Amoeblog

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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Brian Coleman's Bay Area Book Tour In Support of "Check The Technique Volume 2"

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2014 01:22pm | Post a Comment
Respected longtime music journalist/hip-hop fanatic Brian Coleman will be in the Bay Area this week to promote his brand new book Check the Technique Volume 2 (Wax Facts) that picks up where the 2007 published first volume and its 2005 predecessor left off with "more liner notes for hip-hop junkies" as the engaging, information packed 526 page new book accurately promises on its cover.

Spanning 25 chapters with over 80 interviews and tons of accompanying images Coleman has meticulously presented the back story of 25 albums and 325 hip-hop songs (some eighties but mostly nineties) with the artists, producers, plus some label execs associated with them weighing in on these recordings. The end result is a page turner packed with  insights and answers to questions you might have had, or had not thought you wondered about until reading this enlightening book.

The chapters include The Coup Steal This Album, Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop, Dr. Octagon Dr. Octagonecologyst, Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted & Kill At Will, Masta Ace Incorporated SlaughtaHouse, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo Wanted: Dead Or Alive, ED O.G & Da Bulldogs Life Of A Kid In The Ghetto, Jeru The Damaja The Sun Rises In The East, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, and KMD Black Bastards. Meanwhile the accompanying artist interviews include ones with such hip-hop acts as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ice Cube, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Mantronix, MF Doom, and Company Flow.

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Interview with Paul Edwards About His New Book How To Rap: The Art And Science Of The Hip-Hop MC

Posted by Billyjam, April 1, 2010 09:21am | Post a Comment
How To Rap Paul Edwards
Chicago Review Press
' recently published How To Rap: The Art And Science Of The Hip-Hop MC is author Paul Edwards' exhaustively in-depth study of what exactly goes into the writing and execution of hip-hop rhymes or raps. For this comprehensive guide to rap making, the hip-hop fanatic author, who holds a master's degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from the University of London, went directly to the source, to the experts themselves. Edwards interviewed over a hundred different well known emcees, posing questions on literally every angle of what goes into crafting their lyrical art. E40, Chuck D, Masta Ace, Immortal Technique, Schoolly D, Big Daddy Kane, and Kool G Rap (who also penned the 340 page book's foreward) are among those who fully respond to questions on topics ranging from lyrical content and flow to writing style & structure, rap delivery (including breath control), collaborating, and ghost-writing.

Edwards also set up a corresponding website with related information to the book, such as a breakdown of songs referenced in its pages. How to Rap, which should appeal to the die hard rap fan as much as to the aspiring rapper, is laid out in an easily digestible form and offers some good insights. Even someone who thought they knew everything about hip-hop and its creation will learn something new, no doubt. The "science" part of the book's approach includes illustrated 'flow diagrams' for rappers. This week I caught up with the author, who currently resides in Dubai, to ask him about his new book and the art of MC'ing.

Amoeblog:  What gave you the idea to write this book?

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Hip-Hop History: 1991 Rap Radio, When Ice Cube, Main Source, LL Cool J, Gang Starr & Digital Underground Ruled Hip-Hop's Airwaves

Posted by Billyjam, March 23, 2010 10:59pm | Post a Comment

Back in early 1991, as witnessed by the various top ten hip-hop radio charts below from that period, the popular hip-hop of the day was a pretty darn diverse selection of the genre, especially in comparison to what counts for popular hip-hop today. Although the period technically fell under hip-hop's so-called "golden age," as typified by such chart entries below as Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest and Main Source, there were many other specific rap flavors also represented. These many different styles sharing the spotlight back then included feminist rap (Yo-Yo's "Dope Femininity" -- the B-Side of "Stompin To The 90s" -- is on the charts as well as tracks by female rappers Nasty and Monie Love), uplifting, feel good party rap (Digital Underground's "Same Song" featuring 2Pac), traditional battle rap (LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"), weed themed rap (Cypress Hill, who had a head start on the "blunt era" of hip-hop by a good 18 months with this pre-album release version), new jack swing (Father MC), socially conscious rap that pushed for change and equality (Kool G Rap's "Erase Racism" and the Human Education Against Lies -- aka H.E.A.L. project), as well as the more intense Afro-centric or hardcore political rap (Paris, X-Clan, Intelligent Hoodlum, King Sun, Consolidated), and of course gangsta rap (NWA) and player rap (Too $hort). Meanwhile, Ice Cube's incredible December 1990 released EP Kill At Will, featuring such tracks as "Dead Homiez" and "Jackin for Beats," transcended one individual style, and instead melded political with hardcore and gangsta.

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