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Novelty rap and the harsh realities of adolescence -- Freddy Rap and other strange happenings of 1987

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 10, 2009 10:44am | Post a Comment
Back in 1987 and '88, before Chucky and the Leprechaun came along and divided the loyalties of urban cineastes along racial lines, Freddy and the hip-hop community were hand in metal-clawed glove. It was the year Nightmare on Elm Street 3 was released. Why did Freddy rap occur then and not sooner? There had been a building sense of unease for several years, as evinced in Rockwell's 1984 hit "Somebody's Watching Me" and Dana Dane's 1985 hit "Nightmares." It was the climax of the Cold War, after all. Nightmare on Elm Street 3 was widely viewed as the best entry in the series and was the most successful until FVJ in 2003. It may've just been me, but I also think 1987 was just a weird, wonderful year.

nightmare on elm street

For me, it was full of confusion and mystery. I'd grown somewhat comfortable with my classmates over the seven years of elementary school, but in 1987, I was off to junior high. The air on the school bus was a gaseous psychotropic cocktail of aquanet and Jheri Curl. When the smoke cleared, I found myself at Jefferson Jr High, in the middle of town. The formerly all-white school, my black Social Studies teacher informed us, had been the domain of the devil and his wife (a witch) when he was growing up during segregation. I later figured out her reasons for creating that myth, but it might as well have been true to me at the time. Junior High, in contrast to the relative peace of elementary school, was a trial by fire where violence could and frequently did break out as the pecking order got sorted out. I quickly learned to never use the restrooms. There was tremendous pressure to adopt a sort of uniform with classmates scrutinizing and passing judgment on hair, jackets, shirts, pants, shoes, musical tastes, &c. Brands and styles of (generally tightrolled) jeans (something I'd honestly never thought about) were cyphers that revealed more about their wearer's personality and background than their cracking voices ever could.


Beyond Jeff's hallowed halls, the larger world also seemed to be full of of violence and mystery, both solved and unsolved. The Unabomber was doing his thing, In Chuvashia, Vladimir Nikolayev was caught by authorities in the act of cooking one of his neighbors, the Moor Murderers helped the cops find the body of someone they'd killed 24 years earlier, Korean Air flight 858 was shot down and, perhaps most disturbingly, the airwaves were briefly highjacked in an incident that became known as the Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion Incident.

At home, my mother rented Blue Velvet, a film that captured the time. She also turned me onto U2, an Irish group who dressed like they were waiting for Edward Curtis to snap their portrait. However, the band that may've most eloquently captured the bizarre tone of the times was The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, who cut bluntly to the chase with their single, "1987 (What the Fuck is Going On?)" It's a strange world isn't it? Do you know the Chicken Walk?

Anyway, I present you with the cream of the Freddy Rap revolution of '87/'88:



MC A.D.E. - "Nightmare on ADE Street"





Stevie B - "Nightmare on Freddy Krugger Street"





MC Chill - "Nightmare on Chill Street"





Krushin' MCs - "Nightmare on Rhyme Street"



 Gregory D & DJ Mannie Fresh - "Freddie's Back"


Fat Boys - "Are You Ready for Freddy?"




 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - "A Nightmare on My Street"


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Relevant Tags

Junior High (1), Rap (87), Hip-hop (159), 1980s (49), Nightmare On Elm Street (3), Horror (185), Adolescence (1), Freddy Rap (1), Columbia (2), Subcultures (37), Microscenes (36)