Langston Hughes: Mother to Son
Welcome to New York in the 70s city of dreams as well as death, destruction, and debt. A confused decade of economic collapse and rampant crime. In just five years from 1969 to 1974, the city lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs, which resulted in over one million households being dependent on welfare by 1975. In almost the same span, rapes and burglaries tripled, car thefts and felony assaults doubled, and murders went from 681 to 1690 a year.
Depopulation and arson also had pronounced effects on the city: abandoned blocks dotted the landscape, creating vast areas absent of urban cohesion and life itself. The president of the United States tell the city to drop dead. Mr. Ford never explicitly said “drop dead.” Yet those two words, arguably the essence of his remarks as encapsulated in the immortal headline, would, as he later acknowledged, cost him his job.
John Berryman: Dream Song 36: The high ones die, die. They die
Beastie Boys: Time to Get Ill
Run DMC: It’s Like That
Eric B & Rakim: Microphone Fiend
Gorillaz: How Far [feat. Tony Allen and Skepta]
De La Soul: A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays
Sugar Hill Gang: Rappers Delight
Quantic: Primate Bungaloo [feat. Aspects]
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: The Message
MC Solaar: Relations Humaines
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: Lovely Daze
Sylvia Robinson: Pillow Talk
I’m not the type of person who like to waste my time – And when I’m on the mic I just say my rhymes
And I’m out on bail, the check is in the mail – They can sentence me to life but I won’t go to jail
I’m cool calm collected, from class I was ejected – When I run a jam I don’t give a damn
When I’m throwing bass I say, “Thank you ma’am.” – Fuel injected, rhyme connected running things
Well I’m the King Adrock and I’m the king of all kings – I’m looking for a spot, things are gettin’ hot
Disillusion is the word – That’s used by me when I’m not heard – I just go through life with my glasses blurred
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
You can see a lot in this lifespan – Like a bum eating out of a garbage can – You notice one time he was your man
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Back to the lab …without a mic to grab – So then I add all the rhymes I had – One after the other one, then I make another one
To dis the opposite then ask if the brother’s done – Thought of, Cuz it’s sort of… an addiction
Magnetised by the mixing – Vocals, vocabulary, your verses, you’re stuck in – The mic is a drano, volcanoes erupting. – Rhymes overflowing, gradually growing
[Eric B & Rakim]
Better look sharp, now your face on the cover – Like a chameleon, see a change in your colour
Crabs in the barrel wanna hate on each other – So my life gets better, whatever the weather – I dance in the rain and I bathe in summer
Bigger than me, no, you can’t fight of your demons with vitamin C – Have to open your mind, use your vision and see
Keep your eyes on the prize so vigilantly – Love how you live, remember the world, full of expensive shit
Can’t forget the poor ’cause you’re friends with the rich – Stay true to the mould, I ain’t ever gonna switch
It’s like a jungle sometimes – It makes me wonder how I keep from going under – Broken glass everywhere
People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care – I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise
Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge – I’m trying not to lose my head
[Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five]
Saturday, it’s a Saturday – Back once more with the wallop in the score – Must I ride and rip, should I make you rock your hip
Reviver of a roller-boogie in a rink – And sure to make you think about the times
To scope fun instead of fights – Slip your butt to the fix of this mix – Toss that briefcase, it’s time to let loose
Cause you’ve worked like heck to get the week in check – So unfasten that noose around your neck
Connected like a vibe from the wheel to the foot – Come on everybody dig the funky output
[De La Soul]
Now I’m feeling the highs and you’re feeling the lows, – The beat starts getting into your toes
You start popping your fingers and stomping your feet – And moving your body while while you’re sitting in your seat
I’m gonna freak you here, I’m going to freak you there, – I’m gonna move you outta this atmosphere.
[Sugar Hill Gang]
Today has been a lovely day – It’s dark outside now and it’s getting kind of late – The date was great but here comes the moment that I hate
It’s too bad a lovely day has going to end up like this – A wave goodbye with a hug and good night kiss – I said good night my lovely
[DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince]
I’m pleading to you now, Hey baby, Let me try, To be the one who’s gonna light your fire.
Aha, What your friends all say is fine, But it can’t compete with this pillow talk of mine.
Oh I don’t want to see you be no fool. What I’m teachin’ you tonight, boy, you never learned it in school.
Oh no. Some friends who tell me wrong from right, I’ll ask to borrow their pad some cold and lonely night.
Although widely synonymous with rap music today, hip-hop actually started as a cultural movement created in a post-industrial South Bronx in New York City by African and Latino American teenagers in the 1970s, and so breakdancing and graffiti art were produced as a part of the movement.
Suggestions, opinions and comments welcomed at veronika(at)wirralwave(dot)co(dot)uk.