Amoeblog

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...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: DJ Flash & Captain Rapp Look Back and Discuss New "Westcoastin"

Posted by Billyjam, November 5, 2013 07:51am | Post a Comment
Lee Johnson, aka West Coast hip-hop pioneer DJ Flash who began his illustrious rap career back in the early 80's, has recently returned from retirement along with his old school 80's rap partner Captain Rapp and gotten back into music with a new label and a brand new release that recently arrived in Amoeba (in store) for sale. The new album Westcoastin features Ronnie Hudson with a slew of legendary West Coast rappers including Snoop Dogg, E-40, and Too $hort is a sort of reprise of Hudson's 80's hit "West Coast Poppin" - one that he incidentally reissued back in the early 90's when he compiled the West Coast Rap history compilation series. "A year and a half ago I asked Ronnie Hudson if he would like to re-create his 1982 Classic "West Coast Poplock" aka "California Knows How To Party" that Ronnie wrote it in the 80's the one that Dre and Pac re-did it in the 90's," Flash told me recently. The new record which began as a vague idea of reworking a West Coast classic evolved into all the original guys Ronnie Hudson, Mikel Hooks, Captain Rapp, and DJ Flash getting back together and then recruiting Zapp Troutman, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, E40, Rappin 4Tay, and Celly Cel and some others to make the original song even better  via various mixes include several re-mixes: house, dub-step, electro, and G-funk (featuring Battlecat and Richie Rich) - plus record some other new material. Below is text of a recent conversation with Flash about the new project plus, immediately below, is part of a recent video interview I conducted with both Flash and Rapp talking about their history and the history of West Coast Rap itself.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Los Angeles Rap/Hip-Hop, The First Decade (Pt. II)

Posted by Billyjam, October 15, 2013 05:20pm | Post a Comment












Continuing from last week's hip-hop history installment, in which I went back to the formative years of the early to mid and latter 1980's in LA rap/hip-hop, I pick up with more listings of  1980's rap releases - all of which were 12" singles since the full length rap album was not yet so common. Hence why when, in the early 90's, West Coast rap pioneer DJ Flash went back and compiled and licensed many of these singles he did the world a favor. That was for his West Coast Rap history CD compilation series that I was involved in at a research and writing of liner notes capacity. This month I caught up with DJ Flash, who recently re-teamed up with another old school West Coast rap pioneer pal of his Captain Rapp, to executive produce a new album with Ronnie Hudson - maker of the 1982 funk classic "West Coast Poplock" that got repopularized in 1995 when it was sampled for the rap hit "California Love" by 2Pacfeat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman. Entitled WestCoastin' that brand new album, that is available on CD at Amoeba Hollywood, is essentially an update of that influential hit of Hudson's (three different mixes included) with lots more on the new album that features a slew of old school guest producers and rappers adding their talents including Snoop Dogg, Too $hort, E-40, Rappin' 4 Tay, Celly Cel, Zapp Troutman, Battlecat, and Richie Rich. Check for the in-depth interview with Flash on this new project later this week here on the Amoeblog. Meantime back to the old school 80's LA rap records that Flash compiled for his West Coast Rap compilation series for Excello/Rhino.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Los Angeles Rap/Hip-Hop, The First Decade (Pt. I)

Posted by Billyjam, October 8, 2013 10:14am | Post a Comment
Back at the time of their release, hip-hop's earliest major hit records by New York City rappers the Sugarhill Gang (“Rapper’s Delight”  in 1979) and Kurtis Blow (“The Breaks” in 1980) were considered novelty records by some with the genre itself similarly dismissed by many as merely a passing fad in music. But at the same time those records were taken seriously by both fans of this new genre and aspiring rappers across the land including out on the West Coast where the seeds were being sown for what, over the following decades, would blossom into today's vibrant, prolific, and diverse West Coast hip-hop scene.  This new wave of pioneering rappers up and down the Left coast, from Seattle to Oakland, to Los Angeles, were instantly bitten by the rap bug and inspired to get busy recording their own interpretation of this New York City born  urban youth music (and culture) that, like punk rock, offered an accessible DIY approach. You didn't need to know how to play an instrument or how to sing. All you needed was records and a mic to DJ and MC respectively. Similarly all you needed was a spray can to do graffiti, or a strip of cardboard to break (dance) on.

The first wave of West Coast rappers  drew influence from what they had heard out of the East Coast: adapting its style but infusing their own flavor. As a fan/collector of West Coast hip-hop from its inception and also as a part of the compilation series - West Coast  Rap Volumes 1,2,& 3 compilation series of 80's rap on Excello/Rhino that was produced by D.J. Flash and released in the early 90's with research and interviews and liner notes done by me - I became familiar with a lot of this great early West Coast rap (note that the music was called "rap" more than "hip-hop" back then). So for this Hip Hop History Tuesday installment I am going to retrace that first decade in Los Angeles rap that began at the beginning of the 1980's. This is part one of the two-parter on the first decade of LA rap. Next week's second half will include more history of 1980's LA rap artists/releases plus an interview, conducted recently, with both DJ Flash and fellow West Coast hip-hop pioneer Captain Rapp.

Continue reading...