Hip hop? roots go all the way back to the 1970's, when three different styles came together. First there were the Funk and Spoken word groups and artists like The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron. Then you had DJ's like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, and Kool Herc. Finally there was "toasting" or "rapping,"a vocal style popular in Jamaican Reggae clubs and dance halls. All of these elements came together in New York around the time when punk rock was fading away and people were looking for something new in the underground. And that is how hip hop was born.
Hip hop as a genre continued to grow and evolve over the years. And in the late 1980's there seemed to be an explosion of amazing and talentedgroups like De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Ultramagnetic MCs, Boogie Down Productions, NWA, Digital Underground and others. None of these groups sounded anything like each other, yet their music was brilliant. Some of the best albums to come out of the 1980's were by hip hop musicians.
But in the mid 1990's hip hop started to stagnate. There were still some great groups out there, but they were not getting very much recognition. Instead, groups and musicians with less talent started selling a lot of records. These musicians were known more for getting into trouble and acting like gangsters than making good music. Rappers like Tupac Shakur, Notorious BIG, Master P, and far too many others were ruining the credibility of hip hop as an important music genre. At the same time, groups with real talent were pushed underground. But it's like I always say, if you want the best music, you have look at what's under the surface. So many times, the most popular groups are the least interesting. However,this article is not about trashing what is bad, but celebrating what is good. And there are so many great hip hop groups and musicians out now that there is no way I can talk about them all. So I'll talk about three.
First up there is Madlib (real name Otis Jackson Jr.). Madlibbegan his career as a DJ in California. Soon he became a producer and worked on a lot of albums by other musicians. After that,he was applying his talent to his own records. So far he has released over twenty albums under various aliases. All of his records sound very different from each other, but they all sound like Madlib. His music is influenced by old movies, a love for jazz and old R&B records. And his lyrics are very relaxed and sometimes humorous.
Next there's MF Doom (real name Daniel Dumile). Doom took his name from the villain from old Fantastic Four comic books (Dr. Doom) and his lyrics are strongly influenced by old Sci-Fi movies, cartoons, and comic books. Like Madlib, Doom has released many albums under different names, most notably King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn. All of them are greatand worth finding. His best album to date is Madvillainy, his 2004 collaboration with Madlib under the name Madvillain.
Finally I have to mention The Roots. The Roots are probably my all-time favorite Hip Hop group. And they are a traditional group with each member playing an instrument.
The Roots blend many different influences into their music like funk, punk, jazz, rock, and soul. They began working together way back in 1987 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Theyreleased their first album in 1993. So far The Roots have
released seven albums a nd their eighth is coming out at the end of this month. If you're
interested in checking them out, then I recommend either their 2002 album Phrenology, or their 2006 album Game Theory.
The Golden Age of hip hop may be long gone, but there are still so many groups out there and they're all worth checking out. If you want to know more or if you just want to talk music, then you can find me in the International Lounge every Thursday at 11am or my office in 원효관. Until next time.
David Faust email@example.com