Posted by Billyjam, January 2, 2009 08:47am | Post a Comment
                            Excerpt from forthcoming 2009 DVD release about Biggie Smalls

2009 is already shaping up to be a promising year for hip-hop releases with many dropping within the several weeks or so of the new year. Upcoming releases include brand new recordings from such artists as DJ Signify, Mos Def, Grandmaster Flash, Rob Swift, and Conscious Daughters and older or newly discovered older material being released for the first time such as the DVD DJ Dusk's Root Down Soundclash sessions grand master flashfeaturing the late LA artist DJ Dusk presenting bygone (2001 - 2003) LA sessions featuring Madlib vs Cut Chemist, will i. am vs Thes One, and Oh No vs. Exile. Look for it in the hip-hop DVDs section at Amoeba Music on  January 13th.

Another late great hip-hop artist being celebrated on a new DVD in 2009 is Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon is the name of the new documentary that will be released on DVD that looks back on the life of the much lamented Brooklyn emcee featuring interviews with many folks like the clip above of a one-on-one with producer D-Dot discussing the making of one of Biggie Smalls' biggest hits. To be released by Gold Dust Media, Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon will be available at Amoeba Music on January 27th. For more up-to-date information on this release and to see other clips, click here.

2009 will also see the release of the first new Grandmaster Flash album in 20 years courtesy of Flash’s Adrenaline City Entertainment, Strut Records and !K7 Records. Titled The Bridge: Concept Of A Culture, the new release has guests such as Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, and Snoop Dogg and, according to a update from Stephen Bolles at Gold Dust Media/!K7, the album is the result of two years’ solid writing and recording by the artist.“ As a DJ, I’ve been blessed to see many different mos defpeople, places and styles,” announced Joseph Saddler (Flash's given name). “The album title represents all the bridges I’ve crossed worldwide.” Look for The Bridge: Concept Of A Culture in Amoeba Music on March 3rd.

Hip-hop artist Mos Def, who these days is as busy with his acting career (he's been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy Awards) as his musical career, has found time to record his fourth studio album which is said to be dropping in the first quarter of 2009. Titled The Ecstatic (Downtown), it will feature such emcee guests as Slick Rick and (longtime collaborator and other half in Black Star) Talib Kweli, and guest producers like Madlib, Oh No, and the late great J Dilla. Already getting lots of love is the advance first single from the album, the Mr. Flash produced "Life In Marvelous Times." While not confirmed, the release date is tentatively the latter dj rob swifthalf of February.

Queens, NY scratch DJ master Rob Swift (X-men/X-ecutioners/Ill Insanity) will be releasing a new DJ DVD in the first quarter of 2009. A follow up to his As the Tables Turn DVD, this new one will have a similar title, As the Technics Spin, and theme. According to the artist, it promises to focus on the turntablist's thought process while creating his classic battle/showcase sets-- from choosing his records, deciding what sections to manipulate within different songs, to eventually developing the actual routines. DJ Rob Swift has worked with such high-profile acts as Linken Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Herbie Hancock over the course of his illustirous career.

While this new Rob Swift release may not appeal to a broad audience, it should be of special interest to battle and scratch DJs. Slated for a March 10th release date, you can preview parts of As The Technics Spin by visiting Rob Swift's MySpace.

Longtime East Bay female hip-hop power duo The Conscious Daughters (TCD), featuring Special One and CMG, have been putting it down for a little over fifteen years. In 1993 they arrived with a bang on the hip-hop scene with their debut Ear To The Street, featuring the Paris-produced breakout rap hit single/video "Somethin' to Ride (Fonky Expedition)" on the Bay Area artist's Scarface Records. In 1996 they  released their sophomore album, Gamers, on Priority Records. And in February 2009 they retun with their anticipated third album The Nutcracker Suite on Paris' Gurrella Funk Records. Paris will not only release the album but also lends some production and vocal assistance to it.

Other producers on this new TCD joint include Rick Rock and One Drop Scott while emcee guests include fellow female vocal forces Mystic and Marvaless. Thematically, The Nutcracker Suite readdresses topics visited on the previous Conscious Daughters outings and thankfully doesn't shy away from some cold hard truths.

The topics, most coming from a female perspective, include domestic violence, single motherhood, black-on-black crime, and the need for unity and sisterhood. In a hip-hop landscape dominated by cliche macho posturing, the return of The Conscious Daughters' voice will be a most welcome one. The Nutcracker Suite will drop February 10th in both CD and double-disc 180-gram vinyl formats. More info on TCD right here.

Brooklyn DJ/producer and 1200 Hobos member DJ Signify finally follows up on his 2004 debut Sleep No More with the highly recommended new Of Cities on Bully Records, a mostly instrumental 16 track CD dj signifythat features emcee Aesop Rock on the tracks "Low Tide" and "Sink Or Swim." Another guest is guitarist Matt Kelly who is featured on the head-nodding "Delight To The Sadist." The song "Costume Kids," which features a great vocal sample of some ole timey style singer, was previously available on limited edition 7" releases, as was another great new album song, "1993."

Other great tracks on Of Cities include the appropriately titled Indian- feeling "Bollywood Babies" and the cinematic abstract hip-hop opening track "The Sickness" which nicely builds and swells in intensity. On many of the tracks DJ Signify lays down some nice cutting and scratching but never has it in your face, but always kept subtly yet effectively buried in the mix. Look for a future Ameoblog interview with DJ Signify. Meanwhile, his album Of Cities will be available in Amoeba on January 20th.

Relevant Tags

Mos Def (20), Rob Swift (9), Grandmaster Flash (4), Conscious Daughters (5), Dj Signify (1)