Amoeblog

The 20 Best 1980's Hip-Hop Albums

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment

When fellow Amoeblogger Billy Gil, who has done a number of Best Of lists in various genres, invited me to do some hip-hop best-of lists I had mixed feelings about the task. While I love drawing up lists of my favorite hip-hop releases from different eras and regions, I know that no matter what I include or how I position/rate it, later I will feel some kind of regret thinking that maybe I should have included or excluded a release or not ranked it as high on the list. And I am sure there will be commenters who will have the same critical thoughts (a la "I can't believe you didn't include ______ or that you ranked____ as number one," etc.). Simply put, it is difficult to narrow down Best Of lists because firstly it's personal and subjective, and secondly because a list I (or you) may draw up today will be different from one we might compile in a year's time. Musical tastes and opinions, especially in retrospect, are constantly in flux for me anyway.

Furthermore, sometimes an album or a single will rate high on one list (depending on the category) but not so on another. An example from this list would be Too $hort who would rank up the top of a Bay Area list but lower on an overall hip-hop album list of the 80's. Then there are all of those amazing hip-hop singles that were only singles, non-album cuts, or were culled from albums that otherwise were not as strong overall. Or in the case of Malcolm McLaren's 1983 album Duck Rock, which technically is a diverse genre album with hip-hop content and packaged in a hip-hop fashion from its cover art to how it is meshed together by the Worlds Famous Supreme Team radio show, it doesn't technically qualify as a hip-hop album. Add to my not included on the list 80's albums: such compilations as Mr Magic's Rap Attack series since I tried to focus purely on artist (vs. compilation) releases with the exception of one soundtrack on the list. Anyway, to combat all of this, I plan on doing many more best-of hip-hop lists with the goal being to include as many titles of great records as possible overall.
 

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Despite Being a Minority, Femcees Continue to Put It Down in the Male Dominated World of Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2011 04:42pm | Post a Comment

Medusa "Choclet Giddy Up" (2011)

Before the month of March, aka Women's History Month 2011, comes to a close I wanted to shine some light on a sampling of the female hip-hop talents out there today and what they're up to, including both some well known, longtime women artists and some new up-and-coming female artists. For a myriad of reasons, namely the genre's prevalent macho attitude, even all these years later female artists remain a clear minority in the male dominated field of rap music. Hence, those women who continue to make hip-hop music demonstrate a true dedication and passion for their art form.

As with any musical genre, hip-hop goes through different waves and stages. Since its beginnings, trends in the popularity of female artists have periodically come and gone. And right now, following the meteoric rise to fame of Lil Wayne female protege Nicki Minaj and the breakout success of her late 2010 debut album Pink Friday, it looks like we might be set for a new wave of female MCs in the mainstream. If this occurs, as many industry insiders predict, it will not only make it easier for new female artists to get heard but it will also be easier for longtime female artists putting out new releases. One longtime female rapper who will not give credit to Nicki Minaj for the album she is reportedly dropping this year is Lil Kim, who you'll recall had a very public verbal beef with the younger rapper and who, back in November, unleashed the uncomplimentary rap "Black Friday" in response to Pink Friday. This week Nicki fired back with her latest Lil Kim diss track "Tragedy."

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Lots of New Hip-Hop Releases at Amoeba Music for the 2010 Holiday Season

Posted by Billyjam, November 30, 2010 11:11am | Post a Comment
Flo Rida
Now that we are officially into the holiday shopping period there are more new hip-hop releases than ever arriving on the Amoeba Music shelves. Some are brand new recordings while others are older (slept-on or forgotten) musical material that has been remastered and/or repackaged. As reported in the most recent Amoeba Weekly Hip-Hop Rap Up, new hip-hop releases last week included Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No), Shady Nate, and Messy Marv, to name but a few. 

This week's new releases, which are at Amoeba now (Tuesday, Nov 30th), include albums from two of today's more popular, high-profile rap artists: Flo Rida and Soulja Boy. Soulja Boy (aka Soulja Boy Tell Em) drops his fourth studio album, The DeAndre Way (Stacks on Deck/Interscope), which, in addition to the regular ten track CD, comes in a deluxe edition that features four bonus tracks plus a DVD. Meanwhile, Flo Rida's latest Only One Flo (Part 1) (Poe Boy/Atlantic) is the Florida artist's third studio album and the follow up to last year's full-length, R.O.O.T.S. Only One Flo (Part 1). (Note Part 2, which was supposed to drop simultaneously, has been postponed until 2011.) The new record clocks in at less than half an hour and features guest appearances from Akon, Kevin Rudolf, Ludacris, and Gucci Mane and includes the singles "Club Can't Handle Me" and "Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)." Black Eyed Peas

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WOMEN IN HIP-HOP PART III: 1990 & 1991

Posted by Billyjam, March 24, 2009 11:39am | Post a Comment
The years 1990 and 1991 were pivotal for women in hip-hop and are captured in the series of videos below. Despite the uneven ratio between female and male artists, those two years captured a time when many more female emcees were being signed and promoted by major record labels than in previous years, or years since, for that matter.

It was also a time when just about every hip-hop crew or collective had at least one female member whom they gave full support to. Queen Latifah was part of the Flavor Unit. X-Clan's Blackwatch Movement included Isis and Queen Mother Rage, while the extended BDP crew included Ms Melodie and Harmony. Meanwhile, Yo-Yo had the backing support of the post-NWA Ice Cube.

The beginning of the 90's was also a time when sisters in rap looked out for one another and joined forces to throw some memorable all female hip-hop events. There was the 75 minute 1991 Sisters In The Name of Rap concert, with YoYo, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Roxanne Shante, Def Dames, Silk Tymes Leather, Nikke? Nicole!, (dancehall artist) Shelly Thunder, Tam Tam & others and hosted by Dee Barnes. This killer show was a Pay-Per-View TV concert taped at the Ritz in NYC in late '91 and released the following year on VHS. (I still have my prized copy.) 

Also in 1991, on Valentine's Day, there was a 5-hour all female rap concert at the Los Angeles Sports Arena that included Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, M.C. Trouble (R.I.P.), Harmony, Nefertiti, Michie Mee, MC Smooth, and Nikki D. While, according to all reviews at the time, this female rap showcase was an off-the-hook event, its attendance figures were far from impressive. Only 3,700 people showed up at the 15,200-seat LA Sports Arena. Perhaps the promoters booked too large a venue for this event, but had it been an all male rap showcase featuring the leading men of rap of the day, it would have undoubtedly sold out.

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