Hip-Hop Rap Up 04:29:11: Atmosphere, Blueprint, Del, Blu, DJ Quik, Neila, Zion I & The Grouch, Sneakas, DMC 2011 + More

Posted by Billyjam, April 29, 2011 06:06am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:29:11

1) Atmosphere The Family Sign CD (Rhymesayers)

The new album from the most successful band in indie rap music expands upon the sound that they built with their live band on "To All My Friends/Blood Makes the Blade Holy.” The result? The Family Sign: A series of daring and memorable songs that take their musicianship to the next level.

These guys have built their fan base from the ground up through years of constant touring, so it's always nice to see them getting the support they rightfully deserve.

2) Del Tha Funky Homosapien Golden Era CD (Council)

Bay Area favorite Del’s new album is probably the best deal you’ll get on a hip hop CD in 2011. The package contains three full length CDs for the price of one, setting Del’s brand new unreleased recording Golden Era next to two albums previously only available in digital formats, Automatik Statik and Funk Man. The two free albums you get in the package are solid in their own right, and Golden Era continues the tradition of quality that Heiroglyphics fans have come to know Del for.

3) Blueprint Adventures in Counter-Culture (Rhymesayers)  

I did a write-up of this one in my honorable mentions last time, but the hype for it has hit the media and sales have recently picked up for it in a major way. Adventures in Counter-Culture  is Blueprint at his most experimental and progressive, mixing his casual deep-voiced rhymes with a pop aesthetic that taps into rock, electronic and soul music.  The whole thing blends together into a very cohesive and impressive body of work. Blueprint will also be doing a free Amoeba instore at Amoeba Berkeley, May 8th at 3 PM.

4) Blu Her Favorite Colo(u)r CD (Nature Sounds)

When one of the more exciting new-school West Coast MCs in hip hop delivers his first CD in a minute, it’s bound to get a lot of attention in the Bay. Her Favorite Color is not a new album per se – it was released as a free digital download from Blu a few years back for a limited time – but this is a high quality remastered version of the recording with new cover art sure to entice Blu fans. Extra smooth rapping over lo-fi, soulful production.

5) DJ Quik The Book of David CD (Mad Science)

Rounding out this week’s Bay Area best sellers is the new one from West Coast O.G DJ Quik, who has a major reputation for releasing solid records and is not about to tarnish that rep with his latest release.

Features the impressive cast of West Coast homies you’d expect from a DJ Quik record: Ice Cube, Kurupt, Suga Free, and Bizzy Bone along with longtime collaborator K.K. Fans of Quik’s past work won’t be disappointed.

Honorable mention:

Neila Better Late Than Never LP (Grimm Image)

Proud to be stocking this one at our store! Below is a review I wrote for the store display. We’ve restocked Neila’s Better Late Than Never CD as well if you want to support but are turntable-less.

“This is my epilogue, I’m walking death zombie white heavy footprints.” In listening to Neila’s Only This One Counts, one can genuinely feel the tragedy and hardship that this talented MC had to endure over the course of the last year. Near-fatal allergies hospitalized her many times over, she lost her job and her home, her heart was broken and she was eventually diagnosed with vocal cord cancer that put her life and voice in danger. Only This One Counts is her final recording prior to surgery. You can hear her voice strain to reach its heights as her emotional turmoil is spilled over Rezult’s bleak backdrops. 

It’s hardly a fair hand for life to have dealt to such a veteran of the LA underground circuit, whose voice has graced many massive Project Blowed posse cuts and who has been featured alongside Joe Dub, Awol One, Acid Reign, 2Mex, Deeskee, Omid and others. Perhaps the most inspiring part of Neila’s struggle is the way that she’s remained so positive and supportive of others through her hardships, as she’s still one of the kindest souls you’re likely to encounter in any rap circuit. As of April 2011 Neila is in full remission from her cancer, but in some ways, “Only This One Counts” is her lifeline. Purchasing this LP goes directly to paying for her rent and hospital bills. Strictly available on limited pink vinyl (no CD or digital formats available), BUY IT! – E. Lit


Special thanks to E-Lit over at the Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop section for the above top five chart plus honorable mention, and his accurate descriptions of each of these new releases. In addition to the recommended Blueprint Amoeba Berkeley instore on May 8th (Mother's Day) at 3pm, mentioned by E.Lit, a few days earlier here on the Amoeblog we will be running an interview with the Columbus, Ohio artist I conducted in New York City this week on same day that the artist did an amazing set at the sold out Terminal 5, as part of the ongoing Family Tour.

The day before the Amoeba Berkeley instore, May 7th, those same touring artists will be playing the Bay Area installment of The Family Tour at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. In addition to Blueprint, the show will feature Abilities, Musab, Budo, Grieves, Atmosphere w/ Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, and DJ Big Wiz.

In addition to the Amoeblog Blueprint interview there will also be an Amoeblog interview with Del The Funky Homosapien talking about his new album (Golden Era), his favorite new video games, his status with both Deltron 3030 and Gorillaz, and why he changed the spelling of his name from "Funkee" to "Funky." That interview will run here in a little over a week. Meantime cop Del's Golden Era online from Amoeba. 

The DMC 2011 Battleground -- the preliminaries in the DJ battle series that lead up to the US Finals in NYC in June and the World Finals in London in September -- continue in Long Beach, CA tonight with the
DMC West Coast and the DMC USA Team Battle happening. Two DJ battles tonight with showcases by DJ Revolution, and by 2010 DMC US Champ DJ Etronik. Also showcasing will be Soul Elevation, comprised of DJ Icy Ice & ToQuon Da MC. ToQuon will also be host for the night while the judges will include P-Trix, Nando, Kuttin Kandi, Kidragon, DJ Rhettmatic, DJ Jay Slim & DJ Revolution. The DMC event happens at Rhythm Lounge. More info here.

Zion I & The Grouch "Heroes In The Healing of The Nation" (2011)

Zion I & The Grouch, whose brand new Pete Lee directed video (above) got released this week, are coming to the end of their intense current cross country US tour (I caught them last week in Brooklyn at Knitting Factory in Williamsburg and they were amazing) with three final concerts to go: tonight (4/29) at the Avalon Ballroom in Santa Clara, tomorrow (Saturday, 4/30) at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, NV, and Sunday (May 1st) at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. If you can attend any of these I highly recommend you do, since these guys are great together.

They first collaborated when The Grouch guested on Zion I's 2000 album Mind Over Matter on the track "Silly Puddy" which led to their first collaborative full-length, 2006's Heroes in the City of Dope, which in turn paved the way for the second and current Z&G album Heroes in the Healing of the Nation (Z&G Music). For this tour The Grouch and Zion I are donating proceeds of their tickets sales to charities in each city they perform in.

Finally, I leave you with videos for two hip-hop songs, one brand new and one that is two decades old, that examine what it is to be an American. The first is the just released: "I'm An American" by Sneakas, the first single from Sneakas' free mixtape Hebonics 101, which is hosted by Hot97's Peter Rosenberg and features Iron Solomon, ILL Bill, M.C. Serch and many more and whose overall theme is examining being Jewish in hip-hop. The other song/video below is the 1992 single from the much slept-on Philly crew The Goats and their thought-provoking song "Typical American."

Sneakas "I'm An American" (2011)

The Goats "Typical American" (1992)

Relevant Tags

Zion I & The Grouch (6), Neila (1), Dj Quik (12), Blu (12), Del (11), Blueprint (7), Atmosphere (13), Sneaka (1), Dmc 2011 (0)