Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: June 1990 Billboard Hot Rap Singles Top 30 Chart

Posted by Billyjam, November 18, 2014 10:50am | Post a Comment


In the 24 years since the first publication of the Billboard Hot Rap Singles Top 30 Chart, rap/hip-hop has grown by leaps and bounds in both terms of widespread acceptance and (seemingly) unstoppable global popularity. Upon publication back in mid-June of 1990, while popular enough to deem its own weekly chart, hip-hop was still somewhat marginalized and was far from the mainstream cultural force it is today. However, while examining the contrast between radio/sales charting hip-hop in 1990 and 2014, there are many notable differences. For starters, hip-hop was still largely labeled or referred to as "rap" back then, which is somewhat ironic since popular "hip-hop" today is technically more "rap" than it was back at the beginning of the nineties.

From eyeballing this June 1990 chart that was compiled from a national sample of both retail and one-stop sales, it's evident that commercially popular hip-hop appeared to be a lot more adventurous and much more diverse in style both production-wise and lyrically. Also notable is how major labels did not dominate the bulk of rap sales. It was pretty much evenly split between indies and majors, although many of those same independent labels would in time make deals with the majors. Another notable business factor was that record labels (indie or major) could still be very profitable ventures since 1990 was a time when people still bought records and tapes to hear music. There was no illegal free downloading/file-sharing of music and the only threat to labels was illegally dubbed bootleg cassette copies of their releases. Hence labels had more money to spend on promotions of their artists.



Women hip-hop artists, whom to this day have never gained equality in their genre, were still in the minority back in June 1990 with only five out of this top 30 chart being female acts. These five included three groups - something much rarer today when female rappers tend to be solo acts - and included Hammer proteges Oaktown's 3-5-7, Def Dames (whose "Set It Off" heavily sampled Strafe's 1984 club/radio hit of the same name and who should not be confused with the Euro girl group who came a little later), and early career Jermaine Dupri-discovered rap/r&b trio Silk Tymes Leather. The other female chart entries were Icey Jaye ("It's A Girl Thing"), and Queen Latifah in a duet with David Bowie for "Fame 90."

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Logic, DJ Quik, Blu, YG, Diabolic

Posted by Billyjam, November 14, 2014 05:04am | Post a Comment
Top Five Hip-Hop Chart for Week Ending 11:14:14


1) DJ Quik The Midnight Life (Mad Science)

2) Logic  Under Pressure (Def Jam) also avail as LP

3) Diabolic Fightin' Words (WarHorse Records) - also avail as LP

4) YG My Krazy Life (Def Jam)

5) Blu Good To Be Home (Universal) also avail as LP

The above top five chart from the Hollywood Amoeba Music store reflects the top sellers of the past week which are not always necessarily new releases. Case in point are both YG's My Krazy Life from March of this year, and (to a degree) the Blu album Good To Be Home featuring production by Bombay and not by Exile this time - with whom their previously released collaborative Below The Heavens LP continues to sell well. The Blu chart entry originally came out six months ago via the indie Nature Sounds (who along with Fat Beats issued the LP version of the full-length) but has now been re-released by Universal. Have not heard the Universal version but hopefully the major label remastered the original which most agree was "shitty" sounding - and I quote countless fans of the artist himself as stating this. And the super gifted LA emcee has lots of fans - especially in his hometown where he always gets a lot of love.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: September 1996 In The Wake of 2Pac's Murder

Posted by Billyjam, October 21, 2014 07:00am | Post a Comment
For this week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I rewind the clock back eighteen full years to September 1996 and to the hip-hop news related to 2Pac that I was reporting on at the time via various media outlets. The shooting death of Tupac Shakur was the big story of that year.  The shooting death of 2Pac, who died in September of 1996, had a major impact on many people and often - oddly enough - in a positive way. At the time I reported on how 2Pac's death sparked discussion and unity among California inmates interviewing the then incarcerated Oakland rapper Pooh-Man (aka MC Pooh). "I've never seen anything quite like it before.  It brought every culture in here closer together; blacks, whites, and Mexicans.  Everyone was  touched by his death," Poohman told me at the time speaking by phone from San Quentin two days following the  Sept 13th news of 2Pac's death.  "I'm in a dorm with two hundred muthafuckas who is always talkin' and hollerin' but now whenever 2Pac's song comes on the radio everybody gets silent.  He meant a hell of a lot to everyone.  He was the voice of a generation.  He was speaking for all of us," said Poohman, "Right after his death a lot of the blacks got together in circles and talked about it and rapped the words to his songs," he said.  In fact at that time Poohman and fellow inmate, Oakland rapper Beehive, even went so far as to write a rap song in honor the slain rapper entitled, "We Still Feel Your Presence."

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Top Ten Snoop Dogg Collaborations

Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2014 03:13pm | Post a Comment
Love him or hate him you can't avoid him. Snoop Dogg is everywhere at all times it seems. Whether the Long Beach CA artist born Calvin Broadus, who began his rap career a quarter of a century ago, is in the studio or on stage somewhere Snoop Dogg is an ever present, highly visible pop culture figure.

Over the weekend he was the man of the hour as host of the big 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards. Meanwhile his studio output is a non stop laundry list of releases that boasts countless collaborations with anyone from indie rappers to pop stars. A couple of weeks ago I heard the new track he collaborated with Bay Area female vocalist Goapele on (a remix of the Oakland singer's disco-throwback styled single "Hey Boy"). Around that same time I heard excerpts from his fifth and latest in the Thats My Work mix tape series with Tha Dogg Pound (Kurupt and Daz Dillinger, along with production from DJ Drama). Then over the weekend I was reading somewhere that he recently confirmed that he's got a collaborative full length project in the works with Pharrell (with whom he has done one off tracks with before including the 2004 hit single "Drop It Like It's Hot").

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Kendrick Lamar Releases Single "i" From Upcoming Album

Posted by Billy Gil, September 23, 2014 10:07am | Post a Comment

kendrick lamarThe new single from Kendrick Lamar is an upbeat ode to keeping your chin up when everything's trying to tear you down.

"How many times the city makin' me promises?" he raps over a sample of The Isley Brothers' "That Lady" before declaring "I love myself." It's a song closer in vibe to Pharrell's "Happy" than a song like his own alcoholism-laden "Swimming Pools," the lead single from his last album, good kid, m.A.A.d city. But Lamar promises in an interview with Rolling Stone that the follow-up to that album will have more tales of growing up in Compton that couldn't fit on m.A.A.d city. Sessions continue for the new album, and a release date has yet to be announced.

Speaking of m.A.A.d city, the album is enjoying neo-classic status, having been named the second best album of the 2010s by Pitchfork.

Hear "i" below:

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