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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: 09.21.12: E-Lit, Kanye West, Murder Dog, Homeboy Sandman, DJ Shadow, DMC World Championships + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 21, 2012 08:38am | Post a Comment
             

Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 09:21:12

1) Kanye West Good Music Cruel Summer (Def Jam)

2) Casual Respect Game Or Expect Flames (Nature Sounds)

3) JJ DOOM Key to the Kuffs (Lex Records)

4)  Homeboy Sandman First of a Living Breed (Stones Throw)

5) Brother Ali Mourning In America & Dreaming In Color (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

Thanks again to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for the latest lowdown on all the new hip-hop releases via the above video clip in which he runs through all the new CD and vinyl releases for this week. And a good week it is! New releases include Brother Ali on Rhymesayers with the album Mourning In America & Dreaming In Color that comes with production by Jake One, and Homeboy Sandman (who I will be interviewing here on the Amoeblog in a couple of weeks) on Stones Throw with the album First of a Living Breed that follows two EPs from the prolific NYC artist currently on tour with Brother Ali (they will play the Fillmore in SF on Oct 25th). Other new releases in the store include the brand new Kanye West along with his G.O.O.D. Music crew who finally dropped their awaited first compilation album  Good Music Cruel Summer (note its title includes Summer - not Fall). The 12-track album features along with Kanye such artists as Big Sean, Pusha T, Common, Kid Cudi, Cyhi the Prynce, John Legend, R. Kelly, Jay-Z, 2 Chainz, Raekwon, and Marsha Ambrosius. Of the new album Amoeba.com wrote, "like Watch the Throne, his full-album collaboration with Jay-Z, it’s also a chance to loosen up without having to fully shoulder the expectation set by his solo output (and his ego). …..The non-Kanye songs have their appeal, as well, as on the appropriately faded sounding “Higher,” featuring The-Dream; and the fun, hard-hitting “Sin City,” featuring a pack of artists, including John Legend, singing and rapping over a big beat and sheets of synthesizer. West can’t help be the star of his own show, though, coming back in with what can only be described as a megaballad: 'The One.'"

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 02.04.12: Doomtree @ Amoeba Berkeley, Lushlife, Pep Love, Raleigh Moncrief, Homeboy Sandman, Gangrene, DJ Solomon, Azeem, and more

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2012 11:35am | Post a Comment
Jamoeblog Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 02:04:12

1) Gangrene Vodka and Ayahuasca (Decon)

2) Lushlife Plateau Vision LP (Western Vinyl)

3) Homeboy Sandman Subject Matter (Stones Throw)

4) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)

5) Wiley Evolve Or Be Extinct (Big Dada)

For a change from the usual sales-based Amoeba weekly hip-hop chart this week's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart is my own personal favorite brand new and soon to drop hip-hop releases. Topping the chart is the amazing Oh No and The Alchemist group Gangrene's third and latest collaboration Vodka and Ayahuasca on Decon. Also here is the recent Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( which gets better and better with repeated listens and the brand new Wiley
album Evolve Or Be Extinct - a double CD on Big Dada which will appeal equally to grime and hip-hop heads. Not out yet but worthy of mention It is the forthcoming Lushlife album Plateau  Vision LP, which will be released in mid April on Western Vinyl, and is sure to propel to mainstream visibility the South Philly producer/emcee/musician who made waves last year with the much buzzed about mixtape No More Golden Days. As with that mixtape, which was an actual cassette tape, this new CD album blends mid 90's underground NY hip-hop flavor with Dilla/Madlib type production values. This is the sort of well produced album that will make you want to also track down the instrumental version. It's pure pleasure to listen to and Lushlife's flow is a treat to listen to. He is also joined by several well chosen guests throughout the 11 track album including Styles P, Canadian rapper Shad, Heems of Das Racist, and ex-Titus Andronicus garage rocker Andrew Cedermark who joins him on the album track "The Romance of the Telescope." My personal favorite tracks are the throwback eigthies/nineties sounding "Anthem" and the opening "Magnolia" which, over a dreamy hypnotic backdrop and a series of well chosen samples, finds Lushlife rapping about such things as graffiti and Coney Island. This is already making its way to becoming one of my year end top albums.

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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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