Amoeblog

"Better Call Heller" is the N.W.A "Straight Outta Compton" Biopic Spin-Off Series Just Waiting To Be Made

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2015 11:48pm | Post a Comment

Since its release three weeks ago the F. Gary Gray directed N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton has garnered a ton of press and generated newfound interest in not just the subjects of the film but in the whole history of West Coast rap. Everywhere you go over these past days there's some N.W.A related thing unfolding; from Ice Cube and Dr. Dre on the cover of Rolling Stone, to N.W.A getting heavy radio rotation (a quarter century later) on retro/throwback stations such as San Francisco's Q102, to N.W.A themed "Straight Outta Oakland" Oakland Raiders T-shirts (simultaneously bootlegging both the copyrighted logos of the football team and the gangsta rappers) being hawked by the roadside near the Oakland Coliseum this past Sunday when they hosted the Arizona Cardinals.

It is only natural that with all of this interest (read: more profits to be made) that there'll be a sequel movie such as Straight Outta Compton II: The Dr. Dre / Death Row Story. That's just one of many from the film that contained several story arcs that it didn't have time to fully develop in its packed 2 + half hours. In fact knowing Hollywood's love of bankable projects it could easily evolve into a franchise of seemingly never-ending sequels until it fizzles out with the final lackluster installment of Straight Outta Compton XI: Whateva Happened To Yella?

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Straight Outta Compton & Fending Off the FBI & PMRC, It Would Be Such Infighting as Ice Cube's Split That Would Bring Down N.W.A

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2015 10:00am | Post a Comment

With their highly-anticipated biopic Straight Outta Compton opening in theaters today, August 14th, you can bet that there's gonna be a whole lot more talk about N.W.A's legacy in the history of hip-hop. The highly influential group's unique new take on raw in-your-face hardcore rap changed the rap game forever.

They first grabbed the attention of the hip-hop world in 1987 with "Boyz-n-the-Hood" and "Dope Man" on Ruthless Records via Macola when it was N.W.A and the Posse. That was when this collective of rappers from South Central LA first made people stop and listen to their unprecedented rap sound - a mix of head-nodding, hard, funky bassline beats and grooves with catchy as hell, no-holds-barred stories about life in the ghetto. Then came their landmark 1988 debut album Straight Outta Compton that gave the new film its title and sporting such soon to be classics as "Gangsta Gangsta," "Fuck Tha Police," "Dopeman (Remix)," and its powerful title track. Extra significant is the fact that Straight Outta Compton was recorded in just six weeks for only $8,000. The indie release with its iconic album cover art, that has been copied and parodied a million times since, would go on to sell three and a half million copies and, more importantly, be instrumental in altering the direction of a genre.

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Hip Hop Rap Up: Record Store Day, Coachella, Concert Picks, US MCs + Euro Producers

Posted by Billyjam, April 17, 2015 04:00pm | Post a Comment

As you well know tomorrow - Saturday, April 18th - is Record Store Day 2015 and it is the one day that you must head to one of the three outlets of the world's largest independent record store - Amoeba Music - where we have some amazing RSD releases plus a ton of other stuff including in-stores sets ( and complimentary coffee, and announcement of the winner of the Pro-Ject Essential II turntable and a ton of choice vinyl. See full Amoeba Music RSD details here. As far as the special RSD releases - of which there are 500+ this year - some of the hip-hop ones include N.W.A.'s landmark Straight Outta Compton on cassette - with digital download card. To be best prepared for the rush and crowds of Record Store Day it is best to arrive at Amoeba prepared - knowing which specific RSD releases you want in advance of getting to the store. And you can study the full RSD 2015 releases list here.  

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Rare 1990 Chuck D Interview with DJ Chuck Chillout on "WDEF"

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

For this week's installment of the Amoeblog's Hip Hop History Tuesdays I rewind the clock back 24 years  to December 1990 when Def Jam mailed out to journalists, DJs, and other media folk on their press promo list a cool complimentary "Merry Christmas" mixtape by DJ Chuck Chillout that was supposedly the NYC radio station "WDEF" and its show "The Rush Hour." But while both the radio show and the radio station were imaginary the cassette and all the interviews on it, including EPMD, BWP, and Pubic Enemy's Chuck D (featured here), were all very real and conducted as if on the air live by the recording artist/radio DJ who was on KISS FM at the time.

The Rush Hour
name referred to the Russell Simmons overseen artists - most on Def Jam - that were showcased on the mixtape that was a nice balance of artist interviews and music - a lot of two turntable beat juggle routines. Out of all the tape's interviews the interview with Chuck D (on behalf of Public Enemy)  was the best one and hence, when I uncovered this long lost tape in past week, decided to upload it to YouTube to feature here on the Amoeblog Hip-Hop History feature. Note that the actual Chuck Chillout/Chuck D interview would have been recorded at the end of Summer/ start of Fall 1990 - right after PE got off tour in support of their then current album Fear Of A Black Planet (their third studio album that was released on May 10th, 1990).

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Revisiting Short Lived 1990's Slammin' Rap Video Magazine

Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2014 11:52am | Post a Comment

24 long hip-hop years ago, way back in the year of 1990 (a time before the Internet with its instant access to everything) there were relatively few ways to hear rap news and new hip-hop music. Back then there was  Source magazine and a few other hip-hop print publications such as RapMasters or the UK published Hip Hop Connection monthly mag. Compared to nowadays when a news item can be published worldwide within seconds of it taking place, things sure moved slowly back in 1990. In that bygone print age, the turnaround from when a national monthly's contents were written and photographed and ready for publication then finally hit the newsstands was typically a two month period. That rendered much of the "news"  old by the time it was read - although rap fans back then didn't seem to care. Besides, they had few options to get their hip-hop fix.

A little more timely back at the beginning of the '90s were the weekly rap radio shows around the country, aircheck cassette tapes of which were often dubbed and re-dubbed and shared. Then there were the select weekly or monthly rap video shows on TV that ranged from small regional ones playing national rap music videos and showcasing local talent to the big national Yo! MTV Raps, which was then two years strong and a lifeline of hip-hop music and news to those in areas outside of big cities.

In addition to these media outlets was the novel hip-hop video magazine,  Slammin' Rap Video Magazine, which was a one-hour VHS videocassette tape published by BMG that retailed for $12.98. Often billing itself as material you would "not seen on MTV," the one-hour video production was hosted by Alex Winter (actor then famous for his role alongside a young Keanu Reeves in 1989's silly-but-fun comedy Sci-Fi Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure). Slammin' was an ambitious, well-executed production that presented engaging artist interviews and showed music clips with the best hip-hop acts of the day. The premiere Vol. 1 1990 edition (see below in full) included KRS-One, MC Hammer, Queen Latifah, Tone-Loc, Special Ed, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Ice-T and his extended Rhyme Syndicate crew that included a young pre House of Pain Everlast, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Lakim Shabazz, Salt 'N' Pepa, Kid 'N' Play, and Roxanne Shanté among others. That's a pretty darn impressive line-up for a video magazine! But for whatever reason, the shortlived Slammin' video magazine series never took off in a huge way and only lasted for a handful of editions produced and published between 1990 and 1991. Along with Vol. 1 you can also see in full Vol. 3 of Slammin', which starred such hip-hop artists as LL Cool J, Too $hort, Schoolly D, Eric B & Rakim, D-Nice, and  Big Daddy Kane below. Both are really entertaining and educational in my opinion. And look in the used VHS bins at Amoeba for the occasional copy of the Slammin' video magazine series that shows up from time to time.

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