Hip-Hop Rap Up 01:07:11: Ghostface #1, David Banner's Makeover, Madchild Banned in the USA, Louie Skaggs, Sims + More

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2011 07:07am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 01:07:11

1) Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids (Def Jam)

2) Andre Nickatina & Tha Jacka My Middle Name Is Crime EP (I-Khan Distribution)

3) Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)

4) David Banner & 9th Wonder Death of a Pop Star (b.i.G.f.a.c.e. / Entertainment One Music)

5) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager (Universal/Motown) 

Shout out to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba store for supplying this week's top five chart. Since it's the first week of the new year, the chart entries are all late 2010 releases, with all but Kid Cudi and Kanye West dropping in December. Both Wu Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah's recommended, classic soul fueled Apollo Kids (Def Jam), which I wrote about in last week's Hip-Hop Rap Up, and David Banner & 9th Wonder's Death of a Pop Star (b.i.G.f.a.c.e. / Entertainment One Music) each dropped on December 21st and despite their release date (a period when typically albums get lost in the holiday madness) fans have managed to discover both wonderful releases.

Ghostface Killah "Drama (feat. Joell Ortiz & The Game)"  

David Banner & 9th Wonder "Slow Down (feat. Heather Victoria)" (2010)

While on the surface the pairing of mainstream rapper/producer David Banner with less mainstream North Carolina producer 9th Wonder might seem like an unlikely match, it is not. Banner's history dates back to Crooked Lettaz, his late nineties group that preceded his major label mainstream successes with such hits as "Play" and "Like A Pimp." And with this release, on which he has wisely fully relinquished all production duties to 9th Wonder, he marks a return to his roots. Deliberately titled Death of a Pop Star, Banner has connected with the smaller scale label Entertainment One (aka e One) -- formerly Koch -- in order to maintain more creative control (something he claims he did not have with the bigger labels).

For Death, 9th Wonder did not simply rely on looping beats and creating all his own tracks in the studio; instead he enlisted musicians to bring live instrumentation to the project, a new frontier for 9th Wonder. The result is an engaging, soulful backtrack for Banner's prevalent sociopolitical commentary, quite a departure from bygone hits such as "Like A Pimp," for sure. The ten track album includes such impressive guests as Ludacris & Marsha Ambrosious ("Be With You"),  Anthony Hamilton ("Stutter"), Big Remo ("Strange"), Heather Victoria ("Slow Down"), and Erykah Badu ("Silly"). Throughout the short album Banner tackles a myriad of topics including religion, gang violence, homosexuality, and objectification of women, as in the song/video above that examines why women become strippers. Below are the tracks "Strange" and "Be With You" from Death. Not only is this a great album, albeit a short one at only 30 minutes in length, but it is also one that will go down in the history books as one of the most unlikely career path transitions -- and more importantly, one that works.

David Banner & 9th Wonder "Strange"

David Banner & 9th Wonder "Be With You (feat. Ludacris & Marsha Ambrosius)"

Swollen Members "Warrior" (2009)

Canadian emcee Madchild of hip-hop group Swollen Members will be unable to travel Stateside from his Vancouver home to promote his group's soon to drop new album Dagger Mouth on Battle Axe / Suburban Noize Records. According to the artist, he has been indefinitely denied entrance to the United States by US customs officials.
“I was on my way to meet my brothers in Swollen Members to perform some shows in the United States. I went to go through customs at the Vancouver Airport, and I was pulled into the customs waiting room. I must have sat there for three hours before I was even called up to the desk, which was odd, considering there was hardly anybody else in there waiting," he said. "When I was finally called up, the agent started questioning me about being a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club and when I replied, ‘No,’ he just continued to repeat the question over and over again. After five more hours of waiting, watching him go back and forth, looking on the internet and asking me the same questions over and over again, I was finally called to the front desk. He asked me another series of questions and after a total of eight and a half hours of questioning I was told that I was officially banned from entering the United States.”

A reformed drug addict who acknowledges, through poor judgement in his younger days, had associated with less than savory characters, Madchild feels he is now, years later, being "discriminated against" at a time when his life is at its most righteous, which makes it all the more "frustrating" to him. "In the last year I’ve managed to defeat my drug addiction and really worked on changing my life to become a better person. I’ve even started speaking at high schools here in Canada to talk to kids about the perils of drug addiction and hopefully use my journey to inspire the youth to avoid the pitfalls that I fell into. It’s extremely disheartening to me to know that after turning my life around, it feels like a second chance is evading me." Regardless of Madchild's US visa status, Swollen Members' new album Dagger Mouth will be released in the next few months.

Louie Skaggs "La Calle" (Bucktown USA, 2011)
Louie Skaggs
Above is the brand new track "La Calle" by Louie Skaggs (aka Mantecha Music) from the Bucktown USA artist's underground street CD My Life In Rhyme. The Brooklyn, NY born Skaggs is first-generation Dominican American and got his start with the Brooklyn based crew BackBlocks/ CLR. His rap career was halted when he got caught up the street life and had to spend a year behind bars. Upon his release, he jumped back into the rap game 100%, hooking up with General Steele of Smif n Wessun/ BootCamp Clik which led to him being featured on two General Steele albums, Welcome To Bucktown and Amerikkka’s Nightmare Part 2 - both released on Bucktown USA Entertainment/ DuckDown Records.  As Louie Skaggs prepares for an official release his new street CD, My Life In Rhyme is avail for free download here.

Sims "Burn It Down" (Doomtree, 2011)

Above is the brand new Isaac Gale and Dave Jensen directed video for "Burn It Down" from the Mid West's Sims. The song is from the forthcoming album Bad Time Zoo, scheduled for a February 15th release. Produced entirely by Lazerbeak, the album is being released by Doomtree Records. There is also a 12 inch single of the song on Doomtree Records (the label that P.O.S. is down with).

And finally, I leave you with a brand new video, directed by Shing02, of a revamped version of a recording from four years ago. Shot in locations including Okinawa, Los Angeles, Toyama, Kumamoto, and Nagano, the song "無知の知 / Muchi No Chi" features Kakumakushaka, Shing02, Hisomi-TNP, Mouthpeace, Eleven, and Meiso with production by Kakumakushaka.

"無知の知 / Muchi No Chi"  6MCs Revamp

Relevant Tags

Swollen Members (5), Madchild (6), Ghostface Killah (12), David Banner (3), Louie Skaggs (1), Shing02 (15), Sims (3), 9th Wonder (8)