Amoeba San Francisco Platinum Anniversary Celebrated Via 20 Years of Hip-Hop Albums 1997-2017: from Company Flow to Wiki

Posted by Billyjam, November 18, 2017 04:23pm | Post a Comment

As you likely already know today is part-two of the two-day 20 year (Platinum) anniversary celebration of Amoeba San Francisco that opened back in November 1997. In-store happenings at the historic SF Haight-Ashbury District location, that formerly housed a bowling alley, include music spinning from DJs with Amoeba SF roots: J Boogie, DJ Rascue, DocFu, and Mike Bee and the Platinum party going strong
til 8pm this evening.  Full details on Amoeba SF Platinum Anniversary Celebration. In celebration of Amoeba SF's 20 years of  providing bottomless crates for DJs and hip-hop fans to dig from, below is a quick look back at select hip-hop album releases from the twenty years that Amoeba San Francisco has been open. Sure it’s a subjective list culled from the countless great albums released over these past two decades. But it is also a reminder of how quickly the time has flown since Amoeba Music opened on Haight Street back in November 1997. Note that the Hollywood store opened a few years later in November 2001 and that the Amoeba Music Berkeley store (the original) had already been open for seven years at this point. The photo above is from seven years ago, November 2010, during the 20 year anniversary celebration of Amoeba Berkeley. It pictures two of that day’s performers: former Amoeba employee and Anticon hero Adam "DoseoneDrucker along with Pam The Funkstress of The Coup. As posted on the Amoeblog two days ago the longtime Bay Area DJ, also known as Purple Pam, is currently in hospital and battling for her life. As of time of publishing this story on Saturday afternoon, no further updates on Pam’s health had been issued but once they have will be posted here on the Amoeblog. [UPDATE EDIT on Saturday Nov 18th a little after 7pm (Pacific time) good news posted on social media regarding Pam's status, stating that "she had a successful surgery and is on her way to recovery" and that she and her family, "want to thank everyone for their prayers and concern."]
Meantime below are 20 hip-hop albums from the past 20 years of Amoeba SF's existence at 1855 Haight St, San Francisco, California 94117 

1997 Company Flow Funcrusher Plus  (Rawkus Records)

This landmark indie NY 90's hip-hop album from Company Flow had been out for four months by the time Amoeba SF opened its doors but it was one of those sleepers that it took a while for many fans to catch up on and appreciate its sheer brilliance.  Funcrusher Plus was the debut studio album from Company Flow and a dozen years later would be re-released on El-P's Definitive Jux label.

1998 Mos Def & Talib Kweli Black Star (also on vinyl LP) (Rawkus/Universal)

Offically entitled Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star but more often referred to as Black Star this is the sole studio album by the power duo of Brooklyn NY emcees Talib Kweli and Mos Def. With production by Hi-Tek and the album's only guest spot by Common, the release's title refers to the Black Star shipping line founded by Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey.

1999 MF Doom Operation Doomsday (also avail on vinyl/LP) (Fondle Em Records)
Released on Bobbito's prestigious Fondle Em record label was (former KMD member) MF Doom's solo debut Operation Doomsday. An incredible release that both marked the British-American artist's overude return to hip-hop scene and the beginning of his illustrious and prolific solo  career.  Reissued by Sub Verse Records in 2011, last year it was reissued again on the artist's own Metal Face Records who (take note collectors) will be releasing for next week's Black Friday Record Store Day the cassette box set: Special Herbs Box Set.

2000 Common Like Water for Chocolate (MCA)

Like Water for Chocolate was the fourth studio from Common, and was both a critical and commercial success for the Chicago emcee that, as noted by Amoeba reviewers, was "the album that caught critic’s attention, earned him a first time gold record and brought him into the forefront of the hip-hop community."  Further it showcased the Soulquarians collective whose membership included Questlove, Jay Dee (aka J Dilla) and D'Angelo

2001 Jay-Z The Blueprint (also on vinyl/LP) (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)

The sixth studio album by Jay-Z, The Blueprint  (with top-notch production by Kanye West, Just Blaze and others)  the 13 track release is widely considered the NYC artist's best album as well as one of the genre's greatest too.  Tracks included (Nas and Prodigy diss song) "Takeover," the Eminem featured (and produced) "Renegade," and the hidden bonus track "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)." The album would be followed by seven more from the artist born Shawn Carter, including The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse, The Blueprint 3 and this year's 4:44.

2002 Blackalicious Blazing Arrow (Quannum/MCA)

NorCal hip-hop greats down with DJ Shadow et all from the Solesides/Quannum crew Blackalicious dropped the album Blazing Arrow that is considered their best by many, a full decade after the formation of the duo made up of Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel.  Cited by many critics as one of those rare pitch-perfect hip-hop albums from start to finish, Blazing Arrow's guests included Questlove, Gil Scott Heron, and Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha.

2003 Immortal Technique Revolutionary Vol. 2 (Viper)

Released in 2003, Revolutionary Vol. 2 was the second studio album by outspoken NYC revolutionary rapper Immortal Technique, who has performed at Amoeba San Francisco. A sequel to his debut album, Revolutionary Vol. 1, this second album even surpassed that impressive original with its intense no-holds-barred lyrical imagery and delivery that took aim at the US government and the policies of the then Bush administration. An album that demands repeated listens to absorb all its content, it also featured a cameo from incarcerated political icon Mumia Abu-Jamal.

2004 Beastie Boys To the 5 Boroughs (Capitol)

Their first studio album since Hello Nasty and their best since Paul's Boutique, the Beastie Boys returned in force in 2004 with To the 5 Boroughs. Their sixth studio album (it was a number one with a bullet on the pop albums chart) it featured such singles/tracks as "Ch-Check It Out,"  "Triple Trouble,"  "An Open Letter to NYC" and "Right Right Now Now." In addition to the power trio made up of Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Michael "Mike D" Diamond, and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch, who died eight years later in May 2012 at age 47 from cancer, this album featured Mix Master Mike on ten of its sixteen tracks

2005 Little Brother The Minstrel Show (ABB/Atlantic)

The second studio album from North Carolina's Little Brother featuring Phonte, rapper Big Pooh and (super producer) 9th Wonder, The Minstrel Show arrived two years after the crew's impressive debut The Listening. The title of the album (released via Beni B's Bay Area based ABB label) was in reference to the minstrel shows a bygone era of American history, with the innovative album's satirical concept been that of the (fictional) television network UBN (aka U Black Niggas Network) that was a running gag throughout the album.

2006 J Dilla Donuts (Stones Throw)

The second studio album from renowned producer J Dilla (aka Jay Dee) Donuts was released by Stones Throw with label head Peanut Butter Wolf acting as executive producer. Released on Dilla's 32nd birthday, February 7th 2006, the date would be three days before the death of the Detroit born artist. In the time since both DIlla and this album have garnered increasingly more fans. Even more significant is how this J Dilla album in particular would influence a whole generation of hip-hop producers to emulate Dilla's pioneering approach to chopping up soul samples and reworking them. Reissued several times since its initial release eleven years ago (including a sold out box set of 7" singles) the album would pave the way for a successful string of posthumous J Dilla releases, including two upcoming Black Friday Record Store Day releases on Nov. 24th 2017: Delights Vol 1 and Delights Vol. 2.

2007 Evidence Weatherman LP (ABB)

The first solo album from the multi-talented Dilated Peoples member Evidence, the  showcased the emcee/producer's talents. The album, that featured the two singles "Mr. Slow Flow" and "All Said & Done," had a long list of guests/collaborators that included Defari, Planet AsiaPhonte, Rapper Big Pooh, Slug, DJ Babu, and The Alchemis to name but some.

2008 eLZhi The Preface (also on vinyl/LP) (Fat Beats Records)
From Fat Beats Records, who since reissued it, The Preface is the incredible 2008 debut album from Detroit emcee born Jason Powers but known as eLZhi.  Not only a great artist album but it also acts as a Detroit hip-hop sampler with such well chosen fellow Motor City guests as Royce Da 5'9"Danny Brown, Phat Kat, Guilty Simpson, and Black Milk.

2009 Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II (Ice H2O/ EMI)

The long awaited fourth studio album (and sequel to his 1995 solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx) Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II  was the acclaimed 2009 album from Wu-Tang Clan-member Raekwon that proved to be worth its many delays in release. Proving to be the perfect follow up its 1995 first volume, Pt II's many guests included Busta Rhymes and Beanie Sigel as well as many fellow Wu-Tang members including the top-billed Ghostface Killah / Tony Starks.

2010 E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift & Revenue Retriein' Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent/EMI)

2010 was the year when longtime prolific Vallejo game-spitter E40 (of The Click fame) unleashed, via his  Heavy on the Grind imprint, his two part Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift and Revenue Retriein' Night Shift albums that would kick into gear his subsequent ongoing (almost annual) two or three album releases at a time series of album releases. This move by the talented and savvy artist/entrepreneur not only allowed him to showcase his own unique rapping style but, by making them increasingly like compilations with so many rappers and producers, to provide a platform to showcase numerous other artists: most local but some national, both established and upcoming. In the case of this two-part album series on Revenue Retriein' Night Shift he  featured such guests as Snoop Dogg, Turf Talk and Ya Boy (to name but a few) while on Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift the features included such artists as Too $hort, Gucci Mane, HusalahMistah F.A.B., The Jacka (RIP) and fellow Click members Suga T and B-Legit.

2011 The Roots Undun (Def Jam)

Arriving into Amoeba at the start of December of 2011 the Undun was the thirteenth (the tenth studio) album from Philly hip-hop band The Roots who had played a memorable in-store at the Hollywood Amoeba Music a few years earlier. With production done mostly by Questlove, the laidback sounding Undun was an engaging concept piece themed around the tale of a man dying in reverse.

2012 Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city  (also on vinyl/LP) (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)

Credited by some for saving popular hip-hop from becoming mundane and boring, Compton CA artist Kendrick Lamar caught most peoples' attention with this 2012 second album of his: the talented wordsmith's major label debut  good kid, m.A.A.d city  via Dr Dre's Aftermath label with Dre acting as one of the record's many producers. Like a sort of updated N.W.A with engaging in-depth tales of life in Compton the critically acclaimed and commercially successful album would earn the artist four Grammy Award nominations including Album of the Year and win him a worldwide following. The album, which continues to sell well, began the career of a seemingly unstoppable creative force (the latest example being this year's stellar DAMN.)

2013 Homeboy Sandman All That I Hold Dear (Stones Throw)

Although technically an EP since All That I Hold Dear featured just seven tracks, as is the case of all of the other releases by the Elmhurst NY emcee, Homeboy Sandman packs more into one song than the average emcee does in an entire album. Like his previous release, First Of  A Living Breed, and the following one, White Sands, (both also on Stones Throw) this record from the artist born Angel Del Villar is such a cleverly created flow of lyrics that it demands repeated listens to fully absorb and appreciate its depth. 

2014 Run the Jewels Run The Jewels 2 (also on vinyl/LP) (Mass Appeal Records)

This second studio album by the hip-hop power duo Run the Jewels, consisting of Killer Mike and El-P, was released on the then newly formed Nas imprint Mass Appeal Records and outdid its stellar prequel with even deeper more intricate production and lyrical wordplay. Known also as RTJ2 it is is as much rock as it is hip-hop and, while only eleven songs deep, it satisfies on every level, leaving listeners longing for more which they got with RTJ3 released at the start of this year.

2015 Paris Pistol Politics (Guerrilla Funk Recordings)

Qualifying as the most consistent revolutionary rapper from the Bay Area,  Paris returned in full effect in 2015, staying both 100% funky and 100% true to his political beliefs as proven with the powerful Pistol Politics that he released on his Guerrilla Funk Records on September 11th two years ago. The artist's eighth album since his 1990 debut The Devil Made Me Do It,  this most recent album (a double set) addressed a myriad of political and social issues including police brutality, oppression, and institutional racism with an array of guests including Chuck D, George Clinton, E-40, WC, Kam, Tha Eastsidaz, Dead PrezT-K.A.S.H., and The Conscious Daughters.

2016  A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here,... Thank You 4 Your Service LP (Epic)

 A kind of bittersweet release, A Tribe Called Quest's 2016 album We Got It From Here,... Thank You 4 Your Service (Ewould also be Queens NY crew's final album since six months earlier member Phife Dawg had passed midway during the recording of this incredible LP. As aptly noted by Amoeba Hollywood's Monalisa the album, "felt like a journey back in time, with the hope, excitement, and anticipation for more awesome music from the crew that made us feel so good all through the '90s. With all the current events happening in our world today, this album is the perfect soother, and it came at the perfect time. Q-Tip, Phife Dog, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad pick right up where they left off, with Jarobi returning for the last ride, bringing us words of wisdom, bangers for our ears, and food for our souls. Conscious songs like "Dis Generation," "We The People," and "The Killing Season," along with head nodding bangers like "Kids," "Movin Backwards," and "Melatonin" give us the classic formula that we expected from one of the best groups to ever create hip-hop music."

2017 Wiki No Mountains In Manhattan pre-order (pre-order vinyl/LP) (XL Recordings)

Not physically out for another three weeks (December 8 2017) you can currently pre-order from Amoeba No Mountains In Manhattan  (also on vinyl/LP) which is the official debut album from Wiki. The 24 year old rapper began his career while still a teen at the start of this decade with acclaimed underground NYC crew Ratking along with MC Hak and Sporting Life and featuring such affiliate artists as Princess Nokia. Earlier this year Wiki joined creative forces with another under-appreciated NYC talent Your Old Droog (now based in LA) on the all killer underground EP What Happened To Fire? If you are not yet familiar with Wiki do a YouTube search and you'll find his music including the new music video for the song "Stickball" from this album.  

Relevant Tags

Doseone And Pam The Funkstress (1), Hip-hop 1997 - 2017 (1), Dilated Peoples (8), Evidence (13), Jay-z (30), J Dilla (36), Little Brother (3), Homeboy Sandman (42), Black Star (6), Common (19), Wiki (6), A Tribe Called Quest (20), Beastie Boys (27), Amoeba San Francisco (107), Elzhi (11), Wu-tang Clan (26), Raekwon (10), E-40 (42), The Roots (27), Paris (23), Kendrick Lamar (58)