Amoeblog

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Common

Posted by Amoebite, October 23, 2014 07:37pm | Post a Comment

Common at Amoeba Hollywood

You definitely don't have to be a fan of Common to appreciate what he has been able to achieve over the past two decades. He went from humble beginnings as an underground emcee on the Southside of Chicago to a GRAMMY winning rapper and high profile actor in Hollywood. With the recent release of Nobody's Smiling, Common has achieved another milestone few artists can claim (aside from being one of the few rappers interviewed by Oprah) - growing his discogrophy to album number 10. 

Common

Teaming up with producer and former Kanye West mentor No I.D. (aka "the Godfather of Chicago Hip Hop"), Common delivers a stellar album depicting the struggles and tragic conditions that plague Chicago today. The album's context is in line with what fans came to love about Common. In the early '90s, when gangsta rap was taking over radio and selling millions of records, Common stuck to his jazz influenced raps, bringing the "Golden Era" of hip hop to the new millenium. Jay-Z and Drake may rule the Billboard charts, but it's Common who gains the respect of fans from the underground and the mainstream.  

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: September 1996 In The Wake of 2Pac's Murder

Posted by Billyjam, October 21, 2014 07:00am | Post a Comment
For this week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I rewind the clock back eighteen full years to September 1996 and to the hip-hop news related to 2Pac that I was reporting on at the time via various media outlets. The shooting death of Tupac Shakur was the big story of that year.  The shooting death of 2Pac, who died in September of 1996, had a major impact on many people and often - oddly enough - in a positive way. At the time I reported on how 2Pac's death sparked discussion and unity among California inmates interviewing the then incarcerated Oakland rapper Pooh-Man (aka MC Pooh). "I've never seen anything quite like it before.  It brought every culture in here closer together; blacks, whites, and Mexicans.  Everyone was  touched by his death," Poohman told me at the time speaking by phone from San Quentin two days following the  Sept 13th news of 2Pac's death.  "I'm in a dorm with two hundred muthafuckas who is always talkin' and hollerin' but now whenever 2Pac's song comes on the radio everybody gets silent.  He meant a hell of a lot to everyone.  He was the voice of a generation.  He was speaking for all of us," said Poohman, "Right after his death a lot of the blacks got together in circles and talked about it and rapped the words to his songs," he said.  In fact at that time Poohman and fellow inmate, Oakland rapper Beehive, even went so far as to write a rap song in honor the slain rapper entitled, "We Still Feel Your Presence."

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Essential Records: Nas' 'Illmatic'

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2014 10:42am | Post a Comment
Essential Records Nas Illmatic

When it comes to "essential" hip-hop records they don't come much more essential than Nas' 1994 landmark, ten-track debut album Illmatic. The album's 20 year anniversary is being celebrated in grand style this year with a nice vinyl reissue of the album, the recent theatrical release of the award winning documentary about the album, Time Is Illmatic (see trailer below), and an ongoing tour by the famed Queensbridge emcee - fittingly titled the Time Is Illmatic Tour - in which the emcee performs the entire album in track-listing order following a screening of the new documentary. Nas' current California tour dates include two nights at the Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct 19 & 21) and two nights at the Orpheum Theatre in LA (Oct 18 & 22).

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LA's "Best Rapper" Open Mike Eagle Publishes New Video

Posted by Billyjam, October 6, 2014 12:50pm | Post a Comment

Open Mike Eagle "Informations (feat. Kool A.D.)" (2014)

One of LA's greatest emcees Open Mike Eagle, who the LA Weekly just named Best Rapper of 2014 in last week's issue of the weekly paper, has just today published today the brand new Jay Brown directed music video (above) for his 2014 track  "Informations" which is a commentary on the state of modern technology and how one deals with it all.

The lyrically engaging track from the Project Blowed veteran, which features a memorable guest spot from Bay Area emcee Kool A.D. of Das Racist fame, is culled from Open Mike Eagle's current album, Dark Comedy, that was released jointly by Mello Music / Fat Beats a couple of months ago and is available in both CD and LP formats - and is recommended for those into progressive hip-hop.

Top Ten Snoop Dogg Collaborations

Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2014 03:13pm | Post a Comment
Love him or hate him you can't avoid him. Snoop Dogg is everywhere at all times it seems. Whether the Long Beach CA artist born Calvin Broadus, who began his rap career a quarter of a century ago, is in the studio or on stage somewhere Snoop Dogg is an ever present, highly visible pop culture figure.

Over the weekend he was the man of the hour as host of the big 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards. Meanwhile his studio output is a non stop laundry list of releases that boasts countless collaborations with anyone from indie rappers to pop stars. A couple of weeks ago I heard the new track he collaborated with Bay Area female vocalist Goapele on (a remix of the Oakland singer's disco-throwback styled single "Hey Boy"). Around that same time I heard excerpts from his fifth and latest in the Thats My Work mix tape series with Tha Dogg Pound (Kurupt and Daz Dillinger, along with production from DJ Drama). Then over the weekend I was reading somewhere that he recently confirmed that he's got a collaborative full length project in the works with Pharrell (with whom he has done one off tracks with before including the 2004 hit single "Drop It Like It's Hot").

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