Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Welcome Pt. 3 - Here's Where It Gets Really Good 1983-1985

      Welcome back to The Sixteenth Bar. First I would like to thank everyone for the support that I have been receiving and I look forward to bringing you more content. Today we are going to finish up our history lesson we started yesterday. I know in the first part, a lot of you were probably struggling for something you truly recognized. But now we get to a point were Hip-Hop has begun to spread out of just clubs and parties and becomes more mainstream than ever before. And all it took was three guys from Hollis, Queens better known as Run-D.M.C. From the moment Run-D.M.C. walked onto the seen you began to notice a change in the overall creative momentum of Hip-Hop. While many songs prior to Run D.M.C. tended to sound a lot alike, after the release of Sucker MCs you can notice a major difference in Hip-Hop's musical direction. Let me know what you think.

Another successful year for Hip Hop. Jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Grandmaster D.St. release the electro-funk Grammy winning "Rockit" while Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five release their second most important recording that ranks with Afrika Bambaataa's "Looking for the Perfect Beat": "White Lines (Don't Do It)". Man Parrish also releases the seminal "Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop)". More importantly, Run DMC debut with "It's Like That/Sucker MCs'" single and begin their conquest as Hip Hop's biggest and most influential group of all time ("Sucker MCs'" is regarded as the first hardcore rap track). T. La Rock & Jazzy Jay kick start Hip Hop's biggest record label, Def Jam, as Ice T. debuts with the first "hardcore" rap as do punk rockers Beastie Boys with their first rap record "Cooky Puss". Kraftwerk venture into Hip Hop with "Tour De France", and Cybotron birth techno with their electro-funk anthem "Clear". Electro-funk remains prosperous as the Hip Hop soul movement grows with C-Bank which foreshadows Shannon's "Let the Music Play" which truly begins another Hip Hop variant born out of electro-funk: freestyle music or Latin Hip Hop.

Excuse me, do you know the way to the Police Academy?

Notable Songs:
1. Rockit - Herbie Hancock and Grandmaster D.St.
2. White Lines (Don't Do It) - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
3. It's Like That/Sucker MCs - Run DMC
4. Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop) - Man Parrish
5. Al Naafiysh (The Soul) - Hashim
6. Clear - Cybotron
7. Buffalo Gals - Malcolm McLaren & The World's Famous Supreme Team
8. Lookout Weekend - Debbie Deb
9. It's Yours - T. La Rock & Jazzy Jay
10. No Sell Out - Malcolm X with Keith LeBlanc
11. The Payoff Mix - Mastermix of GLOBE and Whiz Kid's Play That Beat Mr. DJ
12. Jam on Revenge - Newcleus
13. Cooky Puss - Beastie Boys
14. Cold Winter Madness - Ice T
15. Play That Beat Mr. DJ - G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid

Another healthy year. Run DMC continue to be a strong force in the post-seminal song era of Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa, having their "Rock Box" video being the first rap song played on MTV. Freestyle music flourishes with Alisha ("All Night Passion"), Debbie Deb, Shannon ("Give Me Tonight"), and Nayobe ("Please Don't Go"). Kurtis Blow releases the last batch of his greatest songs before fading, giving way to newcomer Doug E. Fresh and Whodini. U.T.F.O., originally backup singers for Whodini, record "Roxanne, Roxanne" which creates the biggest and most influential all-time trend in Hip Hop. Somewhere between 50-100 response records ensue, and two of them ("The Real Roxanne" and "Roxanne's Revenge") become massive classics, opening the door for female MCs to gain massive success in the future such as MC Lyte, Salt N Pepa, and Queen Latifah. 2 Live Crew's "It's Gotta Be Fresh EP", released in late 1984, is the first significant Hip Hop record from the south and births what is know as Miami Bass, another Hip Hop variant alongside electro-funk and freestyle and early techno. Also, Afrika Bambaataa, "The Godfather of Hip Hop", unites with "The Godfather of Soul", James Brown, to record "Unity" which later causes an explosion in the sampling of James Brown records, a vital Hip Hop feature. Divine Sounds score a hit with their Run-DMC-like "What People Do for Money" as The Fat Boys become the most comical characters in Hip Hop (later collaborating with The Beach Boys and Chubby "The Twist" Checker).

It just doesnt get better than this.
Notable Songs: 
 1. Rock Box - Run DMC
2. Roxanne's Revenge - Roxanne Shante
3. Roxanne, Roxanne - U.T.F.O.
4. Freaks Come Out At Night - Whodini
5. Jam On It - Newcleus
6. Unity - Afrika Bambaataa and James Brown
7. One for the Treble - Davy DMX
8. The Real Roxanne - The Real Roxanne
9. When I Hear Music (It Makes Me Dance) - Debbie Deb
10. Egypt, Egypt - Egyptian Lover
11. Just Having Fun (Do the Beat Box) - Doug E. Fresh
12. Request Line - Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three
13. Jail House Rap - The Fat Boys
14. 8 Million Stories - Kurtis Blow
15. It's Gotta Be Fresh (Revelation/2 Live) - 2 Live Crew

1985: The last great year of old school Hip Hop before the advent of overblown sampling and "Walk This Way" which took Hip Hop into a new direction both musically and culturally. Toddy Tee releases a seminal West Coast jam that foreshadows "gangsta" rap (along with rapper Schoolly D.'s "PSK-What Does it Mean?"). Freestyle hits it big with Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam, Nu Shooz ("I Can't Wait"), Connie ("Funky Little Beat") and Trinere ("All Night"). Miami Bass evolves and garners hits with records such as MC A.D.E.'s (Adrian Does Everything) "Bass Rock Express". Clearly, Doug E. Fresh, the king of beatboxing, owns the year 1985 as his records "La Di Da Di" and "The Show" took Hip Hop into a new direction and stand as massive influential classics.

I can't live without my radio... or my hat or my chap-stick or my weights
Notable Songs:
1. The Show - Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew
2. La Di Da Di - Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew
3. I Can't Live Without My Radio - LL Cool J
4. I Need a Beat - LL Cool J
5. I Wonder If I Take You Home - Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam
6. The Roof is on Fire - Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three
7. The Show Stoppa (Is Stupid Fresh) - Super Nature (Salt N Pepa)
8. P.S.K.-What Does It Mean? (Park Side Killers) - Schoolly D
9. Batterram - Toddy Tee a.k.a. Todd Howard
10. Alice, I Want You Just for Me - Full Force
11. Big Mouth - Whodini
12. Fresh is the Word - Mantronix
13. Don't Stop the Rock - Freestyle
14. Terminator - Kid Frost
15. A Fly Girl - The Boogie Boys

That's it for the history lesson. See you tomorrow Keep Classic Hip-Hop Alive and Spread The Word.
Comments Please

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Welcome Pt. 2 - A Little History Before We Get Started 1979-1982

    For my second entry, I figured a little early Hip-Hop history might put us all on some common ground. I would love to say that I researched and comprised all this information myself but alas, I cannot. Luckily in the lovely age of the internet practically anything no matter how obscure seems to be easily found, with just a little digging. I personally learned much more than I thought I would and found some ultra-classic Hip-Hop that really deserves to be heard again. Most of these artist have long been forgotten by even the most die-hard Hip-Hop heads, while others are forever imbedded in music history forever. But make no mistake all these artist did their part to nourish the fledgling art that became our culture. And just so we are clear I love most of the new Hip-Hop, artist and songs (more than I should). But if we can't hold on to a music history that's barely 40 years old then we are fucked. And just for fun keep score of how much of this you remember. Don't forget to click the links for some reminders of what Hip-Hop used to be like. Comments are encouraged. SPREAD THE WORD.

Hip Hop music on record is born by Fatback Band's "King Tim III", Younger Generation's "We Rap More
Mellow", and The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" (Hip Hop legend Grandmaster Caz wrote the lyrics but never got credit). Important artists such as Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash also begin their careers, and some of the first socio-political-conscious records arise on the Paul Winley label through chiefly Tanya Winley. Philadelphia's legendary radio personality Lady B becomes the first female rapper to have a record, and Steve Gordon's "Take My Rap" is considered to be the first white rap record. Afro-Filipino Joe Bataan creates a hit with his "Rap-O, Clap-O", the first signs of Hip Hop's diversity. Enjoy Records and Sugar Hill Records become the defining Hip Hop labels of the old school era.

Notable Songs:
1. Rapper's Delight - The Sugar Hill Gang
2. King Tim III (Personality Jock) - Fatback Band
3. Rappin' and Rocking the House - Funky Four Plus One
4. Christmas Rappin' - Kurtis Blow
5. Superrappin' - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
6. To the Beat Y'All - Lady B
7. We Rap More Mellow - Younger Generation (a.k.a. Grandmaster Flash, et al)
8. Rhythm Talk - Jocko
9. Rhymin' and Rappin' - Paulette and Tanya Winley
10. Rap-O, Clap-O - Joe Bataan
11. Lady D - Lady D
12. Jazzy 4 MCs - MC Rock
13. Rhapazooty in Blue - Sickle Cell and Rhapazooty
14. Spiderap - Ron Hunt
15. Looking Good (Shake Your Body) - Eddie Cheba

And we would've gotten away with it, if it wasn't for those meddling kids

This is Kurtis Blow's year. He becomes the first rapper signed to a major record label, Mercury Records, where his song "The Breaks" becomes a certified gold record. He is the first to release a Hip Hop album, to embark on a Hip Hop tour, to be featured on television ("Soul Train" in October), and the first to give rap mainstream marketability (he also opened up for The Commodores and Bob Marley on tour). Rap is still seen as a fad although several disco-Hip Hop hybrids prove successful such as "Funk You Up", "Zulu Nation Throwdown Part I", "The New Rap Language", and "Monster Jam". Casper has the first rap record in Chicago, and The Sequence become the first all-female rap crew on record. Treacherous Three's "Body Rock" is the first Hip Hop song to use rock guitars, and Blondie member Deborah Harry's "Rapture" is the first massive Hip Hop record done by a white artist.

Notable Songs:
1. The Breaks - Kurtis Blow
2. The New Rap Language - Spoonie Gee and The Treacherous Three
3. Zulu Nation Throwdown Part I - Afrika Bambaataa & Cosmic Force
4. Funk You Up - The Sequence
5. Monster Jam - Spoonie Gee and The Sequence
6. Rapture - Blondie
7. 8th Wonder - The Sugarhill Gang
8. Freedom - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
9. Love Rap - Spoonie Gee and The Treacherous Three
10. Adventures of Super Rhyme (Rap) - Jimmy Spicer
11. Death Mix - Afrika Bambaataa
12. Spoonin' Rap - Spoonie Gee
13. Body Rock - The Treacherous Three
14. Vicious Rap - Tanya Winley
15. How We Gonna Make the Black Nation Rise? - Brother D with Collective Effort

I'll give you three guesses why they call me Blow, and the first two don't count.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Welcome

I guess today is as good a day as any to start this, so let's get down to it. First off let me introduce myself, my name is MCSUBZERO, but you can just call me Zero. Now I decided to start a blog for no other reason than to express myself, with the hope I might eventually exert some influence on the world around me. Let's be honest, isn't that what we all want? At the end of the day I'm probably one of those cats whose friends constantly tells him should be a stand-up comic or writer. Or maybe my mother succeeded in convincing me that my voice should indeed be heard, cause I am somehow special (she did and it probably hurt more than it helped, but that's for another entry). I think that I'm compelled more by what I see as a deficiency in the treatment and preservation of classic Hip-Hop. As the all encompassing Hip-Hop generation gets older, we must take more strides to respect the pioneering artist and songs that helped turn this urban movement into the biggest worldwide cultural phenomenon ever. I mean we all know of the current power of Hip-Hop with artist from Jay-Z to Common, The Roots to Queen Latifah or even Russell Simmons to Tupac Shakur. Hip-Hop is everywhere and I mean everywhere. Remember a time when you would be shocked to hear a Hip-Hop influenced commercial on T.V.. Or better yet do you remember the first time you saw one of your favorite rappers doing a commercial for anything. You went straight out and got it, Now who can afford to keep up, rappers hock everything from soda to cars and everything in between. But we can't forget the artist of the 80's and early 90's who with very little reward, compared to now, set the ground work that made this whole thing possible. In any other genre of music they put their pioneers on a pedestal, and here we are rewarding amnesia. So here in this blog I will attempt to bring light to that which we are trying to forget. In with the new, respecting the old. Til next time and tell your friends.