Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Overview of 1990's Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
The 1990's was an amazing decade for hip-hop music: one which enjoyed the second half of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop, the birth & proliferation of the indie hip-hop movement, the end of the Afro-centric movement and, propelled by the success of the early decade success of the G-Funk Era, the commercialization of the gangsta rap style that continues to this day.  So for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I present a broad overview of the  decade that was the 90's. A by no means inclusive of that very prolific decade this look at the decade merely scratches the surface, selectively highlighting a handful of releases and events (with each year getting a mention) that helped shape the 1990's in hip-hop.

In 1990 revolutionary, militant and Afro-centric hip-hop was in full effect and looked like it would be around forever. Examples included such popular socially & politically charged albums released in that first year of the decade as Public Enemy's third full-length album Fear Of a Black Planet, Ice Cube's first post N.W.A./solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment,X-Clan's To The East, Blackwards, Brand Nubian's One For All, Poor Righteous Teachers' Holy Intellect, Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It, Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum's self-titled Marley Marl debut, and Lakim Shabazz's Lost Tribe of Shabazz.

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Review of Hip-Hop's 40 Year Anniversary Concert With Kool Herc and Other Icons at Summerstage in Central Park

Posted by Billyjam, August 12, 2013 10:54am | Post a Comment

On Saturday, August 10th, New York City (the city that gave birth to hip-hop culture on August of 1973 thanks to founding father DJ Kool Herc with the help of his sister Cindy Campbell in the Rec Room at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. South Bronx) held a big tribute concert at Summerstage in Central Park with DJ Kool Herc and a host of other icons from the genre all participating in what was a most uplifting musical celebration of the global culture of hip-hop. The following day -Sunday, August 11th - was the actual 40th birthday so Kool Herc continued the party over in Long Island City, Queens at graffiti mecca 5Pointz (I will report on that party in coming days here on the Amoeblog).

Saturday's event was the big official party/concert marking this momentous anniversary; it oozed love and respect for the genre and culture that was for so long dismissed by many as "just a fad." Of course, as we all know, hip-hop in its four core elements (DJing, MCing, B-boying, and graffiti/writing) has grown to become a universal language and a globally influential culture. To drive home this point on Saturday in Central Park, a display of flags from various countries round the globe adorned Kool Herc's onstage turntable set up. So did a big mounted poster of James Brown.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #24: A Tale of Two Nick Caves, Sigur Ros @ MSG, Blues for Smoke, Rakim & Raekwon, and more

Posted by Billyjam, March 20, 2013 12:29pm | Post a Comment

       

 

Welcome to another installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog report with an overview of a diverse mix of fun things from music and film to art happening in the Big Apple in the week ahead. Included in this latest Amoeblog report from New York City are such things as the music-inspired Blues for Smoke exhibit at the Whitney, the inspiring documentary You Don't Need Feet To Dance, the photo exhibit celebrating the centennial of the 1913 Armory Exhibition, concerts such as Sigur Rós at MSG, and the slightly confusing tale of two Nick Caves (one horsesuit related and one Bad Seeds related) happening at Grand Central and the Beacon Theater next week.

The fact that two high profile artists in different contemporary art fields with the exact same spelling of the name Nick Cave are performing in the same city on overlapping days is bound to cause confusion to some, so lets clear it up now and distinguish between the two Nicks. Think of it as Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds vs. Nick Cave and the Herd of Soundsuit Horses. One is the well-known Australian musician/sometime actor Nick Cave we all know/love from the Birthday Party Bad Seeds, Grindermanetc. (more on him in NYC a little down further) while the other Nick Cave is the visual artist whose installation/performance piece entitled HEARD•NY (see above & left) will take up residency for a week starting Monday, March 25th inside Grand Central Terminal's main space as part of the historic New York transit hub's big 100 year anniversary celebration.

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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. 

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Rakim, EPMD, Lord Finesse, Jazzy Jay, & Cold Crush Brothers Among Those Doing Free Concerts In NYC's Parks This Week

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2011 09:57am | Post a Comment
The summer ain't over yet. Still lots good stuff happening in NYC. And sure, New York City in the summer can endure some extreme and unpredictable weather shifts that can unleash some unbearably hot and humid weather or thunderstorms that come out of nowhere, but that's all part of what makes it New York in the summer. Another defining factor is the jaw-dropping amount of amazing & free outdoor cultural events, especially all the music concerts in the parks. Of these there is no shortage of hip-hop free shows by legends of the genre such as the free SummerStage show in Central Park today (Aug 21) featuring Rakim, EPMD, and DJ Funkmaster Flex or the free Digger's Delight park jam on Tuesday evening (Aug 23) in St Nicholas Park up in Harlem with hip-hop icons Lord Finesse, GrandMaster Caz, Jazzy Jay, and Red Alert. Then on Wednesday evening of this week (August 24), there is a free concert by highly-influential and legendary hip-hop act the Cold Crush Brothers who will be downtown Manhattan on the bandshell in the East River Park.

Today's free SummerStage show, which starts at 3pm and goes til about 7pm, should be a goodie since it features Rakim, who many have called the greatest emcee in the history of the genre. It is also the 25th anniversary of Eric B & Rakim’s iconic album, Paid in Full which is considered to be among the top ten greatest hip-hop album of all time. EPMD's debut album, Strictly Business, is another golden-era hip-hop classic that makes many best of lists, as does their follow up Unfinished Business.  Funkmaster Flex will DJ at the start of the day and throughout the afternoon for which it is likely special guests will stop by. Last summer, I caught Public Enemy in the same spot. Earlier this summer, I saw Brazilian rapper Marcelo D2 on the same Central Park stage. Also this summer, I made it to two park jams at Queensbridge Park (another legendary spot in hip-hop's formative years) to see concerts from both N.O.R.E. and Kool Moe Dee. Each was really good, especially Kool Moe Dee. Then two weeks ago, I trekked over to Tappen Park on Staten Island to catch the Sugarhill Gang. While disappointing overall due to the fact that they spent most of their set doing covers of other old school acts, it was worth it to hear them do "Rapper's Delight" and it was free! Like today's Rakim & EPMD show, these were all part of the public funded City Parks Foundation Summerstage Series, which puts on a wide array of shows in the parks of each NYC borough every summer.

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