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Best of Hip-Hop in 2018, Part One; Top 25 Album Countdown

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2019 10:23pm | Post a Comment

#25 Young Fathers Cocoa Sugar (also on LP/vinyl) (Ninja Tune)

This first part of Best of Hip-Hop In 2018 lists is subjective and limited to albums that were available for sale at Amoeba over the past year year. At number 25 is Scottish hip-hop trio Young Fathers who returned in 2018 after three years with the album Cocoa Sugar (also on LP/vinyl) via Ninja Tune. Similar to many UK "hip-hop" acts, the Young Fathers' album transcended mere hip-hop by also embracing such  genres as electronic, soul, and alt rock while delivering a satisfying rock/pop fueled hip-hop sound from the Edinburgh crew.


#24  Apathy The Widow's Son (also on viny/2LP) (Dirty Version)

Longtime East Coast hip-hopper Apathy dropped The Widow's Son (also on viny/2LP) in 2018, coming less than six months after his last album, the dope O.C collaboration full-length project Perestroika. The  14 track, 50 minute The Widow's Son from the Connecticut emcee/producer known for his numerous collaborations and side projects (The Demigodz, Jedi Mind Tricks, and Army of the Pharaohs) not surprisingly featured numerous collaborative tracks; both emcees and producers. These included Celph Titled, M.O.P., Pete Rock, Pharoahe Monch, AG, Locksmith, Nottz, and DJ Premier who produced and supplied scratches to the triple-dope album track “The Order.”

#23 Illa J John Yancey LP   (Jakarta Records)

John Yancey LP  via Jakarta Records by Illa J is the California based, Detroit rapper/singer/producer's second collaboration with LA producer Calvin Valentine. On the 2018 John Yancey LP, the brother of J Dilla gets personal and shares about life matters such as the challenges of relationships, and coping with grief over the years since the death of his beloved older brother.
#22  Potatohead People  Nick & Astro's Guide To The Galaxy (Bastard Jazz). 

There was a ton of amazing instrumental hip-hop released in 2018, albeit much of it was under the radar online-only hard to find stuff. Among the quality physical releases was Potatohead People's  Nick & Astro's Guide To The Galaxy (Bastard Jazz) that served up some retro feeling, groove laden, laid back instrumental tracks. There were also some vocal tracks on this album filled with lush beats and smokey grooves from the Vancouver production duo made up of Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical.

 
 
#21  The Egyptian Lover  1985 (also on vinyl 2LP) (Egyptian Empire)

Following legendary LA artist/friend of Amoeba the Egyptian Lover's 2015 album album 1984, is the recent / late 2018 album 1985 (also on vinyl 2LP) from the electro pioneer. A little oover an hour's worth of new music it's got 8 solo tracks that include "5 Cent Camel Ride," "International Freak" and the updated version of the Wham! hit Everything She Wants." it's also got 5 collaborative tracks that include  "Beyond The Galaxy" featuring the world's greatest turntablist DJ Qbert, "Future Tech" featuring Detroit techno pioneer Juan Atkins, "The World Keeps Turning" featuring old school electro crew Newcleus ("Jam On It"), "Problems Of The World" featuring Zarcon and "Come On" features Funkmaster Ozone.

#20  Styles P Dime Bag (Phantom Entertainment)

Distinctive sounding emcee and diehard weed fan Styles P, who earlier this year released G-Host (feat. such tracks as "Morning mourning"), in 2018 also unleashed his new ten track release Dime Bag via Phantom Entertainment. Featuring such tracks as "Never Fight An African," "Money and Checks," "War N Peace," "Time Machine" and "Couple Dollars" the album demands repeated hits on the replay.

Hip-Hop Top Ten: Atmosphere, Lil Wayne, E-40, Mozzy, Young Dolph, Illingsworth, Cypress Hill, Nas, El-P, J.Cole

Posted by Billyjam, October 5, 2018 01:23pm | Post a Comment

#1  Lil Wayne Tha Carter V (Cash Money)

Hot on the heels of last Friday's much-discussed digital release of Dwayne Michael Carter Jr's way overdue fifth/final installment of the New Orleans rapper's long running series, this week comes the physical version of Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V (Cash Money). His twelfth studio album, Tha Carter V finally got released following years of disappointing delays and scheduling setbacks of the sequel to 2011's Tha Carter IV that's been reportedly completed and ready for release since 2014. Then finally last week, deliberately scheduled for release on the rapper's 36th birthday of September 27, 2018, Tha Carter V saw the light of day. With both older original V tracks alongside some brand new very recently recorded album tracks, Tha Carter V's release  resulted in a social media buzz and sales that led to the album been registered as the #1 Billboard 200 album this week. Reviews and social media posts about Tha Carter V focused on such things as the strengths of the overdue release notably such tracks as "Mona Lisa (feat. Kendrick Lamar),"  "Open Letter," "Let It Fly (feat. Travis Scott)," "Famous," and "Can’t Be Broken." There were also the inevitable comparisons to such superior installments as Tha Carter III, and recapping of Wayne's extended legal battles with Birdman and Cash Money that contributed to the album's delays.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up: 08:21:17: DJ Shadow, Mozzy, Dizzy Wright, Kenny Dope, Shabazz Palaces, Sean Price, Action Bronson + (Video Version)

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2017 01:51pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hip-Hop Top Five New/Recent Releases 08:21:17


1: DJ Shadow The Mountain Has Fallen EP (12” Vinyl) (Mass Appeal)

2: Dizzy Wright The Golden Age 2 (Dizzy Wright)

3: Mozzy  1 Up Top Ahk (Mozzy Records)

4: Kenny Dope "Razor Cut" 7" single (Kay Dee Records)

5: Shabazz Palaces Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star (also on cassette + on LP/vinyl)  (SubPop)
Although out about five weeks already, one of two simultaneous releases by Shabazz Palaces (Quazarz

Upcoming August 25th Release Pick:
Action Bronson Blue Chips (Atlantic)
 

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Remembering Hip-Hop Icon Prodigy of Mobb Deep Through His Music

Posted by Billyjam, June 22, 2017 11:57am | Post a Comment

Since word of the passing of Prodigy of Mobb Deep broke two days ago, the proliferation of news reports and tributes to the famed New York hip-hopper has been surprisingly widespread.  Media, from small indie hip-hop outlets to mainstream news organizations around the globe, have all reported on the tragic passing of the 42 year old Queens, NY rapper/author/actor, who died suddenly in Las Vegas where he and longtime Mobb Deep partner Havoc had been in town for a concert a few days earlier. While the exact cause of death has not yet been announced it has been confirmed that the artist born Albert Johnson had been hospitalized for complications caused by sickle cell anemia, the degenerative disease that he has battled for much of his life and often publicly discussed including in his song "You Can Never Feel My Pain" off his 2000 solo debut H.I.N.C.  In a recent radio interview with the Breakfast Club, in which he addressed the disease that can creep up out of nowhere and make one ill, Prodigy said that, "I feel like I'm dying most of my life." Indeed periodically he would fall ill and have to be rushed to the hospital for treatment that included been administered morphine for relief from the pain. So much so that even his musical partner, the other half of duo Mobb Deep, Kejuan "Havoc" Muchita couldn't believe the fatal news of this week, telling TMZ that he assumed it was a "weird rumor" when he first heard it.

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1994 Hip-Hop Flashback: Rap/Hip-Hop Charts from Billboard, Leopold Records, Music People, Gavin Report, KMEL, KUSF

Posted by Billyjam, November 2, 2016 08:01pm | Post a Comment
For this hip-hop flashback to 1994, we take a look at a variety of rap/hip-hop charts spanning various times throughout that wonderfully rich twelve months in hip-hop history twenty two years ago. Including singles, extended plays and album releases, these charts or lists are comprised of both national and regional (with a focus on Bay Area), and based on either sales figures or radio airplay.  Since the charts listed are not for all of 1994 and tallying year end figures, but rather sample charts from various weeks or months throughout that year, they tends to give a better overall (or at least alternative) view of hip-hop in the Nine Fo' compared to the usual "best of '94 hip-hop" lists of releases you find online. Interspersed with some corresponding music videos, the 1994 charts culled from several different sources. Among the 1994 charts below is one from longtime leading music industry magazine  Billboard.  Based on retail sales from the week ending September 17th, 1994, it is their Top 40 "Hot Rap" singles chart. That the music industry publication referred to the genre as "rap" and not "hip-hop" demonstrated how the music was still generally referred, even in '94.  Another Billboard chart (albeit not strictly rap) below is their "Regional Heatseekers #1's" chart that highlighted buzz-worthy, hot selling, number one charting releases from various regions round the country. Rappin' 4-Tay was number one in the Pacific region Also below is the first top 20 of a top 40 Gavin Rap chart from now defunct, San Francisco based, radio trade industry magazine Gavin Report. and compiled by rap editor Thembisa Mshaka.There's three charts from the long gone Oakland one-stop distributor Music People (who owned In-A-Minute Records) whose former employee (later DogDay Records co-founder) Jo Treggiari prepared the three charts below: "Down In Our Hood" which was all local Bay Area (including a lot of carry over from '93 releases). "MINI'S" which was singles and cassingles (cassettes as it was still middle of the 90's), and "MAXI'S" which were EPs or more typically extended single versions with formats including cassette, CD, and vinyl.
The other charts included are from the (long gone but still missed) Leopold Records on Durant Ave. in Berkeley near the UC campus and Amoeba Berkeley (in fact many former Amoebites worked there). Leopold's was legendary for hip-hop fans. People would travel from all over the East Bay and beyond to shop at the amazingly well stocked store for their in-depth, exhaustive choices of both local indie and national releases. Consequently what homegrown music was popular with Bay hip-hop fans is reflected in their "Local Legends" full-length albums top 30 list from June of '94. The mid 1994 published list included a lot of 1993 carry over releases as well as the 1994 album via Sic Wid It/Jive from Celly Cel: Heat 4 Yo Azz which was their hot-pick "Bump of the Month." Note that most Bay Area albums listed on that chart were on CD and cassette only with not that many vinyl formatted. At this stage Bay Area was less vinyl oriented than hip-hop coming out back East. Other '94 charts below include the Top Ten KMEL radio airplay based one from the first week in September that note includes some R&B as well as rap/hip-hop. Another radio chart is one from my old KUSF San Francisco radio show charts from February 1994. You will notice how many names show up repeatedly on different charts. These include artists such as Fillmore, San Francisco's Rappin' 4 Tay, Queensbridge legend Nas, and San Francisco's Herm Lewis. Activist/artist Lewis curated the Tryin To Survive In The Ghetto: San Francisco Compilation which, although released in '93 was a sleeper that blew up into '94 on a local and national level. And his Bay rap compilation was not alone since,  it being '94 when the West Coast era of rap (with lots of G-Funk and more) was well underway, there's numerous more Left Coast artists included in these charts such as Eazy-E, Warren G, Ice Cube, South Central Cartel, Above The Law, and Coolio.  Further being it was the tail end of the genre's so-called "golden era," it consequently included such records as Gang Starr's "Dwyck."  It was also the year in which Bad Boy was beginning its chart reign with former secular rapper Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" via Puff Daddy's then one year old Bad Boy Entertainment record label leading the charge as the label's first single. That video is immediately below and followed by the chart from Billboard with it as its number entry.


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