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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Doug E. Fresh And Slick Rick "The Show" 30 Years Later

As a teenager my weekend ritual was tuning in to the commercial R&B stations in New York to hear the latest in independent Rap Music. We only got Rap Music for a few hours on the weekend on the radio in New York back then. You had to be in front of the radio ready to "tape" the newest independent releases. I was the person that would fall asleep with headphones on in the bed with the boom box trying to record the world premiers.

In 1985 stand-outs in the independent Rap scene included Brooklyns' Bad Boys Featuring K love on Starlite Records, which featured a replayed parody of The Inspector Gadget theme from the animated television series- produced For Bad Boys by Tony D. The Bad Boys single came complete with a music video (rare for 1985) directed by New Yorks' Dr Dre of Yo MTV Raps fame. This single a video played a key role in the development of the music video in Rap Music. Turn It Up by Kool Moe Dee on Sugarhill Records was also in heavy rotation on the weekend mix shows. This was his first single as a solo act and helped launch his career as a solo artist.

One hot August night in 1985 I was in front of the radio hoping to record something new for my most recent pause-edit mixtape. I heard the intro to The Show by Doug E. Fresh And Slick Rick and was completely blown away. Doug E. Fresh had previous hits with records like The Original Human Beat Box on Vintertainment Records, but this was like nothing I had heard up to that point.

The record starts with Chill Will and Barry B scratching "Oh my god" from The Cold Crush Brothers Punk Rock Rap and "Fresh" from Change The Beat by Beside. The track was produced by a 15 year old Teddy Reilly and featured the shaker sound that was used heavily in subsequent tracks produced by Herby Love Bug. The track also featured the same Inspector Gadget theme used by Bad Boys months earlier.

Needless to say The Show is revered as one of the most outstanding classics in the history of recorded Rap Music. Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick still continue to travel and perform, and audiences still can't seem to get enough of The Show.

Friday, April 4, 2014

100 Greatest Old School Hip Hop Records From 1979 to 1985

100 Greatest Old School Hip Hop Records From 1979 to 1985

 Rap music has always existed as an element of Hip Hop since the culture's birth in the early 1970s. The first rappers (called MCs) would rap over funk, reggae, dub, soul, and disco beats and would hold spontaneous rhyming battles that were meant to verbally attack an opponent called "freestyles" (freestyling and flowing were words used to describe the impromptu vocal delivery). Artists that laid the template for such aggressive spoken word set to a funky beat include James Brown, Gil Scott-Heron, The Watts Prophets, and The Last Poets. 

By the spring of 1979, the first rap record surfaced with funk band The Fatback Band's "King Tim IIII (Personality Jock)". Later, The Sugar Hill Gang debuted in the summer with Hip Hop's most famous commercial record yet,"Rapper's Delight". This list targets critical Hip Hop records during the old school era (1979-roughly 1985) before the revolution of "cut-n-paste" music and Run DMC's seminal Hip Hop anthem "Walk This Way" in 1986. 

Hip Hop is first and foremost a culture with five important elements: the b-boys (break dancers), Graffiti/Aerosol artists, MCs, DJs, and the beatboxers. Knowledge and understanding and respect for Hip Hop and its roots are vital.


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