Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Top 5, Vince Staples, JMJ Son's Direct Marketing, "Local Produce 2" Among Final Hip-Hop Shows @ Elbo Room SF

Posted by Billyjam, July 31, 2015 06:50pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: Week Ending 07:31:15

1) Vince Staples Summertime 06 (Def Jam)

2) A$AP Rocky  At.Long.Last.A$AP (RCA)

3) Drake If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late   (Republic)

4) Slum Village Yes! (also in LP) (Nestra Music Group)

5) Pete Rock Petestrumentals 2 (Fat Beats) (also avail on vinyl)

One of this summer's signature hip-hop albums, especially for those in the same SoCal locale as its talented 22-year-old Long Beach creator Vince Staples, Summertime 06 continues to outsell every other new hip-hop album at Amoeba Hollywood this week where it's holding the number one slot. The Def Jam release, which had one of the year's most innovative rap videos for the album track "Senorita," just published another video from the album for track "Norf Norf." While a totally different style, it's another really great video from the rapper who deserves all the accolades he gets. The new music video (see below) perfectly matches the downtempo, moody, head-nodding beat-driven track. Throughout the video, as Vince raps the song's eerily repetitive refrain "I ain't never ran from nuthin but the police," he is seen being pushed and mistreated by the po-po, rapping from the back of the police car, and later down at the station as the cops shove his head into the ground. In a time when so many mainstream and major label artists tend to shy away from anything deemed slightly offensive to any group, Vince Staples is a breath of fresh air and an artist who will be around for a long time to come, I would bet.

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Hip-Hop Loses Another Legend With the Passing of DJ E-Z Rock

Posted by Billyjam, April 28, 2014 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Rob Base & DJ EZ-Rock "It Takes Two" (1988)

Hip-Hop has lost another legend and way too early in life too. Harlem hip-hop artist and one half of the legendary hip-hop duo Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Rodney "Skip" Bryce died yesterday of, as yet, undisclosed reasons at the young age of 46. A DJ and producer, who began his career three decades ago, DJ E-Z Rock along with partner in rhyme Rob Base will be best remembered for their two biggest hits, both from the late 80's: "It Takes Two" and "Joy and Pain." The songs were two of the four singles culled from their Profile Records 1988 hit album It Takes Two. The huge success of the single "It Takes Two" was in part due to the perfect choice of sample (James Brown-produced Lyn Collin's 1972 hit "Think (About It)" that fueled its memorable chorus) plus the fact that the song was equal parts rap and house/dance music - hence appealing to varying audiences.

As soon as the news of the DJ's death began to spread yesterday friends/collaborators/fans alike all took to social media to offer their condolences and memories including Biz Markie who first Tweeted the sad news, and fellow Harlem NY hip-hop veteran DJ Red Alert who, along with the classic photo of the artist (left), wrote via Instragram: "We Have Lost Our Very Own From Harlem NYC & The Hip-Hop Culture Our Brother DJ E-Z Rock. Rest In Peace Boss, My Condolences To The Friends & Family Of The Abraham Lincoln Houses." Above is the music video for "It Takes Two" while below is a live performance version of "Joy and Pain" at the Apollo on 125th Street in Harlem not far from where DJ E-Z Rock grew up. In a tragic side note singer Omar Chandler, the artist born Chandler Spencer who is seen/heard singing the hook on "Joy and Pain," died a year ago at age 51 - a stabbing murder/robbery victim in Hartsville, South Carolina.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 09.27.13: Amoeba Top 5, Terrace Martin's "3ChordFold," Jay-Z and Kanye's Ranting Distracts From The Music

Posted by Billyjam, September 27, 2013 09:23am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Top Five Week Ending 09: 27:13

1) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

2) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)

3) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)

4) Terrace Martin 3ChordFold (Empire Dist.)

5) A$AP Ferg Trap Lord (RCA)

As he makes headlines this week over his humorless Twitter rants against Jimmy Kimmel's jokes,  Kanye West's latest album Yeezus on Def Jam continues to sell well at Amoeba. Undoubtedly a most talented artist Kanye is at his best when he sticks to simply making music or overseeing his GOOD (Getting Out Our Dreams) music label. Personally I prefer when artists stick to simply making music and not making war with fellow artists as seems to be increasingly more common these days with examples including rapper turned savvy entrepreneur Jay-Z whose acclaimed latest/twelfth studio album Magna Carta Holy Grail on Def Jam is still charting at Amoeba nearly three full months since it arrived in the store. Jay-Z's recent verbal feud targets have included Harry Belafonte (who last month accused Hov of not being active enough in uplifting his race) and more recently Yoko Ono who he raps negatively about in a verse on the new (soon to drop) Justin Timberlake album The 20/20 Experience #2 that arrives in Amoeba early next week (read story here). In olden days feuds between artists would inspire creative response battle rap records. Nowadays they typically result in negative, nasty, name calling, Twitter rants.  I miss the old days!

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Fakin' The Funk: Bait Rap Cases in which Cops Create Fake Rap Businesses to Entrap Criminals

Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2012 08:45am | Post a Comment
No doubt you're aware of Bait Car - the engaging popular reality TV show on the truTV channel that follows, via tiny hidden video cameras, the exploits of opportunist car thieves who can't pass up the temptation of an empty unlocked car with its engine idling & keys clearly in the ignition crying out "Steal Me!" Of course, as the show's title implies, it is merely bait laid out by police as part of an elaborate entrapment scheme. This entrapment approach as a means of catching "bad guys" has become increasingly more common by law enforcement agencies in recent years. Examples include the NYPD entrapment scheme in which the cops planted "drunks" asleep on subway benches apparently with their wallets or purses open to thieves. Another example that, like Bait Car made for good reality TV, was the predator entrapment practice that would become popular Chris Hansen hosted TV show To Catch A Predator. Two recent cases of entrapment, that would have made for some interesting TV viewing, are two specific cases by law enforcement that are stranger than fiction and each involved rap music as bait.  The two cases, both highly complex and involving approximately one year each, took place in Washington DC and in the UK one and four months ago respectively.  

As reported by several news and hip-hop outlets last month in Washington DC cops along with ATF agents wound up an intricate one year undercover sting operation that entailed agents posing as “music industry insiders” running a "fictional rap label" and amounted to authorities  making numerous arrests and confiscating over $7.2 million in drugs and 161 weapons. The DC sting, which began in November 2010 and went to great lengths to ensure results, involved D.C. police creating the Manic Enterprisess studio in Northeast Washington, even going so far as to create for the fictional label the fictional rap artist Richie Valdez. (Note that unfortunately - and oddly - no images or music reviews or website links seem to exist of this fake rapper.)  Next, reportedly, agents then told the underground world and black market that they were seeking to purchase weapons and drugs which resulted in money, drugs, and weapons: 161 firearms including a rocket launcher, 29 assault weapons, 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of cocaine, 1.25 gallons of PCP, 24 pounds of marijuana, and undisclosed amounts of heroin and ecstasy.

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Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2010 08:00pm | Post a Comment
Black Moon
The following Top 30 Hip-Hop Singles chart from February/March 1993, which was originally compiled and published by long defunct East Coast hip-hop zine One Nut Network, was put together based on rap singles' airplay on both college hip-hop radio shows and commercial radio mix shows at the time. The time was early 1993, considered by most as the tail end of hip-hop's much celebrated and oft lamented so-called "golden age" or "golden era," when, it seemed, every new hip-hop release was a noteworthy (and worth owning) release. And while that belief may not be 100% correct, it is, as the following chart indicates, pretty darn close to the truth.

By just eye-balling the 30 singles on the Feb/March 1993 chart below, many of which, including Black Moon, Dr Dre, Young Black Teenagers, and Ice Cube, got released towards the end of 1992 but still had airplay into the first quarter of 1993, you can tell a lot about the status of hip-hop at the time and where it stood in its historical development. For example, many of the acts most associated with the aforementioned "golden age" of hip-hop were represented here, including Kool G Rap ("Ill Street Blues"), Gang Starr ["Gotta Get Over (Taking Loot)"], Brand Nubian ("Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down"), Diamond D ("Sally Got A One Track Mind"), Naughty By Nature ("Hip Hop Hooray"), and Lords of the Underground ("Funky Child") -- each of which happened to be East Coast (NY or NJ) acts.

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