Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2008 04:20pm | Post a Comment
                                        Ameoba Music Berkeley  Hip-Hop Top Five  09:19:08
1)  Michael Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers   
     (Amer-I Can/Unity One/Anti)

2)  Diplo Top Ranking Santogold (Mad Decent)

3)  The Game LAX (Geffen/Interscope)

4) Young Jeezy The Recession (Def Jam)

5)  eLZhi The Preface (Fat Beats)

The number one selling album at the Berkeley store this week is from the Bay Area's very own veteran political musician Michael Franti and his group Spearhead. Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and produced by Sly and Robbie, this brand new full length titled All Rebel Rockers is the anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Yell Fire!, released two years ago on Anti. This new album may not possess that same sense of urgency as its predecessor and hence, takes a little longer to get into, but All Rebel Rockers is still a very good album. (Yell Fire! is a hard one to top because it was so powerful a release.) Naturally, with Sly & Robbie at the controls, it has more of a reggae feel than the other genres it incorporates (mainly hip-hop and soul). 

With All Rebel Rockers, Franti once again expertly utilizes music as a tool to get his message of peace across. Guests on the new album include Zap Mama and Cherine Anderson. Note that All Rebel Rockers also comes in a "deluxe version" which offers a bonus DVD featuring four new Michael Franti & Spearhead videos plus a documentary on the making of All Rebel Rockers

Speaking of Michael Franti DVDs, if you haven't already checked it out, go back and watch the artist's engaging documentary I Know I'm Not Alone. Shot in 2004 but released in 2006, this documentary (available on DVD at Amoeba) follows Franti, armed only with a guitar and good will, as he treks around the war zones of Iraq, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, interacting along the way with regular citizens (as well as some military), all subjected to the harsh realities of life during wartime.

In addition to selling well at Amoeba, this new Spearhead album is also doing great nationally, entering the Billboard albums chart at #39 this week, the act's highest charting position to date. Additionally, an estimated 70,000 people attended Franti's tenth annual Power To The Peaceful music festival in Golden Gate Park earlier this month. Also earlier this month, Franti & Spearhead performed in an Iraq war protest concert along with Rage Against the Machine, Dead Prez and Anti Flag in St Paul during the Republican National Convention. On Sunday, Sept. 21st, Franti and Spearhead perform at the Hollywood Bowl with Ozomatli and on Tuesday night, Sept 23rd, the band will be on CBS TV performing on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Other new CD full-lengths on display in the new releases section at the Amoeba Berkeley store this week include One Block Radius (featuring the ever talented but underrated SF emcee Z-Man) and rap super-group All City, who are the number one seller this week over at the San Francisco Amoeba (scroll down for more info). Meanwhile, the Amoeba Berkeley new releases on vinyl display include Bored Stiff, GZA, NaS, Lil Wayne, Madvillain, Metropolis, eLZhi, and the new MURS 12' record. Note that the day MURS' highly anticipated new album Murs For President (Warner) drops (Sept. 30th), he will be doing a free in-store at the Hollywood Amoeba store at 6:30PM.

Thanks to Tunde for this week's top five at the Berkeley Amoeba. He said that the excitement is building for the upcoming People Under The Stairs (PUTS) free in-store at the Telegraph Avenue store on Weds Oct 6PM. "It's always nice to get some real good live hip-hop in here," said Tunde, noting that there is already a nice buzz on the soon-to-drop new PUTS album Fun DMC, which arrives in Amoeba the day before their in-store. On Fun DMC the hard working (they're always touring or recording it seems) underground hip-hop Los Angeles duo, comprised of Thes One and Double K, return to the boom bap flava. Note that after their free Amoeba in-store on October 1st PUTS head over to the Independent on Divisidero in San Francisco to perform.

                                    Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five 09:19:08

1) All City 41Feva (Ehustl)  

2) Young Jeezy The Recession (Def Jam)

3) GZA Pro Tools (Baby Grande Records)

4) Kardinal Offishal Not 4 Sale (Geffen)

5) DJ Muggs & Planet Asia Pain Language (Gold Dust Media)

The number one release, with a bullet, at the San Francisco Amoeba store is the local release from the rap super-group All City, featuring the three members, San Quinn, Big Rich, and Boo Banga plus guest spots from such Frisco faves as Cellski, Seff tha Gaffla, Rappin 4-Tay, RBL Black C, and Willie Hen. Their album 41Feva, titled as an homage to old school Oakland rap crew 415 (Richie Rich, D-Loc, DJ Darryl) and their release 41Fivin, offers twenty tracks including the hometown themed "SF Anthem" and "Fillmorian." All City member and Fillmore resident San Quinn who, in addition to rapping, also contributes a couple of interludes to the group album, is pretty busy these days. On September 30th he will release his new solo album From A Boy To A Man.

All other entries on the SF Amoeba chart are from out-of-towners including the LA/Fresno pairing of DJ Muggs and Planet Asia respectively, on the recommended new album Pain Language. The album is on Gold Dust Media, who are putting out some great releases nowadays, including Main Source from Large Pro (aka Large Professor).

Representing Toronto is Kardinal Offishall who over the years has worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes,Timberland, and Akon, who is the executive producer of this latest album from the Canadian artist who is an official member of Konvict Muzik. Akon also stars in the ever popular album track and video "Dangerous." Other Not 4 Sale album guests include T-Pain, Clipse, and Rihanna.

Thanks to Jason Chavez (also known as the artist 4AM) for this week's top five at the Amoeba San Francisco store, where UK dubstep pioneer  The Bug (acclaimed producer Kevin Martin) along with Warrior Queen are doing a recommended free in-store at the Haight Street store on       Monday, September 22nd at 6PM. I asked Chavez if Amoeba customers were excited about this show. 

"I'm not sure what customer anticipation is," responded Chavez, "But I know a lot of people that work here are pretty psyched about the in-store because they've heard the new album." That new album is the rolling bass-heavy dubby London Zoo on Ninja Tune, whose many great vocalist/emcees include Tippa Irie, Ricky Ranking, Killa P, and Warrior Queen, who appears on two of the twelve album cuts: "Insane" and "Poison Dart."

Finally, R.I.P. to soul great and Motown pioneer Norman Whitfield, who died on Tuesday this week (Sept. 16th) at LA's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, reportedly from complications of diabetes. He was 67 years old.

Producer/writer Whitfield will be always remembered for the classic Motown hits that he co-wrote for such artists as Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, The Temptations and Edwin Starr.  Whitfield wrote songs including such massive hits as "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "War," and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)."

Relevant Tags

San Quinn (15), Kardinal Offishall (1), Michael Franti (7), 4am (9), All City (10), Puts (10), Spearhead (4), Norman Whitfield (2), The Game (7), Murs (29), Young Jeezy (3), The Bug (3)