Rather than start with a silly sound bite, I figured I would just come straight out the gate with one of my favorite tracks. I discovered this song on the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack, but like many of the songs from that movie it transcended soundtrack status and became a staple track for quite a few mixtapes that I compiled.
The song is from 1990, which means it was around during the hip-hop heyday. While there’s still a bit of the good good being produced, hip-hop has fallen victim to the same disease that alternative, country, rock and just about every other musical art form has contracted–popularity.
I don’t think selling out is all that bad. It’s what is required if an artist wants to make a living doing what they love instead of making sandwiches. I do get a little sick of cookie-cutter pop pap, though, and I’m sad to say that an art form that started out as a socially conscious movement has devolved into a top 40 factory.
This is a perfect example of socially conscious music. Punk used to be like that, too, before pink hair and evil Hello Kitty shit came into style.
I had the pleasure of going to a Chuck D speaking show at Akron University in 2002 or thereabouts. That man knows more about hip-hop than you. The bulk of his talk was about the state of America, and the fact that things aren’t much less fucked up than they were fifty years ago. He also spoke quite a bit about the world wide hip hop scene. If you ever get the chance to catch one of his speaking tours, jump on it.
I give this song more credit for building the foundations of hip hop than I do Rapper’s Delight. It was produced by the same guy that produced the Sugarhill Gang, but was a hell of a lot more innovative as far as I’m concerned.
It’s hard to believe that this song is nearly thirty years old.
Now, if you know anything about hip-hop you’re probably worried that the next song is going to be Kurtis Blow, but since I want people to listen to the rest of the mixblog, I’ll get slightly more contemporary and go with a Nas/Lauren Hill cut that’s directly influenced by Mr Blow.
One hell of a track by two fantastic artists paying tribute to the man that’s responsible for the first platinum selling hip hop track–the Breaks.
I’m not going to say much else about this one. I think it speaks for itself.
This song was written as a tribute to fallen friends. The name, T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You) is a shout out to one of the members of Heavy D. and the Boys that passed away in the early ’90s.
Sadly, these two never sold gold. That seems to be the way it works with the artists I most admire. I’m just going to shut up now and listen to those horns…
Another producer/vocalist combination. Another album that should have struck at least gold, but was overlooked so ringtone rappers could sell an extra few thousand.
I discovered this in Beijing when Ben schooled me on some hip hop I was missing out on. I enjoyed a large amount of it, but this stood out and I still listen to at least one or two tracks from this album on a daily basis. Every single cut is quality.
OK, I’ll get a tad bit more mainstream for you fools.
Is this a hip-hop song about skateboarding? Featuring a horn section?
Yes it is.
I’ve been informed that this song was featured on a Grand Theft Auto game. I don’t play GTA. I do listen to MC Lyte.
So should you.
To wrap it up, I thought I would throw this on here as a shout out to anyone that “doesn’t like rap.”
If you’re willing to disregard an entire genre of music, we probably won’t get along.
And if you’re one of those people that say “rap isn’t really music” then, quite frankly, you don’t know what words mean. Go away, preferably very far. Bitch, please.