I just found this station on iTunes radio tonight. It’s called radio Classic Hip-Hop – The sounds of hip-hop, roots and it’s evolution from the streets of the Bronx in the 70′s to the pre-gangsta rap of the early 90′s.
Do any of you remember “Roxanne’s Revenge” by Roxanne Shante? Damn!! 96 bars of pure dissin’. Battle rhymin’. Man, I remember listening to this when I was kid. All I could ever remember is the little hook at the end “Roxanne’s Revenge” uh boom boom bap… boom boomboom bap… uh uh “Roxanne’s Revenge”. I seriously never knew she busted out that many bars at once. It’s truly inspiring.
That’s the thing about old school hip-hop though. Remember when Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five (“The Message”) would bust rhymes or the old King of Rock (“You Talk Too Much”) album from Run DMC? It was the funniest (still is) to listen to, because they go on and on talking about this guy who “talks too much”. Yet, they go on and on themselves, with these never-ending verses. I love it!! Those guys would just flow for how ever many bars it took to get their ideas out. There was never a set number like you hear in a lot of the mainstream rap music today. True classics. It was almost like they were freestylin’ in the studio about something they just had to get off their chest and it made it to the final mix of the album. Think of those songs like the Newcleus classic “Jam On It”. These days a rap song clocking seven minutes would never last, but back then it did.
I think the reason long verses, long songs, repetitive beats and DJ’s scratching a simple phrase endlessly, worked so well back then was because of the whole hip-hop culture and what was going on around the music. You had poppers and lockers, break-dancers, graffiti artists, block parties… things that begged for the night not to end. I speak a lot of what I know about this from the movie Beat Street and the little bit I got to learn and partake in during the early 80′s growing up in Los Angeles, CA. I was a breaker and loved tagging (with markers not paint) wherever I could. I long for the fun and intimacy the culture brought with it during that time.
For me, the stuff coming out of the west coast underground is kind of bringing it all back. I want to leave you with one of my favorite artists of the last couple years. They call him The Grouch. He dropped this video from his latest album on my birthday. To me that’s a sign about what my life is all about and who I am today. The song has a real message, not like the shit you hear on the mainstream radio. Bringing back the fun and the intelligent content is what it’s all about. Check this out now!!