Amoeblog

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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Return To The Classics: Organized Konfusion's 1991 Debut

Posted by Billyjam, September 10, 2014 06:55am | Post a Comment
organized konfusionThe years 1990 to 1993 seem to many in retrospect like a time when hip-hop was at a high point because it simply was a great time for hip-hop releases. A strong case in point would be the amazing 1991 self-titled debut from Organized Konfusion on Hollywood Basic. The Organized Konfusion album, which sadly got slept on by the mainstream upon its release 23 years ago, has been lauded and held high by hip-hop fans in the years since. The album, that was also made available in LP formats,  is truly a classic hip-hop album. And people recognized that at the time - diehard hip-hop fans and critics at least, although the larger mainstream audience didn't make it a commercial hit by any means. Interestingly though as the years goes on, this album has gained more and more accolades, meaning more listeners are going back and discovering it in retrospect.

Better late than never then those listeners are discovering the power duo of Organized Konfusion in their young days - Pharoah Monch and Prince Po. The album, which the two also produced, just focuses on the mic talents of the two members and is not weighed down with a multitude of mic guests to distract from the duo itself. The exception to the rule was guest O.C. of DITC fame who makes a cameo on the single "Fudge Pudge." Other undeniably great album tracks include "Walk Into The Sun," "Releasing Hypnotical Gases," "Audience Pleasers," "Prisoners of War," "Organized Konfusion," and the single "Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken" (see video below).
Three years later in 1994 Organized Konfusion returned with the follow up album, Stress: The Extinction Agenda, which was another great album. Commercially it even did better than their debut but this 1991 album remains their greatest work.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: A Tale of Two Biggies (Biggie Smalls Vs. Biggy Smallz)

Posted by Billyjam, August 19, 2014 09:43am | Post a Comment
The tale of two Biggies is the tale of two rappers with the same name, and with one of them having to change his rap name. It dates to back to the early to mid 1990's when legendary Brooklyn rapper Biggie Smalls of Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Records fame first arrived on the scene to some confusion among hip-hop fans at the time who were familiar with the other existing rapper named Biggy Smallz who was Thug Life and 2Pac affiliated. That Biggy started out a bit earlier in his rap career, beginning in 1991 at a young age.

Both rappers had drawn inspiration for their names from the 1975 movie Let's Do It Again and its character Biggie Smalls that was played by Calvin Lockhart. So by the time the Biggie born Christopher Wallace arrived on the rap map the other Biggy Smallz was already out there releasing hip-hop singles including 1993's "Cruisin" which, like 1994's "Nobody Rides For Free," was also produced by Johnny "J" who was also producing for 2Pac - an affiliation that he is best known for.  Reportedly it was Tupac Shakur who asked Christopher Wallace to change his name from Biggie Smalls to avoid confusion with his Thug Life buddy Biggy. Hence Christopher Wallace officially became The Notorious B.I.G. before releasing his major label debut. Although since some have suggested that it was not Pac's request for the name change but rather fear of legal copyright infringement from the producers of the Let's Do It Again movie that was the real reason for Wallace changing his name. 

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