Amoeblog

Hip-Hop Top Ten, Bay Area Shows, Mr. Lif, De La Soul, DJ Shadow, The Mekanix, Too $hort & E-40, Mistah F.A.B., Mac Dre Art Show 2 + more

Posted by Billyjam, June 8, 2016 03:13pm | Post a Comment
Hip-Hop Top Ten 06:08:16

1: Mr Lif Don't Look Down (Mello Music Group) (also avail on vinyl and cassette)

2: Homeboy Sandman Kindness For Weakness (Stones Throw) (LP)

3: Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid  (Rhymesayers Ent.)

4: Shabazz Palaces Live At Third Man Records (LP) (Third Man)

5: ElZhi Lead Poison (Glow 365)



6: Open Mike Eagle & Paul White Hella Personal Film Festival  (Mello Music) (LP version)

7: The Mekanix  Under The Hood (Livewire)

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Imagine No Guns: John Lennon & All The Talented Artists Senselessly Shot & Killed Might Still Be With Us Making Great Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2015 04:09pm | Post a Comment
"Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace"

New York City: By 9am this morning when I passed by Strawberry Fields on the west side of Central Park, already a substantial size crowd had gathered to pay tribute to John Lennon who was murdered 35 years ago on this date.  One guy with eyes closed intently strummed "Imagine" on his acoustic guitar as the solemn crowd around him gently sang along. Dedicated to Lennon's memory, the landscaped section of the vast city park is across the street from the famed Dakota Building. It was outside that NYC landmark on December 8th, 1980 that the beloved Beatle was fatally gunned down and killed by a deranged "fan." 

If Lennon's murder had occurred today undoubtedly there would be politically motivated, second amendment advocates, rushing to defend the use of firearms. I'd bet that they'd reason (as was the case in aftermath of San Bernadino last week) that if John Lennon had been carrying a concealed weapon that he could have defended himself.  Even back in 1980  Lennon's assassination brought forth to public discussion the issue of gun control in America. But even the cold blooded murder of the 40 year old John Lennon did not affect US gun laws, or sales of guns. In fact the sales of deadly firearms has multiplied in the years since; bringing with them the toll of human suffering. This morning Yoko Ono tweeted the image above with the disturbing statistic that in the years since the murder of her late husband that over one million people have died by gun violence. 

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Mac Dre Details Police Role In His 5 Year Prison Sentence: March 1996 Rare Radio Interview from Lompoc

Posted by Billyjam, October 21, 2015 02:15am | Post a Comment

I just unearthed and uploaded a rare 1996 Mac Dre interview from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary that I conducted with the late great iconic Bay Area rap figure over the phone 19 years ago. In the interview, that was for both magazine and radio stories at the time, Mac Dre opens up about how he got a five-year sentence and how the police had a vendetta against him. The interview was done a full four years after he initially got arrested and incarcerated, and it was a little over four months from when he would finally be released (seven and half months early for good behavior) from prison on August 2, 1996.

On the topic of dealing with the police, Mac Dre, speaking from first hand experience, advised, "stay out of their way" because they present a "no win situation" in that "you can't win cos they'll send you up in here for nothin.'"

As for how he got the five year sentence? "March 26th, 1992, one of my homeboys called me up and asked me if I wanted to ride to Fresno with them," he recalled adding that it was coincidence because just two weeks prior to this he had gone to Fresno to perform in a concert with Ice Cube, WC and The Maad Circle, Big Daddy Kaneand others. While there he had met some girls that he would go back to visit upon this follow up trip with his friends. Fast forward to the drive home on the freeway from Fresno to Vallejo when the car Mac Dre and his friends were in was surrounded and pulled over by a collective of law enforcement departments. "We got pulled over by the FBI, Fresno police [and] Vallejo police, and they took us in and charged me with conspiracy to rob a bank," recalled the artist born Andre Hicks who would be 45 years-old if he were still alive today. Born on July 5, 1970, in Oakland (but raised in the North Bay town of Vallejo in the infamous Crest Side so often referenced in his music), Mac Dre was shot and killed in 2004 in Kansas City.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Bay Area's Dangerous Dame

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2015 02:00pm | Post a Comment

This week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog celebrates veteran Oakland rapper Dangerous Dame. The East Bay hip-hop, born Damon Edwards, ranks up there amidst the select early Bay Area hip-hop era artists to make it in terms of putting out records in the 80's, getting commercial radio airplay, and landing a major label record deal - and all while still a teenager! However, as is often the case in the ever-fickle music biz, that success was relatively short-lived despite affiliations throughout his career with such high profile artists as Too $hort, Master P, and Mac Dre. Nonetheless Dangerous Dame is a very important figure in the history of Bay Area hip-hop whose career was most notable from the late 80's through the late 90's with the first few years being the most significant. He was also an artist that grabbed rap fans attention with his unique flow and penchant for forever shouting out his hometown of Oakland, CA  born and proud rapper.

Dangerous Dame got into rap early in life, kick-starting his career while barely into his teens. At the young age of thirteen he was writing his own rhymes and within two years was onstage performing them at local talent shows.  Not long after that the talented teen was teaching himself how to make beats and produce his own music; thanks to his always supportive father James who purchased him his first drum machine along with some other basic recording equipment, and who would later fund and personally release his son's debut "Jumpin" (featuring DJ Dopecut on the scratches). Hence why the label name incorporated his pops' name; James Edwards Sr. Enterprise.  Released at the beginning of 1989 this underground, cassette-only release was truly a homegrown, low-budget affair. It's cover art,  a low-grade photo of Dame and his DJ posing by an Oakland city sign with their two names scribbled on with a sharpie and the album title oddly appearing in quotes, looked like it was sloppily slapped together as an afterthought.  Regardless the tape inside offered seven powerful tracks that showcased both the young Dame's solid writing skills and his unique delivery; a rough & rugged but shrill vocal style that was distinctly Oakland and somewhat derivative of Too $hort but never duplicating him in either flow or content.

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The 25 Best Hip-Hop Movies

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2014 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Best Hip Hop films

The definition of "hip hop movies" is pretty darn wide as it covers a broad range of types and styles of films - not to mention differing levels of quality since, let's face it, some have been downright low-budget jenky (bad meaning bad). The hip hop movie genre as a whole encompasses such varieties as concerts films (EG 1995's The Show or 2005's Dave Chappelle's Block Party); documentaries about specific parts of the genre or individual artists (e.g. Scratch or Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme or Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest); bio-pics like Notorious or the semi-biographical Eminem acting vehicle 8-Mile; and straight up pure celebratory flicks that show love for some or all of hip hop's four elements (EG Wild Style, Juice, Beat Street, and Breakin').

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