Happy Music Monday! Today let's "rap" about the early days of hip hop. Huh? Huh? Do you get it? DO YOU??? Anyway, all you kids who think Snoop is old school are about to get an education. Because today we're gonna go back… way back… to the early days of rap. Today Scott's taking a look at the hip hop classics you probably don't often hear. Like this one, for example:
Take an English major at Columbia, and add a dash of party DJ, mix with a guy rejected by the Beastie Boys, and throw in a few questionable lyric choices. What do you get? A not-so-bad trio who had this Top 30 hit in the late '80s. You'll probably know the loop. Maybe it's not as serious as hip hop is today, but if you view it in context… well, 3rd Bass wasn't Public Enemy, but they were kind of respectable. Too bad they sort of peaked with this song.
See what we mean? More to come, along with the Spotify playlist, right after the jump!
Let's just say it now in case you aren't clear: Many hip hop songs cover NSFW topics. We'll try to mark them when we couldn't find a radio-friendly edit, but if your boss is the sensitive type, put cans on them ears, okay?
Now, as we mentioned above, we've got a weekly Spotify playlist, featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. But be warned: the theme of the mix this time is Weird Americans and it's not your normal Top 40 station, that's for sure. Just don't take a chance on that strange, strange music until you drop the beat on the current Music Monday below.
There was a time when novelty records were pretty common. If something big happened someone was going to rush and put their own spin on it. That's how we got The Roxanne Wars but that's also how we got a bunch of songs about Nightmares to celebrate the A Nightmare On Elm Street series. Dana Dane at least got there before anyone else did, but then again, Dana Dane also used that fake British accent. Maybe that was why Dana Dane stayed at the novelty level and The Fresh Prince got a TV show.
This often-overlooked classic was sort of the very first Def Jam release, even though it was technically on a different label. Hey, hip hop's complicated like that. The important part is that T La Rock's single helped move hip hop away from Kurtis Blow and towards KRS One. Plus if you don't care about what's going on in the lyrics, you can always just enjoy the beat! And by the way, T La Rock's style was also a direct influence on his labelmate LL Cool J. Maybe you've heard of him?
What would you best call the Masta Ace style? Staccato? Change-up? It's hard to really put a name to the way he chatters out rhythms like he's just having a conversation, and yet somehow makes everything hit the beat. Masta Ace didn't have huge smash hits, but he's still well respected and even influenced Eminem! Today he coaches high school football, which I think is pretty cool. How many rappers actually give back to the community like that?
Okay, okay, fine. This one isn't THAT obscure. Pretty much I just wanted the excuse to hear it again. But if it helps, I can argue that Slick Rick was in prison during hip hop's most explosive period, so maybe some people DON'T actually know that this NSFW Snoop track is actually a NSFW Slick Rick cover. Is that a good enough excuse? Anyway, if you didn't already know about The Show… well, now there's one less thing you've got to learn. And you're welcome.
First up: once you're done here, hit the Turntable.fm room for other regular Music Monday experience. Second: throw your examples in the comments and help us build a really great mix of forgotten hip hop. Third: some images come from their corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use. A'aight? A'aight. We out. Peace.