Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Roots of Gangsta Rap

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2015 09:00am | Post a Comment

N.W.A are routinely credited with creating the genre known as gangsta rap, which is a fair summation since it was these West Coast rappers who inspired a whole new unstoppable generation of hardcore gangsta rap recording artists. However, these LA rappers are predated by fellow LA-based artist Ice-T who in turn was predated by the true O.G. (Original Gangsta) -- Philadeplhia's Schoolly D who in 1985 unleashed the original gangsta rap record. Entitled "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" and released on his own small indie label, Schoolly D Records, the record with cutting by DJ Code Money was an ode to the Philly street gang that the rapper (born Jesse B. Weaver, Jr.) was associated with. The initials P.S.K. stood for the Park Side Killas gang and their song dedication was brimming with references to gangsta activity: guns, violence, sex, and drug use, with usage of the N word ("sucka ass nigga tryna sound like me"), which was something uncommon though not totally unheard of in rap records up to that point.

Although originally considered a regional rap record with likely little appeal beyond its immediate hood, the distinctly hardcore rap record struck a nerve with music fans well beyond Philadelphia. The NJ-born, LA-based Ice-T adapted its style for his single, "6 In The Mornin" (later entitled "6 'N the Mornin'), released a year later in 1986. It was also included on his 1987 debut album Rhyme Pays.

Continue reading...

Music History Monday: February 16

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 16, 2015 07:30am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: February 16, 1935 - Singer, songwriter, and producer Sonny Bono (born Salvatore Phillip Bono in Detroit, MI). Happy Birthday to Sonny on what would have been his 80th Birthday.
 


Born on this day: February 16, 1952 - Singer, songwriter and musician James Ingram (born James Edward Ingram in Akron, OH). Happy 63rd Birthday, James!
 

Born on this day: February 16, 1958 - Rapper and actor Ice-T (born Tracy Lauren Marrow in Newark, NJ). Happy 56th Birthday, Ice!
 


On this day in music history: February 16, 1980 - "The Second Time Around" by Shalamar hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on March 22, 1980. Written by Leon Sylvers III and William Shelby, it's the biggest hit single for the Los Angeles-based R&B vocal trio. Co-writer and producer Sylvers will write the melody and bassline, while Shelby (a member of the band Lakeside) will write the chords in the verse section with both collaborating on the lyrics. The song will be the first to feature new lead singer Howard Hewett who  replaces previous lead vocalist Gerald Brown in the group. Released as the first single from the group's third album Big Fun, it will give the trio their most successful single in the US. The song's popularity will extend to the dance floor when it becomes a club smash by way of an extended mix that is released as a 12" single. This remixed version will also be added to revised copies of Big Fun, replacing the original single version featured on the first pressing, during the single's run on the charts. "The Second Time Around" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

Continue reading...

The 25 Best Hip-Hop Movies

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2014 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Best Hip Hop films

The definition of "hip hop movies" is pretty darn wide as it covers a broad range of types and styles of films - not to mention differing levels of quality since, let's face it, some have been downright low-budget jenky (bad meaning bad). The hip hop movie genre as a whole encompasses such varieties as concerts films (EG 1995's The Show or 2005's Dave Chappelle's Block Party); documentaries about specific parts of the genre or individual artists (e.g. Scratch or Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme or Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest); bio-pics like Notorious or the semi-biographical Eminem acting vehicle 8-Mile; and straight up pure celebratory flicks that show love for some or all of hip hop's four elements (EG Wild Style, Juice, Beat Street, and Breakin').

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: West Coast Rap the First Decade Part III: Breakin' N Enterin' Documentary + Captain Rapp & DJ Flash

Posted by Billyjam, December 3, 2013 11:20pm | Post a Comment

        

For this week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog installment we continue with more on the topic of the first decade of LA/West Coast Rap. Above is a continuation of the video interview with DJ Flash and Captain Rapp and below is the entire film of the little-seen 1983 documentary on LA Hip-hop's early history: the 84 minute film Breakin' N Enterin.  In the above video interview with Flash and Rapp, they discuss both LA rap history and their latest release, Westcoastin featuring Ronnie Hudson along with a slew of legendary West Coast rappers, which has been selling well at Amoeba Hollywood since its recent release on CD. Meanwhile, the out-of-print 30-year-old documentary on LA Hip-hop made by Topper Carew is a refreshing West Coast counterpart to such NYC hip-hop films as Wild Style and Style Wars. It showcases LA's vibrant early b-boy, poplockin, graffiti, DJ, and MC scenes. Among the many highlights of this engaging documentary told by the practitioners of the art form is the Blue City Crew out of Carson, CA featuring members of what would later become the Boo Yaa Tribe. A young Ice-T, who would not appear in the hip-hop film Breakin' until a year later, is also featured here.

Continue reading...

Ice T Well Prepared For Critiques of his "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" Documentary at UK Premiere

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2012 07:07am | Post a Comment


Ice T
's critically acclaimed, independently produced, hip-hop history documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, which opened in the States last month, just opened here in Europe on Friday last. The evening before (July 19) there were a series of premiere screenings in London and other select European cities including Dublin, Ireland when I caught it at the IFI (Irish Film Institute) where the film was followed immediately by a Q+A & concert performance via live satellite from London's Hammersmith Apollo. There Ice T, along with Melle Mel, Chuck D, and Raekwon were all in town for the UK debut. During this Q+A from the audience (a tough crowd) Ice T fielded most of the questions in which he spent a fair amount of time in defense of his great film: something he was well able to handle.

But first the movie which I had heard and read all about and was most anxious to view. I thought it was really excellent; especially on the big screen with the film's ample use of panoramic aerial views of NYC, LA, and Detroit, all lovingly shot in breathtaking widescreen at various times of the day from helicopter, that nicely broke up the dialog segments of  the documentary.

Sure the film didn't have all my favorite rappers in it but it was not my film, it was Ice T's. And as the OG (original gangsta) turned rapper, turned actor, turned filmmaker - stated before the film was even screened at Sundance earlier this year; he was not trying to represent all things rap (especially the bling & swag elements) but rather simply focus on the art of the rapper / emcee, and from his own personal perspective. This he did in loving detail, casually catching up with old friends in the rap game, and having them spit a verse or two from their own or other rapper's favorite rhymes, and share a little insight on how they approach their craft. In all 47 artists made the final cut including such talents as Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Raekwon, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Snoop Dog, Kool Keith, KRS-One, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chino XL, Grandmaster Caz, and Melle Mel - the latter two getting perhaps the most shine and props in the film. 

Continue reading...