Hip-Hop Rap Up 02:25:11: Sims, Zion I & The Grouch, E. Lit, Macsen Apollo, Erk Tha Jerk + More

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2011 03:15pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 02:25:11

1) Sims Bad Time Zone (Zoomtree) CD

Proud to be stocking this product and even prouder that it's moving so well. This sophomore album from Sims is an album years in the making that highlights the Doomtree rapper's progression as an MC and talented lyricist. Doomtree's central producer, Lazerbeak, handles the entirety of the album's production and delivers some of his strongest beats to date. Very highly recommended, glad a distributor was wise enough to finally pick these guys up.

Cee Lo Green

2)  Cee-Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra) CD

Still moving strong, Cee-Lo's latest is just another example of how Goodie Mob's brightest shining member can make an album with massive radio appeal without sacrificing his artistic integrity. Whether he's singing or rapping, Cee-Lo always brings something interesting to the table.

3) Awol One & Factor The Landmark (Fake Four) CD

The latest from LA's Awol One showcases his personality as a rapper over Factor's trippy psychedelic rock production. Awol's moaning spoken word cadence is an original style of rap music that may not appeal to everyone, but is certainly worthy of people's attention.

Kanye West

4) Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-a-Fella) LP

We finally got Kanye's latest back in stock on LP and they pretty much flew off the shelves. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is possibly Kanye's greatest accomplishment in the way that it solidifies his persona as an MC, and the critics have taken note. He's continued to sell steadily since.

Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids

5)  Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids (Def Jam) CD

This one isn't particularly new either, but has picked up in sales recently as more Wu fans have discovered it. Not much to say about Tony Starks that hasn't already been covered, but needless to say he's one of the more consistant solo artists out of Wu-Tang and this one is an improvement over his last R&B-oriented project.

Plus two honorable mentions:

Talib Kweli
6) Talib Kweli Gutter Rainbows (Javotti Media/3D) CD

This new album from Talib Kweli has been selling well in the last few weeks. Worth pointing out, since it's the first independently released Talib Kweli project in many years, and features an interesting cast of
producers like S1, Marco Polo, and M-Phazes. Jean Grae and Sean Price lay down guest verses as well.

7)  Deltron 3030 Deltron 3030 (Traffic) LP
Finally re-issued on LP! There are Del fans out there who have been listening since I Wish My Brother George Was Here that will argue that Deltron is his strongest album, but regardless of where you rank
it, it's still pretty much a must-own.

Special thanks to Evan "E. Lit" Litwack at Amoeba Berkeley for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart plus two additional honorable mentions for hip-hop releases doing well at the East Bay Amoeba store this past week. E. Lit, who is pictured below, right, with Buck 65, is a man who clearly knows and loves his hip-hop music. He offered the descriptions of the seven E.Lit + Buck 65albums listed above. Note that the album titles that are linked in blue highlights will direct you to where to purchase from Amoeba online. But should you be looking for some specific title that is not linked/offered for sale, simply fill out the Amoeba Mail Order form and we will get back to you.

Speaking of Buck 65, the longtime alternative hip-hop Canadian artist has just dropped a new album, 20 Odd Years, on Warner. It is so named because he has been putting it down in the hip-hop game for two full decades now. The album, which has some amazing straight up hip-hop tracks such as "Lights Out," also veers off into some very pretty folk pop and crossover mainstream territory (with prominent guests including Jean Grant and Hannah Georgas) that squarely places the release in the more pop or alternative rock leaning end of the rap spectrum.

Zion I & The Grouch, who teamed up five years ago to release the stellar Heroes in the City of Dope, are returning with a follow up full-length to that well received 2006 album. To be released on March 22nd, the album will be titled Heroes In The Healing of a Nation and will be accompanied by a national tour that will not only spread the word of hip-hop but also raise money for charities nationwide. The benevolent artists say that they will donate 100% of all ticketing fees sold through to local community organizations in each of the tour's 24 cities that the three (Amp Live, Zumbi, and The Grouch) roll through.

"People are going through a difficult transition these days. We want this album to aid in that process," said Zumbi of the tentative tour and new album message. Guests on the new album will include Freeway, Fashawn, Casual, Mystic, Eric of Rebelution, Jacob Hemphill of Soja, Eligh, Marty James, Los Rakas, Codany Holiday, and the R.O.D Project. Meanwhile the tour, which will feature opening acts Blu, The Jacka, and The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, starts in San Francisco on Saturday, March 19 at the Fillmore Auditorium. The US tour finishes up 24 concert dates later back in the Bay Area on April 29th with a closing night show at The Avalon in Santa Clara. Below is a trailer for the album and tour followed by the video for the Zion I & The Grouch collaborative track, the single "One."

Trailer for Zion I & The Grouch Heroes in the Healing of a Nation (2011)

Zion I & The Grouch "One" (2010)

Vvs Vebal "Golden Era" (2011)

Above is the brand new Cynical Smith & General Steele directed video for recently signed Bucktown USA artist, the emcee Vvs Vebal. The song, "Golden Era," which fittingly catches some of that bygone Macsen Apollogolden era vibe, is taken from the artist's forthcoming album The Rebirth: Of the Slickest.

And below I leave you with two brand new Bay Area soulful hip-hop videos. The first is for the single "Heartbreak" from Bay Area hip-hop artist Macsen Apollo of the hardworking hip-hop duo V.E.R..A. Clique. This solo joint, which is produced by Kev Choice and features DJ Quest on the cuts, is from Macsen Apollo's forthcoming solo album Matters of the Heart. 

The second and last is the brand new video by Erk Tha Jerk for his autobiographical song "Reach The Top" off his official debut album, Nerd's Eye View, that dropped four months ago. Erk both co-directed and co-produced the video with Clay & Magz Films, and for it revisits the Richmond, California neighborhood he grew up in.

Macsen Apollo "Heartbreaks" (2011)

Erk Tha Jerk "Reach The Top" (2011)

Relevant Tags

E. Lit (1), Erk Tha Jerk (4), Macsen Apollo (1), Zion I & The Grouch (6), Sims (3)