Amoeblog

Saluting Hip-Hop Greats: Gang Starr

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2008 01:57pm | Post a Comment
gang starr
(Update: 04/20/10 Guru died at age 43)

Gang Starr, formed back in 1986 and comprised of DJ Premier and emcee Guru, are no longer officially a group -- at least according to Guru in an interview a little while back. But then, who knows if they ever will perform or record together again? A Tribe Called Quest have gotten back together -- more than once -- so maybe Gang Starr will too.

Regardless, the hip-hop duo's rich back catalog is enough to satisfy this hip-hop fan for hours on end. If you don't already have any of the incredible duo's six albums (plus two greatest hits compilations), I suggest you pick up the double CD retrospective Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr (originally released in '99) at any of the Amoeba Music stores.

Full Clip is a great starting point, as it  includes all but one ("Arena") of the songs in the six Gang Starr videos begang starr full cliplow, including "Words I Manifest,"  "Step in the Arena," "Mass Appeal," "Who's Gonna Take The Weight?," "Take It Personal," and "DWYCK" featuring Nice & Smooth. Listening back the other day to this 2 CD set from start to finish made me realize not just how amazing Gang Starr's music is, but also how influential their work has been on hip-hop.

And are the videos/songs below a comprehensive best-of Gang Starr? Hells no! Just enough to whet a hip-hopper's appetite.

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Roc En Espanol Videos From The Early 90's

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 21, 2008 12:36am | Post a Comment
During the late 80's and early 90's, bands from the Spanish speaking nations started to get into Ska, Reggae & Punk. Bands like The Clash and The Bad Brains had a big influence on Latin Rock movement yet the bands of that era differed from the Roc En Espanol groups that came before them. No longer were they trying to emulate the music that came out of Europe and America; they started to get their own identity musically and lyrically. The groups weren't afraid to incorporate music they grew up with. Groups like Mano Negra, Todos Tus Muertos, Tijuana No! and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs fused Brazilian, Cuban, Middle Eastern, Jamaican and African influences into their music as well as the music from the countries they originated from. Lyrically, they spoke of oppression, revolution, self-determination and the need for change.

Mano Negra - "Sr. Matanza" - Spain
This was Manu Chao's band before he went solo.



Todos Tus Muertos - "Andate" -
Argentina



Tijuana No! - "Pobre De Ti" - Mexico
This song was co-written by Julieta Venegas.



Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - "Matador" - Argentina

Unrecognized Caucasia and neighboring regions

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 20, 2008 05:16pm | Post a Comment
The current situation in the Caucasus prompted one of the loyal blog readers to request that I post about the confusing region and shed a little light. If you blog readers have any requests for blog topics, I always welcome them.

******
(If interested, there are similar entries about Eastern Europe, North Asia and South Asia.)

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Caucasia
is a mountainous region located between the two continents of Europe and Asia. While it's not the Nazi-imagined homeland (a concept invented by 18th century craniologists) to the blond & blue-eyed, it is home to some of the oldest human populations in the world as well as the birthplace of wine. It's also one of the most culturally varied regions in the world, where tiny populations of little-known peoples have somehow existed between some of the biggest, baddest imperialists of world history. Perhaps it's not surprising then that they seem or persevere by clinging tightly to cultural expressions like music and dance, as well as deeply-embedded xenophobia, mistrust, mutual hostility and self-preservatory instincts.

Just to name a few, in this tiny global neighborhood you've got Abazins, Abkazians, Adjarians, Adydhe, Aguls, Archins, Armenians, Avars, Azerbaijanis, Balkars, Bats, Chechens, Cherkes, Cossacks, Dargins, Georgians, Greeks, Ingush, Kabardins, Kalmyks, Karachays, Khinalug, Kists, Kumyks, Kurds, Laks, Laz, Lezgins, Mingrelians, Mountain Jews, Nakh, Nogais, Ossetians, Rutls, Svans, Tabasarans, Talysh, Tats, Trukhmens, Tsakhurs, Ubykh and Udins... my apologies if I've forgotten anyone... also my producer, my wife and so forth. I just know I'm forgetting someone!

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August 15, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 20, 2008 01:48pm | Post a Comment
Tropic Thunder Vista  Movie Stub
Tropic Thunder Vista marquee

RECOGNIZE: BAY AREA FEMALE RAPPERS

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2008 10:24am | Post a Comment
Conscious Daughters
Big ups to the female artists in the history of Bay Area hip-hop who, as it seems to be the case with the rest of the rap nation, are (and have always been) in the minority. Why? A variety of reasons-- the main one, in my opinion, is that women can never fare well in a male dominated field that is predominantly (but not exclusively) sexist and misogynist. If you have any strong insights into why you think there is still such a unbalanced female to male rap ratio, please share in the COMMENTS box below where I invite you to also list your favorite female emcees from the Bay Area or elsewhere.

By no means is this post inclusive of the many female hip-hop artists from the Bay; it is merely a salute a select talented few -- both new and old school -- who come to mind, including such old school emcees as 80's East Bay female rapper Cassidine. When she dropped her debut twenty years ago on 75 Girls (the Oakland label run by the Hodges Brothers), she was heralded as the female counterpart to (label mate) Too $hort. Cassidine's album, Man Handler, contains such hardcore tracks as "She Daddy." Unfortunately, the a killer collection of hardcore rhymes and beats from a bygone era in Bay rap has never been re-released. 
Oaktown 3-5-7
Also from 1980's Bay rap is Oaktown 3-5-7, the female rap crew who first came to fame as MC Hammer's backing singers/dancers on tracks such as "Let's Get It Started."  In fact, they performed this song with Hammer and the rest of his large entourage when they made their national debut on the The Arsenio Hall Show. When they released their own music on Hammer's label they enjoyed reasonable success but not enough to keep them from breaking up in 1992. Their 1989 Wild and Loose album was their most successful and made waves on the Billboard pop and black-album charts two decades ago when it spawned the singles "We Like It" and "Juicy Gotcha Krazy" (video below).

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