Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five Week End 12:12:14
1) Run The Jewels RTJ2 (Mass Appeal)
2) E-40 Sharp On All 4 Corners 2 (Heavy On The Grind)
3) Ghostface Killah 36 Seasons (Tommy Boy)
4) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation)
5) Wu-Tang Clan A Better Tomorrow (Warner Bros)
As mentioned in last week's Amoeblog hip-hop report there's been a slew of new releases dropping recently - something confirmed by my visit to Amoeba Berkeley this week where I talked with E-Lit in the Telegraph Ave. store's hip-hop section who did a nice overview of all the latest CD and vinyl releases featured at the store. See the video clip with the hip-hop buyer/DJ below in which E-Lit breaks down such new releases, including some of the top five chart entrants above, as Wu-Tang Clan's much hyped new joint A Better Tomorrow that dropped last week, and Wu member Ghostface Killah's 36 Seasons that dropped yesterday care of Tommy Boy Records and features such guests as Kool G Rap and Pharoahe Monch. Also released yesterday is the new 13 track J. Cole album 2014 Forest Hills Drive on Roc Nation - the follow up to last year's popular Born Sinner and most likely this one will be just as popular with fans of the North Carolina born multi-talented artist.
Here is our list of gift ideas culled from recent Hip Hop releases (with a few classics thrown in), plus 10 Hip Hop vinyl reissues from 2014 every fan should have.
Diabolic - Fightin' Words
Fightin' Words is a long delayed release from East Coast rapper Diabolic which has been in the works for four years. Originally intended to come out on Viper Records, the album instead got released via the recently founded WarHorse Records. Mic collaborators include such hard hitters as Vinnie Paz, Apathy, and R.A. the Rugged Man, while production is handled in most part by DJ Premier.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata
Among the numerous music related events ongoing in New York City this week is the photo exhibit Grooving Years: The Photography of Josh Cheuse that opens Friday (Sep 19th) at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo. The mostly black and white photography exhibit by the New York City born and raised music photographer includes shots of The Clash (including the photo of the late great Joe Strummer above), Run DMC, Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Beastie Boys, Oasis, and The Black Crowes. An avid photographer since age sixteen Cheuse, who has worked as art director at SONY Music for the past two decades, formed a lasting relationship with the Clash from early on in his career - a relationship that began back in 1981 as a teen when he famously used the payphone at his NYC high school to call The Clash at Electric Ladyland Studios in Manhattan and asked permission to photograph the band. To his surprise they happily complied with his wish. This introduction was instrumental in kick starting his career that included photographing the Clash, the band's Mick Jones' spinoff band Big Audio Dynamite, as well as Joe Strummer solo on several occasions. And following Strummer’s sudden 2002 death Cheuse also directed a video tribute for the Strummer's version of Bob Marley's “Redemption Song.” Photo exhibit takes place at the Morrison Hotel Gallery located on the second floor at 106 Prince Street. All ages. Free admission. More info. And tomorrow (September 18th) in advance of the opening the photographer will be at the nearby SoHo Apple store (103 Prince Street) from 7pm to 8pm discussing his photo exhibit - free all ages event.
As if to make the point that, like vinyl records, books are still very much alive and well the annual Brooklyn Book Festival takes place this weekend at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza for what will be its biggest ever event in its nine year history. Taking place on Sunday September 21st from 10am to 6pm the outdoor (rain or shine) festival will boast over one hundred panel discussions, readings, and other literary activities with authors to appear including Salman Rushdie, Lev Grossman, and Naomi Klein. In addition to novelists and non-fiction writers the festival will also include numerous poets, and also many graphic novelists including Paul Pope, Roz Chast and Julia Wertz. A free event, thanks to sponsorship by a phone company, the stated goal of the annual event is "spreading literacy and the joy of reading across the five boroughs and beyond." Just across from lower Manhattan the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza (reachable by numerous trains) is located at 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201. Sept 21 10am to 6pm. All ages. Free event. More info.
1) Amp Live Headphone Concerto ( Plug Research Music)
2) Shabazz Palaces Lese Majesty (SubPop)
3) Madlib Rock Konducta 1 & 2 CD (Madlib Invasion)
4) Has Lo & Castle Live Like You're Dead (Mello Music Group)
5) BPos Positive Beings (One League Entertainment)
Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for this week's top five chart plus his nice comprehensive run-down (see video above) of all the new and recent hip-hop arrivals at the East Bay store - in both CD and vinyl formats. These include Armand Hammer's vinyl only Furtive Movements (Backwoodz Studioz), the brand new collaboration between Philadelphia emcee MarQ Spekt and prolific New York City producer Blockhead - JustPlayWitIt on HiPNOTT Records, and Anticon label co-founder/member Alias' new full-length Pitch Black Prism featuring fellow Anticon co-founder/former Amoebite DoseOne as guest emcee on the track "Crimson Across It." Other new arrivals include the limited edition vinyl (only 300 pressed up) House Shoes and Street Corner Music Presents: T-White The Gift Vol. 5!, and Washington DC beatmaster Damu the Fudgemunk's Public Assembly CD care of Redefinition Records and Fat Beats that was initially intended as a limited edition vinyl only release for the 2014 WFMU Record Fair. The other new / recent releases that made the top five chart entries this week
(recent Amoeba San Francisco instore performers) Shabazz Palaces' pioneering new album Lese Majesty (again on SubPop), Madlib's Rock Konducta 1 & 2 CD c/o Madlib Invasion that is also available in single volumes on vinyl (Rock Konducta Vol. 1 LP and Rock Konducta Vol. 2 LP), and the latest from the unstoppable Mello Music Group; Has Lo & Castle's Live Like You're Dead. The other two top five entries are both Bay Area (Amoeba Berkeley and Amoeba San Francisco have long been highly supportive of homegrown talent): San Francisco crew BPos's latest Positive Beings on One League Entertainment that will be featured in detail in a soon to be published feature here on the Amoeblog, and the newest release from Zion I producer Amp Live: Headphone Concerto on Plug Research Music. As he proved long ago on such productions as Rainydayz Remixes project, on which remixed Radiohead's 2008 album In Rainbows (totally reworking it and adding in such artists as Too $hort, Del, and Zion I mate Zumba, Amp Live has always musically been beyond hip-hop. And this album - his first for Plug Research - while it is hip-hop at its base still further pushes the envelope more beyond hip-hop into such other musical terrain as soul, pop, and electronic on such tracks as the cello intro'ed, pop hit sounding "Penny Nickel and Dime" featuring Anya and Prof (see video below which demonstrates the message of the song - about the influence and power of the almighty dollar).
As it has for the past four weeks, tonight's installment of True Detectives, HBO's new excellent noir murder mystery set in the deep south starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey , will kick off, what is sure to be another nail-bitingly engaging episode, with its eerily moving opening main title theme song "Far From Any Road" by The Handsome Family (Carrot Top Recods). The track, which is available as a download from Amoeba.com, is not just an excellent song by itself but it has the distinction of being one of those perfectly chosen TV show theme songs. That's thanks to the show's music supervisor, musician T-Bone Burnett. For last week's crazy amped-up, adrenaline-fueled show (no spoilers here in case you are a latecomer to this TV series) that followed three slower-paced story-setting episodes, Burnett handpicked more excellent accompanying songs from a wide array of artists from blues to rap and rock, including Slim Harpo, Melvins, Bo Diddley, Boogie Down Productions, Primus, Wu-Tang Clan, and (Nick Cave's) Grinderman (the manic sounding "Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars)").