Thursday, April 10, 2008

Live, from the Planet Rock: Happy B-Day Afrika Bambaataa

When I was in high school, Yo! MTv Raps was king. I watched it religiously when I got home every day w/ my friend Marques who lived a couple houses down the street. As it turns out, MTv is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of this oddly groundbreaking show by showing highlights and old-school videos all month long on one of the random MTv channles. Along w/ this 20th anniversary, today is also Afrika Bambaataa's b-day. A former gang member, Bambaataa converted to Islam in the late 70s & began organizing his gang in a positive direction working towards unity between the gangs & then expanding into other areas of New York Activism. At this time he also started DJing and was one of the 1st to revolutionize "Break Beat DJing" & subsequently influence Hip Hop, Techno, Electronica, House and Rock music. With this in mind, I give you the top ten videos of the Yo! MTv Raps era.
10) "Self Destruction:" Obviously influenced by Bambaataa's activism, KRS-1 brought together the biggest names in New York Hip Hop for a video to raise awarness about the horrors of street violence and "Black on Black" crime.
9)"Straight Outta Compton:" While we're on the subject of street violence, you are now about to witness the strenght of street knowledge:
8) "Mama Said Knock You Out:" LL Cool J was considered past his prime after the release of Walkin' w/ a Panther, but this song put him back on the map & began his upward tragectory, just don't call it a comeback.
7)"My Philosophy:" Boogie Down Productions was leading the postive, socially conscious rap of the late '80s & it was this song that really paved the way for everything afterwards.
6) "Beyond this World:" The Jungle Brothers are still one of my favorite rap groups. The inovative produciton value, the P-Funk samples, the live drums and the hand percussion combined w/ their political lyrics to push the Native Tounges Posse in new directions.
5) "Children's Story:" Slick Rick... Rick the Ruler... MC Ricky D complete w/ Keystone Cops imagery!!!
4) "Midnight:" Before he was on Law and Order, Ice T was kicking some of that old school "6 in the Mornin'" shit.
3) "Doowutchalike:" Before Tupac became a hip-hop icon, he was in the DU posse. Check him out along w/ Shock G and a million cameo apperances by everyone from Biz Markie to Sandra Bernhardt... I wish I could find the longer version of this, but I suppose 5 minutes is plenty.
2) "Me, Myself, & I:" Amazing production, creative sampling, bizarre lyrics... and fantastic hair... oh, and a melody track lifted from Steely Dan.
1) "Blacksteel in the Hour of Chaos:" Chuck and Flav bring real rock from the rock: an unsual musical happening in a most unusual place:


josher said...

But do you like any rap?

stephanie said...

I kept thinking that picture of Ice-T reminded me of someone, I just figured it out... he kinda looks like Willow in that picture.

Elizabeth said...

Yo A+, I thought you forgot about PE until the very last minute. You really had me going.

jason said...

These are your own personal picks I assume? How could you leave out Kwame?

Andre said...

I was wondering if you were going to ask that. Yes, they are my personal picks, but he wasn't included for 2 reasons. 1) While I dug his songs at the time, his videos weren't that great, and 2) the songs don't hold up well over time. It's a list of videos though, not songs. I'm not a huge fan of "Children's Story," but the video is cool. In fact, I always thought it should have a better song to go with it.

Andre said...

he does look like Willow... weird. I wonder if anyone has ever told Willow he looks like Ice T. I bet you're the first person to see the connection.