I’m going way back today. Back in time. To Omaha , Nebraska circa. 1979. I had just returned back to the world from living in West Germany (cuz the wall was still up) and I was getting my music game up. Now there was a music section in the P.X. which was pretty up to date with funk, soul and rock and such. Germans were in love with disco, so I had a pretty diverse and extensive collection of music. I was still in the process of getting used to a new school when I heard what I thought was Chic‘s Good Times being played but it sounded like the DJ talking over it. A lot. That was my first contact with Rap. Now I know everybody shits on The Sugarhill Gang now, but they were my into to Hip Hop and I hold no animosity towards them.
Go forward about 3 years, and rap is growing and going strong. During the summer, most of my friends and I would go somewhere on vacation with our parents and come back from Virginia or D.C.; wherever, and bring back whatever music we would find there and battle it out. See who brought back the best stuff. I was rockin’ the turntable boombox combo (my dad got it while TDY, yes it was the shit), and I had we had a few rap songs, mostly funk and soul stuff. My friend Ray’s big older brother came out (we rarely saw or got to talk to him) and play us The Message. THE MESSAGE! There are very few songs where I remember where or when I first hears them, but this was the song, the game changer. The Golden Age of rap is said to be the late 80s – early 90s, but this was the song that inspired it. Rap went from just boasting and parties to having a conscience. To being aware of its surroundings and showing people what was actually going on in New York. The most important rap song made? No question.
We were just stunned. It was like we knew what that song would come to be. I couldn’t wait to tape it! And Ricky wouldn’t share it. Would not lend that shit out. To anyone. Not even Ray. Oh, he was all kinds of Mother Fuckers. We had to wait like another 2-3 years before it got to Omaha.
Anyway, that’s where my love for Hip Hop started. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I have is on tape or CD. i have a few on record that haven’t been stolen or lent out and forgotten, and today you get a taste.
Ladies and Gentlemen:Hard Times- Kurtis Blow
Freaks at The Dixie- Fantastic Freaks
The Truth– Grandmaster Melle Mel and The Furious Five
D’Ya Like Scratchin’- Malcolm McLaren