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Watch: Hanni El Khatib "Family" Video

Hanni El Khatib produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. The new joint FAMILY is up on iTunes.

Freddie Gibbs remembers Michael Jackson in Gary, Indiana

Freddie Gibbs — February 26, 2013 | Comments (4)

Freddie Gibbs tells the tale of Michael Jackson’s return to Gary, Indiana. Directed by Mack Williams, Executive Producer RJ Bentler.

Bring King Geedorah back to life

MF DOOM — February 20, 2013 | Comments (16)

During the London riots of 2011, a three-story warehouse was burned to the ground, containing the vinyl catalog of over a hundred independent record labels including 4AD, Sub Pop, Domino and Ninja Tune. Due to the cost, time and care of pressing vinyl, many of the records lost in the fire are presumed to be out of print indefinitely. Among them were MF DOOM’s Take Me To Your Leader by his incarnation as King Geedorah, released by Ninja Tune/Big Dada in 2003.

Nearing the 10th anniversary of the album, the music service Beat Delete is spearheading an effort to repress the King Geedorah vinyl. Beat Delete does it like this: working with indie labels & indie artists, they make it possible for record buyers to request out of print titles. When they reach a certain threshold of requests, the record is brought back to life.

Request/buy at Beat Delete: King Geedorah Take Me To Your Leader

Take Me To Your Leader is arguably one of the best, but least appreciated DOOM albums. It’s a 13-track concept record, conceived, written, recorded, mixed and mastered by Villain Man himself. As DOOM puts it, “This whole album is Geedorah’s alien perspective on humans, to show the listener a mirror image of his/herself and the way we see each other.”

The record was made in the months when he was completing his “rap-for-hire” record Vaudeville Villain as Viktor Vaughn, and beginning work on Madvillainy with Madlib. At the time of the album’s release in summer 2003, DOOM was a mystery, as underground and independent as it gets, but it was the best album of the year as far as a few hip-hop heads were concerned. Mark Martelli, writing a 9/10 review of the album for Pitchfork, correctly predicted: “Heads will be discovering that album for the next ten years, and it’ll still sound fresh.”

Devils and 45s on tour in Japan

Egon, Madlib — February 18, 2013 | Comments (4)

Here’s what it’s like when two DJs go on tour in Japan. One of the DJs is Madlib, playing three shows in Japan, and three more in China. The other is Egon, who plays the Tokyo show, and shot the photos.

J Dilla on Gilles Peterson's Worldwide, Feb. 15th 2001

J Dilla — February 15, 2013 | Comments (3)

Exactly 12 years ago today: J Dilla, then known to most as Jay Dee, sits in with Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide on BBC Radio 1. Much of the half-hour segment covers Dilla’s album Welcome to Detroit, which would be released a week later on the BBE label. Some stories in the segment include a fight over the best sampler, the bootlegging of Slum Village’s Fan-tas-tic, working with Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, the Ummah and production for Janet Jackson. At the 14:00 mark we have words from Common. At the 29:00 mark, he says what he’s listening to (“Radiolab, Stereolab, Madlib”).

Also in the segment, around the 26 minute mark he states his belief that, “music is about to do a 360, people making things they’re truly proud of.” Looking back, lot has happened to music and the business and technology involved over the last 12 years. Did what he think come true?

Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide broadcast on BBC Radio 1 from 1998-2012, presenting a wide range of music from modern jazz to hip-hop and beyond, including older records and new. Worldwide was an early champion of artists like Madlib and Flying Lotus. In 2012, Peterson started a 3-hour Saturday afternoon show on BBC Radio 6 Music, and continues the search for the perfect beat at www.gillespetersonworldwide.com

Tokyo: FREE MEDICINE

Madlib — February 12, 2013 | Comments (11)

Update – Brick is gone. These guys got it. | 12:00 PM JST Tokyo – There is a Madlib Medicine Show “Brick” sitting on top of a vending machine Sakuraoka-cho 27-1, Shibuya, Tokyo, free for whoever gets there first.

午後12時(東京時間) – Madlib Medicine Show “ブリック(コンプリートCDセット)”が、東京渋谷区桜丘町27-1付近の自動販売機の上に設置されました。一番早くに見つけた人がフリーでゲットできます。これは、MadlibのMedicine Showのワールドツアーで実施されてる”Free Medicine”シリーズの一環で今回東京でも実施されてます。

We’ve been dropping “Free Medicine” in cities all around the world. This is the first in Asia, where Madlib has just arrived for three shows in Japan presented by Stussy, and the launch of the Medicine Show x Stussy T-shirt. This will be followed by three shows in China.

J Dilla vocal album THE DIARY planned for release on Pay Jay

J Dilla — February 11, 2013 | Comments (33)

Now on Sale: J Dilla – “Anthem” 12-inch single (Pay Jay)

PayJay Productions, Inc. was the company James Dewitt “J Dilla” Yancey founded in 2001 to house his production company and his publishing company. But it was also a symbolic move: PayJay was a sign that the maverick producer then known as Jay Dee would see his individual goals in music industry realized, and he would get paid in the process.

The Estate of James Yancey has revived PayJay as a functioning imprint, and is announcing its release of J Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary. The first single “Anthem” b/w “Trucks” is now available at rappcats.com. Both “Anthem” and “Trucks” were produced, and feature complete vocal performances, by Dilla. The tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla’s passing in 2006. These songs have been mixed by engineer Dave Cooley, who worked extensively with Dilla during his years in Los Angeles. Using Dilla’s original demo mixes as his guide, Cooley attempted to finalize Dilla’s vision for these tracks, while keeping all of the elements that Dilla had in place in his original demos present.

The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California on behalf of Yancey’s four heirs – his mother, Maureen “Madukes” Yancey, his brother John “Illa J” Yancey and his two daughters, Ja’Mya Yancey and Ty-monae Whitlow.

The Diary is an album of vocal performances recorded between in the early 2000s over production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. PayJay recently issued the “Dilla World Tour” tee shirt in conjunction with clothing brand Stussy, and a collaborative figure is set to be released in 2013.

On sale: Dilla World Tour by Stussy

J Dilla — February 8, 2013 | Comments (27)

To celebrate Dilla Month 2013, The Estate of James “J Dilla” Yancey partnered with Stussy to create the Dilla World Tour tee. The tee, listing the six albums Dilla created in his lifetime, comes in six colorways. Worldwide shipping available.

Shop: Dilla World Tour by Stussy

Dilla and Stussy’s relationship goes back to the years when Dilla first moved from Detroit to Los Angeles. He lived just around the corner from Stussy’s LA HQ and often visited the store. Photos of Dilla, clad in Stussy gear working on beats in his living room studio, led to the first collaboration with the iconic brand a few years ago.

The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California on behalf of Yancey’s four heirs – his mother, Maureen “Madukes” Yancey, his brother John “Illa J” Yancey and his two daughters, Ja’Mya Yancey and Ty-monae Whitlow.

Also see: J Dilla vocal album THE DIARY planned for release on Pay Jay

RIP Donald Byrd

Madlib — February 7, 2013 | Comments (5)

Donald Byrd 1932 – 2013, written by Billy Jam for Amoeba.com

Since Monday rumors had been circulating via Twitter and Facebook that legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd had passed away but for the past few days none of these reports of the jazz musician and educator extraordinaire’s passing were confirmed and even considered some kind of cruel hoax. However today all those rumors were put to rest when confirmation of Byrd’s passing was announced by the artist’s nephew Alex Bugnon who said that his 80 year uncle had indeed died on Monday, February 4th, adding that for some reason other family members were trying to shroud his passing in secrecy. “I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family,” wrote his nephew. So far the exact cause of death has not been made public.

Born Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II in Detroit, Michigan in December 1932 Donald Bryd was a one of a kind trumpeter whose work spanned several decades and genres. Byrd was known for not only for his indelible work in jazz (in a career in which he played alongside the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock), but also in RnB, soul, and funk. And of course hip-hop fans know his work from the countless times it has been sampled. Large Professor, Organized Konfusion, Black Moon, The Pharcyde, Nas, Public Enemy, Madlib, and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien are among the many that sampled him along with fellow late great Detroit artist J Dilla was who clearly influenced by Byrd: Byrd’s song “Think Twice” (below) was reworked/sampled by Dilla on the Welcome 2 Detroit track “Think Twice feat Dwele.” Furthermore the once popular acid jazz movement heavily built upon its sound via Byrd’s work. In recent decades Byrd was known as an educator lecturing at numerous institutions on music.

Byrd’s career began when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, as replacement for Clifford Brown, in the 1950’s and while his roots were bebop in later decades he later became equally known for his forays off into jazz fusion. In the early seventies he formed the fusion group The Blackbyrds who became know for such hits as “Walking In Rhythm” and “Happy Music.” What sets Byrd’s body of work apart from others is how he transcended one particular genre or decade – but instead remained relevant and pioneering throughout his career as his sound effortlessly shape-shifted. If you visit the Amoeba online store, where you will find Byrd under a few categories, you will find such releases by Donald Byrd as (a great one to get if you don’t have Byrd in your library already) The Best Of Donald Byrd on Blue Note that includes “Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)” which is below, Royal Flush, the reissued two hour/three album collection Three Classic Albums CD, Byrd In Flight, and Out Of This World by The Donald Byrd / Pepper Adams Quintet, featuring Herbie Hancock.

MED + BLU + MAD

Madlib, MED — February 6, 2013 | Comments (9)

Los Angeles homies M.E.D. & Blu are announcing a collaboration, doing their thing over the sweet sound of Madlib beats. The first release is The Burgundy EP: nine tracks on burgundy color vinyl, half vocal, half a cappella and instrumental. One produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow. Artwork by some unknown kid; design by Jeff Jank.