On this date, September 19th, five years ago the hip-hop world was shocked to learn the tragic news that super-talented DJ Grand Master Roc Raida had died from cardiac arrest at age 37. The totally unexpected death, following a week of being hospitalized, was due to medical complications relating to an accident that the DJ encountered a few weeks previously while training in the contact combat self-defense system known as Krav Maga. Later today on my weekly hip-hop radio show on WFMU I will be honoring the legacy of the DMC world champion DJ who most got to know via his membership of the X-Men/X-Ecutioners but who, over his illustrious prolific career, worked with a wide array of artists that included MF Grimm, Big Pun, Pink, Linkin Park, Jungle Brothers, Nelly, Opio, The Beatnuts, Mike Patton, and Dilated Peoples.
Nelly "Hot In Herre" (2002)
Whatever the reason behind Bay Area radio station Latino Mix 105.7 suddenly halting regular programming last evening to begin playing a non-stop loop of Nelly's 2002 number one rap crossover hit single "Hot In Herre," its widespread effect has been profound. Not long after 6pm last night (Friday March 14th), when Latino Mix 105.7 (also 100.7FM) first began playing the Southern rapper's NellyVille album hit, it has invoked in listeners (mostly new ones who got wind of the stunt via social media) something long lacking in commercial radio programming; a sense of mystery and the unknown. And even if solving that mystery meant listening ad infinitum to Nelly rap lines like "Stop placin, time wastin I gotta a friend with a pole in the basement (What?). I'm just kiddin like Jason (Oh)" curious ears wanted to know the reason. By around the 140th time the 3:48 minutes song was spun, nine hours in the Nelly marathon at around 3am this morning, one hooked listener tweeted, "I almost feel compelled to stay up all night and listen to Nelly just to see how this will all end" while another posed the question, "Did this nikka cure cancer recently or some shyt?"
Amoeba Music San Francisco
Hip-Hop Top Five: August 01, 2008
1) NaS Untitled (Def Jam)
2) Jean Grae + 9th Wonder Jeanius
3) People Under The Stairs The OM Years
4) Husalah & B-Luv Tonka Boyz
(SMC Records/City Hall)
5) RZA as Bobby Digital Digi Snacks
A shout-out to Luis in the hip-hop department at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Top Five chart, which includes the new Bay Area indie rap release from the rhyme duo Husalah & B-Luv, Tonka Boyz, that features guest spots from such local faves as PSD, Yukmouth, The Jacka, and Dubee. Also charting high this week is the double CD retrospective by People Under The Stairs (PUTS) from OM hip-hop. Disc one is "The OM Years" and includes such crowd pleasers as "San Francisco Knights," "The Cat," and "Jappy Jap," while disc two (my personal fave, since it has some stuff I had not heard before) is titled "B-sides & Rarities."
Luis admits that he is not really feeling the new RZA as Bobby Digital (Digi Snacks) and I have to fully agree with him.This, the artist's fourth solo record, not only fails to match any of his Wu Tang output, but also falls short of his own previous solo work. However, as is often the case with overall mediocre albums, there are a few great songs to be found on the 15 track Digi Snacks, including "Drama" featuring Monk and Thea and "You Can't Stop Us Now" (feat. fellow Wu warrior Inspectah Deck).
Not to be confused with the East Bay based Hieroglyphics' producer of the same name, Domino the SoCal rapper with the Southern drawl that betrayed his real roots, who arrived in the rap world in late 1993, was the pop-rap artist who scored hits with "Ghetto Jam" and "Sweet Potato Pie." He was signed to Outburst but was picked up by RAL (Rush Associated Labels). Despite his LBC claimed roots and his Snoop Dogg affiliations, he sported a delivery that was less gangsta and leaned more toward the pop/RnB spectrum of hip-hop music -- a catchy sing-song style, I guess you could call it. Not too long after he arrived in December 1993 he scored his first hit, "Ghetto Jam," which garnered Gold status after six straight weeks atop the Billboard maxi-single charts. It was followed up soon after with an even bigger hit -- "Sweet Potato Pie" (see video above). The album's groove-laden production came care of AMG and Battlecat and would prove to be Domino's only real hit. His delayed sophomore follow-up album, 1996's Physical Funk, and subsequent releases, including 1997's Dominology and 2001's "D-Freaked It" all fell short of the mark.