark Thirty" off the new Aesop Rock album Skelethon. The long awaited new album from the artist, who used to be on El-P's now defunct Def Jux label, will be released by Rhymesayers Entertainment on Tuesday (July 10th) when you can expect it to be a hot seller at Amoeba. The video for this Aesop Rock track (the lead single) follows below along with such others as El-P's new album track "The Full Retard,"
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 02:25:11
1) Sims Bad Time Zone (Zoomtree) CD
Proud to be stocking this product and even prouder that it's moving so well. This sophomore album from Sims is an album years in the making that highlights the Doomtree rapper's progression as an MC and talented lyricist. Doomtree's central producer, Lazerbeak, handles the entirety of the album's production and delivers some of his strongest beats to date. Very highly recommended, glad a distributor was wise enough to finally pick these guys up.
2) Cee-Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra) CD
Still moving strong, Cee-Lo's latest is just another example of how Goodie Mob's brightest shining member can make an album with massive radio appeal without sacrificing his artistic integrity. Whether he's singing or rapping, Cee-Lo always brings something interesting to the table.
3) Awol One & Factor The Landmark (Fake Four) CD
The Bay Area has an incredible wealth of hip-hop talent, but out of the hundreds of artists from the Bay that release music each year only a handful manage to make a major impact on a national level. One artist that, over the past few years, has built quite a rep in his native Bay Area, but now looks set to take over the rest of the country (and beyond) is Richmond rapper/producer Erk Tha Jerk, whose official debut album, Nerd's Eye View, drops today on Red Planet/SMC.
I recently caught up with the artist to talk about his career to date and the new album. We met in New York, a "completely different" experience for him compared to being back in the Bay, where walking down the street everyone knows who he is, thanks in large part to the fact that KMEL radio has helped make him a high profile star. For several weeks last year his song "Right Here" was the Bay Area's leading urban radio station's most played (and requested) track on their playlist. He fully understands and accepts that to duplicate that kind of success outside the Bay in places like New York, where, so far, he has not gotten major airplay it's a matter of "starting all over with ground work. You've got to humble yourself and get back out there on the grind and start all over again," he laughed.
Based on his track record, Erk Tha Jerk should have no problem taking over the rest of the country since he is both an incredibly gifted artist (producer, rapper, singer, writer, video director, etc) and a talented, hard-working business mind. Unlike so many artists, Erk knows how to focus on his music and work hard on getting it out into the right channels. "I've been making music and producing and doing features for the past five years," he noted. He has worked with numerous other Bay artists including Richie Rich, Balance, San Quinn, Big Rich, & Too $hort. He connected with the Godfather of Bay Area rap when he shared offices in the same building as $hort down by Jack London Square. There they literally crossed paths and that accidental meeting led to Erk producing the "Red Bull & Vodka" single for Too $hort's & Dwayne Wiggins' Town Bizness project. In return, $hort did a cameo on Erk Tha Jerk's 2009 track "Plane In The Air." "And now when I go to Atlanta I call up $hort and say, 'Yo, what's going on?' It's great. He's like a mentor to me," beamed Erk Tha Jerk.