Amoeblog

Rest In Peace George Michael [Christmas Day 2016]

Posted by Billyjam, December 25, 2016 11:11pm | Post a Comment

Earlier today, Christmas Day, pop star George Michael was reportedly found dead at his Oxfordshire home in England. He was only 53 years of age. According to the Hollywood Reporter, who quoted the singer's manager Michael Lippman, the former member of Wham! and solo singing superstar died of a heart attack at his Goring-on-Thames home in the early afternoon. Meanwhile Michael's publicist Connie Filippello issued a statement today that read, “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”


George Michael first came to fame along with Andrew Ridgeley as part of the dance pop duo Wham! that formed in 1981. An outgrowth of a little known, short-lived (1979 - 1980) ska quartet called The Executive, the pared down duo of Wham! scored a string of hits in their five years together in which they sold 25 million records around the world. Their hit singles (more in the UK than in the US) included "Young Guns (Go For It)," "Wham Rap," "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Freedom," "Last Christmas," and "I'm Your Man." Following the breakup of Wham! in 1986, Michael first collaborated (thanks to Clive Davis) with one of his heroes, Aretha Franklin, on the duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)." Then he threw himself fully into writing and recording what would be a more mature sound than Wham! and a an even more successful solo career (selling 80 million records!) beginning with his 1987 landmark debut solo album Faith. However it should be noted that back in 1984, while still a member of Wham!, he released his first solo single: the hit "Careless Whisper" which is sometimes also credited to Wham! as it appears on the group's 1984 album Make It Big.

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Chance the Rapper's Hella Hectic Christmas Music Week

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2016 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Topping off an incredibly successful year, that included recently nabbing seven Grammy nominations including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for his critically and commercially acclaimed 2016 album Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper threw himself into the Christmas music spirit this past week. The 23 year old Chicago born and proud rapper has had a hella productive past five days in the Christmas music spirit that began with his viral hit performance of "Jingle Barack" on SNL, included a special Christmas music DJ set (and interview) at BBC1 radio yesterday, and topped it all off today with the surprise release of a Christmas mixtape with fellow Chicago artist, the Def Jam singer/producer Jeremih. Posted to Soundcloud this morning (two days later than initially planned) under the title  Merry Christmas Lil' Mama, it's a (free) nine track mixtape of newly recorded tracks with some mic guests joining in the festive musical mix. It's a real nice laid back 32 minute mix too, which you can hear below, with such tracks as "Chi Town Christmas," "I'm Your Santa," "Snowed In," "All The Way (feat. Hannibal Buress)," "The Tragedy (feat. Noname),"  and “I Shoulda Left You (feat. Lud Foe)."

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Danny Brown's "Atrocity Exhibition" (Warp)

Posted by Billyjam, December 21, 2016 09:03am | Post a Comment


  Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition LP (Warp Records) [also avail on CD]

As I wrap up final year end lists for Amoeblog and upcoming WFMU radio annual retrospective show I keep coming back to this album by one-of-a-kind hip-hop artist Danny Brown and realize that, in addition to mentions and list inclusions, that it deserves its own Amoeblog post. This is because perhaps more than any other 2016 release, Danny Brown's brilliant 2 LP set album on Warp Records, Atrocity Exhibition  [also avail on CD], truly demonstrates the sheer diversity within the broad genre that is hip-hop today. From a BPM perspective,  generally most hip-hop is on the slower laid-back beats vibe - as in 100BPM and under. A prime example would be the popular Lil Yachty track "1Night" with its slowed down hypnotic beat. Meanwhile on the opposite end of the spectrum is this 2016 album from Detroit rapper Danny Brown that dropped in September, and just gets better with repeated listens. It is really fast beats and rapping to match, and as such packs a frantic, futuristic, adrenaline-fueled, up all night on acid vibe that's simultaneously disturbingly weird and beautiful.  It's a unique style that can only be described as Danny Brown, but also owes a lot to the album's main producer  Paul White. That's the UK producer who we heard from earlier this year when he collaborated with Open Mike Eagle on Hella Personal Film Festival,  but on that album he went slow and introspective with the beats. This one is polar opposite in speed and overall vibe. With a handful of other producers fleshing things out and complimenting the UK producer's sound for Danny Brown, White produced 10 of the 15 tracks on Atrocity Exhibition. The album's title, as noted in its Amoeba description, is culled from both the Joy Division song and the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name. That review accurately describes the album's varying musical styles, courtesy of several different producers, as containing "elements of trap music, psychedelia, and experimental rap." Standout tracks include "Pneumonia," "When It Rain," "Dance In The Water" and "Really Doe (feat Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, Earl Sweatshirt)." The latter track features just a few of the LP's numerous collaborators. Others, both production and mic guests, include Kelela, B-Real, Petite NoirThe Alchemist, and Black Milk.  Below is the video for the Paul White produced album track "When It Rain." Other Danny Brown releases available from Amoeba include the mixtape that put him on the map XXX, the 2013 Fools Gold release Old (also on LP), and his 2014 album Hot Soup (also on vinyl LP)

Danny Brown "When It Rain" from Atrocity Exhibition (Warp Records) [also avail on CD]

Best of 2016 Hip-Hop Lists: Top 7 Lists of Albums, Female MCs, DJ Releases, Reissues, Monalisa's Top 7 Album Picks + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2016 01:42pm | Post a Comment
Top 7 Hip-Hop Albums of 2016 by Billy Jam


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

2: De La Soul and the Anonymous Nobody (A.O.I. LLC) (also on 2 LP vinyl)

3: Homeboy Sandman Kindness for Weakness (also on LP) (Stones Throw)

4: E-40 The D-Boy Diary Book 1 + The D-Boy Diary Book 2,
           (Heavy On The Grind)

5: Mr. Lif Don't Look Down (also on LP) (Mello Music Group)


6: ElZhi  Lead Poison (also on LP) (Glow 365) 

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De La Soul, Bowie, Ennio Morricone, Sturgill Simpson, & "Compton" OST: Top 5 Reasons 2017 Grammys Don't Completely Suck

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2016 02:17pm | Post a Comment

One of five Grammy 2017's "Best New Artist" nominees Anderson .Paak (above Feb 2015: Amoeba Hollywood following the release of his album Venice)This year the neo-soul singer/producer/musician from Oxnard (FKA Breezy LoveJoy) released both the solo album Malibu (nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album) & collaborative Yes Lawd! (on LP) with Knxwledge as NxWorries.

Predictably within moments of the public announcement of the nominees for the 2017 Grammys been made last Tuesday (Dec. 6th) disgruntled music fans swarmed social media to vent their outrage over why they felt the Grammys sucked. While many positive music fans agreed with such choices as Beyoncé (nine nominations in all!) or Sia (two nominations), or the inclusion of such relative newcomers as Anderson .Paak and BJ The Chicago Kid (both friends of Amoeba), typically it was the voices of discontent who were the loudest and that dominated the discussions.  These critics were the quickest in expressing their disdain over the picks and, more importantly, the omissions or snubs from the listed nominees for the music biz's biggest annual event: the 59th Grammy Awards to take place on February 12, 2017. "I can't believe that so-and-so [insert their fave artist here] was not included once but that Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West each got eight nominations! What the F.." was a stereotypical response by those of the many unhappy music fans to the Grammys announcement. But being incredulous at the lack of new creative alternative music in a mainstream music event doesn't accomplish anything. It's like Trump whining about how "unwatchable" SNL is while still religiously tuning in each week.

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