Amoeblog

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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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: #1 DJ Lazyboy, Fashawn & Nas, Cannibal Ox, Fundrboogie/Mr. Complex, Tuxedo's Jake One & Mayer Hawthorne + more

Posted by Billyjam, March 5, 2015 12:51pm | Post a Comment

New releases to arrive at Amoeba this week include the technically soul - but with a hip-hop flavor - brand new album from prolific and diverse Seattle hip-hop producer Jake One along with blue-eyed soul singer Mayer Hawthorne entitled Tuxedo via Stones Throw Records. Tuxedo is also the band name of these two collaborating talents' alter egos who, as Aquarius (Mayer Hawthorne) and Taurus (Jake One) are dressed up in tuxedos - looking somewhat reminiscent of Dan the Automator and Prince Paul as the Handsome Boy Modeling School – and presented by the label headed by Peanut Butter Wolf (a man known to dress up himself) as descendants of the one- word moniker family of funk, where you will find groups such as Chic, Shalamar, Plush, and Zapp. For a better idea of Tuxedo's infectious retro dance grooves peep their video for the album track "Do It" (scroll down) and pick up their album available in CD, vinyl, and digital download formats.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Overview of 1990's Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
The 1990's was an amazing decade for hip-hop music: one which enjoyed the second half of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop, the birth & proliferation of the indie hip-hop movement, the end of the Afro-centric movement and, propelled by the success of the early decade success of the G-Funk Era, the commercialization of the gangsta rap style that continues to this day.  So for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I present a broad overview of the  decade that was the 90's. A by no means inclusive of that very prolific decade this look at the decade merely scratches the surface, selectively highlighting a handful of releases and events (with each year getting a mention) that helped shape the 1990's in hip-hop.

In 1990 revolutionary, militant and Afro-centric hip-hop was in full effect and looked like it would be around forever. Examples included such popular socially & politically charged albums released in that first year of the decade as Public Enemy's third full-length album Fear Of a Black Planet, Ice Cube's first post N.W.A./solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment,X-Clan's To The East, Blackwards, Brand Nubian's One For All, Poor Righteous Teachers' Holy Intellect, Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It, Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum's self-titled Marley Marl debut, and Lakim Shabazz's Lost Tribe of Shabazz.

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Review of Hip-Hop's 40 Year Anniversary Concert With Kool Herc and Other Icons at Summerstage in Central Park

Posted by Billyjam, August 12, 2013 10:54am | Post a Comment

On Saturday, August 10th, New York City (the city that gave birth to hip-hop culture on August of 1973 thanks to founding father DJ Kool Herc with the help of his sister Cindy Campbell in the Rec Room at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. South Bronx) held a big tribute concert at Summerstage in Central Park with DJ Kool Herc and a host of other icons from the genre all participating in what was a most uplifting musical celebration of the global culture of hip-hop. The following day -Sunday, August 11th - was the actual 40th birthday so Kool Herc continued the party over in Long Island City, Queens at graffiti mecca 5Pointz (I will report on that party in coming days here on the Amoeblog).

Saturday's event was the big official party/concert marking this momentous anniversary; it oozed love and respect for the genre and culture that was for so long dismissed by many as "just a fad." Of course, as we all know, hip-hop in its four core elements (DJing, MCing, B-boying, and graffiti/writing) has grown to become a universal language and a globally influential culture. To drive home this point on Saturday in Central Park, a display of flags from various countries round the globe adorned Kool Herc's onstage turntable set up. So did a big mounted poster of James Brown.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #24: A Tale of Two Nick Caves, Sigur Ros @ MSG, Blues for Smoke, Rakim & Raekwon, and more

Posted by Billyjam, March 20, 2013 12:29pm | Post a Comment

       

 

Welcome to another installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog report with an overview of a diverse mix of fun things from music and film to art happening in the Big Apple in the week ahead. Included in this latest Amoeblog report from New York City are such things as the music-inspired Blues for Smoke exhibit at the Whitney, the inspiring documentary You Don't Need Feet To Dance, the photo exhibit celebrating the centennial of the 1913 Armory Exhibition, concerts such as Sigur Rós at MSG, and the slightly confusing tale of two Nick Caves (one horsesuit related and one Bad Seeds related) happening at Grand Central and the Beacon Theater next week.

The fact that two high profile artists in different contemporary art fields with the exact same spelling of the name Nick Cave are performing in the same city on overlapping days is bound to cause confusion to some, so lets clear it up now and distinguish between the two Nicks. Think of it as Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds vs. Nick Cave and the Herd of Soundsuit Horses. One is the well-known Australian musician/sometime actor Nick Cave we all know/love from the Birthday Party Bad Seeds, Grindermanetc. (more on him in NYC a little down further) while the other Nick Cave is the visual artist whose installation/performance piece entitled HEARD•NY (see above & left) will take up residency for a week starting Monday, March 25th inside Grand Central Terminal's main space as part of the historic New York transit hub's big 100 year anniversary celebration.

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