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Amoeba Curates '80s Album Art Exhibit at Leimert Park Book Fair Aug. 1

Posted by Amoebite, July 27, 2015 05:57pm | Post a Comment

leimert park book fairAmoeba Music has curated the vintage album exhibit “Salute to ’80s Vinyl We Love,” featuring cover art from across the decade. It will be on display at the Ninth Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw.

whitney houston self-titled albumFeatured albums includes Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut album (1985), Tina Turner’s Break Every Rule (1986), the Do the Right Thing soundtrack (1988), Jungle BrothersStraight Out the Jungle (1988), N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton (1988), Soul II Soul’s Club Classics Vol. One (1989), Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation (1989) and more.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Roots of Gangsta Rap

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2015 09:00am | Post a Comment

N.W.A are routinely credited with creating the genre known as gangsta rap, which is a fair summation since it was these West Coast rappers who inspired a whole new unstoppable generation of hardcore gangsta rap recording artists. However, these LA rappers are predated by fellow LA-based artist Ice-T who in turn was predated by the true O.G. (Original Gangsta) -- Philadeplhia's Schoolly D who in 1985 unleashed the original gangsta rap record. Entitled "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" and released on his own small indie label, Schoolly D Records, the record with cutting by DJ Code Money was an ode to the Philly street gang that the rapper (born Jesse B. Weaver, Jr.) was associated with. The initials P.S.K. stood for the Park Side Killas gang and their song dedication was brimming with references to gangsta activity: guns, violence, sex, and drug use, with usage of the N word ("sucka ass nigga tryna sound like me"), which was something uncommon though not totally unheard of in rap records up to that point.

Although originally considered a regional rap record with likely little appeal beyond its immediate hood, the distinctly hardcore rap record struck a nerve with music fans well beyond Philadelphia. The NJ-born, LA-based Ice-T adapted its style for his single, "6 In The Mornin" (later entitled "6 'N the Mornin'), released a year later in 1986. It was also included on his 1987 debut album Rhyme Pays.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Remembering Compton's Short-Lived C.P.O.

Posted by Billyjam, April 7, 2015 12:01pm | Post a Comment

In the aftermath of the success of N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton, record labels were rushing to sign West Coast SoCal acts in any way related to N.W.A. or even just hailing from their Compton neighborhood. Compton's C.P.O. were such an act. Down with N.W.A. and from Compton, the rap group was comprised of rapper Lil Nation and DJ Train (plus some extended posse members). Formed in 1989, they were signed soon after, thanks to N.W.A.'s MC Ren, by Capitol Records who released their debut album To Hell And Black the following year. However, the major label dropped the rap group from their roster that same year. 

The short-lived Compton-based C.P.O., whose name stood for Capital Punishment Organization, was primarily just its front person - the robust rapper/MC Ren protege Lil Nation (aka 'CPO' or Boss Hogg) who, at 6'2" and 357 pounds, was far from 'lil' back in 1990 when the former gang-banger emerged on Ren Records/MC Ren Productions. To Hell And Black spawned the two funky singles "Ballad Of A Menace" and "The Beat Is Funky" and their accompanying videos.

DJ Train, who added all the turntable scratching and cutting, had previously worked with both J.J. Fad and MC Ren, and had been down with N.W.A. for some time. He was among those included on the album cover photo of 1987's N.W.A. & the Posse.  Meanwhile the C.P.O. entourage was rounded out by The Chip, Donovan, and Young D who co-produced the group's sole album with Ren (who also rapped on the release). Lil Nation, as Boss Hogg, would later appear on N.W.A,'s 1991 Niggaz4life on the track "Findum Fuckum and Flee."  C.P.O. was in the right place at the right time, arriving on the music scene just as gangsta rap, still a relatively new and primarily West Coast phenomenon, was, to the chagrin of many, proving itself to be more than just a passing fad. They were presented alongside the major players of the new hip-hop shock sub-genre of that era.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Number One Hip-Hop Singles of 1990

Posted by Billyjam, March 24, 2015 09:31pm | Post a Comment
The following list of number one hip-hop singles from 25 years ago is based on a combination of sales and radio airplay and comes care of Billboard magazine who calculated the initially published charts throughout 1990 in the weekly music magazine. Some were culled from albums released in 1989 but all singles charted in '90 with Salt-N-Pepa's "Expression" (remembered by many by its repeated catchy hook "express yourself") holding down the number one slot for the longest at eight consecutive weeks from mid January through mid March that year. Meanwhile Candyman's pop rap single "Knockin' Boots" spent five weeks at number one. Interestingly Vanilla Ice's ever-popular mega hit "Ice Ice Baby" only spent one week at number one on the hip-hop charts in 1990. However it soon crossed over to the separate pop singles chart where it enjoyed much more success going to number one for 13 weeks. The East Bay based, Tommy Boy act Digital Underground's biggest hit single of their career "The Humpty Dance" was number one for five straight weeks beginning on St. Patrick's Day, 1990. BDP artist D-Nice's "They Call Me D-Nice" spent four weeks at number one as did "We're All In The Same Gang" by the appropriately named West Coast Rap All-Stars, featuring Ice-T, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Young MC, Digital Underground, MC Hammer, King Tee, Body & Soul, Def Jef, Michel'le, Tone-Loc, and Above The Law's Cold 187um & KMG, which spent a month at number starting on July 21st. Meanwhile Ice Cube, with his debut solo post N.W.A. single "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" from the album of the same name, spent three straight weeks at number one beginning on June 9th, 1990 - but never had an official video made for it.  Most of the others spent one or two weeks at number one. For exact number of corresponding weeks at number one to individual hip-hop single see number in brackets following title of song, all below in video format in chronological order of release as singles.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: 1988, The Year Considered By Many As Hip-Hop's Greatest

Posted by Billyjam, March 10, 2015 03:00pm | Post a Comment

For this week's Hip-Hop History installment we rewind back to wonderfully vibrant year of 1988. It was a time when hip-hop still constantly growing, with exciting sounding new artists constantly unfurling new lyrical and musical sounds. To me '88 was part of the third wave of hip-hop - with the first wave being the (original) old school artists of the 70's/early 80's, who were eclipsed earlier in the 80's by Run-D.M.C. who ushered in the "new school" - but who themselves in turn were eclipsed by this newer third wave of hip-hop. It often seemed (and more so in retrospect) that every record released in '88 was a good record. Of course, as with any music in any time period, there were hip-hop duds released in '88 too. However overall it is fair to say that 1988 had a larger percentage of quality, diverse-sounding, influential, and timeless hip-hop releases than many other years in the genre's four-decade history. And no wonder; it was part of the time frame known as the "golden era" of hip-hop that is widely considered to be the artistic pinnacle of the art form.   I think part of the reason for this, along with the lyrical aspect of the artform still being relatively young and still being explored by new emcees like Rakim, was the fact that sampling was at its creative peak. Remember this was in the period before the infamous 1991 landmark Gilbert O Sullivan vs Biz Markie copyright case that essentially brought an end to free range sampling, and would end up in hip-hop being a little less adventurous sounding due to all the restrictions placed on it regarding sampling.

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