BB! Presents: Rap Music History #11

Lesson #11:

Afrika Bambaataa
“Planet Rock” (5.7MB)

There would probably be no hip-hop as we know it without Afrika Bambaataa. That’s all I have time to say about this artist. It’s more of that electro sound that got me hooked on hip-hop in the first place.


(The following disclaimer, stolen by me from Zombie and by him from Bob Mould, slightly modified to my purposes, will be standard for the BB! Presents: Rap Music History series unless otherwise stated.)

MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: one week from the day of posting. Through this series, I’m trying to educate, share my passion for good music, and promote that good music to others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.

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BB! Presents: Rap Music History #11

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #10

Lesson #10:

Digital Underground
“The Dflo Shuttle” (4.8MB)

You know Digital Underground as a one-hit wonder. “Humpty Dance,” right? (You probably know “Freaks of the Industry,” too.) And if you picked up that first album, Sex Packets back in ’89/’90 and you knew your music history you might have said to yourself, “These guys sure love Parliament/Funkadelic.” Yet you still might have written DU off as a one-hit wonder. I did. Until I saw their second album, Sons of the P, and on a whim picked it up. I more or less wore that tape out. The music was even funkier than Sex Packets and just as tight. Now folks sometimes do a double take when I tell them that DU (Shock G, in particular) is one of the unsung genuises of rap music. And it’s too bad that more rap fans haven’t followed DU’s career because aside from a weak third album, The Body Hat Syndrome, all their releases post-Sex Packets have been innovatively funky, silly and enjoyable. DU was also one of the earliest artists to get a sample cleared by Prince. Why? Prince dug what Shock G was doing. Plain and simple. In ’96, DU released their 4th album, Future Rhythm, which contains my favorite DU song, “We Got More”. It’s too recent a release to make it to BB! Presents: Rap Music History, but I encourage you to check it out. If you’ve seen the Wayans’ film Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice In the Hood, you’ve heard this most funkdifried of songs.

I had the pleasure of seeing Digital Underground perform a live show back in…’98. On stage, they had 3 or 4 coolers full of free drinks for the audience. Unfortunately, it was an all-ages show so the club shut down that idea. No matter. They were funky as I expected and Shock played piano and Money B rocked the joint and I’m telling you…Digital Underground is sumpin’ else.

p.s. Keep an ear open for 2Pac while you listen to “The Dflo Shuttle”.


(The following disclaimer, stolen by me from Zombie and by him from Bob Mould, slightly modified to my purposes, will be standard for the BB! Presents: Rap Music History series unless otherwise stated.)

MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: one week from the day of posting. Through this series, I’m trying to educate, share my passion for good music, and promote that good music to others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #10

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #9

Lesson #9:

Public Enemy
“Louder Than A Bomb” (3.48MB)

I had no trouble this week determining which rappers I wanted you to hear. Public Enemy used to be one of the tightest groups in the game. I keep hoping that Chuck, Flav and Terminator pull it together for an amazing comeback, but that hasn’t happened yet.
I did have trouble deciding which album to pull a track from and which particular track. PE made so many great damned songs, rap anthems, thinking rap anthems, critical thinking rap anthems. They were the original militant rap crew and sadly, no one has yet taken up that legacy to run with it. PE will be in the music hall of fame someday – they were that important and their first four albums still sound fresh to me. So here’s how I got turned onto Public Enemy:

7th grade English class, Dennis Agabao sitting one row to my left and a chair behind me. Dennis is talking to some girls about this new tape he got by some group called Public Enemy. He’s showing them the tape and I turn around and ask if I can see it. Chuck D and Flavor Flav sitting behind bars. Right on. I hand the tape back and go back to whatever I was doing. I hear Dennis start talking about how he’s been smoking pot. Now I know this is bullshit. He’s showing off for the girls. Then he calls up to me, “J, you be smoking that shit with me, right?” I turn around and give him my look of death and doom (this is a really heartless stare I developed to ward off bullies by making them think I was insane). “I don’t smoke that shit,” I said. Then, and this is the brilliant part, Dennis laughs and says, “I don’t be smoking that shit, either. I was just playing.” The girls giggle and Dennis shoots me his own look of death and doom. Later that day, I find out he wants to beat me up for dissing him. Dissing him? I didn’t tell the girls he was lying. So, for a few days or so I avoided his path and told all our mutual friends that I didn’t want to fight him over something like that. In the end, I avoided getting pummeled for making this dude feel guilty that he lied about smoking pot. Before all this I thought Dennis was an OK guy, but I never really trusted him again. I did, however, manage to get a copy of his Public Enemy tape, and that has made all the difference.

I have lots of PE stories, from Jesse Wedick saying, “How low can you go?” in a deep baritone that echoed throughout the halls of Willow Springs High School to writing out the lyrics to “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” on a notebook and making all my friends read them while admonishing them to get educated. I was warped, but I loved me some Public Enemy (and still do).


Comments

Nice story…sounded like you went to Chipman middle School in Alameda. I knew a guy named Dennis Agabao.

Posted by: dbabhc  at June 20, 2005 11:31 AM

that’s the one! he really was a good guy to me (and i to him) before and after that one week where he wanted to beat me down.

did you go to chipman?

Posted by: jdoublep  at June 21, 2005 08:58 AM

(The following disclaimer, stolen by me from Zombie and by him from Bob Mould, slightly modified to my purposes, will be standard for the BB! Presents: Rap Music History series unless otherwise stated.)

MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: one week from the day of posting. Through this series, I’m trying to educate, share my passion for good music, and promote that good music to others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #9

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #8

Lesson #8:

Boogie Down Productions (I can’t believe I had to go to VH1 for a BDP website. Where TF are the fan sites?!)
“Why Is That?” (2.75MB)

The summer before I moved from CA to MO Boogie Down Productions released their album, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop. The music didn’t make its way to my ears until the following summer. Thus was my introduction to conscious rap. I’d listened to plenty of Public Enemy prior to hearing BDP but for whatever reason, PE’s message didn’t become clear to me until hearing Kris Parker’s (KRS-One’s) raps. The more obvious explanation was that I was listening to PE when I was 12 and 13…and first heard BDP when I was 14 going on 15. Boogie Down Productions quickly joined the ranks of my favorite rap acts. I picked up their earlier albums, Criminal Minded and By All Means Necessary. I learned the tragic backstory of their DJ, Scott LaRock, who was murdered shortly after the release of their first album – an early rap casualty. And I went on to seek out as much conscious rap as I could get my hands on: Poor Righteous Teachers, X-Clan, Brand Nubian, etc. – yeah, some parents worry there kids will become skinheads…here I am at 14 getting musical lessons on the 5% Nation of Islam – not that 5%ers are akin to skinheads but you my point).

What it boiled down to though is that KRS taught me to appreciate a blend of entertainment and education (appropriately enough, the BDP album after Ghetto Music was titled Edutainment). But more importantly, KRS got me thinking about history and its warped ways. I listened over and over to “Why Is That?” looking up in my family bible the quotes he references and then going to the library to look into the history of religions and religious movements.

It’s safe to say that BDP’s music had an extraordinarily positive impact on my way of thinking and approaching the world. For that, Kris Parker, I say “Good show.”


(The following disclaimer, stolen by me from Zombie and by him from Bob Mould, slightly modified to my purposes, will be standard for the BB! Presents: Rap Music History series unless otherwise stated.)

MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: one week from the day of posting. Through this series, I’m trying to educate, share my passion for good music, and promote that good music to others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #8