Friday, December 28, 2012

Sugar Hill to Compton

When we returned from England in 1981, I discovered Prince through some of the older guys on the basketball team. This led me to the local R&B station in Detroit, WJLB, which, in addition to funk, had the Sugar Hill Gang's Apache and The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, in heavy rotation. These were soon followed by, among others, Run DMC and the Def Jam records family, and my love for hip hop was born. I loved the rhymes, the boasting, the beats, and everything about the culture.

1984-87 was a bit of a gap for me, as no-one at U of T liked that music and there was no radio station playing it. At Notre Dame, MTV's Yo MTV Raps helped to fill in some of the gaps, and introduced me to the Native Tongues Family, most notably De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, whose erudite rhymes and adventurous sampling ushered in another new era for the genre.

In the period of 1990-95, I finally bought a cd player and began to put together a collection, a practice made easier by the appearance of lots of "old school" compilations. Hip Hop is a format dominated by singles and many of the now classic songs appear on hastily assembled bad albums. It was also the heyday of West Coast rap and the various feuds were played out on the Video Jukebox Network, a 900 number service that allowed you to select a video from their library and put into the station's queue for play on their cable channel. My collection was later enhanced by the magic of peer-to-peer file sharing and the Internet, and my knowledge was similarly augmented by the rise of podcasting.

All of this led me to put together a compilation for my 21 year-old niece as part of our Secret Santa exchange last Sunday. I tried to organize it roughly chronologically, along the following lines: Old School; Def Jam/New York; Native Tongues; Early 90s; Gangsta. There aren't too many deep cuts or obscure numbers, but if you wanted to introduce someone to the rise of rap and its cultural high points from the beginning up until 1995, this, I think, would do the job pretty decently:

Sugar Hill to Compton: The Ancient History of Hip Hop, According to Big D
The Sugar Hill Gang,Rapper's Delight
The Sugar Hill Gang, Apache
Afrika Bambaataa And Soul Sonic Force, Renegades Of Funk
Afrika Bambaataa, Zulu Nation Throwdown
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Superappin
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, The Message
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, New York, New York
Kurtis Blow, The Breaks
Kurtis Blow, Christmas Rappin'
Kurtis Blow. Basketball
Slick Rick, Children's Story
Newcleus, Jam on It
Egyptian Lover. Egypt, Egypt--Egyptian Lover
King Tee, Payback's A Mutha
U.T.F.O, Roxanne Roxanne
Chubb Rock, Treat 'Em Right
MC Breed, Ain't No Future In Yo' Frontin'
Lady B, To the beat y'all
Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three, Request Line
Funky Four Plus One, That's the Joint
Run-D.M.C., King Of Rock
Run-D.M.C., Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1)
Run-D.M.C., It's Tricky
Fat Boys, Fat Boys
The Beastie Boys, No Sleep Till Brooklyn
The Beastie Boys, Shake Your Rump
LL Cool J, I Can't Live Without My Radio
LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
3rd Bass, Wordz Of Wizdom
Biz Markie, Turn Tha Party Out
MC Lyte, Cold Rock A Party (Bad Boy Remix)
Eric B. & Rakim, Paid In Full
EPMD, I`m Housing
Rob Base, It Takes Two
Roxaanne Shante, Have A Nice Day
Pete Rock & CL Smooth, They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y)
Big Daddy Kane, Warm It Up, Kane
Heavy D & The Boyz, Don't Curse
Kid 'N Play, Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody
De La Soul, Eye Know
De La Soul, Me Myself And I
De La Soul, A Roller Skating Jam Named ''Saturdays''
Jungle Brothers, Feelin' Alright
Jungle Brothers, Doin' Our Own Dang
A Tribe Called Quest, Check The Rhime
A Tribe Called Quest, Electric Relaxation
A Tribe Called Quest, Can I Kick It?
Brand Nubian, All For One
Black Sheep, The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)
Black Sheep, Flavor Of The Month
Monie Love, Monie In The Middle
Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Dr. Bombay
Digital Underground, Doowutchyalike
KMD, Nitty Gritty (Remix)
The Pharcyde, Ya Mama
Arrested Development, People Everyday
Stetsasonic, Talkin' All That Jazz
Guru, Loungin'
The Fugees, Nappy Head
Naughty By Nature, O.P.P.
Queen Latifah, Latifah's Had It Up To Here
Public Enemy, Fight The Power
95 South, Whoot, There It Is
Duice, Dazzey Duks
The Beastie Boys, Root Down
Coolio, Fantastic Voyage
Us3, Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)
Wreckx-N-Effect, Rump Shaker
Tag Team, Whoomp There It Is
Young MC, Bust A Move
Outkast, Rosa Parks
Das EFX, They Want EFX
Patra, Queen Of The Pack
Salt-n-Pepa, Shoop
M.C. Luscious, Boom! I Got Your Boyfriend
Digable Planets, Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
Naughty By Nature, Hang Out And Hustle
George Clinton, Bop Gun (One Nation)
N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton
N.W.A., Fuck Tha Police
N.W.A., Express Yourself
Dr. Dre, Nuthin' But A "G" Thang
Eazy-E, Real Muthaphuckkin G's
Eazy-E, We Want Eazy
Snoop Dogg, Gin And Juice
Cypress Hill, Insane In The Brain
Too $hort, Money In The Ghetto
Ice-T, New Jack Hustler
The Notorious B.I.G., Big Poppa
The Notorious B.I.G., Juicy
2Pac, California Love
2Pac, Changes

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