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January 10, 2011 9:43 AM   Subscribe

The Onion AV on the hip hop revolutions that weren't.
posted by Artw (162 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
No Goats? For shame! (etc...)
posted by Jofus at 9:54 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


No love for the hip-hop elements of grebo either...
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I own way too many recordings by a number of these artists. I even have the Judgement Night soundtrack.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:57 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everyone has the Judgement Night soundtrack. Nobody has actually seen Judgement Night.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on January 10, 2011 [25 favorites]



If I only had a Brain was on Beavis and Butthead, and, well, I still hum that "bum bum bum duh da duh bum" sometimes, much to the irritation of my wife. Comedy gold.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:01 AM on January 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


No love for Horrorcore? Shame.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Artw: "Everyone has the Judgement Night soundtrack. Nobody has actually seen Judgement Night"

They made a movie out of that album?
posted by brundlefly at 10:02 AM on January 10, 2011 [15 favorites]


Last night I saw Vanilla Ice ice skating.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM on January 10, 2011


This makes me sad.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 10:04 AM on January 10, 2011


Hahaha PM Dawn oh goodness.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeah man, I was just thinking about PM Damn the other day. Good old dead ends.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:06 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone has the Judgement Night soundtrack. Nobody has actually seen Judgement Night.

I am one of four people who saw and actually really enjoyed Judgement Night. Dennis Miller is an asshole, so portraying a murderous asshole wasn't that big a stretch for him.
posted by orville sash at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2011


I now listen to Buck65 (Rich Terfry to his mom) do the drive home show on CBC Radio 2 of all places.

He's actually pretty good, but the music is nothing like he made.
posted by sauril at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2011


Memory Bliss is still an amazing song, and you can still play it on most dancefloors and get a big reaction.
posted by empath at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm only human.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:10 AM on January 10, 2011


'doh I'm only human.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:11 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]




Memory Bliss is still an amazing song, and you can still play it on most dancefloors and get a big reaction.


That ain't Hip Hop it's elevator music. Where's the DOC!?
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:11 AM on January 10, 2011


> Last night I saw Vanilla Ice ice skating.

Even though Vanilla Ice was ultimately exposed for the joke that he was, he really isn't in the same category as those mentioned on this list. His breakout single (and only track I can recall offhand without resorting to the googles) was a solid example of the prevailing formula: strong recognizable hook on top of a thumping bassline, and a poseur strutting about in goofy clothes and hurling machismo at you. Take his whiteness out of the equation and you have something mostly indistinguishable from most other popular hip hop of the time. The "artists" mentioned on this list where tweaking the formula in their own ways, exploring a more groovier conceit, and branding themselves as innovators.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


A bit more like "15 rap albums that were HUGE at the time but then kind of just blew over." I like the AVClub, but this seemed pretty tepid, to me. Now Papoose, there is a rap revolution that didn't happen.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:13 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Two questions about PM Dawn:

1. De La Soul is great. But you can draw a direct line to PM Dawn from 3 Feet High. How much of their awesomeness does that cancel out?

2. The famous KRS-One stage ejection happened at a hip-hop event sponsored by MTV. Why, then, is there apparently no extant footage of this? By extant I mean, of course, immediately available via the You Tubes.
posted by norm at 10:14 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Memory Bliss is still an amazing song, and you can still play it on most dancefloors and get a big reaction.

Velveeta also sees strong sales year in and year out, but it's still some god-awful cheese remnant vomit.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:14 AM on January 10, 2011


Message to the AVClub: You may not know this, but Onyx is heavyweight and STILL undisputed. (So pls take your disputes elsewhere. Thx. --Onyx)

I picked up Me Phi Me's album in the village for 99 cents last year, and it was worth every penny. If for nothing else that the fact that I can now hold it up as the canonical pronunciation of "MeFi" according to mathowie (see podcast #mumblemumble).

I wouldn't count individual acts as revolutions. I mean, PM Dawn and A.D. kinda fell under the DAISY Age as far as movements/revolutions go. I also feel like a lot of these artists have more influence than the article credits them with. MC 900ft. Jesus is to me a proto-nerdcore rapper.
posted by Eideteker at 10:17 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pretty weird hyperbole from the AV Club. These are hardly "revolutions": the theme seems to be more about how fringe hip hop acts were crushed by the sales dominance of the gangsta. This post is made even stranger with a PE reference for a title... surely we can't be debating whether or not Chuck D & Co. changed the game?

On preview, it's like paisley henosis said.
posted by Chichibio at 10:18 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am one of four people who saw and actually really enjoyed Judgement Night. Dennis Miller is an asshole, so portraying a murderous asshole wasn't that big a stretch for him.

I saw Judgement Night, in the movie theater even. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Dennis Miller makes no appearance whatsoever in that movie.
posted by hippybear at 10:21 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think they meant Dennis Leary.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:25 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, please. While Leary certainly has unsavory traits, he's not even in the same hemisphere of assholedome as Miller.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 AM on January 10, 2011


WHERE IS MY DENNIS MILLER VILLAIN MOVIE??? fuck your hoverboard we need this right now
posted by Eideteker at 10:27 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


As stated above, I am really surprised they didn't mention a horrorcore album. I also thought we'd see an entry on MC Paul Barman (which, while not quite fitting with the stated theme of the list, would have fit within how the actual list turned out).
posted by Falconetti at 10:28 AM on January 10, 2011


haha No X-Clan?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, picking on MC 900 Ft. Jesus goes like fifteen steps too far. You leave MC 900 Ft. Jesus alone!
posted by 1adam12 at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Even though Vanilla Ice was ultimately exposed for the joke that he was, he really isn't in the same category as those mentioned on this list. His breakout single (and only track I can recall offhand without resorting to the googles)...

What, you don't remember the Ninja Rap? Surely this will be chosen as the theme song of the impending (?) retro 90s thing, as channeled by kids who were four years old at the time.
posted by Chichibio at 10:33 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that the framing is a little off--it's less about revolutions that never were and more about the tail end of golden-age hip-hop. But then, I don't really agree with the (very common) explanation that all this stuff was crushed by gangsta rap. On the contrary, gangsta rap boomed at the same time that the audience started to fragment, and it coexisted with a huge indie boom. Weird hip-hop didn't disappear (well, except from MTV when Yo! went off the air), it just moved to Solesides, Stones Throw, Rhymesayers, Rawkus, Hiero, etc.

Oh, and here are my favorite lines from Judgment Night:

Dre: That money's got blood on it, man.
Fallon: You ever seen any that didn't?
posted by box at 10:38 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


As stated above, I am really surprised they didn't mention a horrorcore album.

I'm glad, because then the article (and the thread) is not all about juggalos.
posted by norm at 10:38 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


wow, of those 15 videos only three can be watched from germany without an IP-block preventing me.
This geoblocking trend has become more than annoying by now.
posted by ts;dr at 10:40 AM on January 10, 2011


I remember really liking Arrested Development, Digable Planets, & Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. It seemed that hip-hop was taking the next step at becoming thoughtful, consciousness raising and still having a good groove. Then gangsta rap took over and it was all about bitches, cars & guns. I haven't been able to listen to hip-hop since.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 10:48 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dead-end hip-hop revolutions make for a pretty kickass Monday afternoon playlist, I know that.
posted by the painkiller at 10:49 AM on January 10, 2011


...I don't really agree with the (very common) explanation that all this stuff was crushed by gangsta rap. On the contrary, gangsta rap boomed at the same time that the audience started to fragment, and it coexisted with a huge indie boom. Weird hip-hop didn't disappear (well, except from MTV when Yo! went off the air), it just moved to Solesides, Stones Throw, Rhymesayers, Rawkus, Hiero, etc.

I don't think that anyone who knows anything about hip hop would disagree with you, box, but the very fact that all the innovators (or MCs weak in the cash money dept., take your pick) moved to indie labels is proof enough that the mainstream very quickly lost interest in acts that weren't blinged-out, gangsta, or novelty (a la Reggie Watts) to some degree. Arrested Development and P.M. Dawn had massive sales, but they didn't represent what suburbia really wanted in the long run.

The so-called underground is certainly alive and well (even though MF DOOM may have jumped the shark already.)
posted by Chichibio at 10:50 AM on January 10, 2011


Where is House of Pain? WHERE IS HOUSE OF PAIN?

I still yearn for the Irish-American hip hop revolution that never occurred.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:51 AM on January 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


I kick off every road trip with Willie Nelson's "On the road again" and Buck 65's "Wicked and Weird". Is that ok?
posted by notsnot at 10:56 AM on January 10, 2011


i always mean to give bubba sparxxx a try but i can't get past the name. also, das efx-- forgot all about them. so odd.

related is hip hop cyclic trends-- like you know how there's periodically some bass track that makes it big? "who let the dogs out" that kinda thing. way that bobby brown is just ampin like michael
posted by jcruelty at 10:57 AM on January 10, 2011


DJ Lethal missed a trick by not moving on after House of Pain to start a Latvian-American hip hop revolution.
posted by Chichibio at 10:58 AM on January 10, 2011


I feel like there's a book on the victory of gangsta/bling rap waiting to be written (not sarcasm). I'd be interested in knowing what happened here - why the public moved toward gangsta rap, why conscious rap was completely ejected from the airwaves, why rappers who got big through "conscious" rap but who wanted to continue to be popular (Black Eyed Peas, Q-Tip) moved over to booty-shaking songs. I'd also be interested in knowing if there were "coups" of sorts - moves by people like Dre, Russell Simmons, Sean Combs, and Jay-Z that crippled the market for conscious rap, or whether it was simply the inevitable passing of trends (the latter doesn't seem right, though: someone like Jay-Z can control the market and determine where taste goes; someone like Q-Tip cannot).
posted by outlandishmarxist at 10:59 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


A bit more like "15 rap albums that were HUGE at the time but then kind of just blew over."

Future Profits was HUGE?
posted by kenko at 11:00 AM on January 10, 2011


"Where is House of Pain? WHERE IS HOUSE OF PAIN?

I still yearn for the Irish-American hip hop revolution that never occurred."


Instead, we just got shitty song after shitty song from Everlast.
posted by Eideteker at 11:00 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, picking on MC 900 Ft. Jesus goes like fifteen steps too far. You leave MC 900 Ft. Jesus alone!

MC 900 Ft. Jesus and Buck 65 seem really off to me on the list, and Lady Sovereign struck me more as a female MC than someone trying to create a new genre. If you're going to go with UK "genre creating" artists that didn't really catch on the states I would put Asian Dub Foundation on that list instead. And what about Cage's emo turn?

I'm glad, because then the article (and the thread) is not all about juggalos.

Still I was really expecting to see Gravediggaz on there.
posted by bobo123 at 11:02 AM on January 10, 2011


Arrested Development and P.M. Dawn had massive sales, but they didn't represent what suburbia really wanted in the long run.

In the case of P.M. Dawn, I think it was the passing of the AHRA in 1992 with the anti-sampling provisions that helped with their demise.

Although, that was a long time ago. Maybe I'm mis-remembering.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2011


Thought I saw Judgment Night, but it may have been Trespass.

I have been confused by the term bum-rush ever since I read it being used to describe Ol' Dirty Bastard interrupting the Grammy Awards. I grok 'to get the bum's rush', to hurriedly eject an unwanted person from premises, but to 'bum-rush the stage' makes no sense to me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:06 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Licky Boom Boom Down?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:07 AM on January 10, 2011


I'm glad, because then the article (and the thread) is not all about juggalos.

Still I was really expecting to see Gravediggaz on there.


Maybe the AV Club thinks that horrorcore is a revolution?
posted by Chichibio at 11:08 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Arrested Development and P.M. Dawn had massive sales, but they didn't represent what suburbia really wanted in the long run.

Okay, I know that both these acts kind of died out of their own failures, sophomore album syndrome, etc... But I am left wondering at some point, when it comes to things like music, how much of what we get is "what surburbia really wants" and how much of it is "what the record labels and marketing divisions feel they can push on us."

In an ideal world, the playing field would be level enough and broad enough that acts coming from very different philosophical backgrounds would all find market share. Instead, we have what is offered to us for consumption judged and juried by record execs before suburbia even has a chance to hear it.
posted by hippybear at 11:09 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Still I was really expecting to see Gravediggaz on there.

That's an excellent point.
posted by rollbiz at 11:10 AM on January 10, 2011


I'd be interested in knowing what happened here - why the public moved toward gangsta rap, why conscious rap was completely ejected from the airwaves, why rappers who got big through "conscious" rap but who wanted to continue to be popular (Black Eyed Peas, Q-Tip) moved over to booty-shaking songs.

it's something a lot like grunge music being supplanted by nu-metal - or the complete dumbification of pop

the music industry wanted it that way
posted by pyramid termite at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Classic Onion: New Rap Song Samples 'Billie Jean' In Its Entirety, Adds Nothing -- September 23, 1997.

Strangely percipient.
posted by schmod at 11:12 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Digable Planets reformed and toured in 2008, and while they were cool like ever, they made a mistake having the much more lively band The Procussions open up. It was like a triple-shot espresso followed by warm milk.

And this should be qualified as Hip Hop revolutions that didn't happen in the United States. And Buck 65 really isn't ready for mainstream, or suitable for mainstream. I think his style is too weird, lost between hip-hop and whatever else he fits into his tracks. And maybe I missed it, but did his 2004 compilation really get that much publicity? I think he's bigger in his native Canada, where he is signed to the national branch of Warner Music (or was, for 3 albums). For goodness sake, his second Warner record was a concept album, how much mainstream-focused can you be?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:14 AM on January 10, 2011


(Black Eyed Peas, Q-Tip) moved over to booty-shaking songs.

"Behind the Front" was a really good album that would be completely unrecognizable to the modern-day B.E.P. fan. I keep waiting for them to rap in a Pringles commercial so the metamorphosis can be completed.
posted by rollbiz at 11:14 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Strangely percipient.

Did you get one of those "new word a day" desk calendars for Xmas, schmod?
posted by Chichibio at 11:16 AM on January 10, 2011


I ascertain that you have a complaint about that word.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


bum–rush
: to attack or seize with an overpowering rush <bum–rush the stage>

First Known Use of BUM-RUSH
1987

Yo! Bum Rush the Show is the debut album of American hip hop group Public Enemy, released January 26, 1987 on Def Jam Recordings in the United States.
posted by mikeh at 11:19 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was to Alvy, obviously.
posted by mikeh at 11:20 AM on January 10, 2011


Which "word a day" calendar was "bum-rush" in? Because I might buy that one.
posted by norm at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


So you could get the bum's rush after bum-rushing? This is like that badgers and buffalo stuff all over again. Stupid confusing hip-hop.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:25 AM on January 10, 2011


You can't have everything, but yeah, I was a little surprised that the ethnic white rap (and/or Brooklyn-centric white rap) of Lordz of Brooklyn/Fun Lovin Criminals wasn't mentioned. Same thing with the hipster/indie weirdness of Handsome Boy Modeling School or the 5-percent nation mystic gangsta rap of KIllarmy (and I think a couple other Wu Tang side projects, does anyone remember what Sonz of Man was about?).

And I was WAY surprised that there was no mention of Horrorcore, specifically Gravediggaz.
posted by elr at 11:27 AM on January 10, 2011


Okay, I know that both these acts kind of died out of their own failures, sophomore album syndrome, etc... But I am left wondering at some point, when it comes to things like music, how much of what we get is "what surburbia really wants" and how much of it is "what the record labels and marketing divisions feel they can push on us."

In an ideal world, the playing field would be level enough and broad enough that acts coming from very different philosophical backgrounds would all find market share. Instead, we have what is offered to us for consumption judged and juried by record execs before suburbia even has a chance to hear it.


Once something left-field breaks into the mainstream with any sort of success, A&R guys tend to go hogwild and saturate the market (viz grunge.) The record labels were true gatekeepers back in those days, and if it sold, the labels would keep pumping it out. Now, thankfully, there are viable independents that have been alive for ten years or more, and you can upload a video of your cousin rhyming over a breakbeat record in seconds if you like.

So when the money for music was flushed out of the market over the last decade, risk increased exponentially. Thus, we have the brain dead Peas (some of the finest corporate shills pop music has ever seen) dominating the charts, while the beancounting execs scurry around to find another act just like them.

Indie hip hop coupled with the internet has made the playing field larger than ever, but it has made it much flatter in terms of marketability.
posted by Chichibio at 11:28 AM on January 10, 2011


Strangely percipient.

Did you get one of those "new word a day" desk calendars for Xmas, schmod?
posted by Chichibio at 7:16 PM on January 10 [+] [!]

I ascertain that you have a complaint about that word.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:18 PM on January 10 [+] [!]


No, I was just embarrassed that I had to look it up!
posted by Chichibio at 11:30 AM on January 10, 2011


Which "word a day" calendar was "bum-rush" in? Because I might buy that one.

I can't believe Urban Dictionary doesn't publish one. I'd be buying them as stocking stuffers for my entire extended family.
posted by CaseyB at 11:32 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm also surprised at how many rappers who are regarded as punchlines, novelty acts, and has-beens REALLY had some quality shit, but were just too silly or single-minded to be taken seriously in the long run. I'm thinking of Snow, Cypress Hill, 3rd Bass, Chino XL/The Mexakinz, House of Pain, Funkdoobiest and some of the groups mentioned here like Onyx and the Fu-Shnickenz.

Sure, some of them suffered from having albums that were too same-y, and some of them had albums that were too spotty, but those are problems that have plagued hip hop forever. Almost all my favorite albums could have made it as EPs
posted by elr at 11:34 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Which "word a day" calendar was "bum-rush" in? Because I might buy that one.

It's in the "Titles of Public Enemy albums" word-a-day calendar. The word for January 1, 2011 was "Yo!" And so forth.
posted by The World Famous at 11:37 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've recently started listening to PM Dawn again and now have a deeper appreciation for them. It's just beautiful pop music to me. By the way, if anyone has a CD copy of "Jesus Wept" they want to sell, contact me - it's hard to find and I'm willing to buy.
posted by davebush at 11:38 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


But Dig Plan fell prey to the “commercial success followed by difficult second album” curse with 1994’s Blowout Comb, which stripped down its sound and embraced an aggressive black-nationalist message

The first album wasn't exactly all "cool like dat" either, "Femme Fetal" was a long (and awesome) pro-choice rant. It's a shame, too, because Blowout Comb is the far superior album.

Buck 65 though, ugh. I've never seen a better example of an artist who's output suffered after getting mainstream exposure. His work just doesn't seem to be something that needs that kind of light shone on it. The Sebutones stuff and Vertex and a lot of the earlier albums are great, back when it was charming, intimate, goofy low-budget weirdness. But Talkin Honky Blues just overreached in the wrong directions for me, and I haven't paid much attention since.

Never realized Count Bass D was on the radar before either. He's great.
posted by Hoopo at 11:38 AM on January 10, 2011



I'm also surprised at how many rappers who are regarded as punchlines, novelty acts, and has-beens REALLY had some quality shit, but were just too silly or single-minded to be taken seriously in the long run. I'm thinking of Snow, Cypress Hill, 3rd Bass, Chino XL/The Mexakinz, House of Pain, Funkdoobiest and some of the groups mentioned here like Onyx and the Fu-Shnickenz.


I don't Cypress Hill is in this category. They were not one hit wonders, they're legendary icons at this point. They also started their own signature sound (DJ Muggs).
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is one hell of a festival lineup, elr. I am booking second-rate amphitheaters as we speak.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:41 AM on January 10, 2011


Ahhh shit! Dennis Leary! Leary!

Whatever. They're both assholes.

can I have my edit pony please?
posted by orville sash at 11:41 AM on January 10, 2011


I feel like there's a book on the victory of gangsta/bling rap waiting to be written (not sarcasm).

Check out Ronin Ro's Gangsta: Merchandizing the Rhymes of Violence and Have Gun Will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records. And I've heard great things about Dan Charnas' The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, though I'm still waiting on my library copy.
posted by box at 11:42 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


bobo123: Still I was really expecting to see Gravediggaz on there.

Yeah, I expected them to show up too, and/or New Kingdom.
posted by Kattullus at 11:52 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


But whatever happened to New Jack Swing?
posted by Spatch at 11:52 AM on January 10, 2011


OOOOOOO New Kingdom! Paradise Don't Come Cheap is the greatest hip hop album of all time in my universe, and still gets heavy rotation at my house. Worth mentioning that Nosaj is still around as Nature Boy Jim Kelly and producing some pretty awesome music. There's also some New Kingdom tracks by other names floating around out there that few are aware of on Scotty Hard's assorted releases.
posted by Hoopo at 11:57 AM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will also, while I'm rambling, wager to say that Wu-Tang Clan spawned one revolution but failed to spawn a couple others. They changed the scope of what could be sampled, the tone and energy and humor, the mix of real life grit and silly fun that can coexist, and the way that hip hop can be marketed (anyone else wanna own up to rocking some knockoff Wu-Wear in the '90s? Anyone?), but one of the things that happened in the wake of "Enter the 36 Chambers" was all these larger-ensemble rap groups from the East Coast and Midwest, and the only one I can think of that really blew up was Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (oddly enough picked up by West Coast legend [and Blood of Abraham true-believer] Eazy-E).

Bone had their own distinct style, like the rappers being differentiated more by their flow than their personalities, and their occasional forays into R&B harmonizing, but I think a straight line can be drawn from the success of the Wu-Tang Clan and their kung fu stoner mysticism to Bone Thugs and their fake Satanist stoner mysticism, into shit like Crucial Conflict.

The other revolution they failed to launch was their own brand (more or less). While people enthusiastic to pick up solo projects by the Wu Tang (which ranged from the incredible "Liquid Swords" by GZA and "Return to the 36 Chambers" by Ol Dirty Bastard, to the spotty "Tical" by Method Man and "Bobby Digital" by RZA, to the Raekwon and Ghostface stuff that a lot of people loved but isn't really my cup of tea), they failed to take over with a slew of side projects from friends and collaborators like LA the Darkman, Killarmy, Killah Priest, Masta Killa, Jewish rapper Remedy, child rapper Shyheim, or sloppy stoner rapper Buddah Monk (I was 12 when I got the first Wu Tang cassette, could not have been more of a fan and have owned more of these albums than I'd like to admit, but I would proudly STILL buy an album by ODB-collaborator Shorty Shit Stain, if I were to find out that such a thing exists).

Am I right in thinking that this was supposed to be a revolution, or is this just what happens when rap cews get big? I guess NWA's success led to huge mainstream success for Ice Cube, Dre, and Eazy, but didn't do a whole lot for Arabian Prince, D.O.C., and RBX. Ditto for Death Row Records success with West Coast G-Funk failing to launch Tha Lady Rage, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger, or The Dove Shack into the mainstream.
posted by elr at 11:58 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was kind of expecting to see 2 Skinnee J's represented there.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 PM on January 10, 2011


> But whatever happened to New Jack Swing?

It peaked and died with the release of No Diggity.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:02 PM on January 10, 2011


But whatever happened to New Jack Swing?

Strictly hardcore beats, not New Jack Swing.
posted by norm at 12:06 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't Cypress Hill is in this category. They were not one hit wonders, they're legendary icons at this point. They also started their own signature sound (DJ Muggs).
posted by Liquidwolf


I wasn't sure if I should list them along with the other mostly-one-hit-wonders I listed, but I don't think they get the same respect that NWA or KRS-One or A Tribe Called Quest get from the people who weren't there to experience them the first time around.

I think a lot of people just think of them as "those stoner rappers from the '90s", and that's a niche they fill in festivals. DJ Muggs gets respect, but I don't think the emcees fare as well. I think that part of it might be that they're Latino, and part of it is just that they've accepted and cashed in on their role as ambassadors for High Times Magazine and NORML.
posted by elr at 12:07 PM on January 10, 2011


I guess NWA's success led to huge mainstream success for Ice Cube, Dre, and Eazy, but didn't do a whole lot for Arabian Prince, D.O.C....

I think the D.O.C. failed to launch, sadly, because he lost his singing voice in a car crash.

Does anyone know if something came of his book?
posted by Chichibio at 12:08 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


No Cowboy Troy?

Also, I was in the front row at an Onyx concert in college. They're all tiny, like 5'3" tops. Signficantly less threatening in person.
posted by electroboy at 12:11 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I own probably 3/4 of these albums. Some held up over time, but most don't.
posted by electroboy at 12:15 PM on January 10, 2011


Oh man, that just reminded me of my favorite NWA-related Metafilter quote so far in 2011.

Why am I so chatty today? I should just go home and listen to the hilarious playlist that's been concocted from this post.
posted by Chichibio at 12:17 PM on January 10, 2011


Man, I'd never heard of Asher Roth before, but after watching that video, he's definitely climbed to the top tier of my face-punching list.
posted by dersins at 12:20 PM on January 10, 2011


PM Dawn: I love all the haters stomping on "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" as if that were the only thing they'd ever recorded. Any group that can hit you with "Comatose" (which sampled "Atomic Dog," "I Walk on Guilded Splinters," AND "Thankful & Thoughtful") is A+ in my book.

Digable Planets: Judging from how many times I've heard "Rebirth of Slick" in ads I don't think they're crying.
posted by blucevalo at 12:29 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


PM Dawn's Jesus Wept is an amazing record that I only discovered a few years ago.

Listen to it without thinking of the funny costumes and I bet you end up evangelical about it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:33 PM on January 10, 2011


Everyone has the Judgement Night soundtrack. Nobody has actually seen Judgement Night.

What's worse is that I think I purchased it instead of 36 Chambers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:33 PM on January 10, 2011


I ascertain that you have a complaint about that word.

Finally, someone else who remembers the "Ascertain" sketch. For a while I thought I had hallucimated the hole thing...
posted by Mister_A at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good morning fellas
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:43 PM on January 10, 2011


Hand me that thing
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:43 PM on January 10, 2011


Boy, this work's hard
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:43 PM on January 10, 2011


Guys, break's over.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:43 PM on January 10, 2011


Are you rapping?
posted by Mister_A at 12:47 PM on January 10, 2011


Mister_A is just jealous of your command of the English language.
posted by electroboy at 12:52 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm glad we've been able to delineate the problem here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2011


Oh wow, awesome! I'm not alone anymore! ~sniff~
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on January 10, 2011


Judgment Night and The Ref are the best Leary movies. Back when Cuba Gooding Jr. was tough. I didn't even know the soundtrack was a thing (but I know little about hip hop so I'll bow out now).
posted by Danila at 12:54 PM on January 10, 2011


Of course you're not alone. There's also the PM Dawn apologists.


/snark
posted by norm at 12:57 PM on January 10, 2011


Lady Sovereign wasn’t the only grime artist who failed to catch on—Dizzee Rascal was also poised for big things here—but no one else had Lady Sovereign’s novelty or a Jay-Z endorsement.

I realize they had a disclaimer ("...never made much of an impact Stateside...") for this one, but it seems really silly to pull Dizzee Rascal and grimecore into the mix. Ironically, I think that garage/grimecore/dubstep and all the variations and following forms stand as the closest thing to an actual new form(s?) of hiphip mentioned in the article. Maybe it didn't make it "big" in the states, but I expect it will have a longer-lasting impact overall than any of the other "revolutions" mentioned in that fluffy piece.
posted by dubitable at 12:58 PM on January 10, 2011


Leary's performance in Suicide Kinds is the most interesting thing about the film.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:00 PM on January 10, 2011


Just to follow up on Buck 65, I really wish he had inspired a revolution in hiphop. For the sake of us suburban white boys who loved rap but only enjoyed it vicariously due to culture and geography. Hiphop's weird that respect in ways rock isn't; it doesn't matter if a rock band comes from Finland or Estonia but generally speaking rap almost always has to come from big American cities or it doesn't really get taken seriously (with some notable exceptions). I don't mean that I wish there were a hundred Buck65 knockoffs, but pleasepleaseplease white Canadian teens, drop the fake NY accent and the ebonics, it's just so goddamned embarassing.

I love Buck 65's early recordings because here was a guy who was broadcasting and selling the type of music we'd do ourselves as white suburban pre-teens with our parents records, a blank tape, and a ghetto blaster with a record button. He never stopped though and he got good at it and it was awesome. It had that quality, like he was a little kid trying to keep quiet enough that his older siblings wouldn't hear and make fun of him. It was secret music. It was rough around the edges and grimy and the samples were stretched to the point they were degrading and the cheap synth sounds and the equipment that sounded cheap or old and falling apart and the records sounded old and dirty and broken.

Then "Wicked and Weird" came out and it was getting played on mainstream radio cuz of Canadian content regulations and Buck was the Great Canadian Hope on Warner music and it wasn't like the old stuff and people didn't get it and you had to explain it to them and it just wasn't that good... it felt like your mean big brother found the tape you'd been screwing around with and was playing it out loud and doubled over laughing.
posted by Hoopo at 1:01 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently found a bunch of old tapes from my high school years, including the Disposable Heroes. It is absolutely awful, like a parody of consciousness rap.

On the other hand, the Judgment Night soundtrack is awesome.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:04 PM on January 10, 2011


Yeah Disposable Heroes was/were pretty damn bad. Most of these were more curiosity than revolution. Finally, put me down for, "What, no MC 900-Foot Jesus?"
posted by Mister_A at 1:07 PM on January 10, 2011


I'm glad we've been able to delineate the problem here.

Well, understanding your context, Astro Zombie, I still stand by calling out schmod for his use of "percipient". That's an absolutely risible word.

Especially now that I know what it means.
posted by Chichibio at 1:08 PM on January 10, 2011


You should stop being so truculent about others' verbosity.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:09 PM on January 10, 2011


Finally, put me down for, "What, no MC 900-Foot Jesus?"

No, he made the list.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:13 PM on January 10, 2011


Oh i see... I get confused when the comments appear before the end of the piece. I suck at the internet.
posted by Mister_A at 1:17 PM on January 10, 2011


You should stop being so truculent about others' verbosity.

I shan't stand down against this oleaginous verbiage.

/ Is this how nerdcore MCs do it? I don't know that particular niche, and this kind of stuff has gotta be worth a least a throwaway single.
posted by Chichibio at 1:18 PM on January 10, 2011


Chichibio, chibiyah, chibiyay
Gimme the mic so I can take it away
posted by Hoopo at 1:20 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm working on a Nerdcore single, I just need a word that rhymes with "glycoconjugates."
posted by Mister_A at 1:21 PM on January 10, 2011


Not a stupid made-up word either.
posted by Mister_A at 1:21 PM on January 10, 2011


Also Blood of Abraham weren't orthodox and were definitely not Chassidic. WTF did that come from?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 1:25 PM on January 10, 2011


It's heartening to see all this love for MC 900 Ft. Jesus, because... Yeah! MC 900 Ft. Jesus!

I "discovered" him while on a ski-vacation with my parents (here in Sweden), the radio played "The City Sleeps" one morning as we headed out to the slopes and I became quite transfixed. "This must be Yo Yo Honey", I figured, because I had read somewhere that Yo Yo Honey sounded like Massive Attack and to my quite young ears "The City Sleeps" sounded quite like Massive Attack. But then the announcer told me the correct name and I wrote it down and bought "Welcome To My Dream" as soon as I got back to the civilization. God I played that album to bits, even though it did unnerve me. And it was MY album, because no-one I knew had ever heard of MC 900 Ft. Jesus.

I'm listening to "The City Sleeps" right now and I still know every word of it. It's a shame that MC 900 Ft. Jesus never became bigger (or started a revolution or whatever) but he meant a whole lot to me. Likewise, I loved Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprasy, "Language of Violence" was the first time I had heard anyone address homophobia in a song and that made an impact.

posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:25 PM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


> I just need a word that rhymes with "glycoconjugates."

Circumambulate
posted by Burhanistan at 1:28 PM on January 10, 2011


That was always my favorite track of his too, soundofsuburbia.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:28 PM on January 10, 2011


too silly or single-minded to be taken seriously in the long run. I'm thinking of ... Funkdoobiest

What? Son Doobie rapped about funk AND pornos, thankyouverymuch. That's 2 things.
posted by Hoopo at 1:47 PM on January 10, 2011


haha No X-Clan?

No, because they are PROTECTED by THE RED, THE BLACK, AND THE GREEN. SISSY!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:53 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


New Kingdom! I'm not exactly an expert in the field, but Mexico Or Bust is one of my favourite hip-hop songs of all time.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:54 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


this onion a.v. link should be enough to fill your backpack!

not only that, this link can be a go-to reference to a recurring problem question in metatalk (1 & 2). granted, for the audience here a better answer might be to just beeline to a tribe called quest.
of course, the question will become "why can't we have nice hip-hop?". naju is correct when noting that the answer; "Internet middle-class folk . . . by and large, want hip-hop that safely reaffirms their values and mindset without pushing too many buttons."
posted by the aloha at 1:58 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Internet middle-class folk . . . by and large, want hip-hop that safely reaffirms their values and mindset without pushing too many buttons."

I don't believe this. Middle-class white folks like it dirty, low-class, and non-value-affirming, and play lip service to wanting "nice hip-hop." That is why the stuff that makes so much money is stuff like (mentioned in the article as essentially wiping out Arrested Development) Dre's The Chronic, and (formerly) NWA and Wu-Tang and Eminem and 50-Cent and all the Dirty South stuff and Lil Wayne and etc. etc. etc. I don't understand where this argument is coming from.
posted by dubitable at 2:10 PM on January 10, 2011


I'll also admit to being turned on to MC 900 Foot Jesus by Beavis and Butthead. One Step Ahead of the Spider is a great album though.

I hadn't heard that Sound of Sunshine bullshit until a few weeks ago, on the local college radio station. The announcer came on afterwards and ran off the names of the songs and finished with "......and Sound of Sunshine by Spearhead!" I almost crashed my car.
posted by electroboy at 2:13 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is why the stuff that makes so much money is stuff like (mentioned in the article as essentially wiping out Arrested Development) Dre's The Chronic, and (formerly) NWA and Wu-Tang and Eminem and 50-Cent and all the Dirty South stuff and Lil Wayne and etc. etc. etc. I don't understand where this argument is coming from.

Well, I wasn't really talking about "the stuff that makes so much money." I was talking about the stuff the internet middle-class folk get excited about, which may overlap but is a separate set of music. I.e. for rock you'll consistently see Radiohead and Muse in the top 5 on the Last.fm charts, but totally different artists for a wider non-internet audience.

So the artists I'm talking about are the same artists you see popping up in every hip-hop thread - not so much 50 Cent and Eminem - more like Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Blackalicious, A Tribe Called Quest, etc. These are artists who can generally be described as "backpacker, socially conscious hip-hop." You don't think internet forums like Metafilter and Reddit bring up these artists more than any other?
posted by naju at 2:20 PM on January 10, 2011


I got introduced to Panjabi MC from Mundian To Bach Ke, and my general love for Bhangra. Now if you want to talk about forestalled revolutions, there's world beat and Bhangra which almost seemed for a while like it would get some real legs in America. But no dice.
posted by happyroach at 2:32 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't think internet forums like Metafilter and Reddit bring up these artists more than any other?

Oh, I guess so...but I think that is a more narrow cross-section than just "internet middle class folk"—I was not interpreting that as just those who are represented on Metafilter and Reddit, I interpreted it as middle class people who use the internet, which is most of them I expect. And I suspect you would agree with me that more of them have at least one Eminem album than at least one Roots album.

So I think we need to refine it a bit not necessarily along class lines and internet use (but if you are just talking about MetaFilter, or "socially conscious backpackers," then we are certainly in agreement...). Or have a different discussion naju, like how that video in your previously referenced MetaTalk comment was kind of crazy and awesome and fucked up, IMHO...
posted by dubitable at 2:36 PM on January 10, 2011


So I think we need to refine it a bit not necessarily along class lines and internet use

i wish we could, but class and internet access is inescapable on mefi.
posted by the aloha at 2:40 PM on January 10, 2011


Yo G, who's got the ShaQ DIESEL??!?
posted by porn in the woods at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


i wish we could, but class and internet access is inescapable on mefi.

Oh, I don't mean we should ignore that stuff, I mean it's not enough in this case; it's too broad.

I'm calling for more bean-plating, not less!
posted by dubitable at 2:50 PM on January 10, 2011


"Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age"

Oh shit I just remembered that title.
Fuck, that was labored and hard to read/say/think?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:25 PM on January 10, 2011


>Blowout Comb is the far superior album

I found this on my laundry room grab table a few weeks ago. Haven't heard it yet, but I loved the first release, so: Yippee!
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:28 PM on January 10, 2011


A Licky Boom Boom Down?

I remember Snow simply because this line comprises the best title for a paper on erectile dysfunction ever.

Sadly, Google search will not verify this for me, so you'll have to take my word for it that I actually saw a paper published with this title.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:37 PM on January 10, 2011


Another title for this could be: "Hip-hop approved by white critics that didn't stand the test of time."
posted by bardic at 5:45 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yi. I had, or wanted, many of these albums. I'm vaguely surprised about the lack of a Digital Underground entry on the list. Sex Packets was a great album.

I too, have seen Judgement Night. It is one of a slew of films best enjoyed late at night, with alcohol. Other films in the slew include Navy Seals, Posse, Gunmen, The Chase, New Jack City, among many, many others.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:53 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, it's not hip-hop and therefore a derail but this talk about forgotten moments of 90s music has put it in my mind and now I've got to ask: That Jimmy Ray guy, what the fuck was all that about?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:53 PM on January 10, 2011


Blood of Abraham at least made one of my favorite videos ever.
posted by fungible at 6:00 PM on January 10, 2011


Another title for this could be: "Hip-hop approved by white critics that didn't stand the test of time."

Or: "A mish-mash of stuff I remember and thought was good, that may or may not be hip-hop, but I want to talk about as revolutionary yet don't understand how or what is or isn't hip-hop thus making most of this article bullshit"
posted by P.o.B. at 6:01 PM on January 10, 2011


you can throw me into that mc 900 ft jesus bonfire. i think all three of his albums were great. i first heard him once during a mtv news show talking about 'killer inside me.' took me a few years before i actually heard any of his work. it was worth the wait.
posted by lester at 6:15 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Hip-hop approved by white critics that didn't stand the test of time."

I'm far from qualified to speak about the history of hip-hop, but I don't think it's nearly as simple as all that. A lot of this has stood the test of time quite well, actually. I dunno.

While I'm far more knowledgeable about rock, I have to say that the first album to really blow my mind in any significant way was 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of Arrested Development. Perhaps my clearest memory of being 12 years old was wandering around the Sea Scape and beach in Galveston during the middle of the night around Mardi Gras, just enjoying the (now that I think about it odd) peacefulness of my surroundings, listening to the cassette over and over again on my walkman.

Perhaps history is in order here, because this wasn't about making hip-hop accessible to suburban white kids. The biggest acts to hit that group of brand-new teens in their lifetimes, aside from NKOTB, I guess, were Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and Sir Mix-a-Lot. So it's not that hip-hop was a novelty to us, just that good hip-hop, which actually had a message and interesting music behind it, certainly was.

And then Gangsta came along and steamrolled over everything. Which is also too simple. NWA had been doing their thing for long enough to build up internal tensions and for Eazy-E's story to be all but told, just as Public Enemy and De La Soul had been doing their thing long before AD hit MTV, but that's not what it looked like when your information came almost solely through MTV itself.

But "Nuthin' but a G Thang" and "Gin n' Juice" blew the whole thing open in a way very, very marketable to the media. Controversy fueled sales, for one thing, and Dre was and is an amazing producer, and one who could find a shepherd great acts. But that's the thing. With Gangsta, especially under the Dre model which appears to have become traditoin and then simple industry practice, you could have one prodigy spending all day laying down tracks by himself in his studio. Once he finds someone with flow, all they need to talk about is guns, bitches and bling and he's got the backing track for it. It made it very, very easy to flood the market with new artists, most of whom weren't going to be Snoop or Eminem or Minaj.

The A.V. Club article is fascinating to me, for one because of all of the great stuff I'd forgotten existed, but also because it seems to come from a place of expectations that others were going to run with the ground broken by these Alterna-hip-hop acts. The truth is that what these guys were doing was, for the most part, really tricky to pull off, and coming from only the brightest and most experimental minds.

Given the Dre model, what up-and-comer was going to follow in the footsteps of Digable Planets? And what socially-conscious genius wasn't going to try to map their own territory?

I thin the two biggest omissions from the list are 1.) 2 Skinnee J's, who I mentioned before and who probably scored the biggest hit in terms of true nerdcore (meaning we're excluding Skee-lo) and 2. Bone Thugs N Harmony, who in my preferred alternate universe would have spawned a legion of followers.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:28 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of revisionist and sloppy hip-hop history being promulgated in this thread. First, 'gangsta rap' took off with NWA in the late 80s, and most of the stuff discussed here is well after that. Second, what The Chronic and Doggystyle set off was really the G-Funk/West Coast movement in hip-hop, which would then be countered in short order by the East Coasters, and then the Dirty South, led by Outkast. Third, there have been plenty of positive/alternative/nerdy options in hip-hop from the beginning of the movement. Why aren't they mentioned? Because they stuck.
posted by norm at 6:56 PM on January 10, 2011


Remember the Dream Warriors? In retrospect the early stuff is kinda funny I guess, but they were pretty damned good sometimes.
posted by Hoopo at 7:08 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


sorry that last link should be this
posted by Hoopo at 7:21 PM on January 10, 2011


norm, a lot of that sloppy history was surely coming from me. As I said, I'm not a fan, just a dabbler.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:33 PM on January 10, 2011


Yeah, I was mostly just knee-jerking at the repeated use of "gangsta rap" as a pejorative shortcut for a) all bad hip-hop and b) an invented creation to crush the nascent positive rap developing in the early 90s. Uh, no. I liked some of these groups too, but the suck is also strongly represented.
posted by norm at 7:44 PM on January 10, 2011


Yeah, sorry if I implied that. I think a lot of Gangsta (particularly the West Coast stuff) is great. I just think it set a formula which was easier to (poorly) recreate than a lot of other stuff going on at the time.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:58 PM on January 10, 2011


That article made me want to punch my screen.

All the P.M. Dawns and Me Phi Me's were not sparks to aborted revolutions. They were the tail end of the real revolution started with groups like Stetsasonic, Original Concept and Ultramagnetic Mc's. This movement was blown wide open by the Native Tongues. 3 Feet High and Rising laid a blueprint for Hip Hop Albums that is still followed to this day. That first burst of Genius by De LA, Tribe, and family, was followed by a wave of lesser imitators, some thematic offshoots like Arrested Development, and Digable Planets, but while the flash in the pan acts died out, groups that have a direct line to this movement did well and are still around in some form. From the Fugees and Wyclef Jean to the Black Eyed Peas. Maybe not good examples, but there's a line.

The eraly 90's were kind of a wasteland of Hip Hop Anyway. It was starting to get Big, the West Coast was on the map, but there was still enough room for lots of regional and independent acts to make a mark with their own unique sounds. The East Coast had lost it's stranglehold on setting the trends (rather it was jacked by NWA) and now you had acts like Too Short from the Bay, Mixalot from Seattle and Magic Mike from Florida, and the Geto Boys from Houston all blowing up. At the same time the majors were starting to pump out soundalike groups at a frenetic pace. there was more variety than ever, but all of a sudden you had to get picky if you were a hip hop fan. It's hard to imagine now, but there was time where I could go to the hip hop section of Tower Records and not see anything I didn't already own. This changed big time by 89-90.

What brought this era to the end was not "Gangsta rap" that had been around for a while by 92-93 (when half the groups on that list came out) What did it was the return of New York. 1993 brought Wu-Tang and the 36 Chambers,' 94 brought Nas with Illmatic AND Biggie's Ready to Die, and that was it.

The West Coast had grown enough by that point to where they actually posed a challenge/threat to New York's resurgence and the East/West beff was born, and Hip Hop hasn't been the same since. After Big and Tupac the stakes were different, the audience was exponentially bigger, Diddy introduced the Shiny Suit, and there was real money on the table. And Jay-Z made like 70% of it.

In my opinion the major "revolutions" of Hip Hop were:

1.Def Jam/Run DMC. Still with us to this day in so many forms from everything Rick Rubin has done to the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J still has a career somehow, Onyx was a Jam Master Jay project. Russell Simmons still makes the news for doing god knows what. Baby Phat clothing, Run's reality show. You can still buy Run DMC T-shirts at teenybopper mall stores.

2. NWA. Beyond Gangsta Rap, they opened up regional hip hop as a market force, and for all the side groups that didn't make it, the ones that did are still running things. Ice Cube is strangely enough America's favorite dad, and Dre is pretty much responsible for the careers of Snoop, Eminem, and 50 Cent. I can not even imagine how much money that dude has. Bone Thugs and Harmony were Eazy -E proteges. And Gangsta rap. Love it or hate it, it's easy to forget how "soft" hip hop was before NWA. Pretty much any rapper from now til forever who raps about his dick, his gun, or selling dope owes NWA a nickel.

3. Native Tongues. Put simply, I travel a lot, and have yet to go anywhere in the world where I haven't met someone who is way into Tribe Called Quest. Skits, creative sampling, abstract rapping, rapping about "normal" life, The unstoppable force that is Queen Latifah. Nerd rap in all it's forms. Pop Culture references. That Pizza Hut/Taco Bell song? They're ripping off De LA Soul who wrote a whole song about Burger King on their highly underrated second album.

4. Wu-Tang. It's been almost 18 years since The WU debuted. Ghostface just dropped a new album. It's pretty good. All attempts to make careers for second cousins and crappy childhood friends may have failed, but somehow every year or two one of the core Wu members manages to do something relevant.

5. Cash Money. two words. Bling Bling. I read an interview in maybe 1995 with Cash Money when they were still a southern regional label, and one of them made the comment that they planned to dominate hip hop for the next 20 years. I found it to be a laughably cocky statement. Turns out they were right. The fac that they're doing it with acts like Drake and Nicki Minaj is kind of weird, but hey. Bling Bling.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:56 PM on January 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


...but if you really enjoy geeking out on Hip Hop to this degree I highly, highly reccomend Ego Trip's Big Book of Rap Lists. Best book on Hip Hop ever written. Also, the most frequently stolen book in my entire collection. It came out in '99 so it misses the past 10 years of hip hop, which is probably a feature and not a bug.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:07 AM on January 11, 2011


I saw MC900 ft Jesus live in the mid nineties for the One Step Ahead Of The Spider tour. Very large band onstage. One of the best shows I've ever seen. He did everything I wanted to see ("Adventures In Failure" was kickass) and then some (I wasn't expecting to see them do "Spaceman" but it surprisingly worked well). Plus, DJ Zero is really a great turntablist and underappreciated.
posted by Zhai at 5:01 AM on January 11, 2011


They're ripping off De LA Soul who wrote a whole song about Burger King on their highly underrated second album.

(for those that slept)
posted by iamck at 6:42 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since we're being completists: Basehead is frikking awesome.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:49 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(for those that slept)

For doz that slept.
posted by cashman at 8:29 AM on January 11, 2011


I never followed PM Dawn as a rap group.

However, as a fan of both rap and industrial music, I will say I give them props for showing up on some of my favorite guitar-industrial remix albums, making chill out mixes from the likes of White Zombie and Gravity Kills.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:19 AM on January 11, 2011


The eraly 90's were kind of a wasteland of Hip Hop Anyway. It was starting to get Big, the West Coast was on the map, but there was still enough room for lots of regional and independent acts to make a mark with their own unique sounds.

That's not how I remember it. 1992-4 were fantastic years for hiphop that produced some of the best albums the genre has ever seen and established it as more than just a fad. Low End Theory & Midnight Marauders, Illmatic, The Sun Rises in the East, Check Your Head, Buhloone Mind State, Word...Life, Return of The Boom Bap, The Four Horsemen, Dare Iz A Darkside, The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, No Need For Alarm, Black Sunday, 93 'til Infinity, Daily Operation, Mecca & The Soul Brother, Between a Rock & a Hard Place, Enta da Stage...I could go on and on here, but these were possibly the best years hiphop has ever had. These albums were far-reaching, sold pretty well, and are still landmarks.

I'd also put DJ Premier and DITC into your list of "revolutions" probably on one side or another of Native Tongues..
posted by Hoopo at 9:23 AM on January 11, 2011


Pretty much any rapper from now til forever who raps about his dick, his gun, or selling dope owes NWA a nickel

cough*Schooly D*cough
posted by Hoopo at 9:42 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Pretty much any rapper from now til forever who raps about his dick, his gun, or selling dope owes NWA a nickel

Ice-T was doing that shit a few years before NWA crawled out of the shopping mall that Dr. Dre found them hanging out in.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 AM on January 11, 2011


BDP also. And you want to hear something that will blow your mind if you haven't heard it already? The first Dre/Ice Cube song is a total Beastie Boys rip-off. I somehow hadn't heard this until about a month ago.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:29 AM on January 11, 2011


That's not how I remember it. 1992-4 were fantastic years for hiphop that produced some of the best albums the genre has ever seen and established it as more than just a fad. No Doubt. That's kind of my point. I meant "wasteland" more like wandering through a vast junkyard sifting through the garbage to find the treasures, as opposed to a few years earlier where it was pretty much all treasure.

Ice-T was doing that shit a few years before NWA crawled out of the shopping mall that Dr. Dre found them hanging out in.

I love me some old school Ice-T, and still have my first pressing of PSK, no doubt. But first doesn't mean they're responsible for the explosion of that genre. They were tinkering around with something that NWA perfected.

I'd classify Premier, DITC and the like as being part of the natural evolution of Hip Hop. They weren't radically different, just really really good.

You could probably classify The Beasties Boys, and Public Enemy as revolutions in their own right, but to me it all is part of the total awesomeness that that was that first wave of Def Jam. Which is really The House that RUN DMC built. And as far as I'm concerned the entire modern Era of Hip Hop is on the backs of Run DMC.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:05 AM on January 11, 2011


I dunno, Premier and DITC kinda perfected the East Coast/NY sound in a way that people are still emulating 20 years later. A lot of people don't even know they're listening to Premier though when they bump "Unbelievable" or whatever, but he's been the guy behind so many hits in the 90s and 2000s it's hard to imagine what hip hop would be without him. It might look like the post-Premier Jeru, KRS, Guru, Nas, and AZ output--so I guess we should consider ourselves lucky. As for other DITC guys like Lord Finesse, Big L, Show & AG, Diamond D, Buckwild etc...people may not have been listening and they might not get the credit for it all the time, but it's hard to say they didn't break new ground and inspire so much of what followed.
posted by Hoopo at 1:53 PM on January 11, 2011


I'd give Premier credit for being a covert influence on a huge amount of rap, but for "revolutions," if you're claiming DITC, you might as well bring out all the Virginia Beach crew (Timba, Clipse, Neptunes, Missy E), and the Dungeon Family, as well as DJ Screw et al. of Houston.
posted by klangklangston at 2:36 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


And you want to hear something that will blow your mind if you haven't heard it already? The first Dre/Ice Cube song is a total Beastie Boys rip-off .

Grab every Beastie Boy album you can get a hold of, then grab every Dr Dre produced album you can get. Listen to them by year of release and than tell me all how much Dre skimmed from the Beasties. Hint: ALOT!
posted by P.o.B. at 3:48 PM on January 11, 2011


/lets the beat.... drop.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on January 11, 2011


/lets the beat.... drop.

Sorry to wreck what would have been a great way to end the thread Artw, but am I the only one to wish that Maestro Fresh Wes had kicked off a cummerbund-wearing orchestra-referencing hip hop revolution?

I wear a black tuxedo, black tuxedo, black black black OHMIGOD!
posted by Chichibio at 5:08 PM on January 16, 2011


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