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Hip-Hop History Amoeblog: 1986, The Year Run-D.M.C. Raised Hell And Helped Rap Crossover

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2015 03:03am | Post a Comment

When they arrived on the hip-hop scene in the early 1980's Run-D.M.C. distinguished themselves as the leaders of the new school of rap music. This claim by the Hollis, Queens, NY trio comprised of Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell was truly justified by the unique group who would be perhaps the most influential group of the genre with their hardcore rap sound. With 1984's self-titled debut on Profile Records and its follow-up; 1985's King of Rock, Run DMC were already hugely popular with fans of the then still burgeoning hip-hop music genre but it was 1986's Raising Hell  their third album that proved to be their breakthrough, crossover release. Raising Hell won them a whole wave of new fans - many of whom up until this point had dismissed rap as mere novelty and  passing fad in pop music. Run DMC's updated rock/rap version of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" deserves  much of the credit for breaking Run DMC (and rap/hip-hop along with it) into the mainstream. The conversion of the average mid eighties hard rock fan, who up to this stage was still resistant to rap because they saw it as a derivative of the then stigmatized genre of disco, went to Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith who joined on them on both the record and in the influential music video of "Walk This Way." The result was an inspired updated rap rendition of an already great rock song.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy's "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back"

Posted by Billyjam, February 24, 2015 02:01pm | Post a Comment
public enemy it takes a nation of millions to hold us backBack in April 1988 Public Enemy (PE) released the classic album It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back on Def Jam Recordings. And prove that it's a classic is the fact that  27 full years later Nation still packs the same punch it did when it was initially unleashed on the world back in the late eighties. Widely considered the Strong Island (aka Long Island, New York) crew's greatest work ever, It Takes A Nation... was not only one of PE's finest moments, but hip-hop's as well. Released during the much lamented "golden" era of hip-hop, the album, which was the follow up to PE's 1987 debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show, defied the stereotypical "sophomore slump" that so many artists suffered from.

PE's debut was an excellent hip-hop album but this sequel simply blew it away since it was a jaw-droppingly amazing album (of any genre) in every way. Production-wise, it was so richly layered and hardcore that it just grabbed you and didn't let go. Chuck D's militant and thought-provoking, in-your-face revolutionary lyrical flow was so powerful it scared some people. But mostly it won over new fans who still thought of rap as some fad or disposable urban pop. Combined, all the elements of Nation made up an album that was unlike anything heard in hip-hop, or any music, up to that point. I remember that summer of '88 in the Bay Area hearing it blasting everywhere I went in every type of neighborhood. I had never experienced that before!

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Remembering Producer Paul C McKasty

Posted by Billyjam, February 17, 2015 09:30pm | Post a Comment
For this week's Hip-Hop History installment we pay tribute to one of hip-hop's greatest (albeit little known and way under-appreciated) producers; Paul C McKasty or Paul C as he was professionally known. Hailing from the Rosedale area of Queens, New York City, Paul produced the likes of the Ultramagnetic MC's, Eric B & Rakim, Stezo, Biz Markie, Main Source, Too Poetic, and Mikey D & The LA Posse to name but a small fraction of those he worked in the studio with. It was care of these and dozens upon dozens of other records where hip-hop fanatics, who closely read the credits on 12" record labels and LP and single's back covers, learned of this influential figure who gets little love in the big scheme of things (as well as not always getting credited on all the records he produced and worked on) when it comes to honoring hip-hop history's past back in the 1980's. However within hip-hop circles comprised of crate diggers and diehard appreciators of the art Paul C, a producer whose accolades include being a mentor to a young Large Professor, is a major figure of great importance; an artist of legendary status who was a highly influential producer - an unassuming Caucasian dude who is highly revered for the work - as both engineer and producer - in his all too short but prolific lifetime. Paul C's life came to shocking premature halt when in 1989, at the young age of 24, he was shot and killed in an unsolved murder. In his prolific lifetime the long list of records that Paul C worked on, including the ones he engineered as well as exclusively produced, would fill several pages so rather than list them all here, instead I've included below the excellent, albeit low budget, Pritt Kalsi directed Memories of Paul C McKasty documentary that cross-references many of the records Paul worked on and features in-depth interviews with several key hip-hop figures, including Rakim, whose lives he touched in his short lifetime.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Dave Paul's 1990 KCSF Hip-Hop Top 40

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2015 05:44pm | Post a Comment


Following my uncovering a 25 year old KCSF San Francisco hip-hop playlist (above) from David Paul I invited the longtime Bay Area DJ/promoter/label CEO/publisher to be a guest Amoeblogger this week for the Hip-Hop History Tuesdays segment and to bring us back, via his memories, to that time period (March 1990) in the genre that historically sat smack in the middle of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop. Here is what Dave Paul had to share about his playlist from a quarter century ago - some songs with accompanying videos.

Wow, seeing this playlist brings back memories. This was when I did a Friday radio show at KCSF (City College of San Francisco) from 8am to 2am every week. It wasn’t on radio waves but rather broadcast on cable TV, Viacom 25. March 15th, 1990 was way before I launched The Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine (that wouldn't be until October 1991). First, I’ll start with the songs that I am now embarassed that I played and charted at that time: "Shake The House" by Misa: she was a white girl rapper, way before Iggy Azelea. I probably played it cause Big Ed (Sleeping Bag/Fresh Records Bay Area rep) and DJ EFX (Mind Motion’s brother) mixed it. Then there's "Somebody Farted" by Bobby Jimmy.  I probably just found it funny. I guess when you’re in your early 20’s this is hilarious. Then we have "U Can’t Touch This" by MC Hammer. I have no excuse other than he was local (same with Oaktown 357 except "Juicy Gotcha Crazy" was catchy). Now onto the tracks that I am proud I was playing back then. Here they are with accompanying videos:

"Buddy" by De La Soul - this needs no line up. Native Tongues in da house!

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Rare 1990 Chuck D Interview with DJ Chuck Chillout on "WDEF"

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

For this week's installment of the Amoeblog's Hip Hop History Tuesdays I rewind the clock back 24 years  to December 1990 when Def Jam mailed out to journalists, DJs, and other media folk on their press promo list a cool complimentary "Merry Christmas" mixtape by DJ Chuck Chillout that was supposedly the NYC radio station "WDEF" and its show "The Rush Hour." But while both the radio show and the radio station were imaginary the cassette and all the interviews on it, including EPMD, BWP, and Pubic Enemy's Chuck D (featured here), were all very real and conducted as if on the air live by the recording artist/radio DJ who was on KISS FM at the time.

The Rush Hour
name referred to the Russell Simmons overseen artists - most on Def Jam - that were showcased on the mixtape that was a nice balance of artist interviews and music - a lot of two turntable beat juggle routines. Out of all the tape's interviews the interview with Chuck D (on behalf of Public Enemy)  was the best one and hence, when I uncovered this long lost tape in past week, decided to upload it to YouTube to feature here on the Amoeblog Hip-Hop History feature. Note that the actual Chuck Chillout/Chuck D interview would have been recorded at the end of Summer/ start of Fall 1990 - right after PE got off tour in support of their then current album Fear Of A Black Planet (their third studio album that was released on May 10th, 1990).

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