Posted by Billyjam, May 29, 2009 07:37am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 05:29:09
Eminem Relapse
1) Eminem Relapse (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)

2) Method Man & Redman Blackout! 2 (Def Jam)

3) The Grouch & Eligh Say G&E! (Legendary Music)

4) Busta Rhymes Back On My B.S. (Flipmode/Universal Motown)

5) Tanya Morgan Brooklynati (Interdependent Media)

Eminem's latest full-length, Relapse on Shady/Aftermath/Interscope is the Detroit artist's sixth studio album and his first in five years. It is also in the number slot on the hip-hop chart at Amoeba Music Berkeley this week, just as it ranked last week at the Amoeba Hollywood store. The 20 track album from the 35 year old artist, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, comes 13 years since his independantly released debut album Infinite, and exactly ten years since his major label breakthrough and first album through Dr Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, The Slim Shady LP.  Dr. Dre not only produced most of the new album (and its promised sequel in a few months) but Dre also cameos on the track "Crack A Bottle" with 50 Cent. As for the reaction to Relapse? It is charting high at Amoeba and elsewhere. Even here in Dublin, Ireland, where I am writing this Amoeblog, it is given high profile in and getting high sales at all the main record stores. But also here in Europe, as in the States, the album has folks divided into the two camps of either loving or hating it. Those who hate it include many former Eminem fans who contend that he has fallen off and is merely going through the motions. Those who love it do admit that it takes a few listens to fully appreciate and warn the faint of heart to be prepared for Em's often unsettling, disturbingly vivid tales of violence and abuse, including, of course, drug abuse, which is the album's theme, based on the artist's open admission to a prescription drugs addiction. 

The above video clip of Wu Tang's Method Man and Def Squad's Redman is of the longtime friends and collaborating hip-hop duo doing "How High 2" from the forthcoming sequel to the weed flick How High. Meantime, their new album, Blackout 2, the longawaited follow up to 1999's Blackout album on Def Jam, is number two on this week's Amoeba chart. Another longtime NY hip-hopper with a new release on Tanya Morgan Brooklynatithe charts this week is former Leaders Of The New School member & long time solo act Busta Rhymes, whose Back On My B.S. is on Flipmode/Universal Motown. The talented Living Legends pair The Grouch & Eligh continue to remain faves at Amoeba with their latest collaborative effort Say G&E! on Legendary, which has been consistently charting since its mid April release.
HIp-Hop Quote of the Week = "I used to get paid by the week, never got paid from the street," which is culled from Tanya Morgan's new song "So Damn Down" found on the Cincinnati/Brooklyn group's acclaimed new album Brooklynati, which has been selling well at each Amoeba store since its recent release and is #5 this week on Amoeba Berkeley's Hip-Hop chart.

This short and simple quote, coupled with the golden era hip-hop throwback production that accompanies it in "So Damn Down," pretty much sums up the hip-hop trio's welcome place in modern hip-hop: distinctly non-street Bike For Three! Buck 65 posturing/gangsta romanticizing rap and instead, refreshingly down-to-earth, honest, positive hip-hop rooted in hip-hop's richest period.

Another noteworthy new release comes from the new group Bike For Three! and their highly recommended debut album More Heart Than Brains on Anticon. Hopefully not just a one-off, this absolutely excellent collaboration between respected longtime indie emcee Buck 65 (Canadian Richard Terfry) and producer Greetings From Tuskan (Belgian newcomer and electronicist Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê) brings out the very best in both gifted artists, brimming with songs that will have you constantly hitting repeat. Greetings From Tuskan (GFT) lays down seductive tracks that range from the symphonic to the simple, sweet and melodic, but that always seem on the brink of turning glitchy or broken beat. At the same time, Buck 65 unravels engaging tales, poetically told, like the love story of "Lazarus Phenomenon" with these lyrics: 

The boy was an old cat, The girl was a clever mouse
.....moments that were equally quiet and uproarious
Frequently slow-dancing in the kitchen. It was glorious
Unknowns, they broke each other's bones and built campfires
They jumped out of windows and lived like vampires
They'd bathe in the same water, same anguish
They spoke bad French but spoke in the same language.

But what sets Bike For Three! apart is how producer GFT perfectly processes Buck’s vocal delivery, flipping it in and out of glitch mode to perfect effect without ever overdoing it or taking away from the emcee's flow. Look for the new CD at Amoeba or check samples of it and read more on Black Eyed PeasBike For Three!'s MySpace.

Among the soon to drop new major releases that will no doubt generate a lot of attention is 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct, which will be his last with Interscope and which is due out in three weeks following countless postponed dates. Another much delayed new album is Lil Wayne's Rebirth, which should be out on July 21st. And the Black Eyed Peas' (BEP) fifth studio album The E.N.D. (an abbreviation for Energy Never Dies) is out June 9th.

WIth what is sure to be a huge hit, or at least become an ad jingle for Twitter, the Bay Area's Mistah F.A.B. recently releaed the Rob E produced track "Hit Me On Twitter," which is kinda like a 2009 version of fellow Bay Area rapper E-40's 1996 hit "Ring It" off his album Tha Hall Of Game with the refrain, "If it's major, hit me on my pager." Last month, in a similiar vein, the artist Rusko did the song Let Me Twitter That -- a cool remix of Andy Milonakis's funny "Let Me Twitter Dat."

Oaklandish logoMeantime, in the clubs tonight, producer/DJ Mr. Scruff will be gracing the decks at Mighty, 119 Utah in San Francisco. Tomorrow -- Saturday, May 30th-- is the Malcolm X Festival at Oakland's San Antonio Park (18th Ave. &  Foothill Blvd.) with live music and many booths, including one from the fine folks at Oaklandish. The free event runs from 11:00am until 7:00pm.

And Oaklandish are also involved in the Oaklandish Salsa By The Lake event in Oakland on Sunday (May 31st), which will help kick off the summer, Salsa style. The five hour event will include free Salsa dance classes and a performance by the Salsa band Rumbache. With free admission, it runs from 1:00pm to 6:00pm at the Splash Pad Park, across the street  from the Grand Lake Theater by Lake Merritt, Oakland.

And finally, I leave you with the latest in the ongoing Taco Bell rap TV commercial series, which has inspired many copycat homemade, or rather drive-thru, YouTube versions. This one is the Taco Bell "Rap Battle" 89 cent chicken burrito ad, 2009 version.

Relevant Tags

50 Cent (13), Taco Bell (1), Tanya Morgan (5), Eminem (13), Twitter (7), Dr Dre (9)