Hip Hop 101: Every City Has a History-Here’s Early LA Hip Hop

Rich Cason & FormulaV

When it comes to Hip Hop every city has its own pioneers and their own unique special history.. Some of it was influenced by what was going on in New York, a lot of it was homegrown and came to light once things started to bubble up from NY in the early 80s.. In other words, in places like LA and the Bay Area there was already a thriving street dance scene where people were tutting, popping and roboting which had nothing to do with New York.. Funk and later Uptempo dance records were the gems that galvanized people..

Below are some of the first records I recall hearing out of LA back in the early days of LA rap, which I should add was different from the Bay which has its own unique history.. What I liked about LA’s history was many of the artists started off as DJs.. People like Arabian Prince, DJ Unknown, Egyptian Lover, Chris The Glove Taylor, Tony G, Joe Cooley , Julio G, Uncle Jamms Army etc..

It’s important to note that LA Hip Hop history is by no means the totality of West Coast Hip Hop History.. There were simultaneous scenes going on in the Bay Area 400 miles away and in Seattle which is good 1000k miles away during those early days. Each had their own unique origins, pioneers and influences..The sounds were also very different at least in terms of early records.. This is not to say folks in the Bay or Seattle weren’t jamming to early Ice T, Uncle Jamm’s Army or KDAY which because of its AM signal could be heard up and down the coast, but the early sounds coming out of LA represented a vibe, mindset and overall attitude that was unique to that city..

In the video below you see Chris the Glove who produced the cut Wreckless and featured Ice T is shown in this 1983 video along with Egyptian Lover demonstrating deejaying..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj8hPyIAKfU

EgyptianLoverA lot of the music in LA’s early Hip Hop days was classified as electrofunk and is often associated with the sound Afrika Bambaataa established with his song Planet Rock. However, when speaking with the early DJs from LA, they say they were already into that sound way before hearing Planet Rock.

Egyptian Lover explained that he was influenced by early Prince and Kraftwerk.. and that he had been deejaying in a crew since the mid 70s.. Folks in LA will recall how Egypt who was part of Uncle Jamms Army used to do huge parties at the LA Coliseum where they would work 4 turn tables at a time which was pretty major back at that time..

Here’s an interview we did with Egypt on Breakdown FM where he breaks all this down:

Below is a more in depth interview done in two parts where Egypt gives a lot more details as to his career and the early LA scene..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85xqcGgc4a4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tSheNRTs-c

Uncle Jamm’s Army ‘Naughty Boy’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3IGJAVtMZQ

Other pioneering figures had already been playing in bands and were producers.. Rich Cason is a one such pioneer. You can’t talk about LA Hip Hop without proppin him up.. He’s a key foundation… The first records I heard from LA that I associated with Hip Hop was Killer Groove by Formula V, Gigiolo Rapp and Bad Times by Captain Rapp were all produced by Cason. His legacy goes way back to the 60s. In fact his group Formula V had been putting out records since 1973.

Killer Groove by Formula V w/ producer Rich Cason

Captain Rapp Bad Times..

Captain Rapp Gigolo Rapp

Arabian Prince

Arabian Prince who was an original member of NWA is another pioneering figure in LA Hip Hop who was deejaying in a crew since the 70s. He started out as a DJ and later went on to produce. He’s unique in the sense that he was a pioneering figure in Hip Hop’s electro-funk movement as well as pioneering figure in Hip Hop’s gangsta rap movement. A quick look at his track record will show you that he produced landmark tracks for everyone ranging from JJ Fad to Bobby Jimmy and the Critters as well as NWA. Here’s an interview he did with him on Breakdown FM

Tons of things have been written about the World Class Wrecking Crew which was home to Dr Dre… They had a bunch of hit songs and Dre helped elevate the deejay game before he went on to start producing..

Wrecking Crew w/ Dr Dre Surgery

Here are some other early cuts I recall from back in the days..Now please keep in mind this is just a taste of a city that is steeped with stories.. No, we haven’t touched on the dance scene and influence. We haven’t talked about KDAY and the Mixmasters which go back to ’83 and 84.. We haven’t touched on the Good Life or any of that.. This is just a sample.. A great place to go to get some good info on early west coast is my folks from germany who run www.westcoastpioneers.com

Ice T the Coldest Rap Ever.. produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis 1983

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDo1DqolHOg

Ice T and Chris ‘the Glove’ Taylor‘ Reckless

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Mc3pTmiCHI

LA Dream Team ‘Rockberry’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KElKcfgzN5I

Ice T 6 in the Morning..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka0yBdZh46E

As I noted 1580 KDAY was the station that set it off with the Mixmasters..Below is an old aircheck from 86 but there was dope mixes on the radio for years prior not just on KDAY but also KACE and KJLH

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80-d8vreH4Q

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Disturbing NY Post Subway Photo Sets Off Debate..Make Money or Save Lives?

Post photo subway I know I’m not the only one who finds the irony of newspaper outlets like the New York Post that would seemingly rush to license and publish a shocking photo of a man named Ki Suk Han about to get crushed by a subway train, but didn’t seem to eager to go against the Bush imposed media blackout on war casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I guess for the NY Post its ok to shock our senses and maybe get us to debate the journalistic ethics around helping someone in dire straits vs documenting even as danger looms. Imagine if early on the NY Post showed shocking pictures illustrating the horrors of war and set off debates about why we were even in places like Iraq.

Imagine if the NY Post found a way to get photographers to document the day in and day out abuse many NY residents have to endure when they are stopped and frisked by overzealous cops. Can they shock our senses about police abuse or corruption?  Apparently not..

In the back drop of all this is the FCC led by Obama appointee  and current chair, Julius Genachowski seems to be down to loosen up the rules that would allow Post owner Rupert Murdoch to buy the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times..That would allow Murdoch to run shocking pictures in those outlets while remaining silent on war casualties.

As for the photographer R. Umar Abbasi after seeing his interview on the Today Show where he explained he was nowhere near the man to help him, I just didn’t buy it..His attitude and subsequent actions seemed more interested in a payday based on death vs saving a life or at least trying..

His attitude seems to be of the same vein of far too many who will close their doors and button up the hatches vs extend a helping hand. We saw a lot of that during Katrina. Heck we just saw that during Hurricane Sandy where a woman went door to door with her two kids trying to avoid flood waters. People refused to help her or open their doors and hearts to her frantic screams even as her kids were swept away to their death by the rushing waters.

The NY Post picture in my humble opinion represents our collective devaluing of life and another step away from our humanity

 

Don’t Forget..Hurricane Sandy Wrecked Havoc on More Than Just NY..

Haiti has been hard hit

By now its obvious to all of us that Hurricane Sandy did some serious damage to New York City. We pray for those suffering and we pray for those 11 people reported dead in the aftermath of this huge storm. At the same time, while all our attention is focused on New York, there are a few things to keep in mind.. First NY has vast resources and lots of contingency plans. The eyes of the world is upon her and thus as bad as Sandy has been the path to recovery will be certain and it will be swift.

What many of us including folks in NY may want to do, is note that natural disaster know no boundaries and thus our collective attention should be on all those who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Her fierce winds and waves wrecked havoc in Haiti, which was already beleaguered with hundreds of thousands of folks still living in tents 2 years after the 7.5 earthquake. Sandy wrecked havoc in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaican and throughout the Caribbean. More than 60 people have been killed in those neighboring countries. Haiti has lost her crops.. Over 200k are left homeless with far fewer resources to rescue and restore what was lost..

I wish here news outlets would be more mindful of this when speaking about Sandy.. It was a storm of immense proportions and devastation..Sadly what we see taking place are stories about when and how the stock exchange will open and what the cost will be.. I hope the rest of us recognize the humanity in others beyond  our borders and the narrow framing of corporate news outlets..We can’t say we recovered until the folks south of us have recovered. All lives our precious, not just ours in the US..