Amoeblog

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Hip Hop Icon Chuck D.

Posted by Amoebite, August 19, 2014 02:49pm | Post a Comment

Chuck D.

Before Tupac, before Notorious B.I.G., before Jay-Z or Lil Wayne, there was Chuck D! In the mid '80s, Chuck D and his group, Public Enemy, signed with the rap label Def Jam. You know, that bedroom record label that discovered little groups like the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and some thrash metal band Public Enemy It Takes a Millionsnamed Slayer. Ring a bell? With Def Jam's support and Chuck D at the helm, Public Enemy championed socially conscious rap music in America. With politically charged albums like It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet  (the latter selling 1 million copies week of release), Public Enemy remains one of the most important rap groups in history. 

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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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Music History Monday: April 14

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 14, 2014 11:21am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: April 14, 1973 - "Masterpiece" by The Temptations hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on April 28, 1973. Written and produced by Norman Whitfield, it is the 11th R&B chart-topper for the veteran Motown vocal group. Songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield will give the song its title when he feels that all of the combined elements of the piece add up to a "masterpiece," though the word does not appear in the lyrics. Whitfield will write "Masterpiece" as a sequel to the Grammy-winning smash "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" (and the album All Directions), and features members of The Funk Brothers providing musical support and is arranged by Paul Riser. The single and album are recorded during a period where there is ever-mounting tension between the highly-strung producer and The Temptations, who are unhappy at having no say in the creative process and are being referred to by music critics as "the Norman Whitfield Choral Singers." "Masterpiece" will be edited down from its nearly 14 minute epic length down to under four and a half minutes for single release. Though the Tempts will top the R&B chart three more times with "Let Your Hair Down," "Happy People," and "Shakey Ground," in 1974 and 1975 respectively, "Masterpiece" will be will be the group's last top ten pop hit for 18 years. It returns to the upper reaches of the chart when they collaborate with Rod Stewart on "The Motown Song" peaking at #10 in September of 1991. "Masterpiece" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy's Chuck D on Politics, Hip-Hop & more - from a November 1992 Perspective

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2013 07:07am | Post a Comment

For this week's Hip-Hop History Amoeblog, I take it back to 21 years ago to early November of 1992 when I caught up with Chuck D of Public Enemy (PE) to chat with him on the state of politics. Since that interview (which I just uncovered again this past week) was never archived anywhere, I decided to share it here because its content is pretty engaging from a historical point of view. I also assembled a series of Public Enemy videos from their six-year career up to that point.  November 1992 was a time when the politically charged hip-hop crew was still riding high in popularity and public consciousness.

Tragically, even hip-hop heads don't realize that PE are still together as a group these days, touring, recording, and making meaningful statements. But back then, everyone knew and intently listened to what the group, -- whose previous year's album Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black, was still selling briskly and whose compilation of remixes and new tracks, Greatest Misses, had just been released seven weeks earlier -- had to say. Of course things would soon shift on the popular hip-hop landscape since, just a month later in mid December of 1992, former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre would release a game-changing album - The Chronic with the Snoop Doggy Dogg featured lead single "Nuthin' But A G Thang" - that would be highly instrumental in helping push popular rap away from the political arena and towards the gangsta/G-Funk/mob style of rap as the predominant force in popular hip-hop.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 12.13.13: Eminem, Tanya Morgan, A-Plus & AAGEE, Public Enemy, Amoeba 15% Off Sale, + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 13, 2013 08:08am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Chart Week Ending 12:13:13
 


1) Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

2) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)

3) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)

4) Danny Brown Old (Fools Gold)

5) Deltron 3030 Event II (Bulk Recordings)

Five weeks since its release, Eminem's universally popular (and deservedly so) latest album The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope) continues to top the charts at Amoeba Hollywood as seen in the above latest top five from the LA store. And that is not the only place Eminem is number one this week. His incredibly popular current album single "The Monster (featuring Rihanna)" just hit number one on the Billboard charts, meaning that Eminem now ranks as the rapper with the most number one pop singles (a total of five). Meanwhile, the new album's first single "Berzerk" is a nominee for best rap performance in the upcoming Grammy Awards as announced by the organization last Friday. Furthermore, the Eminem song is being used in advertising for the Jan. 26, 2014 Grammy ceremony. However the full The Marshall Mathers LP2 is not eligible for a trophy in the 56th annual show because of the timing of its release.

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