Golden age hip hop

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Hip hop's golden age is a name given to a period in mainstream hip hop, usually cited as being a period varying in time frames during the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s said to be characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation and influence.[1][2][3][4][5][6] There were various types of subject matter, while the music was experimental and the sampling eclectic.[7] The artists most often associated with the phrase are Run–D.M.C., Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, Slick Rick, and the Jungle Brothers.[8] Releases by these acts co-existed in this period with, and were as commercially viable as, those of early gangsta rap artists such as Ice-T, Geto Boys and N.W.A, the sex raps of 2 Live Crew and Too Short, and party-oriented music by acts such as Kid 'n Play, The Fat Boys, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and MC Hammer.[9]

Style[edit]

The golden age is noted for its innovation – a time "when it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre"[2] according to Rolling Stone. Referring to "hip-hop in its golden age",[10] Spin's editor-in-chief Sia Michel says, "there were so many important, groundbreaking albums coming out right about that time",[10] and MTV's Sway Calloway adds: "The thing that made that era so great is that nothing was contrived. Everything was still being discovered and everything was still innovative and new".[11] Writer William Jelani Cobb says "what made the era they inaugurated worthy of the term golden was the sheer number of stylistic innovations that came into existence... in these golden years, a critical mass of mic prodigies were literally creating themselves and their art form at the same time".[12]

One of the definitive characteristics of the golden age of hip-hop is the proliferation of sample-heavy music. These samples were derived from a number of genres, ranging from jazz to rock & roll. Much of the sample-laden albums that were release during this time would not be able to receive legal clearance in today’s day and age.[13]

It also provided some of the greatest advances in rapping technique - Kool G Rap, referring to the golden age in the book How to Rap says, "that era bred rappers like a Big Daddy Kane, a KRS-One, a Rakim, a Chuck D. . . their rapping capability and ability — these dudes were phenomenal".[14][15]

Many of hip-hop's biggest artists were also at their creative peak – Allmusic says the golden age, "witnessed the best recordings from some of the biggest rappers in the genre's history... overwhelmingly based in New York City, golden age rap is characterized by skeletal beats, samples cribbed from hard rock or soul tracks, and tough dis raps... rhymers like PE's Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Rakim, and LL Cool J basically invented the complex wordplay and lyrical kung-fu of later hip-hop".[16]

There was also often an emphasis on black nationalism – hip-hop scholar Michael Eric Dyson states, "during the golden age of hip hop, from 1987 to 1993, Afrocentric and black nationalist rap were prominent",[17] and critic Scott Thill says, "the golden age of hip hop, the late '80s and early '90s when the form most capably fused the militancy of its Black Panther and Watts Prophets forebears with the wide-open cultural experimentalism of De La Soul and others".[18]

Stylistic variety was also prominent – MSNBC says in the golden age, "rappers had an individual sound that was dictated by their region and their communities, not by a marketing strategist"[3] and Village Voice refers to the golden age's "eclecticism".[19]

Along with focusing on black nationalism, hip hop artists often talked about urban poverty. This brought a great deal of listeners to the genre who were struggling with poverty and were coping with the scourge of alcohol, drugs, and gangs in their communities. Public Enemy's most influential song came out at the time of urban poverty called "Fight the Power." The song speaks up to the government proclaiming that people in the ghetto have the freedom of speech and rights like every other American. One line in the song by Public Enemy, "We got to pump the stuff to make us tough from the heart," grasped the listeners attention and gave them motivation to speak out for themselves.[20]

Time period[edit]

Allmusic writes, "Hip-hop's golden age is bookended by the commercial breakthrough of Run–D.M.C. in 1986 and the explosion of gangsta rap with NWA in the late 80s and Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg in 1993 ",[16] However, the specific time period that the golden age covers varies among different sources. The New York Times also defines hip-hop's golden age as the "late 1980's and early 90's".[21] Ed Simmons of The Chemical Brothers says, "there was that golden age of hip-hop in the early 90s when the Jungle Brothers made Straight Out the Jungle and De La Soul made Three Feet High and Rising"[22] (though these records were in fact made in 1988 and 1989 respectively). MSNBC states, "the "Golden Age" of hip-hop music: "The '80s".[3]

In the book Contemporary Youth Culture, the "golden age era" is described as being "from 1987–1999", coming after "the old school era: from 1979 to 1985".[23] In Icons of Hip Hop [Two Volumes] [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture (Greenwood Icons) the golden age of hip hop is described by scholar Mickey Hess as "circa 1986-1994."[23]

Music critic Tony Green, in the book Classic Material, refers to the two-year period 1993–1994 as "a second Golden Age" that saw influential, high quality albums using elements of past classicism – E-mu SP-1200 drum sounds, turntable scratches, references to old school hip hop hits, and "tongue-twisting triplet verbalisms" – while making clear that new directions were being taken. Green lists as examples the Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Nas' Illmatic, De La Soul's 1993 release Buhloone Mindstate, Snoop Doggy Dogg's Doggystyle, A Tribe Called Quest's third album Midnight Marauders and the Outkast debut Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.[4]

According to copyright, music, and pop culture scholars Kembrew Mcleod and Peter DiCola, the Golden Age of Hip-Hop Sampling extends spans from 1987-1992. Artists and Record Labels were not yet aware of the permanence of hip-hop culture in mainstream media, and did not yet accept it as a legitimate institution. They believe the ruling made in Grand Upright Music v. Warner Brothers Records marked the end of the golden age of hip-hop and its sampling practices.[24]

Relevant legal cases[edit]

Grand Upright Music v. Warner Brothers Records[edit]

"The lawsuit known as that which effectively ended the 'Wild West' period for sampling during the Golden Age of Hip-Hop."[25] In 1991, Gilbert O'Sullivan's song publisher sued Warner Brothers Records over the use of the original in Biz Markie's song "Alone Again." No copyright case precedents were cited in the ruling of the final verdict, and the presiding judge's opinion was prefaced with the words "Thou Shalt not Steal."[26]

The Turtles v. De La Soul[edit]

The sixties pop band The Turtles filed a lawsuit in 1989 against hip-hop group De La Soul for the uncleared use of a sampled element derived from their original 1968 track "You Showed Me." The lawsuit was settled out of court for a reported $1.7 million, though group members later claimed that the actual payout was significantly less.[26]

Notable artists[edit]

According to a number of sources, such as; Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Allmusic, The Age, MSNBC, and author William Jelani Cobb, the following were key artists in the golden Age of Hip-hop[3][9][11][12][16][19][23][27][28][29] [30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Slick Rick: Behind Bars"[dead link]
  2. ^ a b Cheo H. Coker, "Slick Rick: Behind Bars", Rolling Stone, March 9, 1995.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d The '80s were golden age of hip-hop - Entertainment - Music - TODAY.com
  4. ^ a b Green, Tony, in Wang, Oliver (ed.) Classic Material, Toronto: ECW Press, 2003. (p. 132)
  5. ^ Jon Caramanica, "Hip-Hop's Raiders of the Lost Archives", New York Times, June 26, 2005.
    Cheo H. Coker, "Slick Rick: Behind Bars", Rolling Stone, March 9, 1995.
    Lonnae O'Neal Parker, "U-Md. Senior Aaron McGruder's Edgy Hip-Hop Comic Gets Raves, but No Takers", Washington Post, Aug 20 1997.
  6. ^ Jake Coyle of Associated Press, "Spin magazine picks Radiohead CD as best", published in USA Today, June 19, 2005.
    Cheo H. Coker, "Slick Rick: Behind Bars", Rolling Stone, March 9, 1995.
    Andrew Drever, "Jungle Brothers still untamed", The Age [Australia], October 24, 2003.
  7. ^ Roni Sariq, "Crazy Wisdom Masters", City Pages, April 16, 1997.
    Scott Thill, "Whiteness Visible" AlterNet, May 6, 2005.
    Will Hodgkinson, "Adventures on the wheels of steel", The Guardian, September 19, 2003.
  8. ^ Per Coker, Hodgkinson, Drever, Thill, O'Neal Parker and Sariq above. Additionally:
    Cheo H. Coker, "KRS-One: Krs-One", Rolling Stone, November 16, 1995.
    Andrew Pettie, "'Where rap went wrong'", Daily Telegraph, August 11, 2005.
    Mosi Reeves, "Easy-Chair Rap", Village Voice, January 29th 2002.
    Greg Kot, "Hip-Hop Below the Mainstream", Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2001.
    Cheo Hodari Coker, "'It's a Beautiful Feeling'", Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1996.
    Scott Mervis, "From Kool Herc to 50 Cent, the story of rap -- so far", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 15, 2004.
  9. ^ a b Bakari Kitwana,"The Cotton Club", Village Voice, June 21, 2005.
  10. ^ a b Jake Coyle of Associated Press, "Spin magazine picks Radiohead CD as best", published in USA Today, June 19, 2005.
  11. ^ a b Scott Mervis, "From Kool Herc to 50 Cent, the story of rap – so far", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 15, 2004.
  12. ^ a b Cobb, Jelani William, 2007, To the Break of Dawn, NYU Press, p. 47.
  13. ^ McLeod, Kembrew & Kuenzli, Rudolf E. “Crashing the Spectacle: A Forgotten History of Digital Sampling, Infringement, Copyright Liberation and the End of Recorded Music.” Culture Machine.
  14. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Dave Shewring, Chicago Review Press, p. vii.
  15. ^ Rap Radar :: How To Rap: Kool G Rap (Foreword)
  16. ^ a b c http://www.allmusic.com/explore/style/d12014
  17. ^ Dyson, Michael Eric, 2007, Know What I Mean?, Westview Press, p. 64.
  18. ^ Scott Thill, "Whiteness Visible" AlterNet, May 6, 2005.
  19. ^ a b Mosi Reeves, "Easy-Chair Rap", Village Voice, January 29th 2002.
  20. ^ Public Enemy, [1] Lyricsdepot, May 25, 2008.
  21. ^ Jon Caramanica, "Hip-Hop's Raiders of the Lost Archives", New York Times, June 26, 2005
  22. ^ Will Hodgkinson, "Adventures on the wheels of steel", The Guardian, September 19, 2003.
  23. ^ a b c Steinberg, Shirley R., 2006, Contemporary Youth Culture, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 361.
  24. ^ DiCola, Peter & Mcleod, Kembrew. “Creative License: The Law & Culture of Digital Sampling.” Duke University Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0822348757
  25. ^ Passman, Donald. “Everything you need to know about the music business 8th Edition.” Free Press. 2012. ISBN 978-1451682465
  26. ^ a b DiCola, Peter & Mcleod, Kembrew. “Creative License: The Law & Culture of Digital Sampling p. 132” Duke University Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0822348757
  27. ^ Cheo H. Coker, "KRS-One: Krs-One", Rolling Stone, November 16, 1995.
  28. ^ Andrew Drever, "Jungle Brothers still untamed", The Age [Australia], October 24, 2003.
  29. ^ http://www.herohill.com/2010/07/old-school-mondays-a-lighter-shade-of-brown.htm
  30. ^ DJ Flash, "MTV Bio" | 2012, pg.1 http://www.mtv.com/artists/king-mc-dj-flash/ Retrieved 27-07-2014