For me an essential album is one that never ages, no matter how many times I re-listen to it. It's also one I feel compelled to listen to all the way through every time - no temptation to ever skip ahead. Hence, without a second thought, I file this classic hip-hop album, which is brimming with jazzy funky grooves and irresistible rhymes, under that essential records category. A five-star release from the latter end of the genre's much-heralded golden era, Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop by Diamond And The Psychotic Neurotics scores on all levels: production-wise and lyrically, in addition to introducing most fans to hip-hop's long since beloved D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates) crew. Formerly a member of the rap group Ultimate Force, Diamond (aka Diamond D) proved with this debut album that he not just a gifted producer but also an adept emcee. Released in 1992 on Chemistry/Mercury/PolyGram, Stunts, Blunts, & Hip Hop is a truly solid, all-killer, no-filler hip-hop full-length release, sporting such timeless head-bobbing tracks as the popular lead single "Best-Kept Secret," "Feel The Vibe," "Check One Two," "Fuck What You Heard," "Sally Got a One-Track Mind," and the title track.
Lots of videos in this week's hip-hop rap up including KALX DJ/Amoeba Music employee at the Berkeley store E-Lit doing a nice overview of the new and recent CD and LP hip-hop (and related) releases to arrive in store lately and make up the two new top five hip-hop charts below - divided into CD and vinyl sections since there is so much more vinyl coming out these days - new and reissues like the 180 Gram reissue of Too $hort's 1980's classic Born To Mack. But first we send out our condolences to the family of A$AP Yams (pictured above and left with the A$AP crew) who died over this past weekend.
One of the founding members of New York City's very successful A$AP Mob collective it was first widely rumored via social media on Sunday that he had passed away as the result of a drug overdose. However associates of his in the collective insisted that those rumors were untrue and totally unfounded. As of now no official cause of death is known but what is known is that Yams' roommate in Brooklyn called 911 after finding laying down unconscious.
Zion I "Get Urs" (2014)
Above is the first of five videos in this all-video version of the weekly hip-hop rap up: "Get Urs" by Zion I and featuring an all star line up of guests including Mr. Lif, Kev Choice, Deuce Eclipse, Opio, and Sadat X. It is the brand new music video, published earlier this month, from the hard working Bay Area based duo of Zion I who, although constantly touring and recording, still find time to produce the annual Hella Fresh Fest that is happening this year at The Metro in Oakland on Halloween night. See the full Amoeblog preview here. Also just recently posted is a DL of the Vibe SquaD remix of the new Zion I song "Fresh," available here.
Apollo Brown & Ras Kass "Humble Pi" (2014)
Kilz - "Conceited (feat. Luke-O & Pyrex Pre$$)" (2014)
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP FIVE WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 22, 2013
2) MED, Blue, Madlib Burgundy EP (Bang Ya Head/Fat Beats)
3) A$AP Rocky Long.Live.A$AP (RCA Records)
4) Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud/RCA)
5) Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City CD (Aftermath)
Although first released back on October to 22nd Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid M.A.A.D City Deluxe CD as well as the regular CD version of his Good Kid M.A.A.D City on Aftermath both continue to sell well and chart at the Los Angeles Amoeba Music (in the artist's hometown) as seen on the above top five from Amoeba Hollywood where the other entries include the recommended new (vinyl release) Burgundy EP from MED, Blue, and Madlib on Bang Ya Head/Fat Beats. Additional chart entries are the ever popular new release from A$AP Rocky Long.Live.A$AP on RCA Records and the classic (but charting again) two decade strong album from the Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers). Amoeba fans note that this weekend there is an 15% Off Everything on Amoeba.com sale. This includes vinyl (lots of hip-hop) and CDs and the offer is valid through Sunday Feb 24th. When you go online to the Amoeba store apply promo code at checkout: FEB1513
Dub Esquire "RapStarz (feat Dirt Nasty & Del the Funky Homosapien"
Dub Esquire (a.k.a. Dub Esq) is one of those Bay Area hip-hop soldiers who has been quietly on the grind for two full decades. Since the early '90s, the Oakland-born and bred emcee has been tirelessly putting his heart and soul into his favorite art form. He is one of those dedicated hip-hop heads who may not be known on a mainstream level but yet has been paying his proverbial dues since the early '90s when he first arrived on the scene in the long-defunct but oft-referenced underground Bay Area hip-hop group Misfitz Ov Stylz. More recently he's been getting props for his solo recordings -- recordings that often blur that division between so-called "rap" and "hip-hop" with the release of the album G-13 and the EP Rap Starz. However, soon both of these fine releases will be eclipsed when, in 2012, he drops his most ambitious project yet, his album The Odyssey with its impressive line up of guest spots that include such luminaries as The Grouch, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Sadat X.