Amoeblog

Interview with Hip-Hop Pioneer Love Bug Starski: Bronx Born MC/DJ Who Coined The Phrase "Hip-Hop"

Posted by Billyjam, June 7, 2017 10:51pm | Post a Comment

Along with DJ Kool Herc (the widely recognized godfather of hip-hop music/culture) and other oft referenced early pioneers of the Bronx born art form of hip-hop such as Coke La Rock, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, and Grand Wizzard Theodore is Love Bug Starksi. The DJ/MC born Kevin Smith is a legendary figure: one of hip-hop's first generation of core contributors. As such he is among the elite genre pioneers who helped shape the Bronx born urban culture from its 1970's beginnings.  Synonymous with the legendary, influential South Bronx hip-hop club Disco Fever, that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, and its spinoff label Fever Records for whom he recorded such classics as "You Gotta Believe" and "Starski Live At The Disco Fever," years before then he contributed something even greater to the genre of hip-hop.  Love Bug Starski created the very term "hip-hop" which he worked into his early rap freestyles in the 1970's. It was years before there were rap records, and back when hip-hop was still a street phenomenon limited to the NYC borough of The Bronx.  A music lover from childhood, Note that while Cowboy from the Furious Five has also been credited with creating the term by some, Starski insists that is bull. Starski's career began when, as a preteen, he first became a record boy at the beginning of the '70's. From there his career took off back during the seminal years of hip-hop in the then rundown New York City borough of The Bronx. Now living in Las Vegas, where he DJs, the Amoeblog caught up with the artist by phone to talk on both his own personal history and that of hip-hop.

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Posse Cuts From 1988 - 1994: When All In The Same Gang & United In Song, Rappers Crafted Some of Hip-Hop History's Greatest Music

Posted by Billyjam, April 30, 2017 01:25pm | Post a Comment


Hip-hop music, an urban form once dismissed as a musical novelty or passing fad, has consistently proven its critics wrong by steadily growing into the most influential, dominant global form of popular music and culture. But despite those advances, the once close-knit musical genre lacks the uniform vision it once commanded.  I refer to that sense of unity among all hip-hop artists displayed back in the "golden era" of the late 80's to early 90's. For proof you need look no further than the bevy of posse cuts recorded back then, and outlined below. Yes in the passing decades since that era, the Bronx founded reactionary form of music and culture would exponentially expand into an unstoppable, sprawling cultural force on a global level. But while today's hip-hop may be the pop music de jour for most,  as well as having mutated into a zillion sub-genres and breakaway categories, hip-hop as a genre is way more disjointed and separated than ever before. Hence I take a return to that posse cut era when hip-hop artists of all backgrounds would unite in song/video and often craft some of hip-hop history's best music.

"Posse" cut was the phenomenon where large collectives of rappers linked by crew, region, or, most often, by a common cause (EG anti-violence), all would get together to record a massive joint effort. Posse cuts were most popular circa '88 to '94 coinciding with the years of hip-hop's much lauded golden era.  Multiple emcee, pass-the-mic styled hip-hop songs, posse cuts date back to hip-hop's formative years with many of them freestyle sessions dating back the 1970's up to the start of the 1980's in Bronx during the early years of hip-hop.  Of these many were not even recorded but luckily some were such as Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force's "Zulu Nation Throwdown." But It wasn't until the later 1980's when the posse cut came into its own. Below are the videos of seven of some of the best posse cuts from that six-year span beginning in '88. Each are timeless, classic hip-hop recordings. And with so many contributing artists, they are a comprehensive history lesson in hip-hop of that era.

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Amoeblog Interview With Author Jeff Chang on his Timely New Book "We Gon' Be Alright: Notes On Race and Resegregation"

Posted by Billyjam, September 20, 2016 03:18pm | Post a Comment


The publication of provocative, powerful, prolific, pioneering hip-hop generation author/scholar Jeff Chang's latest book We Gon' Be Alright: Notes On Race and Resegregation is most timely. The book by the author of the award winning hip-hop history book Can't Stop, Won't Stop arrives at a time in America when race clearly matters, and when unfair and unlawful treatment by police against African Americans appears to way beyond out of control.  Just last week in the days since the book's publication (paperback & audiobook read by author) there were two more shocking shootings of black American males by police: 13 year old Tyre King in Columbus Ohio, and 40 year old unarmed Terrence Cruthcer in Tulsa,OK last Friday. The latter, whose police video footage was just released this week, is the most shocking and disturbing of the two because of the footage. In it you see an unarmed, complying black man stopped on freeway by a row of armed cops, been shot down dead in the street. The video footage at every angle includes even an aerial shot from the police chopper above in which one cop is recorded on the police radio for all others to hear just moments before the killing, in a glaring example of racial profiling, that the unarmed victim "looks like a bad dude."
 
Last week Chang began a hectic cross-country tour in support of his new publication. The book tour is a series of readings plus interviews and lively discussions at universities (including Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and University of Chicago) and varied literary venues across the country.  At many of these readings the widely respected author of  the acclaimed Can't Stop, Won't Stop is joined by a series of scholars, social observers, and fellow hop-hop generation journalists. Scroll down to see listing of book tour dates. "Linking #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism and exploring "the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity”, the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing" while arguing that "resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity" is the activist author's apt summary of his latest book.  This week the Amoeblog caught up with the author from on the road to ask him about his book, the book tour, the social ramifications of his books' subjects and the hip-hop music that best expresses outrage on these topics.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy and X-Clan's Role As Part of NYC's Revolutionary Rap Soundtrack of Unrest of 1989/1990

Posted by Billyjam, March 8, 2016 11:50pm | Post a Comment

In 1989 Public Enemy's raw rebellious rap anthem "Fight The Power" reigned supreme. An across the board hit, it was the theme driving the soundtrack of Spike Lee's classic movie Do The Right Thing. Public Enemy performing live and the striking imagery of an emotionally charged political rally set the tone for the accompanying music video. Spike Lee directed the music video, which included clips from his film Do The Right Thing. Perfect and perfectly complimentary, the Brooklyn set video captured both PE and Spike Lee at their respective creative peaks. Each used their art to reflect life in a pitch-perfect way. 

Meanwhile, in real life Brooklyn of 1989, thousands of agitated protesters took to the Brooklyn Bridge. The September protest that upset traffic and authorities ended in riot cops going against protesters. "A mile-long protest march against racism and the recent killing of a black youth…a predominantly black crowd of 7,500 demonstrators breached the police lines in an attempt to cross the bridge and carry the protest into Manhattan," reported the New York Times on this "Day Of Outrage" protest. Led in part by the late X-Clan member Professor X under his Blackwatch political organization, the protest was designed to bring the city to a halt and bring attention to injustices. As well as protesting the August 23rd murder of 16-year-old Bensonhurst resident Yusef Hawkins by a gang of white youths, the protest was also about the August 22nd slaying of Huey P. Newton. The shooting of the 47-year-old former Black Panther leader occurred in Oakland, CA. Hawkins was shot and killed near his home by a bat-wielding white mob who believed he was dating a local white girl.

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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.

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