Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy's Chuck D on Politics, Hip-Hop & more - from a November 1992 Perspective

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2013 07:07am | Post a Comment

For this week's Hip-Hop History Amoeblog, I take it back to 21 years ago to early November of 1992 when I caught up with Chuck D of Public Enemy (PE) to chat with him on the state of politics. Since that interview (which I just uncovered again this past week) was never archived anywhere, I decided to share it here because its content is pretty engaging from a historical point of view. I also assembled a series of Public Enemy videos from their six-year career up to that point.  November 1992 was a time when the politically charged hip-hop crew was still riding high in popularity and public consciousness.

Tragically, even hip-hop heads don't realize that PE are still together as a group these days, touring, recording, and making meaningful statements. But back then, everyone knew and intently listened to what the group, -- whose previous year's album Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black, was still selling briskly and whose compilation of remixes and new tracks, Greatest Misses, had just been released seven weeks earlier -- had to say. Of course things would soon shift on the popular hip-hop landscape since, just a month later in mid December of 1992, former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre would release a game-changing album - The Chronic with the Snoop Doggy Dogg featured lead single "Nuthin' But A G Thang" - that would be highly instrumental in helping push popular rap away from the political arena and towards the gangsta/G-Funk/mob style of rap as the predominant force in popular hip-hop.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: July 1981, ABC's 20/20 Brings Rap To The Masses

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2013 03:36pm | Post a Comment

20/20 Report Hip-Hop Special (1981) - Part 1

Above and below are the two parts of the very first network TV news program report on rap/hip-hop: an entertaining episode of ABC's 20/20 from July, 1981. While Yo! MTV Raps is routinely (and rightfully) credited for speeding up the popularity of rap/hip-hop by bringing the inner-city, Bronx NY born culture and musical form directly into the living rooms of middle America and exposing many non-urban kids to rap for the first time, it came along a lot later than this. The MTV weekly two hour rap music video show, hosted by Fab 5 Freddy, Ed Lover and Doctor Dre, did not begin airing until the summer of 1988 and hence was by no means the original introduction of rap music to mainstream America. That honor/distinction goes to ABC's 20/20 investigative journalism/news magazine program, that even predates MTV's very existance (well by one month), which was the very first national/network TV news show to do an in-depth spotlight on hip-hop or "rap" music, as it was still generally referred to back then, for a national audience.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Roots of Oakland Rap and The Birth of Bay Area Hip-Hop in the 1980s

Posted by Billyjam, November 26, 2013 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Motorcycle Mike
Today's richly vibrant, prolific, and diverse Bay Area hip-hop  scene, with thousands of artists currently making a broad range of styles, humbly began in Oakland 32 years ago back in 1981. It was early in that year when the very first Oakland rap release (also the very first known Bay Area rap release) dropped: Motorcycle Mike's single "Super Rat." The record arrived in a time when hip-hop or rap music was still considered an East Coast/New York artform that, for some odd (elitist?) reason, could not hail from the West Coast. This belief was challenged with releases like releases like Motorcyle Mike's debut 12" rap single. That record by the artist, who was also known as Motorcycle Mike Dappa, was entitled "Super Rat" and was produced by Gerald Robinson and released on the tiny indie Hodisk Records -- the label run by Nicky Moore that also relToo $hort Don't Stop Rappineased the Numonics.  Born Phil Lewis and influenced by Bootsy Collins as much as the Sugarhill Gang,  Motorcycle Mike was, not surprisingly, a motorbike fanatic. Pro-Black in its message, "Super Rat" featured the early Oakland rapper drawing an analogy between the then much talked about Norwegian "super rats," who could not be killed by poison but instead got stronger, and the underdog black man in Oakland and other American urban areas who could not be kept down. Motorcycle Mike's original Oakland rap record was followed up later that same year from the East Bay city by the 12" single “Tally Ho!” on Walker Star Records from Steve Walker - an artist who would re-emerged some years later to record under the name Biscuit.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Bay Area Hip-Hop Shows 1984 - 1996

Posted by Billyjam, November 12, 2013 01:13pm | Post a Comment
          

For this Hip Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog the focus is on some select Bay Area hip hop/rap concerts from two and three decades (80's/90's) ago and their corresponding advertisement flyers - a time before social networking and free access by all to the Internet. Covering the years from 1984 to 1996, these are a selection of show fliers such as the one left from September 1989 when LA crossover rap artist Young MC was at his prime as were the Bay Area rap acts who opened for him including APG Crew at the long gone, once very active, club spot in North Oakland the Omni  ("the Bay Area's largest showcase nightclub" on Shattuck at 48th near Telegraph).

In addition to APG Crew, who were voted hottest local/Bay Area act of that same year of 1989, other acts on this bill included East Bay act Step G with M.C. Sirgeo, and two Bay Area acts that would go on to national acclaim: producer/political rapper Paris thanks to signing with (and later getting dropped over political controversy) with Tommy Boy Records and East Bay hip-hop crew Capital Tax who in the following few years would go from being on the small indie local T-Cap Productions to being signed to MCA Records.   Another time within about a year of that show, Too $hort headlined at the Omni -- doing his typical no-frills, straight up rap concert. (This was a time when another Oakland rapper, MC Hammer's stage shows were huge choreographed events -- Too $hort was the proud antitheses of that.)

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Halloween Week 2013: E-Lit, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic), Casual vs Eminem, Wolf Haley

Posted by Billyjam, November 1, 2013 09:09am | Post a Comment
       


Hip-Hop Top Five Amoeba Music Berkeley Week End Nov 1st, 2013


1) Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic)  Bend But Don't Break (Weightless Recordings)

2) Quelle Chris  Ghost At The Finish Line (Mello Music/Fat Beats)

3) Jon Wayne Rap Album One (Stones Throw)

4) Ohmega Watts Pieces of a Dream (Mellow Orange)

5) Jel Late Pass (Anticon)

Above is the latest Amoeba hip-hop top five chart plus video of Amoeba Berkeley's E-Lit in costume recorded last night (Halloween) before the store closed early for the holiday. As E-Lit noted the new Jon Wayne Rap Album One (as distinct from his instrumental output) is just out on Stones Throw Records and is available on vinyl too. Other new vinyl releases include LA based longtime Detroit hip-hop ambassador House Shoes who just released the two record set "based around J-Dilla" House Shoes Presents the King Jam Version: Chapter One Verses One - Four. Ohmega Watts, whose last albums were on Ubiquity, have just released Pieces of a Dream on Mellow Orange.  The number one album is the return of Greenhouse - Blueprint and Illogic's Bend But Don't Break featuring tracks such as "Microwave America" below. 

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