Here are some highlights from Hip Hop In Context Class #2. So, among many other things (which you'll see below) we were talking about sampling for a while. And he played a couple original tracks, then the songs that sampled them. There's this song called "Players" by Slum Village.The song J. Dilla sampled to make it was called "Clair" and it's by The Singers Unlimited (the sample Dilla used begins at 2:18 in the video below). It sounds like some white boys singing some Quartet sounding shit, lol. Might not really be that, but it was the most white bread shit. So, he got to the part where Dilla sampled, and because I know the song, I could already hear it, but then he slowed the record down to the same speed of the sample. He did that live, then eventually scratched in the Slum Village song to show the final product. That was pretty dope, and as I said, because I knew the song, I could hear it ahead of time. It was like I had already seen a movie, and knew what the next scene was and got hype before it came up. The kind of moment you tap the person next to you and say "Yo, watch this part!" in.
The Singers Unlimited - Clair
Slum Village - Player
The shit that had me really buggin was when he did the same thing with the song Pete Rock sampled to make "T.R.O.Y." I didn't know Pete actually sampled the song twice to make that song. One sample was for the baseline, and the other was the horns. And he said Pete knew the chords, he figured out how to fit one sample on top of the other. The song he sampled for TROY is called "Today" and it's by Tom Scott. Another thing I never knew was Run from Run DMC used to be Kurtis Blow's DJ. This was before he was Run. His name then was "Son Of Kurtis Blow". Lol. We also talked about different flows in Hip hop. How guys like Big Daddy Kane and Rakim differed from Kurtis Blow and Run DMC. I raised my hand while we were talking about Rakim and made a point that I had seen in a Youtube clip. In the clip Rakim is talking to KRS One. In it Ra tells him that when he was younger he played the sax. So, when he started rapping his thought was making his rhymes sound melodic like a sax. So, he'd come up with the melody, then fit his words into it. Which blew my mind the first time I heard that, but it made so much sense. Cuz if you've heard Rakim rap, you've always heard that melodic style, but just didn't know why or how his shit was like that. But hearing that makes the light come on in your mind.
Rakim On His Rhyme Style
Anyway, you can read some of the other notes I wrote down that night. I've also provided links to some of the things referenced in here.
Early rappers dressed like Funk and Rock groups to attracts similar audiences. For example if Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five were opening for Parliament Funkadelic they would dress similar to them so they could fit in.
Reganomics set a tone for America. Lots of poor and disenfranchised people felt the brunt of President Reagan and his policies.
“Hip Hop was born out of struggle” – 9th Wonder
MTV changed the game. They made it possible for audiences to see the artists. For some this was a good thing, for others it was the kiss of death. As the song said, “Video killed the radio star”. Also, songs would break on MTV before they got to radio in some cases. MTV also was known for not playing music by black artists.
WLIB --> WBLS: WLIB which, later became known as WBLS was founded by Percy Sutton. Sutton was Malcolm X’s lawyer. He also did business with Malcolm’s wife Betty Shabazz and David Dinkins, who would later become the Mayor of New York City. Sutton was also a key player in creating Showtime At The Apollo. When he started the radio station he didn’t want them to play rap music. Many others felt the same way, and Hip Hop had a hard time finding a home on the radio.
Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and Whoodini were some early, well known rap groups. Kurtis Blow was one of the first, if not thee first solo act to make it big. In addition to his own career, Kurtis helped launch the career of another Hip Hop Legend and pioneer. His DJ who was originally knows as "The Son Of Kurtis Blow". He later became known as Run from Run DMC. Run is the younger brother of Russell Simmons. Kurtis Blow gave Run th job as is DJ because of this. It was a favor to Russell.
In the early 80’s Clive Davis was working at CBS Records. At the time he had a young Michael Jackson signed to the label. Davis tried to get MTV to play MJ’s “Beat It” video, but the network rejected that request. So, in response to that Davis threatened to pull all the music videos from CBS Records off of MTV’s airwaves. MTV caved into that threat, and “Beat It” became the first video from a black artist played on MTV.
Run DMC’s “Walk This Way” video was the first Hip Hop video played on MTV. The song and video featured Aerosmith.
Run DMC was Hip Hop’s first super group, but they weren’t signed to Def Jam, despite Run (Joey Simmons) being Def Jam Co-Founder Russell Simmons younger brother. Run DMC was signed to Profile Records.
Def Jam Records: Founded by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons in Rick’s dorm room at NYU. Rick was the music guy, Russell was the promotions guy.
T La Rock was Def Jam’s first artist. His song “It’s Yours”(released in 1984), later inspired Wu-Tang Clan’s song “It’s Yourz” (released on 1997 on the album Wu-Tang Forever), which later went on to inspire Drake’s “Wu-Tang Forever” (released in 2013).
T La Rock - It's Yours
Wu-Tang Clan - It's Yourz
Drake - Wu-Tang Forever
LL Cool J was Def Jam’s second artist. He signed at age 16. His deal was for 13 albums. LL was known as a great MC and one of the first to make music that spoke about emotion, love, etc.
Rick Rubin found the Beastie Boys in New York’s Punk Rock scene. They were some of the first artists that drug dealers played in their cars. Their music had lots of bass. It sounded good in the car as you drove down the block.
In 1987 Chuck D and Flavor Flav hosted a radio at Adelphi University. Chuck was 28 at the time and rejected offers to sign with Def Jam Records for 6 months. In that time Rick Rubin would call him once a week offering him a deal. Chuck felt he was too old to become a rapper. Eventually he decided to give it a shot, but he informed Rick he had an entire movement with him. That movement included Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Terminator X, and the S1W’s. So, if Rick wanted him, he would have to take on all of Public Enemy. PE modeled themselves after the Black Panthers.
“Chuck D was my first black history teacher” – 9th Wonder
“The West Coast version of Public Enemy was a group called NWA” – 9th Wonder
The 5% Nation Of Gods And Earths had a heavy influence on Hip Hop music, slang, culture, etc. MC’s like Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane were some of the major players in bringing the Gods to Hip Hop.
Click the seal to learn more about the 5% Nation. ^^^
Sampling: “Repetition with a difference” – 9th Wonder … Sampling is taking something (music) and making it yours. Taking something old and introducing it to a new audience. For example the earlier point about T. La Rock, Wu-Tang, and Drake.
“Tribe is our Earth, Wind, And Fire” – 9th Wonder
“We’re learning how to put Hip Hop in a classic space” – 9th Wonder
The movie Beat Street was funded by Harry Belefonte. The film’s main character, Kenny “Double K” Kirkland was played by Guy Davis. He’s the son of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
Pete Rock sampled “Today” by Tom Scott twice to make the beat for “T.R.O.Y”. One sample was for the baseline, the other was the horns. Because he knew the chord progression, he was able to fit them together properly to get the desired effect.