Friday, June 14, 2019

Gang Starr

Gang Starr was an American hip hop duo, originating in Brooklyn, New York , consisting of MC Guru and DJ/producer DJ Premier. Some of their top hits include "Mass Appeal", "Take It Personal" and "Above The Clouds".

The original Gang Starr group was founded in Boston, Massachusetts by Guru (then known as MC Keithy E.) and DJ 1, 2 B-Down (also known as Mike Dee) with various producers, such as Donald D, J.V. Johnson or The 45 King helping out, their earliest recordings were in 1986 where they made various demos. In 1987 and 1988, Gang Starr released three 12" vinyl singles on Wild Pitch Records.

In 1989, the group split and the only member willing to continue under the name was Guru. He soon got in touch with Houston, Texas native DJ Premier (then known as Waxmaster C) who sent him a beat tape, which Guru liked.He invited DJ Premier to join Gang Starr and in that same year they released their first single "Words I Manifest" along with the album No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989). In 1990, the group was signed to the Chrysalis record label by then A&R director Duff Marlowe, a former DJ and Los Angeles Times rap music critic. The London-based label offered Guru and Premier unlimited artistic license and major-label distribution worldwide, a platform the group used to become one of the most influential hip hop acts of that decade. During their career Gang Starr helped pioneer the New York City hardcore hip hop sound. The entire Gang Starr catalog, especially Step in the Arena (1990), Daily Operation (1992), Hard to Earn (1994) and Moment of Truth (1998) are well respected among underground rap fans and critics. Gang Starr provided a track, Battle, for the sound track of the 2002 movie 8 Mile. Their track "Jazz Thing" was featured on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's film Mo' Better Blues.

After several albums and tours, in late 2002 DJ Premier left Europe back to the United States. Once again Guru was faced with continuing alone and became involved in a European tour in 2003-04 with an alternate DJ.

In 2006, Guru indicated in several interviews that Gang Starr had reached its end.

In February 2010, Guru suffered a heart attack, went into a coma, and died on April 19, 2010. Solar, a long-time collaborator of Guru, said Guru chose not to go public with the diagnosis of myeloma that was made in 2000. Guru appeared to have fallen out with DJ Premier seven years prior to his death and did "not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name, likeness, events, tributes, etc." There is speculation that the letter was not written by Guru, but was composed by Solar. The validity of the statement continues to be heavily questioned by Guru's family and many of his contemporaries within the Hip-Hop culture.

Soon after DJ Premier stated that there was a "posthumous Gang Starr CD/DVD project in the works," and most likely to have been released in 2014, but nothing has been released. Premier confirmed in late 2015 that he was working on a Gang Starr biopic with the cooperation of Guru's sister, Patricia Elam.


Fu-Schnickens

Fu-Schnickens were an American hip-hop trio from 1988 to 1995, based in Brooklyn, New York. The Fu-Schnickens' popularity was brief but significant in hip hop history.[ Their best-known track is 1993's "What's up, Doc? (Can We Rock)", which featured basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.

Fu-Schnickens was composed of Chip Fu (Roderick Roachford), Moc Fu (Joe Jones), and Poc Fu (Lennox Maturine). Fu stood for unity and schnicken was a made-up word that meant coalition. The three friends from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, first gained attention after performing at a hip hop event at Howard University, after which the group was signed by Jive Records. The group's debut single, "Ring the Alarm," hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart in 1992, which sparked anticipation for the group's debut album, F.U. Don't Take It Personal, and also inadvertently immortalized and ignited a new-found popularity for the original "Ring the Alarm," the signature tune of dancehall reggae singjay Tenor Saw from 1985, which the group sampled to create its track of the same name. Furthermore, with the hit singles "La Schmoove" (featuring Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest) and "True Fu-Schnick," the album reached the top 20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart  and was certified for gold-level sales by the RIAA.

In 1993, Fu-Schnickens began work on its second album. The group recorded a fast-paced song called "What's Up, Doc?" which featured a sample of Bugs Bunny saying his famous catchphrase. But the group could not get sample clearance from Warner Bros. so the song was shelved. Meanwhile, the then-rookie NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was a media sensation. In many interviews, he talked about his love of hip hop music and stated that the Fu-Schnickens were his favorite hip hop group. This prompted the group to contact O'Neal for a collaboration. O'Neal recorded a verse that was added on to the already-recorded "What's Up, Doc?" with the group and O'Neal saying "What's up, doc?" to replace the Bugs Bunny sample. Although the group had not yet completed work on its album, the song was quickly released as a single to capitalize on O'Neal's popularity. The single was a top-40 hit in the summer of 1993, which briefly propelled the group into the mainstream. The group's second album, Nervous Breakdown, did not arrive until 1994.

The group took part in a huge performance on the finale of The Arsenio Hall Show, alongside the likes of KRS-One, Wu-Tang Clan, Naughty by Nature, MC Lyte, Guru, Mad Lion, Yo-Yo, Das EFX, CL Smooth, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Fu-Schnickens is also notable for its many references to martial arts films and Asian culture before Wu-Tang Clan, which eventually helped make such references popular in hip hop music.


Nice & Smooth

Nice & Smooth is an East Coast hip hop duo from New York City that consists of Greg "Greg Nice" Mays and Daryl "Smooth B" Barnes, plus their deejay Tedd "DJ Teddy Tedd" Whiting. The duo released four albums between 1989 and 1997. Their first collaborative appearance was on the single "Dope on a Rope"/"Skill Trade" on Strange Family Records in 1987. On the strength of that underground single they managed a guest spot on the song "Pimpin Ain't Easy" by Big Daddy Kane on his 1989 album It's a Big Daddy Thing.

Nice & Smooth's biggest radio fame came from "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow" from the group's second album, Ain't a Damn Thing Changed, released in 1991. The song was a moderately somber rhyme with introspective lines about poverty, AIDS, and drugs that was set to the guitar loop from Tracy Chapman's hit "Fast Car". In the summer of 1992, the music video received heavy rotation on MTV. "Hip-Hop Junkies", which featured a sample from The Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" was also a hit, and it was once performed live on Keenen Ivory Wayans' comedy/variety TV show, In Living Color. The duo is known for their humorous rhymes and catchy hooks. They often appeared as guest emcees on albums by the Beatnuts, Gang Starr and Tony Touch, among many others. They were represented by Reggie Osse.

2Pac intended to sign Greg Nice to his Makaveli Records label and even recorded tracks with the duo for his One Nation album, which featured other artists such as Smif-N-Wessun, Luniz, Snoop Dogg. Trugoy from De La Soul paid homage to Nice & Smooth by using each member's rhyming style in verses on the song "Simply Havin'" from De La Soul's AOI: Bionix album.

Smooth B wrote rhymes for Bobby Brown that appeared on his debut album King of Stage and second album Don't Be Cruel. In 2005, he released a single titled "Game Over", produced by DJ Premier, and released a single in 2014 called "Set It Off".


EPMD

EPMD is an American hip hop duo from Brentwood, New York. The duo's name is a concatenation of the members' names "E" and "PMD" or an acronym for "Erick and Parrish Making Dollars", referencing its members: emcees Erick Sermon ("E" a.k.a. E Double) and Parrish Smith ("PMD" a.k.a. Parrish Mic Doc). During an interview on college radio station WHOV in 1987, Parrish Smith stated that the name evolved from the original: "We were originally known as "EEPMD" (Easy Erick and Parrish the Microphone Doctor), but chose to go with EPMD because it was easier to say." He also stated that they dropped the two "E's" because N.W.A.'s Eric Wright was already using "Eazy-E" as his stage name. The group has been active for 33 years (minus two breakups in 1993 and 1999), and is one of the most prominent acts in east coast hip hop. DJ K La Boss and DJ Scratch were DJs for the group and their current DJ is DJ Diamond J

The word "business" is used in every title of the group's albums. Every album also has a track with "Jane" in the title.

Hailing from Brentwood, Long Island, New York, EPMD's first album, Strictly Business, appeared in 1988 and featured the underground hit "Strictly Business," which sampled Eric Clapton's version of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff." Many critics cite this first album as the group's most influential.The group's brand of funk-fueled sample-heavy hip-hop proved to be a major force in the genre. Unlike old school hip hop, which was originally based on disco hits but eventually became more electronic, EPMD based its music mainly on lifting funk and rock breaks for samples and helped to popularize their usage, along with Marley Marl and Public Enemy. "You're a Customer" combined snippets of Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle," Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie, the bass line from ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" and drum beat (Roger Linn LM-2 machine). "Jane," about a romantic rendezvous gone bad, would be revisited on no less than five sequels; a first for hip-hop. "You Gots to Chill" used 1980s funk band Zapp's "More Bounce to the Ounce," which has become one of the most enduring sample sources for hip-hop. EPMD later appeared on the single "Everybody (Get Up)" by Zapp frontman Roger Troutman on his last solo album, Bridging The Gap, in 1991. "I'm Housin'" was covered some 12 years later by Rage Against the Machine. Managed early on by Russell Simmons' RUSH Management, the group toured with such hip-hop luminaries as Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.

EPMD signed with Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records, which eventually released its debut album, Strictly Business, by electro funk pioneer Kurtis Mantronik, who also worked as an A&R representative for the label. Propelled by several strong singles ("You Gots to Chill" and the album's title track), the album was eventually certified gold, selling over 500,000 copies[citation needed], as did 1989's follow-up, Unfinished Business. Financial frustrations followed when Sleeping Bag went under in 1992. The two EPMD albums and Nice & Smooth's debut album were acquired by Priority/EMI Records before the label was sold to Warlock Records. The duo's Sleeping Bag contract was acquired by Def Jam. EPMD returned in 1990 with Business As Usual and Business Never Personal two years later. By 1992, the group presided over an extended family dubbed the Hit Squad, which included Redman, K-Solo, Das EFX, Hurricane G, and Knucklehedz.

In 1992, EPMD had a hit with its song "Crossover," which lamented rappers making blatant concessions to pop sensibilities in order to get mainstream attention from music audiences. The song became a hit, peaking at No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and in doing so becoming their biggest hit to date.

EPMD called it quits in 1993, under controversial circumstances. According to interviews in The Source and Rap Pages, in late 1991, Smith's house was burglarized by armed intruders. According to Smith, in the ensuing police investigation, one of the apprehended culprits supposedly gave up Sermon's name as having allegedly paid them to do it. Sermon was arrested and briefly detained for questioning, but no charges were filed. Still, it led to lingering tensions, and by the time of the break-up, Sermon alleged financial impropriety on Smith's part. The duo found itself as solo artists by default: Sermon debuted in 1993 with No Pressure, followed by Double or Nothing (1995), Def Squad Presents Erick Onasis (2000), Music (2001), and React (2002). Smith made his statements on 1994's Shade Business, followed by Business is Business in 1996

The duo reunited in 1997, recording a comeback LP, Back in Business. In 1998, a remix of the song "Strictly Business" appeared by the A&R man who signed the duo while at Fresh/Sleeping Bag, Kurtis Mantronik. Sermon released an album with Redman and Keith Murray as the Def Squad in 1998: El Niño was certified gold[citation needed] that same year. EPMD's last LP, Out of Business, was released in 1999 as both a single CD and a limited edition double CD. The limited edition double CD contained both new material and rerecorded versions of its greatest hits. Smith released The Awakening (2003) on his own Hit Squad label, and Sermon released Chilltown, N.Y. (2004) on Motown/Universal. A Hit Squad compilation LP (overseen by Smith, featuring a new EPMD track) was released on Nervous Recordings in 2004.

A reunited EPMD with DJ Scratch performed live at the Rock the Bells Tour in New York on October 14, 2006 at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, their first NYC show in eight years. The tour also featured former Hit Squad members Keith Murray, Das EFX, and Redman. YouTube currently hosts a number of videos of the EPMD reunion concert.

Two months later, EPMD and Keith Murray released a new song, titled "The Main Event," produced by DJ Knowhow. In the March 2007 issue of Swedish hip-hop magazine Quote, Erick Sermon and Parish Smith talked about whether the duo planned to record together again. On its recent tour, the group announced that it was working on a new album, tentatively titled We Mean Business.

On June 27, 2007, the group appeared on BET's Rap City to freestyle. EPMD's new single, "Blow", was released on vinyl from Unique Distribution during August 2007 as a prelude to a new album that was to be released in 2008. The song instantly became a regular feature on the Funkmaster Flex show. The same month, the duo made a number of surprise live appearances, including the Rock the Bells tour with Rage Against The Machine, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, Mos Def and others.

In June 2008, during an interview with HipHopGame, Erick and Parish confirmed that We Mean Business would be released on September 9. The album eventually emerged in December 2008, and featured guest appearances from the likes of KRS-One and Redman amongst others. In the end of the interview, they mentioned the possibility of a Hit Squad/Def Squad double disc album, but that they had problems with K-Solo.

On August 3, 2008, EPMD joined Method Man & Redman on stage at the Rock The Bells concert at Jones Beach, New York.

The following month, EPMD took the stage as part of AllHipHop.com's Breeding Ground event at S.O.B.'s in New York City. The duo performed many of their early hits and featured Keith Murray as a guest.

In March 2011, EPMD performed at the Lawyer4Musicians Hiphop showcase at Venue 222 in Austin, Texas. It was the duo's first time performing in Austin, where they performed many of their early hits as well as cover songs and freestyle rhymes.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Jungle Brothers

Jungle Brothers is an American hip hop group composed of Michael Small (Mike Gee), Nathaniel Hall (Afrika Baby Bam), and Sammy Burwell (DJ Sammy B). Known as the pioneers of the fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and house music, they were the first hip-hop group to collaborate with a house-music producer. The trio released their debut album, Straight Out the Jungle in July 1988. Their hip-house club hit single, "I'll House You" was added to the album in late-1988 reissues. The single was the first non-Chicago hip-house record. It changed the course of hip-hop and dance music by expanding it. Fostered by Kool DJ Red Alert, the Jungle Brothers success would pave the way for De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and eventually the Native Tongues collective which they founded.

Their first album, Straight Out the Jungle, was released on an independent record label (Warlock). Soon after they were signed by Warner Bros. Records, with whom the group released Done By the Forces of Nature in November 1989. In 1990, the Jungle Brothers contributed the song "I Get a Kick" to the Cole Porter tribute album "Red Hot + Blue" produced by the Red Hot Organization. Following a four-year break, the Jungle Brothers returned in 1993 with J Beez Wit the Remedy.

Jungle Brothers involved themselves with an emerging Hip Hop organization called Ill Crew Universal (ICU) which released worldwide compilation albums and supported independent Hip Hop artists. Their fifth album, V.I.P. was produced by Alex Gifford of Propellerheads and, during production, they added their vocal stylings to the Propellerheads tracks "Take California (And Party)" and "You Want It Back". Their latest album to contain new releases is 2002's All That We Do.

In 2001, their song "What's the Five 0" was featured in the music video game FreQuency.

In 2004, the Jungle Brothers joined with British producer Mr On to produce "Breathe (Don't Stop)", a version of "Breathe and Stop" by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, combined with a sample of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (the idea was taken from a bootleg remix combining vocals from "Breathe and Stop" and music from "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough").

In 2005, the Jungle Brothers released a greatest hits and classic remixes and rarities double album, This Is..., which included remixes by The Wiseguys, Urban Takeover, Natural Born Chillers, and Stereo MCs.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wild Style

Wild Style is an American 1983 hip hop film directed and produced by Charlie Ahearn. Released theatrically in September 1982 by First Run Features and later re-released for home video by Rhino Home Video, it is regarded as the first hip hop motion picture. The film included seminal figures such as Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quiñones, Lady Pink, The Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, Queen Lisa Lee of Zulu Nation, Grandmaster Flash and Zephyr. The protagonist "Zoro" is played by New York graffiti artist "Lee" George Quiñones.

2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the film. Producers proposed a 2013 Blu-ray edition that would include additional interviews and features.

An early version of the Wild Style logo appeared in 1981 when Charlie Ahearn hired graffiti writer Dondi to paint the 'window down' subway car piece that appears in the film. The Dondi piece was the inspiration for the animated title sequence designed by the artist, Zephyr and animated by Joey Ahlbum in 1982.  The Wild Style mural was painted by Zephyr, Revolt and Sharp in 1983. Charlie Ahearn and Fab 5 Freddy began working on the film on late 1981. The approach was a hybrid of a narrative musical and documentary, having the real hip hop pioneers play themselves in a loosely scripted story shot entirely in the South Bronx, the Lower East Side and MTA subway yards.

Wild Style takes place in 1981 in New York and centers around graffiti artists, Zoro (played by Lee Quiñones) and his encounters with an uptown journalist named, Virginia (played by Patti Astor). More so than its story, however, the film is notable for featuring several prominent figures from early hip hop culture such as Busy Bee Starski, Fab Five Freddy, The Cold Crush Brothers and Grandmaster Flash. Throughout the movie there are scenes depicting activities common in the early days of hip hop. These include MCing, turntablism, graffiti and b-boying. The film demonstrates the interconnections between music, dance and art in the development of hip hop culture.

Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 88% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 17 reviews. A review from The Guardian noted that despite the low production values, 'nothing else comes close to capturing the atmosphere of the early days of hip-hop and spraycan art

The film has received a large cult following over the years after its initial release. Highly regarded hip hop albums such as Illmatic by Nas, Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sunday by Cypress Hill, Resurrection by Common, Big Shots by Charizma, Operation: Doomsday by MF Doom, Check Your Head by Beastie Boys, Beat Konducta by Madlib, Jay Stay Paid by J Dilla and Quality Control by Jurassic 5 have used samples from the film. In 2007, the VH1 Hip Hop Honors paid tribute to Wild Style in recognition of its influence upon the culture. The film was also voted as one of the top ten rock and roll films of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The film has been exhibited as part of a 1980s art retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.


Lady B

Wendy Clark, better known by her stage name Lady B, is an American female rapper and radio DJ from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is one of the earliest female rappers in hip hop, and one of the first hip hop artists to record a single, "To the Beat, Y'all", in 1979. She began her career with radio station WHAT in 1979, and recorded her first single later that year, "To the Beat Y'all".The song, the title of which became a stock rap phrase, was first released by TEC, a local Philadelphia-based record label, and released again in 1980 by Sylvia Robinson's rap label, Sugar Hill Records.

Clark recorded her first single, "To the Beat, Y'all" on the Sugar Hill Record label in 1979.

her the title as Godmother of hip-hop. She is one of the first DJs to play rap records on the radio outside New York, playing artists such as Will Smith and Soulsonic Force at the start of their careers. She had encountered the New York City rap scene while traveling with World B.Free, ex-player of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team.
In 1979, Mary Mason on WRNB 100.3 gave Lady B her own weekend show, which transformed into a success and brought hip hop to the radio in Philly. and was a large success.

In 1984, Lady B moved to Philadelphia's Power 99 FM and started the program The Street Beat, which blew the radio station's ratings through the roof. She ran this program until 1989. She later broadcast for Sirius Satellite Radio in New York City. She also worked for WRNB 100.3 in Philadelphia until she was dismissed in December 2017


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