A rainy night and some time to mess around in iTunes and YouTube looking up some old music. Believe it or not, in the very late 80’s/early 90’s I got right into hip-hop/rap music. I think from memory it all started when some good family friends (I’m looking at you, Tim & Phil) visited the US and brought back a bunch of CDs, primarily one called 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul. This CD was a defining point for me, I’d never heard anything quite like it, so completely different. It’s still one of my favourite albums.
Around that time and thereon in, I can remember staying up to all hours watching the then Richard Wilkins hosted MTV Australia show for the latest hip-hop videos, going to the HMV store in Chatswood to check out the singles on 45 rpm vinyl, going into the Virgin Megastore at Darling Harbour to check out the latest singles on tape and staying up later still to watch rage on the ABC.
I still love the early stuff: The Message and White Lines by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, anything by Run D.M.C., particularly their Tougher Than Leather album. There was a DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince phase, most haven’t lasted the test of time, I’m looking at you Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble, whilst others like Summertime have fared much better. Public Enemy rates highly, I can still remember every word on their earlier albums: Yo! Bum Rush the Show, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91 - The Enemy Strikes Back- solid gold. Who could not love 911 is a Joke?
Beastie Boy’s are still my all-time favourites, I can remember the day that Tim picked up Paul’s Boutique on tape and brought it over to my house. I’m not sure I appreciated it much that day, however it is without doubt my number one favourite and still the most listened to album I own.
Other notables like Digital Underground - Doowutchalike, N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton, A Tribe Called Quest - I Left My Wallet In El Segundo, LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out, Jungle Brothers - Beyond This World, Eric B. & Rakim - Paid In Full, anything by 2 Live Crew (ha) and not forgetting the grand-daddy Ice-T with classic albums like The Iceberg and Power and songs like Highrollers, I’m Your Pusher and Colors.