Category: Old School Hip-Hop

Throwback: Black History Month: KRS-One/Boogie Down Productions

Today is February 25 2021. It’s the 25th day of Black History Month. And as I’ve mentioned throughout this series, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles — with the hopes that it’ll be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

KRS One is one of the greatest living emcees to ever do it. And one can make a fair argument that without him, we wouldn’t have Mos Def/Yasiin Bey, Common and a lengthy list of others, who are equally dope may not be who they are right now. He also still does a great live show.

Throwback: RIP Prince Markie Dee

As a child of the 80s, I grew up listening to — and of course, admiring — the acts that helped hip-hop achieve mainstream success domestically and internationally. I was a huge Run DMC and LL Cool J fan. (Queens in the building after all, right?) Sadly though, you don’t hear a lot about The Fat Boys. But they were instrumental in hip-hop’s ascendance and global dominance: they were in the preeminent hip-hop movie of its time, Krush Groove 1987’s Crushin’ went Platinum while three others went at least Gold — and they were the first hip-hop act to actually star in their own movie, Disordelies. And they were fun. Watching the videos now, I’m reminded of a New York that I can’t get back.

I actually saw Disorderlies in the movie theater. Admittedly, it’s not a classic of cinema but I’m not sure where hip-hop would be without its release. When I heard the news that Prince Markie Dee died, it was heartbreaking. It’s a sign of aging — and of your own mortality — when your childhood favorites and heroes begin to die.

Thanks for the music Prince Markie Dee. Rest in beats.

Throwback: Black History Month: Run DMC

February 18, 2021 is the 18th day of Black History Month. The month has been rushing by — but throughout this past month, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styes. Hopefully, this may be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

Run DMC was among a batch of hip hop acts to have crossover/mainstream appeal in the 80s. And as a child of the 80s, who was born and raised in Queens, it was easy to be proud of them: they grew up in Hollis, where my father grew up — and in those brothers, I could see myself, unlike say, Metallica or Tears for Fears.

When I was small, I begged my folks for a pair of Adidas, because my heroes wore them. So my folks went to Modell’s and bought me a pair. Sadly, they fell apart in a few weeks and I was heartbroken.

We have to give love to the pioneers, who helped made hip-hop the global phenomenon it is today.

Throwback: Happy Black History Month: Dr. Dre/Happy 56th Birthday Dr. Dre!

February 18, 2021 is the 18th day of Black History Month. The month has been rushing by — but throughout this past month, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styes. Hopefully, this may be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

Coincidentally, today is Dr. Dre’s 56th birthday. Born Andre Young, the Compton-born Dr. Dre has been a wildly successful emcee, producer, record label executive and entrepreneur. Generations have been influenced by and loved his music as a member of NWA and as a solo artist — and he’s been instrumental in introducing the world to some of our most beloved artists, including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and countless others.

Happy birthday. Dr. Dre! May there be many, many more.

Throwback: Black History Month: A Tribe Called Quest

Time has been flying by: Today is February 14. It’s Valentine’s Day and the 14th day of Black History Month. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been proudly featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles with the hopes that these artists can guide you towards further understanding of the Black experience.

As the month goes on, I hope that you’ll be reminded of these urgently important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

There are few acts in hip-hop that are as unique, inventive and beloved as A Tribe Called Quest. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, you’ve probably awkwardly slow-danced to “Bonita Applebaum” at the school dance or at your prom. You also probably know every single verse of The Low End Theory, too.

Throwback: Black History Month: Public Enemy

Amazingly, the month has managed to fly by: Today is February 13, the 13th day of Black History Month. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been proudly featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles with the hopes that these artists can guide you towards further understanding of the Black experience.

As the month goes on, I hope that you’ll be reminded of these urgently important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

As a child of the 80s, I loved Public Enemy. Once of the first albums I bought was Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black on cassette tape from a Nobody Beats the Wiz on Queens Blvd. in Rego Park. And I played that tape to death — and then some. Seeing those brothers be bold and defiantly black while speaking truth to power was — and always will be — something for me.

Throwback: Black History Month: LL Cool J

Today is the seventh day of Black History Month. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few days of this month, you’d see that I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience.

Through the month — and throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to understand and appreciate the following:

Black culture is American culture
Black music is American music.
Black history is American history.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
You can’t love black art and black artists without loving black people.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

LL Cool J may arguably be one of hip-hop’s most commercially and critically successful artists. And if you’re a child of the 80s and 90s like me, you’ve listen to a lot of LL in your life — and you’ve probably owned at least one copy of Mama Said Knock You Out.