In the early 1970s a musical phenomenon was being born on the streets of the Bronx, America and when the song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang hit the radios the world finally got a taste of what we now know as hip-hop. While the names Jay Z and Eminem may be synonymous with hip-hop to many of you, the name Clive Campbell may be somewhat unfamiliar yet it is Clive Campbell, a Jamaican born DJ, who has been credited as the father of hip-hop. For me, hip hop and rap is my guilty pleasure so I have put together a play list of some of my all time favourites..
Naughty by Nature are a hip-hop trio from New Jersey that have been around since the mid 80’s. Their first album released was called Independent Leaders under their original name New Style. They were taken under the wings of Queen Latifa shortly after this release and changed their name. They have been famed for producing and releasing credible tracks into a pop market whilst maintaining their hip-hop reputation and credibility. I was lucky enough to see these guys last year at Southport Weekender and after over 30 years in the business they still knew how to bring the house down!
3 Feet High and Rising was the first De La Soul album I bought and from then on I was hooked. By the time of their 1989 debut album release the band was being hailed as the ‘future of hip-hop’. Their music is fun, colourful, energetic, eclectic and filled with ‘goofy humour’. Unfortunately as we moved into the 90’s they were sidelined by the edgier sound of gangsta rap.This track was one of the first singles released from their second album, De La Soul is dead and while it didn’t do well in the UK charts it is still one of my all time favourites.
One of the most famous hip-hop tracks ever produced, Rapper’s Delight became a multi-platinum seller in the late 70s, however the gang became one of many ‘one hit wonders’ and nothing more came of them.
Grandmaster Flash has become of the most iconic pioneers of hip-hop DJ’ing and mixing and in 2007 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame becoming the first hip hop artist to ever be honoured.
Grandmaster began playing at parties in the Bronx where he developed a serious of techniques including ‘cutting’ and ‘back spinning’ laying the groundwork for thousands of DJ’s to follow in his footsteps.
Boy do the Ladies Love Cool J. He released his first hit when he was 17 years old and developed a style which would encompass rap with lovers rap! Unfortunately his music career didn’t take off quite as well as his TV career when gangsta rap hit the streets but nevertheless his rap ballads are still a hit with the ladies.
A tragic end to a young life and a symbol of what was happening on the streets in urban America. Famed at times for his antics on the streets as he was for his music. When he was shot and murdered in 1996 he left a legacy that was based not just on his music but on his lifestyle as well.
She is one of the most prolific female rap artists to date. Collaborating many times with her producer Timbaland she has produced hit after hit of gritty entertaining sounds. Her debut album in 1997, Supa Dupa Fly, was hailed revolutionary in its electronica bump ’n’ grind and gave her the highest debut album for any female rapper at the time.
Ice Cube was the first member of the rap group N.W.A to leave and soon established himself as one of the most famous hip hop artists. His tracks as a solo artist are both political and controversial and while over the years his rap influence has declined his overall status has never wavered.
Along with Public Enemy, N.W.A are one of the most notorious groups in hip-hop with their violent and sexist gangsta rap. Celebrating the violence and hedonism within criminality they even received a caution from the FBI. After Ice Cube left in late 1989 the groups popularity rose with a change in sound that began to influence white suburban teenagers who became their core audience. In 1992 the group split after Dr Dre left to pursue a lucrative solo career