Classic Hip Hop
Rap has come a long way, a very long way since its phenomenal explosion in the 70s. Rap has branched off in to many different sub-categories. Because Hip Hop now has so many different genres, I’m just going to make it easy for myself and just put them all here. That includes disco rap, bubblegum rap, alternative, etc. Enjoy the memories here!
Song: Put It On Me
Artist: Ja Rule
Album: Rule 3:36 (2000)
Genre: Hip Hop
Ok, I didn’t intend on blogging today, but I was trying to figure out who was I gonna write about for my next article. I hadn’t written about a rap artist in a really long time, but I also informed my readers I wasn’t really a rap fan either (relatively speaking). I got to thinking about Ja Rule. Let me start of by saying, I definitely wasn’t attracted to his voice as a rapper. I looked at him and would never think he’d possess that kind of voice. His voice just seemed out of place for the rap genre. Again, I don’t claim to be a rap blogger extraordinaire; nor have I ever declared myself as some sort of “rap oracle.” It’s difficult to find a whole lot of rap I really liked after about 1980s. I’ve met many people who are heavy in to rap and hip hop who feel the same way I do.
Just On His Beats Alone, He Should Be At Least Considered One Of Many Rap GOATs!
Now, let’s be honest. If you were to hear Ja Rule rap with no music, you’d probably say, nahhhhhhh. Next!!!!! But, somehow the background music produced really worked with his voice, it just seemed to change everything. I don’t know if he produced all his music, but he pumped out a lot of sick hits he should be acknowledged for. If I’m not mistaken, “Rule 3:36” was his second album. The first song off this album I thought was cool was, “Put It On Me.” I don’t think it was one of his finest beats, but I liked it, despite him sounding a little like a thousand year old revived caveman trying to court a lady. You know what? I also liked “It’s Your Life,” featuring Shade Sheist. It had a slight reggae bit that was cool.
I really started liking his music about a year after. I really like “Mesmerize” featuring Ashanti. Also I liked “Always On Time,” still featuring her. I didn’t think I would like the songs so much, since I cannot stand Ashanti! Sorry, I never thought she had a talented voice. I never heard a solo album by her I could tolerate. I’d rather listen to a whinny lama before I listen to her solo music. Oh, man!! I almost forgot! My favorite Ja Rule song was “Holla Holla (1999),” I believe this was from his first self titled album “Ja Rule.” Do you guys remember a soundtrack project Ja Rule did along with Nate Dogg for Mariah Carey’s bombed movie “Glitter (2001)?” The song was called “If We.” It was one of the very few things good that came from that movie. Actually, the soundtrack was the only good thing about that movie.
Are People Even Into His Music Anymore?!
You know, I don’t remember the details, but I was partly listening to some radio show, that was discussing how Ja Rule was invited to some kind of benefit/function (something or another). And Ja Rule got up on stage and yelled “Are you Ready for some 90s music!” One of the radio host said it was almost dead silence! I think this was the video they were referring to. I really didn’t understand that. Ja made some good crowed jumping beats! Did he say something the audience didn’t like? No way the audience should’ve treated him like that. I don’t think Ja is one of those washed up rappers. I feel he’s very talented. Give him the credit he deserves!
Song: Seven Minutes Of Funk
Artist: The Whole Darn Family
Please forgive me. I don’t mean to annoy my readers by beating that same dead horse. But, this group is an example of why we can’t allow our music history to fade away! It’s such a disgrace that I could only find little information, or sometimes no information at all on these forgotten artist & bands that helped to change history. I am so darn pissed yo!! Black folk need to start blogging! For real.
You May Not Know, But You Know.
Well, despite the fact that I can’t find virtually squat on this treasured forgotten group called “The Whole Damn Family (which is a hilarious name for a group),” luckily, I have some sort of recollection from my childhood. Although, I have absolutely no idea where their song “Seven Minutes Of Funk,” fell on the billboard charts, I was old enough to know that almost every single young Black home was playing this beat. This groups was as funky as you could get back in the day!
This song came out when a was about 9 years old. My little feet used to groove to this song to almost every barbecue party I ever been to! Despite the huge popularity, to be honest I didn’t think that most of my elders like this beat. There still existed major generation gaps even back then too. Perhaps the music was so unique and different, my then elders didn’t quite know how to dance to it? Unless you’re a lover of funk music, I’m gonna boldly assume that most of my readers don’t remember this group. However, you do know their music.
The First Cover Release.
How am I sure you know their music? Because If I’m correct, the first rap group to sample their music was Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, with their hit “Superappin’ (1979).” GFTFF’s sample rap version was played all over the place, every corner you walked in the hood, they were playing “Superappin’.” Next sample was done by EMPD in their rap called “It’s My Thing (1987).” I have to be honest, I think this is my most favorite rap out of all the samples done! Lastly, Jay-Z sampled this in his rap “Ain’t No Nigga (1996).” Now, we’ve got 3 different major artists that sampled the band’s music; yet, I can’t seem to find any trace of any of these on the Billboard’s chart! And nothing really written about the band on the net. Now, either google (or perhaps Billboard) has a conspiracy to bury certain Black music history, or the Black community has simply allowed it to be wiped out of our memories. Shame on you guys!! 😠
Album: Jam On Revenge (1983)
Genre: Hip Hop
Let me ask you guys something? How many of you lovers of old school freestyle/hip hop remember a group called “Newcleus.” I would bet not many (at least today’s generation who claim to know old school hip hop). Although Newcleus only had about 2 major hits, their unique sound put them on the same rank (in terms of popularity) as groups like the Sugar Hill Gang, and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five.
Artists Back In The Day, Experimented With A Lot Of “Space Age Sounds.”
“Jam On Revenge,” represents the kind of fun music I always write about. The old mainstream hip hop artists loved to experiment with all kinds of sounds, that produced some of the most memorable raps in hip hop (in my generation). It is a stark contrast to what we hear today. I never owned the album, but I did purchase the 12 inch version. It has about 5 remixes on it. That’s the other good thing I missed about the 80s. Once a song becomes a huge hit, you’d also find single albums with several remixes that were only played on certain radio stations. Those became rare out-of-print collections.
There was so many remixes to this song it wasn’t funny. However, I believe this “Jam On It,” is the original hit. Now, this song only peaked at #56 in the Top 100 Chart in 1984. However, it peaked at #9 on the R&B Chart. Some how I feel that this song should ranked much higher than that. For you young guys reading my blog, while this song may perhaps sound corny to you, this was massively popular in the Black community. I remember a show called “Video Music Box,” that was hosted by a guy named Ralph McDaniels. I believe he was the executive producer of the show. I found an interview put together by VladTV. Very interesting you should watch it. Anyway, I remember Video Music Box playing this song a lot. At the time, Video Music Box was not only the hottest show, it was the first and only show promoting Hip Hop.
Song: We Got Our Own Thang
Artist: Heavy D. & The Boyz
Album: Big Tyme (1989)
Genre: Hip Hop
Yes.. I think even the biggest classic music fans has forgotten about Heavy D. & The Boyz. And I definitely have not heard their music on classic radio stations! Sad part is, they were one of the very few hip hop artists that produced music that appealed to a wider audience. A lot of people loved and admired this groups. In addition to my favorite “We Got Our Own Thang,” you should also check out my other favorites. ” Now That We’ve Found Love (1991),” and “Somebody For Me (1989).” Such a shame we lost Heavy D. so early in his career. Not only was he talented lyrically, he also could dance his ass off. Not many “overweight lovers” could dance the way he did.Free Shipping at Emerica.com on Orders Over £90
This was very difficult for me to put together, because as I looked through my collection, the song list kept piling up. However, I was strict on myself, and narrowed them down to only six songs. In my opinion, my six picks are most likely considered obscure in the hip hop world. I’m pretty sure anyone under 20 years of age hasn’t heard any of them, or most of them. These are what I consider some of the best rap songs I heard growing up. Of course there are more, but for the purpose of keeping things simple, I chose these six extremely rare songs. Enjoy.
A once, Gangsta’s Paradise! I had absolutely no intentions on writing about rap today; but I indirectly found photos of Coolio and said to myself, “damn! What the hell happen to you!! Holy cow!!! Oh, hell…. Let’s talk about it! Coolio has gone from an almost “king of rap” status, to becoming a hasbin in the span of only a single decade. Coolio is one of those cases that gives me many mixed feelings about rap in general. But, the truth of the matter is, the whole subject around the genre is very complex, because there are many elements that surround it; as there are many opinions that go along with them (both in support, and against).
Coolio hasn’t had a major hit since “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from the movie soundtrack “Dangerous Minds (1995),” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. By he way, Dangerous Minds was an incredible movie in my opinion. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I do remember enjoying it very much. Michelle did a hell of a good job; way more than I gave her credit for in the beginning. Not only did Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise hit number 1, it stayed number one for 3 consecutive weeks! That was very impressive. This rap title was very unique, in that it’s one of the very few compositions that captures the raw emotion of being young and out in the streets. I also think the movie helped to bring further context to Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.
Now, once I started to see photos like this emerge on the internet, I knew Coolio has finally lost his last mind. A once Grammy Award winning artist, has not only been in jail multiple times, but has had more run-ins with police than most people can change clothes in a day. And you know what else? Like father like son! I found an article from NY Daily News, that says that Coolio and his son was actually in the same prison. Discovering Coolio’s website was also somewhat of a shocker. Coolio’s World, is a decent looking website. However, it also screams “I’m trying desperately to keep my old rap career alive.” Which would explain why Coolio insist on keeping those damn few strands of braids. He most likely feels it’s the only way people would remember him. Another sign that Coolio is not doing well, on his website he as a section called “Cooking With Coolio.” This man is just screaming for attention. A stark contrast from the Coolio we once knew.
You know, it’s a beautiful thing as a blogger, to have literally thousands and thousands of great artists on the lists to write about!! Today, I’d like to switch gears a little bit. Violins and hip hop? How many of my readers knew such a genre called “classical hip hop” even existed? I’d like to bring to your attention, a genre within hip hop that appears to be almost ignored. Partly because I feel it’s not mainstream enough, which is a shame ’cause it would certainly add a completely new layer of diversity in regards to hip hop.
A Phenomenal Group, Black Violin
I’d like to introduce my readers to a phenomenal group, Black Violin! I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long while now. They are an extremely talented duo, that happens to be both African American, and both are classically trained violinists. Wilner Baptiste & Kevin Sylvester are from Florida, and I believe they started their group somewhere around 2003. Now, certainly Black Violin was not the first to use classical hip hip in their music. However, they are the first hip hop group I’ve ever seen that can actually not only play the violin, but are phenomenal lyricists, and creatively incorporated those skills in to their string sounds, giving us a whole new level to hip hop.
Their cultural background speaks loudly in their work! There’s so much clean quality in their music, oppose to that same ol’ repetitive gangster shit that are burned in to the minds of the young on a daily basis. Their first CD is the one I fell in love with. However, it’s extremely hard to get. I suspect something went down between them and their label. I did manage to discover it on SoundCloud. There are a couple of nice remixes of some old classics on that album. One of the pieces I really liked from that first album is “Jammin’.” Sort of reminds me of the rapper Juvenile a little bit. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it. Also, check out “Dirty Orchestra,” which is also on the first album.
Now, there are a number of songs I do like that are available for streaming. One piece that I think is real hot is called “A-Flat,” from their 2012 album called “Classically Trained.” It’s a damn shame this didn’t even register on the billboard. Another one that I think is hot is a piece called “Stereotypes,” from their 2015 album “Stereotypes.” This piece only registered at #146 on the billboard. Most young people are not ready for this kind of music; or perhaps their just not looking for it. Despite not hitting #1 on the charts, they’ve worked with some powerful people in the music business, which includes Fat Joe & the Wu-Tang Clan. Check out their Black Violin’s website.
Oh, my freakin’ goodness! I just can’t get over the fact that it’s already been about 27 years since this album came out!!! Holy crap!!! TLC played such a positive role for young Black girls back in the day. And now, as much as people claim to love hip hop; TLC is not even spoken of within my age group. Back in the day, we’ve literally watched these three amazingly talented young Teenagers grow in to three beautiful and creative young women. “Baby, Baby, Baby (1992)” has got to be one of my top TLC favorites!
In Many Ways, They Reminded Me Of Salt & Pepa
In many ways, when I used to see them perform on TV, they reminded me very much of the legendary rap group Salt & Pepa; who despite using a lot of sex in their art, were still a positive influence on young up and coming female rappers. TLC worked hard to create their own look, and their own brand. One of the major things about TLC I really loved, was the fact that they not only rapped, they could actually sing! They harmonized so beautifully together. If there was ever a time they couldn’t make it rap; I definitely think they would have had success in the R&B genre.
In 2002, songwriter, singer/rapper Left Eye, aka Lisa Lopez, was killed in a tragic car accident, while visiting family. When Left Eye died, it was a major blow to the hip hop community. I don’t remember anyone receiving the level of love Left Eye got since Aaliyah’s death just the year before. You know, I couldn’t help but to notice that, TLC had a lot of #1s, yet a documentary was produced for Left Eye in 2007; however the group itself did not get a documentary until Universal Studios recently produced one in 2018. If you’re a TLC fan, you can watch the documentary on Netflix streaming. Now just for the record, I do know they have a docudrama produced in 2013 called Crazy sexy Cool, but that’s not the same as an actual documentary.
TLC Sported 4 Number Ones, And 9 Top Tens
TLC sported 4 number ones, and 9 top ten hits. That’s pretty darn impressive for an all female group, at a time where female rappers were not taken seriously (still). Although TLC were one of many groups that cracked open the stereotypes, young male rappers still dominated that era. In addition to Baby, Baby, Baby; some of my other favorites are all 4 of their number ones, which includes “Water Falls,” Unpretty,” “Creep,” and “Scrubs.” I also like “Diggin’ On You.” Check out Spotify’s awesome TLC Playlist.