Amoeblog

Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part II: Top 10 Critically Reviewed Hip-Hop Albums (Includes UK Artists)

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2017 05:30am | Post a Comment
Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part II: Top 10 Critically Reviewed Hip-Hop Albums
Stormzy Gang Signs & a Prayer
#10  Stormzy  Gang Signs & Prayer (Merky Records) 

This second installment in the Amoeblog Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop series is top ten album list of the highest critically reviewed albums in 2017. Based off a Metacritic study that ranked albums culled from a sampling of critical reviews of varying numbers, the reviews' with rating systems aggregated and ranked in order. Since the critical reviews were both UK and US based, many of the albums are British hip-hop releases that most in the US slept on. The list goes in reverse countdown from ten to number one with #10 Stormzy been one of four UK artists that made this list and is one of two that could be filed under "grime" as well as"hip-hop." Talented 24 year old South London Stormzy enjoyed a most rewarding 2017. Released in late February, his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer would become both a critical and commercial hit. In the UK it topped the UK Albums Chart and in so doing became the first grime album to ever do so. That's not the first time the artist of Ghanaian descent made history. Two years ago his track ‘WickedSkengMan Part 4’ made history by becoming the first freestyle to break the UK charts. On his debut album track "Cigarettes and Cush"  Stormzy collaborated with Californian vocalist Kehlani.  UK music magazine NME gave a five star rating. Metacritic's study of reviewers resulted in an aggregate score of 82 (out of 100).

Continue reading...

Despite Negative Publicity, Rolling Loud Bay Area Festival Was Peaceful & Positive Event [Photo Version + SoCal Dec 16/17 Lineup]

Posted by Billyjam, October 27, 2017 12:43pm | Post a Comment


Despite the predominantly negative press that the recent Bay Area stop of the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival received, the Miami-founded festival (October 21st & 22nd in the Bay & scheduled next for SoCal December 16th & 17th) was an overall well behaved, peaceful music-loving affair. With a line-up of mostly new generation acts catering to a young, enthusiastic audience present to simply party (some too much) and enjoy the music, the majority’s good conduct was marred by the bad behavior of a handful. The two-day, two stages at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheater included memorable performances from such artists as Travis Scott, ScHoolboy Q, Lil Uzi VertYoung Thug21 Savage, Lil Yee, Lil Wayne and the Bay Area’s own Nef The Pharaoh.

Continue reading...

Ice Cube + N.W.A's MC Ren & DJ Yella To Co-Headline Treasure Island Music Fest (Oct 16/17) for Last Year on Island [+ Sigur Rós]

Posted by Billyjam, June 15, 2016 09:51am | Post a Comment

Looking like an almost N.W.A reunion (sans Dr. Dre and the late Eazy-E), Ice Cube "featuring"  MC Ren and DJ Yella at this October's Treasure Island Music Festival has been generating a buzz among hip-hop fans in the Bay Area since the lineup announcement yesterday. The tenth and final San Francisco Bay island located music festival on October 16 & 17, the festival will feature co-headliner Sigur Rós. Many rap fans have taken to social media to project their thoughts/hopes for the Cube & co. set. Some have suggested that the anticipated performance by the star rapper-turned-actor along with his two former N.W.A rap crew mates could result in an N.W.A reunion of sorts. All it would take would be to arrange for Dr. Dre to fly into town to join his former Compton rap crew and arrange for that hologram of Eazy-E that was premiered at Rock The Bells three years ago. See video below of that 2013 performance by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony featuring the life like hologram of the late Eazy-E plus Yella onstage.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop Top 5 LPs, Young Thug, EXT, Ron Jon Bovi, DJ Quest, Macklemore's Hip-Hop Cred, ADA's Megamagic, Tone Tank & Serengeti

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2016 08:05pm | Post a Comment
Traditionally in the music industry Tuesday was the day of the week when new albums got released. Back in the pre-Digital era, Tuesdays were when music fans had no option but to go to the record store to buy new albums the day they were released. And, on occasion, anticipated big name releases would result in stores staying open late Monday night//Tuesday morning past 12:01am to sell select new albums at the first possible moment. Times have changed, not just in the way people get new music but also the day new music is officially released. 

Nowadays Friday is new release day. And last Friday, Feb 26th, was the day that Macklemore Ryan Lewis released their new album This Unruly Mess I've Made (Macklemore), which is the long-awaited follow up to the Seattle duo's 2012 release, the break-out surprise hit album The Heist. Unruly Mess's title no doubt refers to the mess as he sees it in Macklemore's life since he blew up huge and became more popular than everyone, and most likely even he, ever anticipated. In his personal life he's faced demons too, famously relapsing. The mainstream pop rap star has struggled with maintaining the respect of hip-hop fans, no matter how hard he's tried. Everyone recalls, following the 2014 Grammys in which The Heist spun a ton of awards, how the "Thrift Store" rapper publicly shared his private text to Kendrick Lamar, telling the Compton rapper he was "robbed" for not getting Best Rap Album of the year for his good kid, m.A.A.d city.  That Instagram share of his text to the Compton rapper backfired in the court of public opinion. Hence it wasn't surprising when, after this year's recent Grammys in which Lamar eventually won in that category for To Pimp A Butterfly, many could not pass the opportunity to take to social media to joke how "Macklemore was robbed."  Getting so much grief from hip-hop fans for not being true to the genre has to sting Macklemore since the guy obviously loves hip-hop to the core. And with the new album he has gone out of his way, it seems, to demonstrate his respect for hip-hop culture and its pioneers. This began with the new album's lead single and its accompanying video from last summer, that featured the three hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, and Kool Moe Dee on the track "Downtown." Note Big Daddy Kane was in the video but not on the track. That video ended up getting over 100 million YouTube views and has likely given more deserving shine to these hip-hop icons (especially the largely slept on Caz) that they've received in their respective careers. Of the 13 track album, another love letter to hip-hop's history is the head-nodding song "Buckshot" in which  Macklemore reached out to two other hip-hop heroes of his. Hip-hop legends KRS-One and DJ Premier collaborate on this track that is an ode to graf art and hip-hop culture.


Bay Area Rapper, Cannabis Activist / Entrepreneur Berner Unveils First Episode In New "Marijuana Mania" Series [Video Version]

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2016 08:35pm | Post a Comment

Berner "Come On" from his 2014 Bern One Ent album Drugstore Cowboy


That old adage "do what you love" is perfectly applicable to the weed loving, nationally acclaimed prolific Bay Area rapper Berner. For the past decade plus this rap artist, weed activist/entrepreneur born Gilbert Anthony Mano has crafted a unique and phenomenally lucrative and fun career, all the while balancing his two main life passions of weed and rap music. Having built a strong rep as rap recording and performing artist, to date Berner's rich back catalog boasts 14 albums including his most recent full-length release found at Amoeba,  Drought Season 3, which is just one of many dropped on his own prolific Bern One Ent. record label. Equally respected by rap fans and peers, Berner's countless studio collaborations over the years include full length releases with such fellow Bay Area artists as Messy Marv, Equipto and the late great rapper The Jacka with whom he recorded the three part aforementioned Drought Season trilogy. Others in the really long list of Berner collabs include B-Real, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle, Young Thug, and Too $hort. Perhaps even more widely known in hip-hop is his longstanding relationship and collaborative work with Wiz Khalifa. Having been down since day one with the Pittsburgh, PA based, fellow weed loving hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa, the Bay Area artist counts himself as among those part of Khalifa's elite Taylor Gang Ent. label crew along with such others as Project Pat, Chevy Woods, Ty Dolla $ign, and Tuki Carter.

Continue reading...