Amoeblog

1994 Hip-Hop Flashback: Rap/Hip-Hop Charts from Billboard, Leopold Records, Music People, Gavin Report, KMEL, KUSF

Posted by Billyjam, November 2, 2016 08:01pm | Post a Comment
For this hip-hop flashback to 1994, we take a look at a variety of rap/hip-hop charts spanning various times throughout that wonderfully rich twelve months in hip-hop history twenty two years ago. Including singles, extended plays and album releases, these charts or lists are comprised of both national and regional (with a focus on Bay Area), and based on either sales figures or radio airplay.  Since the charts listed are not for all of 1994 and tallying year end figures, but rather sample charts from various weeks or months throughout that year, they tends to give a better overall (or at least alternative) view of hip-hop in the Nine Fo' compared to the usual "best of '94 hip-hop" lists of releases you find online. Interspersed with some corresponding music videos, the 1994 charts culled from several different sources. Among the 1994 charts below is one from longtime leading music industry magazine  Billboard.  Based on retail sales from the week ending September 17th, 1994, it is their Top 40 "Hot Rap" singles chart. That the music industry publication referred to the genre as "rap" and not "hip-hop" demonstrated how the music was still generally referred, even in '94.  Another Billboard chart (albeit not strictly rap) below is their "Regional Heatseekers #1's" chart that highlighted buzz-worthy, hot selling, number one charting releases from various regions round the country. Rappin' 4-Tay was number one in the Pacific region Also below is the first top 20 of a top 40 Gavin Rap chart from now defunct, San Francisco based, radio trade industry magazine Gavin Report. and compiled by rap editor Thembisa Mshaka.There's three charts from the long gone Oakland one-stop distributor Music People (who owned In-A-Minute Records) whose former employee (later DogDay Records co-founder) Jo Treggiari prepared the three charts below: "Down In Our Hood" which was all local Bay Area (including a lot of carry over from '93 releases). "MINI'S" which was singles and cassingles (cassettes as it was still middle of the 90's), and "MAXI'S" which were EPs or more typically extended single versions with formats including cassette, CD, and vinyl.
The other charts included are from the (long gone but still missed) Leopold Records on Durant Ave. in Berkeley near the UC campus and Amoeba Berkeley (in fact many former Amoebites worked there). Leopold's was legendary for hip-hop fans. People would travel from all over the East Bay and beyond to shop at the amazingly well stocked store for their in-depth, exhaustive choices of both local indie and national releases. Consequently what homegrown music was popular with Bay hip-hop fans is reflected in their "Local Legends" full-length albums top 30 list from June of '94. The mid 1994 published list included a lot of 1993 carry over releases as well as the 1994 album via Sic Wid It/Jive from Celly Cel: Heat 4 Yo Azz which was their hot-pick "Bump of the Month." Note that most Bay Area albums listed on that chart were on CD and cassette only with not that many vinyl formatted. At this stage Bay Area was less vinyl oriented than hip-hop coming out back East. Other '94 charts below include the Top Ten KMEL radio airplay based one from the first week in September that note includes some R&B as well as rap/hip-hop. Another radio chart is one from my old KUSF San Francisco radio show charts from February 1994. You will notice how many names show up repeatedly on different charts. These include artists such as Fillmore, San Francisco's Rappin' 4 Tay, Queensbridge legend Nas, and San Francisco's Herm Lewis. Activist/artist Lewis curated the Tryin To Survive In The Ghetto: San Francisco Compilation which, although released in '93 was a sleeper that blew up into '94 on a local and national level. And his Bay rap compilation was not alone since,  it being '94 when the West Coast era of rap (with lots of G-Funk and more) was well underway, there's numerous more Left Coast artists included in these charts such as Eazy-E, Warren G, Ice Cube, South Central Cartel, Above The Law, and Coolio.  Further being it was the tail end of the genre's so-called "golden era," it consequently included such records as Gang Starr's "Dwyck."  It was also the year in which Bad Boy was beginning its chart reign with former secular rapper Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" via Puff Daddy's then one year old Bad Boy Entertainment record label leading the charge as the label's first single. That video is immediately below and followed by the chart from Billboard with it as its number entry.


A Love Letter to "Black Star"

Posted by Amoebite, May 18, 2015 04:47pm | Post a Comment

Love Letter to Black Star

I loved our recent Essential Records piece about Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star. I loved the personal reflection and the reminiscing about that time and how it had an impact. So many of us are touched by music at a point in our lives - by a particular song or record - and it's amazing how much it sticks with us, and resonates for years and years and years. Just hearing that record can make us feel something deeply: a moment in time, a time in our lives. Music is the wallpaper and the soundtrack. For some of us it is something way more than the background, it is at the core of who we were and are and who we developed into.

Karen at Leopold RecordsKaren at the Info Counter (~1990)

Of course I had a slightly different, but just as pivotal, experience with the release of the album. It has been one that has carried me from the Bay down to LA. Black Star was released the year that Amoeba opened in San Francisco. It was what reminded and reassured me why I was committed to doing what we do every day with music. Because, simply put, artists and musicians were still challenging and stretching and inventing and bringing music to people in a whole new way to whole new generations.

REMEMBERING LEOPOLD RECORDS. PT 1: THE AMOEBA CONNECTION

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2008 01:25pm | Post a Comment
MC Lyte stops thru Leopold Records Berkeley
Any longtime Bay Area music fan knew and loved the long gone Berkeley record store Leopold Records (circa '68 - '96), which used to be located at 2518 Durant in the block above Telegraph Ave. and down from Bowditch Street. Back in the day you could go spend lots of time (and money) as the hours slipped past and you got lost digging in their never-ending rows of music, invariably getting assistance along the way from the store's dedicated staff, who really knew their stuff and were more than happy to share that musical knowledge.

At one point, Oakland emcee Del tha Funkee Homosapien even worked at Leopold! The store, for Bay Area rap fans, was the number one destination when you wanted to get the latest hip-hop releases. The store also had many artists stop by, including MC Lyte (pictured above) and Saafir, who once did an in-store (well, technically an out-store, since it was right outside the building) at Leopold. (See video clip in the second part of this two-part Leopold Records' Amoeblog.) Scroll down below to see Joan Baez at a Leopold instore performance from 1993, singing a version of "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" that includes, much to the crowd's delight, a spot-on imitation of Bob Dylan. Michael Jackson even did made an appearance at Leopold's back in his heyday.

Leopold's many former employees went on to other music industry positions: former rap buyer Daria Kelly now works at Six Degrees Records in San Francisco. Read her Amoeblog interview recalling Leopold Records' role in the hip-hop community in Part II of this Amoeblog remembering Leopold's.
Many Amoeba Music employees also worked at Leopold's and consequently, it seems, have carried over that tradition of truly caring about the business that they are in. Amoeba Music's Karen P (in pics both above & below) is one of those people who used to be a part of Leopold's. I recently asked her if she thought there was a connection between her old place of employment and Amoeba Music. She replied: "Yes, there definitely is a connection, both philosophically and in spirit. Part of it might be that much of the beginning (and even current) Amoeba staff started at Leopold's." Karen listed some of those individuals as Mark Beaver (in B&W picture below), Craig Bishop, Lisa Loomis, Stacy Young, Roxanne (in MC Lyte pic), Barbara Ballesteros, and Lynne Brady. (Read Amoebite Lynne Brady's wonderful stream-of-consciousness rap recollections of Leopold in Part II of this Amoeblog -- to be posted tomorrow, Friday.)

Continue reading...

A hug for BillyJam

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 21, 2007 10:40am | Post a Comment
Grabbing up Billy on the quick, and taking you on the wayback machine: there was a place called Leopold where all folks came together for the MUSIC, and no one played any gang bullshit in them walls. Why not? Not totally sure. Could it happen today? Prolly not. Ten years change a world, ten years can erase a street.

The fun and the cameos from old school Leopold Records employees:

Point is, man they had a lot to say about life. Really pure. So, I wish I could embed Kiss Me and I'll Kiss You Back, cause that also had some wonderful staff in it, but whatcha gonna do. Anyway, a shout out to Daria who brought in Hammer when it was tapes in his trunk for commission, and even more so on the long term Yeh Yeah: bringing in the Digital Underground and help blowing them up as well.

Good times, friends. Good times. For those new to the Bay, the scene, whatever you want to call it? Coolest thing was, when Amoeba Berkeley opened up a few blocks from Leopold? It was all love, baby. No sense of competition or us vs. them. How rare is that?? Now, chunklets of us work at Amoeba (woot, wooooooot!) and maybe even own a piece. (Not me, baby!) Kisses to the joynts that do it all for the right reason, including a little shout out to a store in Austin Texas!