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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: July 1991 Radio Rap Chart Top 40 Proves The Golden Era Was No Joke

Posted by Billyjam, August 18, 2015 09:26pm | Post a Comment


With just a quick glance over the forty records included in the rap/hip-hop chart, courtesy of the defunct Gavin Report radio trade magazine from the week of July 5th 1991, it's evident that this period in the still growing urban music genre was a truly incredible time in hip-hop history with so many soon-to-be classics being recorded and released! These include singles and album tracks, all very popular to this day 24 years later, from such legendary, influential hip-hop acts as De La Soul, Gang Starr, KMD (featuring a young MF Doom), Leaders of The New School, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, EPMD, Main Source, and Brand Nubian. Also included are such hip-hop legends as Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, Ice TRodney O & Joe Cooley, Naughty By Nature, 3rd Bass, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Ice Cube protege/female rapper Yo-Yo and the late great NJ producer/rapper Tony D to name but some.

The beginning of the 90's time period that this chart fell under was the second half of hip-hop's much lauded golden era which, I assume due to it being so revered by so many (especially longtime, aging hip-hop fans like myself), has encountered a little bit of backlash in recent times by younger contemporary DJs with hip-hop club night flyers boasting "no golden era" in their formats. While I am admittedly biased, having gotten and since treasured all  I these records back when they were being released, near all of the music on this chart is golden to my ears and would make an incredible mix-tape.  Further upon listening to these tracks charted I believe that, even more so than earlier hip-hop periods such as the mid-80's or late 90's, that the hip-hop from this period has had a greater musical influence to this day.

Not seen in the chart graphic above are the pre-chart or "bubbling under" new releases/hot picks of the week. These included the "most added" three singles that would show on the following week's chart; Black Sheep's "Flavor of The Month" on Mercury Records, Organized Konfusion's "Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken" on the short-lived, but once adventurous Hollywood Basic label that came under media giant Disney, and 2 Kings In A Cipher's Afro-centric themed "Definition of a King" on Bahia Records through RCA. Meanwhile the "Top Tip" of the week was 2Awk's "Psychotic" via Effect/Luke Records of which the Gavin Report's rap editor Brian Alan Samson wrote, "The comical prelude to Psychotic has created a gradual buzz among twenty-four Gavin Rap stations." Even more notable, from a historical context, was that week's "Record To Watch" pick which was from an artist who within two years would go under a major image/style makeover.  It was then Tommy Boy act Prince Rakeem's "Ooh, I Love You Rakeem" single which Samson praised for its "humorous cuts." Fast forward in hip-hop history by just a couple of years and a name/image change, plus a new label and new group membership, and this then non-significant rap artist would have morphed into non other than the Wu-Tang Clan's prominent production and mic talent RZA.

In the July 1991 chart's number one slot for its second straight week on this 1991 hip-hop top forty chart was De La Soul's May 14th, 1991 album release De La Soul Is Dead from which radio DJs' most popular tracks to spin included "Bitties in the BK Lounge," "Afro Connections at a Hi 5 (In the Eyes of the Hoodlum),"   "A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays (feat. Q-Tip and Vinia Mojica)," and "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)"  - the latter two of which were singles with "Ring" song being so popular at the time (a zillion years ago in terms of tech advances) that many people used it for their outgoing voicemail messages on their answering machines.

Other acts with multiple album tracks charting included Chubb Rock (from his album The One), Main Source's Breaking Atoms on Wild Pitch that included a very young (Nasty) Nas, still active-and-relevant Bay Area political rapper Paris (from his debut album The Devil Made Me Do It) and Gang Starr.  That famous duo, comprised of DJ Premier and the late great GURU, album Step In The Arena was released five months previously but was still getting heavy airplay with such tracks as "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?," "Form of Intellect," "Check the Technique," "Lovesick," and the duo's pitch perfect "Just to Get a Rep." 

So good a track is Gang Starr's "Just to Get a Rep" that I just had to post the video for it. See it below along with other corresponding videos to songs from this same chart that include "Partytime" by Fifth Platoon (the Queens NY rap crew - not to be confused with the later turntablist crew 5th Platoon), Public Enemy member Terminator X's "Homey Don't Play Dat" (inspired by a character in the then hella popular TV comedy series In Living Color), and (ahead of his time artist) Justin Warfield's  "Season of The Vic." Also below are such timeless tracks as Brand Nubian's cocaine cautionary tale "Slow Down," the late MC Breed's (with the DFC) "Ain't No Future In Yo Frontin," and (friend of Amoeba) DJ Quik's 1991 hit single "Jus Lyke Compton."





Gang Starr "Just To Get A Rep"



De La Soul "Ring Ring Ring (UK Remix)"



Brand Nubian "Slow Down"



DJ Quik "Jus Lyke Compton"



Terminator X "Homey Don't Play Dat"



Justin Warfield "Season of the Vic"

Relevant Tags

De La Soul #1 (1), Gang Starr (17), Paris (23), Hip-hop Chart 1991 (1), Hip-hop History (63), Hip-hop History Amoeblog (33), Gang Starr (17), Paris Rapper (1), De La Soul Is Dead (1)