Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:012:17: Jay-Z, RTJ, Kenny Dope, Logic, Snoop Dogg, Twista, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Necro, Z-Ro, & Macklemore

Posted by Billyjam, July 12, 2017 10:37pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hip-Hop Top 5 July 12 2017

1: Jay-Z 4:44 (Roc Nation)

2: Logic Everybody (also avail on vinyl/LP)  (Def Jam)

3: Snoop Dogg Neva Left (Doggystyle)

4: Z-Ro No Love Boulevard (1 Deep Entertainment) 

5: Twista Crook Country (CMG)


Kenny Dope "Cuckoo Clock" + "Crime Cut" 7"
             +   "Down By Law" / "Subway Beat" (7") (Kay Dee Records)

   Die! LP
             + Death Rap [Bonus Tracks] LP   ( Records)          

Jay-Z's 4:44 (Roc Nation), which is the number one hip-hop album at Amoeba this week, was officially released for sale Friday last (July 7, 2017) even though the album had actually been unveiled a week earlier via (Jay-Z's) Tidal streaming company as well as via Sprint, following a profitable deal he shrewdly signed with the corporation. That combined exposure of 4:44 resulted in the RIAA registering it platinum status two days in advance of its actual (traditional) "street date." As such the unprecedented move was yet another reminder of  just how radically the music business has switched up and changed in these ever-evolving digital days. Jay-Z's 4:44 (Roc Nation) has something in common with another chart entry above: Snoop Dogg's Neva Left (Doggystyle). Beyond both being by maturing hip-hop artists in a young man's game, each of the two artists shared the experience of been lambasted for losing their edge in reviews of previous recent era releases. In response, both artists set out to instantly defuse these negative impressions of their careers. Each address the haters on their respective albums' opening tracks in which they insist that they're neither washed up or irrelevant. 

Snoop opens his new (fifteenth) studio album with the descriptive title track "Neva Left" on which he voices his harshest critics' words (“Word on the street is, you ain’t what you used to be.”) and then proceeds to spend the rest of the new album's sixteen tracks showing why he indeed does matter, even a full quarter century after his arrival on the scene. The album's cover photo jogs us back to that early period in the LBC rapper's long career. Meanwhile Jay-Z  opens his new (thirteenth) studio album with the track "Kill Jay-Z" by starting afresh and back to square one. As accurately observed in the album's official Amoeba review:"After a spate of bad press following a rumored affair and a poorly received last album, JAY-Z had to kill Jay Z to move on. That’s exactly what he does on the opening track of 4:44, “Kill Jay Z,” obliterating the past’s expectations and disappointments with a bold restatement of artistry."

Other chart entries include Chicago tongue twisting rapper Twista's first full length release since Dark Horse (2014) Crook Country (also via CMG),  Z-Ro's (farewell album after a 20 year career for the Houston rapper) No Love Boulevard on 1 Deep Entertainment, and Logic's exceptional new album via Def Jam Everybody (also avail on vinyl/LP). With a diverse array of guests that range from Chuck D to Killer Mike and Neil deGrasse Tyson the musically diverse hip-hop set from Maryland's Logic ranks among the most interesting new releases of the summer. With thirteen tracks clocking in at one hour and eleven minutes,
Everybody is somewhat of a rarity these days: a concept hip-hop album. That concept is based on a person named Atom and his engaging life (and death) stories. As accurately noted by the Amoeba reviewer, who stylistically ranks Logic alongside such contemporaries Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, the character Adam, "dies, meets God (voiced by Neil deGrasse Tyson!), and subsequently is reincarnated into every possible human perspective, whose stories are detailed"….with "observations drawn from Logic’s particular experiences, addressing his biracial background and upbringing; his unique perspective of life from two very different sides."

The vinyl picks of the week include dual sets from both Kenny Dope and Necro: 7" and 12" formats respectively. Producer with fresh funky hip-hop head-nodding beats always running through his veins, Kenny Dope's two singles are the old school beats and breaks throwback tracks contained on the 45 singles "Cuckoo Clock" + "Crime Cut" 7" +   "Down By Law" / "Subway Beat" (7").  Both were released simultaneously by Kay Dee Records who in 2014 first released the two records as part of a seven 7" record box-set entitled Wild Style Breakbeats. And next week the record label will release two more 7" singles from the artist that can be pre-ordered before their July 21st release date: "Gangbusters" / "Meetings" 7" and "Military Cut" / "Busy Bees" 7".  Meanwhile filed under hip-hop's horrorcore subgenre are the two new to vinyl releases from Brooklyn artist (and brother of rapper Ill Bill), Necro:  Die! LP + and Death Rap [Bonus Tracks] LP.  Both double LP sets were released by the record label who only a few months ago also released vinyl versions of Necro's 2001 album Gory Days and his 2000 release I Need Drugs. Although seven years old, the 2010 album Die! is the artist's most recent solo release. It was originally released in 2010 while the newly released bonus tracks from Death Rap are all culled from the recording sessions for his 2007 album.

has returned from his self-imposed hiatus with the new heartfelt viral video "Glorious (feat. Skylar Grey)" (above). The Jason Koenig directed video, which last Friday was published to YouTube under the new account name Macklemore LLC, has racked up over 12 million views in the five days since. Filmed in Modesto CA it is dedicated to the artist's grandmother (who appears in the clip) turning 100 years of age. Noticeably absent is Macklemore's longtime musical partner Ryan Lewis who reportedly is still on his creative break.

Street Art/Mural of the Week: the NYC tribute to the late great Prodigy of Mobb Deep. The piece is by JERMZ and TOPAZ with the photo thanks to the late artist's friend/collaborator DJ Premier.

Run The Jewels' hardworking duo of Killer Mike and El-P last week randomly dropped another music video (the Chris Hopewell directed "Don't Get Captured" music video above) off the power-duo's current/third six month old album Run The Jewels 3 (aka RTJ3) that is also avail in gold colored vinyl/LP version.

Relevant Tags

Ay-z (1), Run The Jewels (21), Kenny Dope (5), Logic (9), Snoop Dogg (24), Twista (5), Prodigy Of Mobb Deep (1), Necro (1), Z-ro (3), & Macklemore (1)