Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: With Help from World's Famous Supreme Team & Others, Malcolm McLaren Created A Hip-Hop Classic

Posted by Billyjam, March 18, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment


A true sign of any album qualifying as a classic in its respective genre is when, even 31 years after its initial malcolm mclarenrelease, it still packs the same punch it did upon first listen. Such is most definitely the case with Malcolm McLaren's hip-hop and world music 43:36 minute classic album Duck Rock that was originally released in January 1983 on Island Records in the US and on Charisma in the UK. Presenting divergent styles of music from round the globe, most notably hip-hop and African and all interspersed with NYC hip-hop radio show snippets from the World's Famous Supreme Team radio show,  Duck Rock featured such timeless hits as "Buffalo Gals" and "Double Dutch." And while British impresario Malcolm McLaren, who was perhaps best known then and now as the former manager of the Sex Pistols, is credited as the album's creator or main artist, that was not technically the case. The maverick McLaren was really more of a hands-on executive producer with a knack for unearthing new trends long before they broke and repackaging them for public consumption. And for this intuitive gift McLaren, who died four years ago, has been praised for discovering new artists/genres while alternately been criticized for exploitation. McLaren has also (rightfully) been accused of routinely giving himself more much credit than he may have deserved. In the case of Duck Rock he is listed as the artist on the record while there are numerous artists on there - with McLaren, who sings and kind of raps throughout Duck Rock (like when he does the talkover in "Double Dutch"), being just one contributing artist. McLaren is also credited as "producer" along with (post Buggles / pre The Art of Noise) Trevor Horn who actually did the majority of the music production; perfectly melding together divergent styles and sounds that included South American, Caribbean, and down home Americana roots. Thomas Dolby was also a musical contributor.

The overall results of Duck Rock were undeniably awesome, and the real stars of the record  were the many many vocalists and instrumentalists whose talents McLaren tapped and didn't always give full or fair credit to  (EG Africa's Mahlathini and The Mahotella Queens). The breakout stars were NYC's World's Famous Supreme Team whose roughly edited radio show excerpts, including its call-in segments, was sampled and mixed throughout the album ("Do ya scratchin'? What is it") effortlessly melded this whole concept album together.  And it was specifically the single for "Buffalo Gals" (see video below) that would become instrumental in helping further spread hip-hop - a music and culture still in its early days back in '83. worldwide. And while the album with the famous cover art (Keith Haring's illustration plus design graffiti great DONDI with Nick Egan) could as easily be filed under "world music" it will forever remain a hip-hop classic.


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Hip-hop History Tuesdays (44), Hip-hop History (63), Hip-hop History Amoeblog (33), Billy Jam (40), Hip Hop (94), Rap (134), 1983 Hip-hop (2), World's Famous Supreme Team (1), Malcolm Mclaren (4), Duck Rock (1)