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Hip-Hop Rap Up 01:14:11: T.I., Saigon, J-Live, Steinski, Beans, Cypress Hill, NAMM + More

Posted by Billyjam, January 14, 2011 08:19pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 01:14:11


1) Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
 
2) Diddy-Dirty Money Last Train To Paris (Bad Boy Records / Interscope)

3) Nicki Minaj Pink Friday (Cash Money/Universal)

4) Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra Records)

5) T.I. No Mercy (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
  
Thanks to my man Burgess (of Healamonster & Tarsier fame) for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart from the Hollywood Amoeba store that includes many of the already high-profile major releases of the past month or more. Kanye West, Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, and Diddy (with his in-demand new dancefloor driven project Dirty Money) are all once again included here, as is the latest release from T.I., No Mercy on Grand Hustle via Atlantic Records,

Released on December 7th, the long overdue No Mercy is T.I.'s seventh album and his first new release T.I.since 2008's popular Paper Trail. For this release he pulled out all the stops, with guest appearances from some of today's hottest names, including Kanye, Eminem, The-Dream, Christina Aguilera, and Chris Brown, who is featured on the single "Get Back Up." Meanwhile, production duties are spread out among studio masters such as Danja, who produced "My Love" & "Knock You Down;" Dr. Luke, who produced "Magic" & "Right Round;"  and Jim Jonsin, who worked his magic on "Whatever You Like" & "Lollipop." Note that in addition to the regular version of this CD there is also a Deluxe version that offers two bonus tracks as well as special packaging.

Looking Back @ Hip-Hop in 2010

Posted by Billyjam, December 31, 2010 10:30pm | Post a Comment

2010 was another great year for hip-hop with a seemingly never-ending flow of quality releases dropping from both underground and mainstream hip-hop artists. Hence, it's impossible to fully represent the diversity of hip-hop in 2010 in any year-end column. But this Amoeblog will attempt to offer a sampler of some of the highlights of 2010 via revisiting some select Amoeba Hip-Hop Top 5 charts along with some accompanying videos. Also below are some best-of 2010 lists from Luis F Soria (Amoeba San Francisco), Ray Ricky Rivera (Amoeba Hollywood), DJ Inti (Amoeba Berkeley), and myself (Amoeblog).

The lists of 2010 releases below only scratch the surface of what came out this past year, which proves just how vibrant hip-hop was in 2010. It was everywhere, with artists crossing over more than ever into pop, rock, & dance. And while 2010 saw a ton of newcomers drop impressive albums, it was also a year when many longtime artists delivered some of their best work. Eminem, Big Boi, E40 and Ghostface Killah each had stellar releases. Also impressive in 2010 were Dres from Black Sheep, Sadat X, Rah Digga, and Son of Bazerk and No Self Control, who returned with the killer jackin for beats track, "I Swear On a Stack of Old Hits," released by Chuck D's Slamjamz label. Unfortunately, when they performed live, opening for Public Enemy in 2010, they weren't as good as on record or video (see below). Consistently great in concert including on their 2010 tour was Public Enemy whose 1991 single "By The Time I Get To Arizona" inspired many and took on a new meaning in 2010 with Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, or SB 1070.
Bored Stiff
DJ Shadow's Shadowsphere tour was among the best shows of 2010. Zion I's recent Atomic Clock tour was also on the money. Gurp Fest, earlier this month, proved that the party driven, raw hip-hop Bay Area bred movement is on the brink of blowing up. Among the many Bay Area artists making noise in 2010 were Richmond's Erk Tha Jerk, Vallejo's Moe Green, and Fillmore San Francisco's DaVinci. Veteran SF hip-hop crew Bored Stiff released the free digital album Now More Than Ever in 2010 but tragically lost a member when earlier this month Rick Fairley, aka Big Kwanz, died in his sleep from a heart attack. He was only 36. Hip-hop lost many others too in 2010, notably GURU of Gang Starr, who died back in April at age 43.

Talib Kweli on Gutter Rainbows, Kanye, Prisoner of Conscious, Obama's Raw Deal, Illegal Downloading, Black Star Sequel + More

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2010 07:55pm | Post a Comment

I have long been a fan of Talib Kweli's -- his music (both his solo work & collaborations with Mos Def, Hi-Tek, and Madlib) and his consistent & refreshingly uplifting & positive outlook. His unwavering commitment to thought-provoking, conscious, non misogynist hip-hop in an era when that approach to the genre doesn't generally fit the criteria for lucrative success is admirable. Talib Kweli is a truly unique artist and as a high-profile hip-hop act he is an anomaly in that he safely walks that line between mainstream (including his work with Kanye West -- an artist that once opened for him) and independent hip-hop; he is well known above the radar while still maintaining the respect of the ever discerning underground hip-hop world. So when I had an opportunity to attend a listening party in New York last night for Kweli's January 2011 release, Gutter Rainbows, and to also sit down and talk with him a bit for the Amoeblog, I jumped at the chance.

Of course, Talib Kweli is no stranger to Amoeba Music. Not only has his music long been a favorite of staffers and customers alike, but he has also had some very well received Amoeba instores, including at Amoeba San Francisco along with Hi-Tek back in May of this year just as the duo (aka Reflection Eternal) was dropping the highly recommended (but generally slept on) Revolutions Per Minute. And back in August 2007 in support of his last solo album Ear Drum, he had an instore that was streamed live. Kweli put on one of the best ever live sets I've seen at Amoeba Hollywood -- as witnessed in the video below. Last year at SXSW in Austin, TX, when he was performing a showcase with Hi-Tek, Amoeblogger Smiles Davis sat down with the artist to ask him ten questions about hip-hop and his take on the genre.
  
Talib Kweli live @ Amoeba Hollywood, August 2007

Last night (December 21st) was the listening party at the bar Snap on West 14th Street in Manhattan for Gutter Rainbows (Javotti Media/3D), which will be a digital only release. The night was unlike most listening parties in that it was a more intimate event and also was technically a semi-performance for Kweli, who mingled throughout the night with fans and media folk. He Talib Kweli + Hi Tekspent the entire preview playing time of his new album, which drops January 25th, up in the DJ booth rapping along on the mic to many of the new release's 14 songs, and introducing each track, big upping its producer and giving some background history. He also fielded questions from the invited partiers (many longtime friends from Brooklyn) who packed the club and gave an update on what he's been up to.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 11:05:10: Celph Titled & Buckwild, N*E*R*D, Jneiro Jarel, Pitbull, Madlib, SF Giants, Roach Gigz, J-Live, DJ Shadow, Lil Wayne, Homeboy Sandman + More

Posted by Billyjam, November 5, 2010 05:05am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 11:05:10

Celph Titled & Buckwild
1) Celph Titled & Buckwild
Nineteen Ninety Now (No Sleep Recordings)

2) Madlib Medicine Show No.10-Black Soul (Stones Throw)

3) N*E*R*D Nothing (Star Trak)

4) Jneiro Jarel Fauna (Kindred Spirits)

5) Pitbull Armando (Mr. 305 Inc.)

Lots of new releases on this latest chart, care of Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba store, including in the number one slot Celph Titled & Buckwild's Nineteen Ninety Now on No Sleep Recordings. It finds the perfect pairing of the famed D.I.T.C. DJ & producer Buckwild with the Florida emcee Celph Titled (of the Demigodz and Army of the Pharaohs fame) and the results are most impressive. Killer production plus lots of tasty cutting and scratching (care of Mista Sinista of X-Ecutioners) perfectly compliment Celph Titled and the other emcees (many fellow D.I.T.C. folks) that guest throughout the 16 track CD, including Sadat X, Grand Puba, AG, Diamond D, Treach (Naughty By Nature), R.A. The Rugged Man, Apathy, Chino XL, and Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks. Lyrically, Celph bears it all and tells it like it is (and was), even addressing his bygone beef with Cage from a decade ago.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:09:10: Big Boi, The Roots, Drake, Eminem, Nas + Damian Marley, DJ Inti, & DaVinci

Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2010 08:20am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 07:09:10

Big Boi OutKast
1) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)

2) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)

3) Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives  (Republic)

4) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)

5) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)

Only released three days ago (July 6th), Big Boi's anticipated new album Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty on Def Jam Recordings, is already at number two on the Amoeba Music Berkeley chart. The 15 track CD also comes in a CD+DVD Deluxe Edition. The Atlanta hip-hop artist is best known as one-half of OutKast and this is his first solo album, so expectations are high. Big Boi has morphed into his Sir Lucious Left Foot alter ego on the new record. As DJ Inti at Amoeba Berkeley accurately points out in the video clip below, generally it is Big Boi's more accessible (and arguably more gifted, lyrically at least) OutKast partner Andre 3000 who gets the most light shed upon him, inevitably upstaging Big Boi's more subtle talents.

Over two years in the making, Sir Lucious was initially slated to come out on Jive Records, but Big Boi was reportedly unhappy with their marketing plan, or rather, lack thereof, and hence he switched to Def Jam. Sir Lucious is by no means a total departure from OutKast -- in fact, not only does Andre 3000 produce a track ("You Ain't No DJ"), but also the overall sound carries that same OutKast vibe and feel, with the Dungeon Family (including the return of Joi) fully representing on the album and featuring Organized Noize (including Sleepy Brown, who also does vocals) & Mr. DJ supplying some production. Others on the record include Salaam Remi (who has worked with such artists as Nas and the Fugees), the Boom Boom Room productions crew, and the hot up-and-coming producer Boi-1da who also lent production to Drake's album Thank Me Later (this week's #5 on the Amoeba chart) on the track "Best I Ever Had" (see video below).

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