Hip Hop: The '80s
The Eighties brought along a new direction for rap when in
1982 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released "The
Message" and followed by "White Lines (Just Don't Do It)"
starting a new concept - that of social commentary, a tradition
which continues today.
1982 also brought a new genre of music
into the public light with hip hop's close spin-off, Electro.
The earliest exaple of which was "Planet Rock" by Afrika
Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force. Relatively minimal
musically, containing sampled portions of "Trans-Europe
Express" by Kraftwerk, vocoded vocals and percussion from a
Roland drum synth. The video clip of Planet Rock showcased yet
another new trend brought along with hip hop music, break
1983 brought yet another electro hit record when the former
Miles Davis musician, Herbie Hancock released "Future Shock".
Suddenly a highly educated and respected musician had released
a hip hop album. The single "Rockit" became Hancock's most
sucessful single ever and high rotation on MTV ensured Hancock
of an entirely new young audience who otherwise may have never
heard of him.
In 1986 the all-female rap group Salt 'n Pepa released their
first single, "Tramp" with little attention to this song that
sampled the Otis Redding song of the same name (however often
incorrectly credited as sampling Lowell Fulsoms original
version of "Tramp") it was the b-side that was remixed and
re-released in '87 that became their first hit - the song was
"Push It". Salt 'n Pepa became regular hit-makers during the
Also occuring in '86 was the release of the debut album by
the Beastie Boys titled "Licensed to Ill". A combination of
both hip hop and rock music, Licensed to Ill is fast becoming
the highest selling hip hop album of all time with it still
achieving high sales today, more than 20 years since its
initial release. Not only has this album proved its longevity,
but the Beastie Boys themselves have remained popular even
though they are an entirely white group in a music world most
often associated with black musicians. Now aproaching their
50's and one member being suspected of needing the aid of a
walking frame, the Boys' latest album, 2004's "To the 5
Boroughs" topped the charts and stayed there for many
1988 saw the release of "Straight Outta
Compton" by N.W.A on Ruthless records. If Ice-T can be credited
with creating gansta rap it was N.W.A that grabbed it by the
balls and took it too a new height. Lacking promotion of any
kind (the album was banned from the playlists of almost every
radio station) Straight Outta Compton managed sales of 2
million units in the USA alone.
With songs such as "Fuck Tha Police" the album drew the ire of
police officers and politicians around the world (as well as
this author's mother).