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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: December 24th On Hollis Ave. + Other Classic Hip-Hop Holiday Raps

Posted by Billyjam, December 24, 2013 10:25am | Post a Comment

Run DMC "Christmas In Hollis" (1987)

Dating back to the mid 1980's many hip-hoppers have recorded Christmas/Holiday Season songs  including the Treacherous Three's "Santas Rap" from the 1984 hip-hop film Beat Street (scroll down to see video clip below), and of course the truly classic Run DMC Christmas song from 1987 that still gets much play to this day  - "Christmas In Hollis" with that memorable opening "It was December 24th on Hollis Ave in the dark when I seen a man chilling with his dog in the park."  To me what makes this Run DMC song such a perfect timeless Christmas classic is that it both managed to maintain that distinct Run DMC rap flavor but also had the perfect Christmas vibe to it. This it achieved with the bells ringing throughout and also how the track nicely worked into its urban Xmas tale such traditional Christmas song melodies as "Frosty The Snowman. The Run DMC song appeared on both the original A Very Special Christmas various artists/genres compilation and on the Profile Records all hip-hop holiday 1987 compilation Christmas Rap that also featured such rappers as Sweet Tee, King Sun, Spyder-D, and Dana Dane all busting out Christmas raps.

Rapper Cozzy: Who You Know Helps, but it Ultimately Comes Down to Talent & Hard Work

Posted by Billyjam, August 22, 2012 10:19am | Post a Comment
In the music business who you know helps but it isn't enough to get you ahead. You have to have substance to back it up. 20 year old Pensacola, Florida rapper Cozzy found this out when, first starting out recording hip-hop a few years ago, the burgeoning young rapper hit up his successful uncle in the rap biz - Tobin "TC" Coston who was Master P’s manager and VP & GM of his No Limit Records label - thinking his well connected relative would get him a record deal right away. But that was not the case initially.

"I have had many relatives hit me up for record deals," said TC who has turned them all down including Cozzy, at first. But he liked how consistent the young rapper was in both his work ethic and his "promising" vocal flow even though it still had a ways to go. "I told him to keep working because it was really raw. He continued to send me music and I heard something from him I liked." Then after several goes around TC heard his nephew freestyle over some popular tracks that Cozzy totally made his own. So impressed was his uncle he that he signed him to Me & Mine Entertainment; the label known for releasing (among many others) Lil’ Troy’s platinum Sitting Fat Down South. He also signed his rap crew F.B.N. (Fresh By Nature) to the label and is committed to sticking by both and developing them as artists over a long term - something you don't hear of much these days in the financially stressed & ever fickle music biz.

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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP: 08:21:09

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2009 06:26pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Six: 08:21:09 (c/o Luis)
Gas Mask Colony
1) Gas Mask Colony Genuine Masters of Ceremony (Gurp City)

2) The Boy Boy Young Mess Prices On My Head Vol. 2 (Click Clack Records)

3) J-Billion The Beautiful Loser (Risky Bizness Productions)

4) Kaz-Well FIsh Outta Water (Tape Vault Records)

5) Heliocentrics Fallen Angels (Now Again)

6) Slaughterhouse self-titled (E1 Entertainment)

As my man Luis @ Amoeba Music San Francisco points out in his quick run-down of the new hip-hop top six CDs of the week, two thirds are Bay Area homegrown releases, proving the Bay (and SF in particular these days) is in a most healthy and prolific state of rap creativity. In the number one chart position is Gurp City's own Gas Mask Colony with the brand new full-length Genuine Masters of Ceremony. Also repping the Bay is Messy Marv under his alias The Boy Boy Young Mess and his second installment in the mixtape series Prices On My Head (The Money On Yo Family) Vol 2 with an impressive lineup that includes guests Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy & Lil Webbie. Meantime, SF rap artist Kaz-Well -- self described “hip-hop geek" -- has a nice retro hip-hop feel to his brand new CD Fish Outta Water which, note, is titled exactly the same as the new release from SoCal hip-hopper Chali 2na. Great minds think alike, I guess.

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Hip-Hop Author Marcus Reeves Discusses "Somebody Scream! Rap Music's RIse To Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power"

Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2008 12:24pm | Post a Comment
Marcus Reeves ("Someboday Scream!" author)
Marcus Reeves
, former editor of the the Source hip-hop magazine and contributor to such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Vibe magazine, recently had his book Somebody Scream! (Rap Music's Rise To Prominence In The Aftershock of Black Power published by Faber and Faber Inc.

Like Jeff Chang's critically acclaimed hip-hop history Can't Stop Won't Stop, Somebody Scream likewise takes an analytical look at hip-hop -- a musical form that, like rock before it, is now all grown up and going through its own kind of mid-life crisis. Cornel West called Reeves' book "a strong  timely book for the new day in hip-hop" and he is right.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the East Coast based author to talk about his new book, Somebody Scream,  and its subject matter: hip-hop. Here is that dialog:

Amoeblog
: First up, how hard is it writing a book on a topic that is still unfolding around you as you report on its subject matter?

Marcus Reeves: Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to write because before I even started I had a beginning, a middle and an end. I’d already picked out who were the most influential rap artists—the ones who lead their particular era—strung their stories together by chapter and let the narrative unfold.Marcus Reeve's book "Somebody Scream!" And the narrative was easy because, like so many who’d watched the story of commercial rap over the last 30 years, it was also the story of my life. All the history and events that the music reflected, and I talk about in the book, were things I lived through and impacted my life. The last chapter of the book, which discusses what events shape the music now, helped capture all those moments that were still unfolding.

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BAY AREA HIP-HOP ARCHIVES: APRIL 1996

Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2008 11:32am | Post a Comment

Lately I've been digging in my archives, specifically my Bay Area Hip-Hop archives, and it has been fun going back over all of this great music which, as is often the case, is hard to completely absorb and fully appreciate the significance of right as it is all happening around you. This Bay Area hip-hop archival from a dozen years ago, including the video above for Mac Mall's great single from that time, "Get Right," is the first in a series of hip-hop flashbacks from the Bay Area hip-hop archives that I have accumulated since the mid-eighties. This specific time-encapsulated slice of Bay Area hip-hop is from the the week of April 6th, 1996.
Tupac Shakur
It includes a Bay Area Top 50 chart (singles & albums & demo tapes -- all subjectively chosen) and a Bay Area Rap News headlines report -- both taken from the Hip Hop Slam produced radio show ("Pirate Fuckin Radio") I did at the time that was broadcast on a bunch of small micro-powered radio stations (aka pirate radio) including Free Radio Berkeley, Steal This Radio in New York City,  San Francisco Liberation Radio, Free Radio Santa Cruz, KBUD Mendocino, 89.1FM Seattle, Flavor 919 and 909 The Bomb in Miami, and Black Magic Radio in Fresno. 

Also included are certain album covers and videos. But what is most interesting about this chart from a dozen years ago is that it captures the roots of the current hyphy movement and other contemporary Yay Area rap styles. Note that Master P, his TRU (The Real Untouchables) crew and No Limit Records (later to blow up back down in New Orleans) were still a Bay Area outfit. Then, as now, women were in the minority in the local rap game. However, those that did represent, including Suga T, Conscious Daughters (see video for "Gamers" below), and Sh'Killa (self-described "gangstrez from da Bay") were all respected, empowered women artists who didn't feel the need to flaunt their sexuality in exchange for fame in the rap game.

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