I have a huge box of cassettes I recorded off NYC radio in the 1980s. Hands down some of the most cherished are the Latin Rascals mixes. They took hundreds of tracks and mixed them in such an amazing musical and technical way. I used to play basketball and swim to this stuff everyday after high school. Even though it may not be apparent my own music is heavily influenced by these tracks. Hearing this is just a reminder I have to somehow convert my cassettes to digital ASAP. This stuff is the soundtrack of classic NY.
“As far as trends in DJ Culture go, New York always was light years ahead of anyone else on the planet. This mix changed everything – Latin Rascals – 1984 – I remember hearing it and that was it for me, it’s never been topped actually.” – Frankie Bones
“Albert Cabrera and Tony Moran (collectively known as the Latin Rascals) got their start as movers and shakers on the budding early’80s New York City club scene, hosting an influential continuous-mix show on local danceradio. The duo went on to become the most in-demand editing and remixing teams in the record business. The Latin Rascals also masterminded the Latin freestyle dance scene, including work for TKA , Sa-Fire and The Cover Girls…among others. The Latin Rascals were also artists for two albums released on Polydor records.” – rascaltunes.com
You’re probably going to hate this. However as a superfan of classic hiphop when lyrics were fun and a fan of amazing technology I admit I love this. Autorap is available now for iOS and Android. It’s free so go have some stupid fresh fun (sorry).
“This is AutoRap. It turns speech into rap, and corrects bad rapping.” – smule.com/autorap
By a very long mile Jean-Michel Basquiat is the visual artist closest to my heart. Growing up a native New Yorker in the 70s and 80s his paintings and illustrations mean more to me personally than anything I’ve ever seen. If you don’t know who he is you seriously owe it to yourself to watch the documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. Next, go right now and do an Google image search on his name to view some of his amazing work. Being a music based blog I thought I would share an album cover he did for Rammellzee and K-Rob. If anyone asks you which rap album is the most rare or which one would bring the most money at auction now you know.
“”Beat Bop” is a hip hop single by American rappers Rammellzee and K-Rob, originally released in 1983 by record label Tartown. Initially distributed merely as a test pressing, it is notable for being the theme of hip hop culture documentary film Style Wars and having a cover designed by famed New York graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The result of a disagreement between Rammellzee and Basquiat, the track has been cited as having an influence on artists such as Beastie Boys and many modern experimental hip hop artists due to its chaotic, abstract sound, and, due to the rarity of its original pressing, has been called the Holy Grail of rap records.” – Wikipedia
Here’s Reggie Watts doing a piece he calls Binary Existence. I think all musicians get diarrhea of the mind. We babble and have moments of awesome babble. Reggie manages to capture some pretty good moments. He’s getting a lot of buzz because he’s opening for Conan O’ Brian’s tour. Well deserved I think… Not long ago I drank some very sugar packed red juice and began beatboxing, mouth 303ing and screaming I am a robot over and over. I think I went on and on for 20 minutes. If I only had the best 3 of it on tape maybe I could be opening for Conan too. Ah well more likely it would have just been a source of ever ending embarrassment.
“Reggie Watts is a Brooklyn-based comedic/musical performer. Watts’ shows are mostly improvised and consist of stream of consciousness standup in various shifting personas, mixed with loop pedal-based a cappella compositions. He also performs regularly on television and in live theatre.” – Wikipedia.org
Last September I blogged about the sale of an ordinary building on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. The address is special because it’s the place DJ Kool Herc invented Hip Hop. Whether or not you like the genre it’s an American invention that deserves it’s history preserved. The building has since been sold and as far as I can tell the new owners won’t be placing a statue on plaq to commemorate it’s past and importance.
Luckily we have some online preservation. The New Radio and Performing Arts with funding from the Jerome Foundation have launched Bronx Rhymes, an interactive map of Hip Hop’s Bronx birth. Take a look: http://transition.turbu…
“Up in the Bronx where the people are fresh there was one Dj who had to pass the test. And now he’s down by law and he’s ready to play that’s right y’all his name is AJ.” – AJ Scratch, Kurtis Blow
“Hip Hop was born in the South Bronx. Bronx Rhymes uncovers the history of Hip Hop in the borough by tagging historically important locations with rhymes. These rhymes illuminate the significance of the locations, and issue a rhyming challenge. Posters appear at each location and invite viewers to respond with their own rhymes via text message. This website is an evolving archive of the collected rhymes, a reflection of the community, and a way to reinsert the hip hop past into present-day South Bronx.” – transition.turbulence.org/Works/bronx_rhymes/
Take a look at the flickr set of posters: click here
Up in the Bronx gentrification has arrived. The borough is the last area near Manhattan where living space is still affordable and the middle class is moving there in droves. There is an average looking building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue that was recently sold to new owners ready to flip it from old burnin Bronx to hipster cool. But this building has an apartment inside of it that is very special. This apartment once belong to a man named Clive Campell. Does this name ring a bell to you? It should because under his synonym DJ Kool Herc he invented Hip Hop.
How should NYC mark this spot? Should the new devolopers on Sedgwick Avenue be forced to honor the birthplace of an American musical style? I think so!