Where would Hip Hop be without a DJ? Nowhere, as Hip Hop music was founded on a pair of turntables. The music evolved from turntables. In the beginning it was with two records which weren’t even Hip Hop. This was before it existed. DJ Kool Herc used two of the same funk records and juggled the break over and over again. Later Hip Hop evolved into a mixture of samples, drum machines and sometimes live instruments. But it all started with a DJ.
Here is a DJ who took it to a whole new level. DJ Q-Bert. In this video you will see him scratching with one turntable and no mixer. Usually the DJ uses the mixer to cut the sound on and off, but here Q-bert uses one hand and no mixer to make music.
There have been MC’s who had a nice flow, style or sound and there have been emcee’s who wrote interesting lyrics. Few MC’s can do both. Here’s one that’s been around since ’86. He is still performing and rocking as raw as ever. His name is KRS-ONE.
He’s a mentor of mine. Someone who left home in his early teens and lived on the streets for years while honing his craft. He never graduated high school, but now aside from MC’ing he is an associate professor and lectures at Berkley, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, you name it. If anybody can be defined as Hip Hop it is him. And according to him we are not doing Hip Hop we are Hip Hop.
Also known as B-Boys and B-Girls. Breakers form of expression is through the body. There are different styles of breaking like for example, popping and locking. Here is a video by a couple of lads from Denmark who have added their own twist to breaking. While it may not seem immediately obvious to some that this is Hip Hop. It’s just Hip Hop in a different costume.
My first memory of Hip Hop was from around 1987 or so. And that was a vague memory of the Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill”. By 1989 I was hooked, and some of my earliest tapes were:
De La Soul, “3 Feet High and Rising”
Special Ed, “Youngest in Charge”
3rd Bass, “The Cactus Album”
Even before Hip Hop I was a big fan of the group INXS and my favorite song was called, “Guns in the Sky”. And that beat and that sound was what I loved and in retrospect it sounded a lot like Hip Hop.
Anyways here are four reasons why I love Hip Hop. They are also the four main elements of Hip Hop.
Graffiti can be skribbles on the wall or notes on the bathroom wall. It’s been around since the cave man. And often it isn’t very attractive or wanted, however sometimes it’s amazing and who doesn’t read the notes in the bathroom stall?
Check out what these guys can do with spray paint.
My first memory of the Beastie Boys involves Nerf basketball. It was around 1987 and I remember playing an intense game of Nerf basketball with my brother in our bedroom while listening to this new tape that he got from our cousin. That tape was License to Ill by the Beastie Boys.
That was shortly after Licensed to Ill came out. I think that album was one of the best Hip Hop albums of all time. One of those timeless pieces with some of the illest production that still sounds fresh to this day. I still enjoy that album. Anyways this is a bit late as MCA passed away 2+ months ago, but this is a bedroom mix that I did in honor of MCA and the Beasties Boys. It also includes some Pete Rock instrumentals.