Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Main Attrakionz Amoeba In-Store, Top 5 Charts, Vince Staples, Billy Woods, Large Pro, Czarface, Apathy, Rob Swift

Posted by Billyjam, July 5, 2015 01:33pm | Post a Comment

Most everything it seems about Main Attrakionz, who played an extremely well-received in-store at Amoeba Berkeley this past Tuesday (June 30), is atypical of the image one might have about Oakland rap and what it should sound/look like. For starters the young, longtime North Oakland rap duo comprised of Mondre M.A.N. (Damondre Grice) and Squadda B (Charles Glover) have just released their new album, 808s & Dark Grapes IIIon Vapor Records, which is the label owned by none other than Neil Young and whose releases to date feature such distinctly non-rap acts as Jonathan Richman and Pegi Young  (Neil Young, an Oakland rap fan! Who would've thunk?). Secondly the Pleasanton-based production duo of Friendzone (James Laurence and Dylan Reznick), who produced the entire new album and joined them onstage at Amoeba this week, may not look like they would have been paired with these two Oakland rappers, but the collaboration totally works! And thirdly I have never before witnessed an Oakland rap show where the act's former middle school mentor acts as their hype-person and gets on the mic to give a rousing introduction. But such was the case with new Vapor Records' act Main Attrakionz who were introduced by Marian Meadows who has known the pair for half of their lives, ever since she mentored them back when they first started seriously rapping at age twelve at North Oakland's Carter Middle School. Her glowing in-depth and informative intro that dated back to day one (literally) of when they started - before they started entering "the middle school talent show circuit" - included her stressing how they put in endless hours of practicing, referencing that old saying about hours of practice needed to master an art, noting that, "You know how they say when you've passed ten thousand hours? Well when you start when you're 12 years old, you've passed that 10,000 hours but are in the hundreds of thousands of hours!" Indeed, as noted in the Amoeblog interview conducted with Main Attrakionz before Tuesday's in-store, the duo have been incredibly prolific. While this new album may only be their second official album they've already released more like 15 albums worth of material. For Tuesday's Amoeba Berkeley concert, that ran about half an hour and got the loudly appreciative in-store crowd hyped, they focused on new album material. 808s & Dark Grapes III is available from Amoeba in CD format with LP vinyl version to follow in the near future. See the full Amoeblog profile/interview on Main Attrakionz here.

                               Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 07:03:15

1) Knxwledge Hud Dreems (Stones Throw)

2) Main Attrakionz 808s & Dark Grapes III (Vapor)

3) Pete Rock Petestrumentals 2 (Fat Beats) (also avail on vinyl)

4) Will Sessions Mix Takes (Fat Beats) (vinyl version)

5) Vince Staples Summertime 06 (Def Jam)

                                        Amoeba Berkeley's E-Lit's Bonus 5 Picks of the Week

1) Billy Woods Today, I Wrote Nothing (Backwoodz)

2) Czarface Every Hero Needs A Villain (Brick)

3) Large Pro Re:Living (Fat Beats) (also on LP)

4) The Internet Ego Death (Columbia/Legacy)

5) Apathy Weekend At The Cape (Dirty Version)

In the number one hip-hop album chart position this week at Amoeba Berkeley is super-talented producer Knxwledge (previously profiled/interviewed here on the Amoeblog) with his recently released Stones Throw album Hud Dreems that is a two vinyl release and is one of those densely produced instrumental hip-hop records that you hear new things in it upon repeated listens. Also collectors will note that the 2LP version contains a lot of extra material (Side D) that is exclusive to the vinyl version. "It's an incredible album," said E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store who provided the above charts of recommended new releases to arrive into Amoeba. Included were the aforementioned Main Attrakionz' 808s & Dark Grapes III that was released the same day they did their Amoeba in-store performance and meet-and-greet. Another of the many hip-hop artists to have performed at the three Amoeba Music stores over the years is Pete Rock whose Petestrumentals 2 is available in both CD and LP (double vinyl) versions. Another chart entry is Vince Stapes' Summertime 06 whom Amoeblogger Billy Gil recently chose as among new album picks of the week writing that "Long Beach rapper Vince Staples introduces the world at large to a tough, world-weary persona who at only 22 has seemingly been through enough drama to fill a book."  That same picks of the week Amoeblog included Odd Future spinoff act The Internet's Ego Death (Columbia) by the group who are among the performers at the upcoming LA rooftop Summer On Seventh  concert.

Vince Staples "SeƱorita" (2015)

Other new releases at Amoeba include the artist Apathy of Demigods fame who E-Lit calls "one of the the greatest punchline rappers." His new arrival at Amoeba is the 10 track Weekend At The Cape (Dirty Version) which is just one of two new releases that Apathy is responsible for. The other is a double CD compilation, also released in this past week, called The Black Lodge. Another E-Lit recommended new release is Will Sessions' Mix Takes (Fat Beats) which is available in vinyl version of Mix Takes 3/4 that he describes as "classic breaks and hip-hop instrumentals rearranged" from the group known to many as the instrumental backing band for elZhi's Illmatic tribute Elmatic. Speaking of the Nas classic/debut album, one of the contributing producers responsible for Illmatic was The Large Professor (aka Large Pro) whose latest release Re:Living on Fat Beats (also available from Amoeba in vinyl format) references that album and the rest of his legacy as seen in the video below for "In The Scrolls." The album features such guests as Roc Marciano, Inspectah Deck, Cormega, G-Wiz, and Lord Jamar. Also in his personal top five picks, E-Lit places in the number position Billy Woods 2LP set vinyl version (only avail in-store) of his CD release Today, I Wrote Nothing on Backwoodz Records that E-Lit rates it as one of the year's best albums.

Large Professor "In The Scrolls" (2015)

Another fave of E-Lit's, and many others it seems too that he calls "the rapper's rap album," is the new second collaborative album project from Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric plus numerous guests such as MF Doom, GZA, and Method Man - the album Every Hero Needs A Villain"It's Inspectah Deck's best work in my opinion and every track has a competitive vibe meaning that every guest rapper on there sounds like they are trying to outdo the previous one," said E-Lit who noted that despite the fact that it is unavailable everywhere else (even at the Amoeba online store) that there are still some rare remaining copies of the vinyl version (with comic book!) of Every Hero Needs A Villain. Another new release that has been garnering attention at Amoeba Berkeley since its release this past Tuesday is the new Locksmith album Lofty Goals (Landmark). Forthcoming albums include the next Rob Swift solo album that he is currently running a successful Kickstarter campaign for the soon to drop album X-Files: Lost & Deleted that will feature such guests as J-Live, Supernatural, and the aforementioned Large Professor.  His first hip-hop album in six years, he describes a collection of "rare, remixed and reinterpreted songs from my archives."

Czarface "The Great" (2015)

Relevant Tags

Kool Keith And L'orange (1), New Hip-hop 2015 (2), X-files: Lost & Deleted (1), Rob Swift Kickstarter (1), Neil Young Vapor Records (2), Main Attrakionz Amoeba In-store (1)