Amoeblog

With "2016 Rap Up" Contemporary Culture Observer Skillz Surmises Highs & Lows of The "Bummer" Year That Was

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2017 11:59am | Post a Comment

"This past year was a bummer," is how  Skillz, (aka Mad Skillz) kicks off his just published annual year in review rap: "2016 Rap Up" (audio of song below).  From that opener through its closing line about "2016 you can go, and I'm glad you're gone Felt like a long bad dream" this contemporary culture observer accurately surmises the highs and lows of 2016 while simultaneously channeling how many of us feel at this year's end. Hear the full audio below, uploaded yesterday to SoundCloud, of the artist's latest year-in-review rhyme: something that began accidentally 14 years ago. "It was originally a freestyle for the end of a mixtape that I did in '02 over all Neptunes beats," he told the Amoeblog in an interview last year, adding how "It just grew legs of its own." By now his annual "Rap Ups," that are typically recorded and uploaded in the final two days of December have become anticipated rhyme recaps of the year. 

Skillz' two-decade career dates back to his killer 1996 debut From Where??? on Big Beat f
eaturing production from The Large Professor and Jay Dee (aka J Dilla).  But so popular are Skillz' annual "Rap Up" reviews, they tend to overshadow his other work. They're funny, short, and cater to a short-attention span generation. As Skillz shared in his Amoeblog interview the formula for his annual rap recap is simple:  "Get to it, give 'em the facts, make it humorous, make 'em think, make 'em reminisce, and get out!"  For the backtrack to his newest production Skillz utilizes Young M.A’s ’ “Summer Story (instrumental).” 

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Chance the Rapper's Hella Hectic Christmas Music Week

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2016 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Topping off an incredibly successful year, that included recently nabbing seven Grammy nominations including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for his critically and commercially acclaimed 2016 album Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper threw himself into the Christmas music spirit this past week. The 23 year old Chicago born and proud rapper has had a hella productive past five days in the Christmas music spirit that began with his viral hit performance of "Jingle Barack" on SNL, included a special Christmas music DJ set (and interview) at BBC1 radio yesterday, and topped it all off today with the surprise release of a Christmas mixtape with fellow Chicago artist, the Def Jam singer/producer Jeremih. Posted to Soundcloud this morning (two days later than initially planned) under the title  Merry Christmas Lil' Mama, it's a (free) nine track mixtape of newly recorded tracks with some mic guests joining in the festive musical mix. It's a real nice laid back 32 minute mix too, which you can hear below, with such tracks as "Chi Town Christmas," "I'm Your Santa," "Snowed In," "All The Way (feat. Hannibal Buress)," "The Tragedy (feat. Noname),"  and “I Shoulda Left You (feat. Lud Foe)."

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The Best Albums of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2016 03:01pm | Post a Comment

Best of 2016

With the holiday season fast approaching and 2016 drawing to an end, we decided to take a look back at some of our favorite releases for the year. Staff from all three of our stores --  in Hollywood, San Francisco, and Berkeley -- shared their picks for the year's best music and movies and told us a little about what made them so awesome. So hop in the Amoeba sleigh with us, won't you, as we go on a magical holiday journey through the early months of 2016 till now, adventuring from world music to rock 'n' roll and everything in between, savoring the most memorable works from some of our most beloved artists. (It might even give you a few swell ideas for record-shaped stocking stuffers.) 

Best of 2016 - rock

Anohni Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness

I have been a fan of Anohni (formerly known as Antony & the Johnsons) for a long time now. She has another one of those distinctive voices that there is no confusing for someone else. Another great album produced by the amazing ANOHNI. The words in the songs are so full of emotion and power it is almost too much to handle sometimes. This album somehow feels like it is in the future. The songs are very set in the present. But the music really takes me to the future. Or at least makes me feel like we will be OK as long as we have ANOHNI to help guide us through the uncertain future. - Brad, Hollywood

Skepta's "Konnichiwa"

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 7, 2016 11:51am | Post a Comment

Skepta, Konnichiwa-- By doubleay

As grime continues to blow up globally, Skepta seems to be comfortably sitting at the top of the game after the release of his fourth studio album, Konnichiwa. Although North America has been fairly aware of prominent UK MC’s like Wiley and Dizzy Rascal, the hard hitting, nitty gritty grime scene has been popping off in the UK since the early 2000’s. Ushered in by Skepta and his Boy Better Know crew, there has been a massive boom in North America for the sub-genre, almost coinciding with the 2014 release of Skepta’s “That’s Not Me (feat. JME)" single.

As North America finally began catching on to the UK’s hottest Hip-hop sound, Skepta did not slow down. From 2014 to the release of Konnichiwa (2016), singles like “That’s Not Me,” “Shutdown,” and “It Ain’t Safe (feat. A$AP Mob’s Young Lord)” all charted in the top 50’s on the UK singles chart, while simultaneously running up millions of SoundCloud plays. Through the great success of his recent music, his association with A$AP Rocky’s A$AP Mob, and a historical performance with Kanye West at the 2015 BRIT Awards, Hip-hop fans everywhere are Skepta’s for the taking.

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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with Car Seat Headrest

Posted by Amoebite, May 24, 2016 02:06pm | Post a Comment

Car Seat Headrest Will Toledo Amoeba Music What's In My Bag?

"My twelve-year old self kinda' took over and I ended up just getting a bunch of colorful, bright albums," says Will Toledo, frontman of the Seattle-based Car Seat Headrest. "I don't even think I like this band, but I like the album cover," he says while holding up the Pet Shop Boys' latest album, Super. Toledo was record shopping at Amoeba Hollywood and we got a chance to sit down with him and check out his picks, not all of which were chosen by the cover.

Originally from Williamsburg, VA the indie band takes its name from Toledo's decision to record vocals in the back of his car for privacy. Self-releasing four albums in 2010, and steadily releasing more over the following years on Bandcamp, Toledo's music gained a cult following on the internet, which resulted in a contract with Matador Records in 2015. That year's Teens Of Style was his first release for the label. Car Seat Headrest's second album with Matador, Teens Of Denial, is out now digitally, with CDs and LPs out July 29. (You may have read about a Cars sample not being approved and delaying the physical release of the album until July.)

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