1) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)
2) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)
3) U-God Keynote Speaker (Soul Temple)
4) Dr Dre The Chronic (Interscope)
5) MF Doom Mm. Food? (Rhymesayers Ent)
As well as the universally popular new joints from Jay-Z and Kanye West (Magna Carta Holy Grail and Yeezus respectively), popular sellers at Amoeba Hollywood this past week have included some older, classic releases including Dr Dre's two decade old and still going strong, landmark, influential album The Chronic and MF Doom's ever amazing almost full decade old recording Mm. Food? which never gets old. Meantime the brand new addition to the top five above from the LA store is U-God's Keynote Speaker. Most fans agree that U-God may not be the strongest member of the Clan known as Wu-Tang that he co-founded but the artist born Lamont Jody Hawkins is still most definitely a very talented artist with more depth than many often give him credit for. And Keynote Speaker, released this week on RZA's Soul Temple Records, instantly proves this point with a sound that is sure to satisfy longtime fans of the Wu-Tang who fiend for something new from the Staten Island hip-hop legends. This thirst is further satisfied with album guest shots from Wu members Method Man and Inspectah Deck. Other U-God album guests include Elzhi and Styles P. But for the best idea of what Keynote Speaker sounds like check out the brand new video below of the album track "Skyscraper" that includes lots of great aerial and street shots of New York City from Times Square down to the still under construction Freedom Tower. Also below is the brand new video from Chill Moody for his song "Chains."
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:19:13
1) Hieroglyphics The Kitchen (Hiero Imperium)
2) Slum Village Evolution (Ne'Astra Music)
3) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)
4) Radioinactive The Akashic Record (Flying Carpet Studios)
5) Billy Woods & Blockhead Dour Candy (Backwoodz Studioz)
Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for his latest video report on new hip-hop releases and the accompanying new top five hip-hop chart (both above) for this special video-only weekly hip-hop rap-up for the Amoeblog that, as well as corresponding videos for some of the new releases referenced by E-Lit, are new hip-hop videos from such artists as Rav.P featuring Skyzoo, Murs' audio track to accompany new comic book project, - the sequel to the first chapter of the comic book featured here two weeks ago, Ugly Heroes' (featuring Apollo Brown, Verbal Kent, and Red Pill) new video for "Desperate," and new Bay rap from The Jacka & Dubble-OO with a feature from J.Stalin on the new track “Time Standing Still.”
1) Ghostface Killah Twelve Reasons To Die (Soul Temple)
2) Kid Cudi Indicud (Dreamworks)
3) Trek Life Hometown Foreigner (Mello Music)
4) DJ Neil Armstrong Sweet: 10 Year Anniversary Box Set (Turntable Lab)
5) Kev Brown Songs Without Words Vols 1 + 2 (Green)
Special thanks to E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley for taking time to record video above and run down the latest new hip-hop arrivals at Amoeba which include goodies such as Mello Music's Trek Life (Hometown Foreigner) and Kev Brown (Songs Without Words Vols 1 + 2). Then of special interest to DJ/turntablist fans are both the Beat Junkies Record Store Day leftover vinyl release plus the beautifully done box set by DJ Neil Armstrong (Sweet: 10 Year Anniversary Box Set). Speaking of the craziness of Record Store Day last Saturday, E-Lit reports that two of the hottest hip-hop RSD 2013 exclusive items at the Berkeley Amoeba were the Notorious B.I.G. vinyl reissue of Ready To Die and the GZA chess set - both of which were snapped up and sold out in record time. Continuing to sell well at Amoeba Berkeley and the other two Amoeba stores this week are both the new Kid Cudi (Indicud on Dreamworks) and Ghostface Killah's Twelve Reasons To Die (Soul Temple). And below is a video from this hot new collab with Adrian Younge.
This is the third and final part in the 2012 Year End Best of Hip-Hop Amoeblogs in which I do my personal top ten albums of the year, plus some other highlights of the past twelve months in hip-hop music and culture. This is all from one person's perspective and includes some losses of 2012 like Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys who had been battling cancer since 2009 and passed on at the young age of 47. MCA joined the ranks of such other hip-hoppers as Camu Tao who also died from cancer. Coincidentally, 2012 was the year that Bay Area graffiti fan Sonae Ponce produced the Graffiti Against Cancer event. Within a week of MCA's passing, BK rapper Tone Tank recorded a great tribute to the Beatie Boy (with cool accompanying logo - left) based on the Beasties' "Shake your Rump."
Overall in 2012, we gained much more than we lost with such things as a resurgence in the art of the skratch DJ. Best evidence of the Return of the DJ in 2012? The return of the DMC DJ battle to San Francisco and releases such turntablists as DJ Needlz and DJ Moschops (who also raps). Also in 2012 artists began to specialize more in their own respective niches. These included Oh No's guest heavy tribute album to Dolemite, Ohnomite (Traffic Entertainment). In 2012 some of the best labels making music included Mello Music and Stones Throw.