Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Bay Area Hip-Hop Shows 1984 - 1996

Posted by Billyjam, November 12, 2013 01:13pm | Post a Comment

For this Hip Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog the focus is on some select Bay Area hip hop/rap concerts from two and three decades (80's/90's) ago and their corresponding advertisement flyers - a time before social networking and free access by all to the Internet. Covering the years from 1984 to 1996, these are a selection of show fliers such as the one left from September 1989 when LA crossover rap artist Young MC was at his prime as were the Bay Area rap acts who opened for him including APG Crew at the long gone, once very active, club spot in North Oakland the Omni  ("the Bay Area's largest showcase nightclub" on Shattuck at 48th near Telegraph).

In addition to APG Crew, who were voted hottest local/Bay Area act of that same year of 1989, other acts on this bill included East Bay act Step G with M.C. Sirgeo, and two Bay Area acts that would go on to national acclaim: producer/political rapper Paris thanks to signing with (and later getting dropped over political controversy) with Tommy Boy Records and East Bay hip-hop crew Capital Tax who in the following few years would go from being on the small indie local T-Cap Productions to being signed to MCA Records.   Another time within about a year of that show, Too $hort headlined at the Omni -- doing his typical no-frills, straight up rap concert. (This was a time when another Oakland rapper, MC Hammer's stage shows were huge choreographed events -- Too $hort was the proud antitheses of that.)

Up above at top is a flyer from 20 years ago for a Jerry Turner (active local show promoter at the time) produced Hip Hop On The Green down by Jack London Square at Estuary Park in Oakland with an impressive and ambitious lineup of acts - that did not all run according to plan if memory serves me right. Scroll down to see more 90's Hip Hop On The Green flyers.  Immediately right is a ticket stub from the first time I went to check out the Egyptian Lover and Uncle Jamm's Army  (the LA turntable army (who were really hot at the time - especially the Egyptian Lover, whose single "Egypt Egypt"/"What is A DJ If He Can't Scratch" ruled at the time) -- when they came north to the Bay Area to do a show at the cavernous Richmond Auditorium. Rap shows, especially large scale ones, were still a relatively new phenomenon in the Bay Area in '84. It would still be a couple of years before the Fresh Fest (Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Fat Boys, etc) happened and rolled through Oakland (and that was a totally exciting new experience, to check out a large scale hip-hop festival with all of these major acts in the one place!). But in the few years before '84 I only remember going to the very, very occasional rap show, such as Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five at the Berkeley Square, which was in '82 I believe, But I do clearly remember some very vocally disgruntled club goers at the long defunct University Ave venue complaining that they had forked over their money but there was no band -- just a DJ and bunch of rappers on mics (early days in the music deemed a "fad").

Uncle Jamm's Army would return to the East Bay within a month that summer of '84 when they performed withRun DMC at the Oakland Convention Center (see flyer left and note its very basic layout -- this was in the pre-photoshop days). Also note the low ticket price of only $6.50 for each show.  The other Bay Area rap concert fliers below include one or two that actually never happened-- like the 1994 Music People / In-A-Minute showcase, scheduled during the annual music convention that always attracted a lot of hip-hop acts from all over the country, the Gavin Seminar in San Francisco. That show fell through at the last minute due to the club not being able to get insurance (a common problem with rap shows then and now).

* Note that both the flyer below and ticket stub above made the (common) mistake of incorrectly spelling Uncle Jamm's Army with one "m" as in "Uncle Jam's Army" -- something that was repeatedly done throughout their career and even beyond. Even the Priority Records Electro Funk compilation, released in 1996, misspelled their name.

                                    Above and below are back and front of same flyer


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Billy Jam (40), Hip-hop History (63), Hip-hop History Tuesdays (43), West Coast Rap History (3), West Coast Rap (8), Hip-hop History Amoeblog (33), Hip Hop (94), Rap (134), Bay Area Rap (13)