With just a quick glance over the forty records included in the rap/hip-hop chart, courtesy of the defunct Gavin Report radio trade magazine from the week of July 5th 1991, it's evident that this period in the still growing urban music genre was a truly incredible time in hip-hop history with so many soon-to-be classics being recorded and released! These include singles and album tracks, all very popular to this day 24 years later, from such legendary, influential hip-hop acts as De La Soul, Gang Starr, KMD (featuring a young MF Doom), Leaders of The New School, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, EPMD, Main Source, and Brand Nubian. Also included are such hip-hop legends as Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, Ice T, Rodney O & Joe Cooley, Naughty By Nature, 3rd Bass, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Ice Cube protege/female rapper Yo-Yo and the late great NJ producer/rapper Tony D to name but some.
Mark Ronson is a DJ and producer whose work nods to classic soul and funk style sounds. Born in London but educated in New York City, Ronson began his career by DJing high profile gigs like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' 29th birthday party. In 2003, he found success in the UK with the release of his debut album, Here Comes the Fuzz, which features guest appearances from the likes of Anthony Hamilton, Nikka Costa, Rivers Cuomo, Jack White, Mos Def, and Sean Paul. In 2007, he released a collection of cover songs called Version, which was followed by 2010's Record Collection.
In 2015, Ronson released Uptown Special. He dedicated the album to Amy Winehouse, whose Back to Black he had produced and for which he had received the 2008 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Uptown Special features "Uptown Funk," a collaboration with Bruno Mars which marked Ronson's first entry into Billboard's Hot 100. Interestingly, the album features lyrics written by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon.
Here is our list of gift ideas culled from recent Hip Hop releases (with a few classics thrown in), plus 10 Hip Hop vinyl reissues from 2014 every fan should have.
Diabolic - Fightin' Words
Fightin' Words is a long delayed release from East Coast rapper Diabolic which has been in the works for four years. Originally intended to come out on Viper Records, the album instead got released via the recently founded WarHorse Records. Mic collaborators include such hard hitters as Vinnie Paz, Apathy, and R.A. the Rugged Man, while production is handled in most part by DJ Premier.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata
Gang Starr "Just To Get A Rep" from the album Step Into The Arena (1991)
"Mad brothers know his name" are just a few of the well known (and oft quoted or sampled) Gang Starr lyrics rapped by the late great emcee of the legendary hip-hop duo GURU (Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal) over DJ Premier's killer track on "Just To Get A Rep." The song was released in February 1991 by Chrysalis/EMI as the lead single (with "Who's Gonna Take The Weight" on the filp side of the 12" single) from the duo's hip-hop classic full-length Step In The Arena that was released a few weeks earlier. Like that album the single "Just To Get A Rep" remains a hip-hop classic. And now 23 full years later it is even clearer what an important role this particular song plays in its part of hip-hop's legacy, with each phrase and rhyme from the song known by heart by every true hip-hop fan and DJs/producers who like to take snippets of it and throw it in the mix. See full song lyrics listed below along with the videos for the other Step In The Arena album tracks as the mellow, chilled out "Lovesick" whose numerous samples include Digital Underground's best known song "The Humpty Dance," the heavily politicized "Who's Gonna Take The Weight?" (my personal fave album track with "Check The Technique" in close second), and the title track itself from the album Step In The Arena that while it was technically the group's second album it was their main introduction to most hip-hop audiences at the time.
Murs & Fashawn at Amoeba Hollywood this week in celebration of new album
1) Murs & Fashawn This Generation (Duck Down)
2) Kanye West Good Music Cruel Summer (Def Jam)
3) V/A Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap Soundtrack (Sony Music)
4) Brother Ali Mourning In America & Dreaming In Color (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
5) Blu & Exile Give My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them (Dirty Science)
Thanks again to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Hollywood Amoeba store for the latest top five chart of best selling new releases from the SoCal store with the brand new Murs & Fashawn collaboration, This Generation on Duck Down, in the number slot with a bullet since its release on Tuesday of this week. In fact to celebrate the new album on that very same day the duo did a live set (also a live webcast) on release day / Tuesday this week at the Hollywood Amoeba when a lot of fans bought the new album and helped them reach number show at the same store. That in-store concert was not just a celebration of their new release. It was also a Rock the Vote drive that Amoeblogger Billy Gil reviewed here yesterday in which he noted how Murs said to the packed crowd that “If you’re smart, you’ll be registered to vote and to get married by the time you leave here.” Check out the in-store/Rock The Vote/webcast concert video above.