>Middle class white boy discusses music from da streetz

>First blog in a little while and I’m going to keep on with the Five choices format. Today’s choice reveals me as a massive cliché but so be it.

Hip Hop

I’m well aware that arguments continue to rage over whether a distinction exists between rap music and hip hop music. For the purposes of this blog there isn’t – as you will notice from my choice I am far from a purist in this area and will happily embrace the mainstream when the results are good. I won’t divert to a tangent but quite honestly I haven’t heard a genuinely exciting mainstream hiphop album for as long as I can remember. Not even the return of Jay-Z has challenged my view that the genre is in a rut as despite good moments even the ‘greatest of all time’ has failed to recapture the brilliance of times gone by. In light of this my choices may appear a little dated and undoubtedly reflect a time when hip hop was far more prominent in my musical consciousness than it has been in recent years.

Fu Gee La by The Fugees
This is where it all began for me. A football mad, Oasis obsessed early teen sat down to watch a basketball show and was blown away when NBA 24/7 spent five minutes focusing on a trio of rappers who were making waves in the states. The track they focussed on was Fu Gee La and I was immediately hooked. I remember chatting excitedly at school to my good friend Joe who had long since embraced the hip hop/basketball culture and was good enough to humour me as I rambled on about my ‘discovery.’ Everything about this song is exciting – the subdued intro crashed into by Wyclef demanding attention, the simple yet hypnotic hook, the complimentary yet dramatically different lyrical delivery and of course THAT chorus which once in the brain never lets go. The crucial element of any rap song is the lyrics and it was the subject matter that most excited this thirteen year old British white boy from a northern backwater. It is safe to say that Brit pop tales of Mancunia or Essex surburbia never included lyrics like ‘Stevie Wonder sees crack babies becoming enemies of their own families.’ The confirmation that this discovery was going to have a huge impact on musical palette was my Dad’s furious reaction when I put The Score on in his car. I am proud to have inherited my Dad’s musical taste and was fortunate to have a musical upbringing of Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Despite this though every teenager is keen to find their own identity and distinguish themselves from their parents – Lauren, Pras and Wyclef had shown me the way.

That’s your lot, please comment whether praise or criticism.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. >It’s easy to forget how big the Fugees were, and how good The Score is. Perhaps The Score is the Hip Hop equivalent of Appetite for Destruction? I’ve still got the cassette copy I made from Oxley’s CD, as well as a tape copy of Biggie’s Life After Death, which I mistakenly handed to Mrs Rutter thinking it was my oral French homework tape. Happy days.(BTW Tom, you’ve embedded the Method Man video twice.)

  2. >Duder.Really good blog. Totally agree about modern hip-hop. People have been crying about the death of hip-hop since the mid 90s but there was actually a really good underground revival in the early 2000s lead by Rawkus and Def Jux. Both of those labels are fucked now and nobody has taken their place. Hip-hop is now either R&B with rapping in it or really dull underground rap. There's probably some good stuff left but who can be arsed to find it? MF Doom's last album (Born Like This) was pretty good but even that was nowhere near his 2000-2005 golden era.I remember seeing Fu Gee La on NBA 24/7 as well. I wasn't really that in to hip-hop then myself. The Score opened the door for me. After that is was all about buying shit gangsta rap from Our Price until I got on the internet and discovered Undergroup Hip-Hop.Fortunately, there was so much quality put out between '88 and '95 that I'm still discovering new groups now.

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