Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for running down all the new hip-hop releases this week that include the latest from North Carolina super-producer 9th Wonder Jamla Is The Squadon his Jamla Records label. Jamla is the Squad is a compilation featuring the singles "Be Inspired," "No Competition" and "15 Minutes of Fame" and, in addition to Jamla acts, showcases guest features from such non-label talents as Pete Rock, Phonte, Talib Kweli, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Real good album worth picking up as is the brand new one from Maryland emcee / producer Kev Brown with MindsOne Pillars on Ill Adrenaline via Fat Beats that features such underground burners as "Equinox"(see music video below).
4) Prince Paul & DJ P. ForrealNegroes On Ice (The Red Lion Group)
5) RapsodyThe Idea of Beautiful (Jamla Records)
Thanks to the ever knowledgeable, hip-hop loving E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for taking time to do a run down of all the new and recent hip-hop releases at Amoeba both vinyl and CD. In the new top five chart the number seller is the brand new K'NaanCountry, God Or The Girl on Octone/A&M. "Love is harder than war. I’ve had the chance to write about my experiences in a difficult and violent life. But when the suffering and the pain is something that comes from within me, it’s harder to react and to write about that," said the Somali Canadian multi-talent of the new album's content which features the lead pop-rap single that dropped several months back, "Is There Anybody Out There?" and features Nelly Furtado (see below). On Country, God Or The Girl is the internationally popular artist's attempt to, he says, address "the internal wars, rather than the external ones, which I'd been preoccupied with on my previous albums."
Other releases on the new chart include the ever-popular Seattle, WA rapper Macklemore, who earned many new fans c/o his recent viral video for "Thrift Shop," legendary producer Prince Paul teaming up with DJ P. Forreal, and North Carolina female emcee Rapsody with her most impressive official debut The Idea of Beautiful on Jamla Records. The album on which she displays a sick flow again begs the age old question in hip-hop: how come there are still such a small ratio of female rappers to male rappers? Oakland duo Zion I's newest album, which is their eight to date, continues to sell as the pair of Zumbi and Amp Live continue their current tour. Other excellent new/recent releases include Homeboy Sandman's First of A Living Breed on Stones Throw (see video below for new album track "Not Really"), and the brand album which drops next week from Rhymesayers artist P.O.S.We Don't Even Live Here which takes hip-hop into whole new territory. Note the CD comes with real nice packaging with a great booklet with some strange but intriguing photo art.
If one dollar had been donated for every photo taken at the Berkeley warehouse street art exhibit Endless Canvas' SPECIAL DELIVERY enough money could have been generated to purchase the warehouse building that housed this wonderful, temporary grassroots art exhibit and to keep it open indefinitely - not just in pop-up form. The exhibit ended its all-too-short 3 weekend run yesterday with another extremely well attended day of photo-happy street art fans. For many the temporary nature of SPECIAL DELIVERY only added to the vibrancy of this exhibit of revered but disposable art - and another reason to document it.
I stopped by yesterday - Sunday September 30th, the sixth and final day - to be simply blown away by the wonderful art on display. About a 100 pieces by such local artists as Swampy and Plant Trees graced near every available corner of this cavernous, two-level 36,000 square-foot abandoned warehouse space down on Fourth Street near Gilman.
Anyone I know who attended this event, like David Ford who worked at it or E-Lit from Amoeba Berkeley who patiently lined up on the very packed opening weekend three weeks ago, were equally impressed by SPECIAL DELIVERY - from the caliber of the art on display to the perfect location of the exhibit. Berkeley's Carbon Warehouse – down near the railway tracks at 1350 4th Street - is a funky and raw building with only natural light. (Hence the darkened, shadowy, shuttered downstairs art area takes a minute for your eyes to adjust to).
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 08:03:12
Dark Time Sunshine Dark "Never Cry Wolf (feat. Reva DeVito)" (2012)
1) Dark Time SunshineANX (Fake Four Inc)
The biggest mover for this week is none other than the new album from rapper Onry Ozzborn and producer Zavala, which gets my vote for best hip hop album of 2012 thus far. The music that these two craft together is something very special, and taps into the edgiest and most provocative elements of the genre in a way that few groups can. Zavala’s beats are like transmissions from a different futuristic dimension where people still bump old school hip hop on occasion, and Onry’s deep vocals fit perfectly in the mix. Features from Aesop Rock, P.O.S, and Busdriver amongst others. Very highly recommended!
The Chicharones "Burn It Down" (2012)
2) The ChicharonesSwine Flew (Camobear)
This new album from Josh Martinez and Sleep delivers more of the fun, clever, infectious hip hop you’ve come to expect from these two. These guys have a rep for amazing live shows that landed them a headlining spot on this year’s Warped Tour, and Swine Flew is an album years in the making that balances their bouncy party songs with some serious songwriting. Great hooks, intricate verses and terrific beats from Smoke of Oldominion make this an album worth checking for. Bacon.