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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Hip-Hop Power Duo EPMD's 1988 Debut Album "Strictly Business"

Posted by Billyjam, April 15, 2014 12:34pm | Post a Comment
In hip-hop history 1988 was a pretty darn incredible year for landmark releases. Like 1987 it was another landmark time in the development of the genre - an era when hip-hop had shifted from its old-school second phase and had arrived into its new so-called "golden era" that would last through to 1992/1993.  A hip-hop group and album that personified this perfectly was and the power duo of EPMD and their flawless debut album Strictly Business.

Released in August of 1988 on Sleeping Bag Records Strictly Business (not to be confused with the 1991 movie of the same name with an LL Cool J song of the same name on its soundtrack) was the debut album from infamous New York hip-hop duo EPMD whose name stands for  "Erick and Parrish Making Dollars" and who are comprised of the emcee/production power pair of Erick Sermon and Parish Smith (aka PMD).  The album was reissued last year as Strictly Business 25th Year Anniversary Edition CD with five bonus tracks.

Although only ten songs in length the hip-hop styles displayed on Strictly Business - cool laid back rhymes over smooth funky beats that sampled an infectious blend of funk, soul, and rock - remain influential to this day and personify the creme de la creme of hip-hop's much celebrated "golden age" - something that EPMD kept going on their second album, Unfinished Business, the following year as well as on later releases (all in the "Business" titled series). Unlike albums of today, which tend to be smothered in guest emcees and producers, with the exception of DJ K La Boss (who added his turntablist skills to album track that bore his name), Strictly Business was purely the talents of Erick and Parish who both rapped in a similarly almost lazy-sounding, rolling, lyrical flow.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Detroit House Producer & DJ Andres

Posted by Amoebite, April 3, 2014 12:34pm | Post a Comment

dez andres

There is no disputing the impact Detroit city has had on American music history. From Motown founder Berry Gordy to iconic Hip Hop producer J Dilla to the legendary rock band MC5, DJ Dez (aka Andres) is directly influenced by the Motor City's deep musical history. He received his first drum set from his father at age three and began studying percussion. He fell in love with turntables as a pre-teen and by the time Andres was in high school, he had already cut his teeth rocking underage house parties in Los Angeles. 

Fast forward to the '90s when Detroit was already on the map, making lots of noise with their local dance scene (rivaling the famed scene in Chicago). Andres finds himself working in a record store with house producer Moodymann. The two eventually go from co-workers to labelmates with Andres releasing three solid albums for Moodymann's Mahogani Music label. On top of the Moodymann credibility, Andres was tapped by J Dilla himself to DJ for the group, Slum Village. From Hip Hop to House music, Andres has become one of Detroit's modern torchbearers. He's since founded his own imprint, La Vida, which he launced with a his new 12 inch single titled "New For You." 

The Amoeba What's in My Bag? crew caught up with Andres on a recent visit to our Hollywood store. He found some really cool movies and picked up a few great vinyl finds. Andres grabs a copy of the documentarty film Searching For Sugar Man, a story about Rodriguez, a forgotten Detroit musician who, in some countries, is held in the same regard as Elvis. Definitely a must see! He also gets his hands on a vinyl copy of 24 Carat Black's Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth. Check out the full episode to see all his cool picks!      

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, 25 Years Later

Posted by Billyjam, April 1, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment
beastie boys paul's boutiqueHard to believe that it is already a quarter of a century since the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique was initially released, and five years since the 2009 20th anniversary deluxe reissue of that landmark second Beastie Boys album. Paul's Boutique, while widely considered the group's greatest recording, was initially considered a (commercial) flop by its label, Capitol Records, back in '89 cut to its lackluster sales in comparison to its predecessor. In fact so disappointing to Capitol were sales that, following a huge initial hype / marketing campaign, they completely stopped promoting the album. Many rap fans, drawn to group by the hits on their Rick Rubin produced 1986 Def Jam debut mega-hit album Licensed To Ill, were disappointed too. But true hip-hop fans saw/heard the brilliance of Paul's Boutique that was a distinct departure from Licensed To Ill.

Instead of Rick Rubin handling production on this sophomore release, which demanded repeated listens to fully appreciate its depth and brilliant nuances, was produced in good part by the Dust Brothers and recorded in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn over an extended period of time to ensure it came out just right and to the liking of members Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch.  It did, and sure while it may not have been as commercially successful as Licensed To Ill (still a great album too) Paul's Boutique was a far greater quality recording and one that truly stands the test of time as proven by such tracks as "High Plains Drifter," "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun," "Car Thief," "Shadrach," and "Get On The Mic." No wonder then that over the years it grew in popularity (and sales),  is regularly included high up on music lists' best albums of all time, and was reissued on its 20th anniversary.
 
Re-released five years ago to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of its initial 1989 release, the 2009 reissue of the LP reissue version was on 180 gram vinyl, in a nice two-sided, four-panel gate-fold sleeve - that revised the very original expensive gatefold pressing of the album. The 2009 reissue also included a digital download card to access bonus audio band commentary on the album that was so close to the Beasties' hearts. For instance the track "59 Chrystie Street" was titled in reference to an early residence of the Beastie Boys, back earlier in the 80's when they were young punk rockers about to morph into full time hip-hoppers.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 03.28.14: Freddie Gibbs, Madlib, YG, JJ Doom, L'orange, Demrick, Young Gully + more

Posted by Billyjam, March 28, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib "Shame (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)" (off
Pinata)


Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 03:28:14

1) Freddie Gibbs, Madlib Pinata (Madlib Invazion)

2) YG My Krazy Life (Def Jam)

3) ScHoolboy Q Oxymoron (Interscope)

4) JJ Doom Bookend EP (Lex Records)

5) Rick Ross Mastermind (Maybach / Def Jam)

The new number one hip-hop album at Amoeba Hollywood this week is the recently released (March 18th) collaborative album  Pinata (also available on LP/vinyl format) from the power duo of Madlib teaming up with Freddie Gibbs. Released through Madlib's Madlib Invazion label this one hour,  seventeen track, hip-hop tour-de-force also features some very well-chosen guests (new school and old school) that perfectly compliment the pair including Danny Brown, Raekwon, Scarface, BJ The Chicago Kid, Casey Veggies, Sulaiman, Mac Miller, and Odd Future's Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt. Another new album featuring numerous guest collaborators is the number two chart entry this week from popular new rapper YG whose just released debut on Pu$haz Ink via Def Jam My Krazy Life features such big name guests as Drake, Young Jeezy, Kendrick Lamar, and Ty Dolla $ign along with his longtime producer DJ Mustard. Scroll down below to see the video for YG with DJ  Mustard's "Left, Right" off the new album. Another new chart entry is the recent (vinyl picture disc DP) Bookend EP from JJ Doom (the duo of DOOM - aka MF Doom, and producer Jneiro Jarel) on Lex Records.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: With Help from World's Famous Supreme Team & Others, Malcolm McLaren Created A Hip-Hop Classic

Posted by Billyjam, March 18, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment

    


A true sign of any album qualifying as a classic in its respective genre is when, even 31 years after its initial malcolm mclarenrelease, it still packs the same punch it did upon first listen. Such is most definitely the case with Malcolm McLaren's hip-hop and world music 43:36 minute classic album Duck Rock that was originally released in January 1983 on Island Records in the US and on Charisma in the UK. Presenting divergent styles of music from round the globe, most notably hip-hop and African and all interspersed with NYC hip-hop radio show snippets from the World's Famous Supreme Team radio show,  Duck Rock featured such timeless hits as "Buffalo Gals" and "Double Dutch." And while British impresario Malcolm McLaren, who was perhaps best known then and now as the former manager of the Sex Pistols, is credited as the album's creator or main artist, that was not technically the case. The maverick McLaren was really more of a hands-on executive producer with a knack for unearthing new trends long before they broke and repackaging them for public consumption. And for this intuitive gift McLaren, who died four years ago, has been praised for discovering new artists/genres while alternately been criticized for exploitation. McLaren has also (rightfully) been accused of routinely giving himself more much credit than he may have deserved. In the case of Duck Rock he is listed as the artist on the record while there are numerous artists on there - with McLaren, who sings and kind of raps throughout Duck Rock (like when he does the talkover in "Double Dutch"), being just one contributing artist. McLaren is also credited as "producer" along with (post Buggles / pre The Art of Noise) Trevor Horn who actually did the majority of the music production; perfectly melding together divergent styles and sounds that included South American, Caribbean, and down home Americana roots. Thomas Dolby was also a musical contributor.

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