Dark Knight Trailer. IN LEGO!
For those of you who don’t visit the site regularly, Hip Hop Sam is our resident rap music expert. A gentleman with jeans at least three times wider than the legs beneath them, and t-shirts that swoosh down to around knee-level. He’s a beautiful man. He’s 34 today. Hence, we thought we’d get him a gift, so we all bundled into a massive jacuzzi with a couple of bottles of pink champagne and a small paper bag of speed, and discussed ideas. It was long before it had boiled down to a toss up between a nice winter jumper, yeah a jumper, a lovely jumper, or a clip of Batman played by Lego, heh yeah Lego, let’s get Batman played by Lego. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Hip Hop Sam!
Making excellent music for your steri-eri-erio…
It’s always a complete pleasure to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today it’s the turn of Hip Hop Sam – a wise man, with a fine line in enormous trousers and wonderful records. He had this to say about rap’s beat makers…
Only 2 people are required to make a hip hop record: 1. A rapper – an arrogant, boastful, violent drug dealer, with a love of gold and weaponry, yet blessed with the ability to talk in rhyme. And 2. The producer – a man/woman who makes the beat over which the rapper talks aggressively. To do this a DJ samples a section of someone else’s music, and simply replays it in a repetitive, continuous loop over some drums. Hopefully you’ll end up with a track that sounds like gigantic monster-truck-transformers sensually dogging in a late night car park. Here’s the best four producers, like, ever…
1. DJ Premier
Premier is without a doubt the king of hip hop producers. For the entire 1990s you couldn’t attend a hip hop club night without hearing at least fifty DJ Premier tracks before getting mugged at knifepoint.
2. Dr Dre
If you’re a fan of smoking the chronic in bouncy cars, squeaky voiced maniacs who are a little bit kerraazy, or big muscular men with their tops off, then you’re probably a fan of Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent – all of whom are themselves big fans of Dr Dre for turning them into household names.
3. J Dilla
Before James Yancey tragically passed away at the age of 32 from a rare blood disease, he was responsible for classic tracks by Common, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Slum Village. His production style was original, futuristic and completely peerless. Who knows how good he’d be now if he was still alive. RIP Dilla.
4. Marley Marl
Put “ley” on the end of your first name, and then repeat the first bit. The result – instant cool rap moniker. This works with every name except for Lee. Pioneering producer Marlon Williams did this, and never looked back, going on to make loads of superb tracks for Erik B & Rakim, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Master Ace and LL Cool J.
This man did not make the list…
It’s been a while since we heard from Hip Hop Sam – for a while he was presumed dead. But now he’s back, jeans as baggy as ever, his trainers resplendent in the afternoon glare of the sun. He lit up a herbal cigarette and thought he’d turn his eye to the most kind rappers he could think of. He had this to say…
Rappers famously hate pretty much everything except jewellery, women, and a full clip. You’ve seen them – they go around in their baggy jeans, limping, smoking cigs, wearing caps on sideways, bragging about killing people. They’re really not very nice when you sit down and think about it. Hence, I took some time out to figure out whether there are any nice rappers out there. And guess what – there are loads of them after all. These are the four kindest…
Chicago’s best ever rapper is a great guy. He’s the kind of gentleman who’d pluck a sobbing cat out of a tree, or help an old lady with their shopping whilst on his way to the library, where’s he’s probably returning a book about feminist politics. Although his rapping style sounds like a seductive aromatherapist explaining oils to you, he’s highly respected in Hip Hop circles, having worked with hip hop legends like DJ Premier, Jay Dilla, and more recently The Jonas Brothers.
If invited for tea round your house after school, most rappers would allow their dogs to foul on the lawn, whilst they were busily making obscenities out of fridge magnets. But not cutesy voiced little Q-Tip. Oh no, he’d well behaved, and probably even bring a cake with him. And not a shop-bought cake either. He’d make one himself. From scratch. Anyway, an immensely talented individual he’s consistently produced excellent music with A Tribe Called Quest and on his own, and his new album The Renaissance is particularly amazing. “Thanks for the cake Q-Tip” we’d say when his mum picked him up (although secretly we’d have preferred just a plain sponge).
3. Talib Kweli
Have you ever imagined that you were a beautiful woman with huge juicy breasts, going out with a rapper? You’ve been going steady for months, and the time’s finally come to introduce your new man to your parents – EEEEK!!! If you were going out with 99 per cent of MCs this would pose an enormous problem, as the most likely outcome would be the pistol related death of your father (cringe!). Not so with Mr Kweli. He’d charm the pants off your old man, so much so, that they’d probably end up really bonding. Maybe hanging out together. Your Dad might even end up freestyling and breakdancing while Kweli does some simple beats using his mouth. It would be weird, and you’d end the relationship shortly after to go out with Akon.
Once a teacher called me dude by accident. It was a horrendous moment, acutely embarrassing for both of us. I reported him, and he gave up teaching shortly afterwards. There’s just no room in the classroom for hip-hop slang or ebonics. This is probably why J-Live gave up teaching to become a rapper. This mild-mannered, kindly-faced, bespectacled MC is the only rapper EVER that you’d feel safe to leave your children with. In fact, he’d possibly teach them to spit the Periodic Table to a SERIOUSLY funky breakbeat.
Say ‘sup to some genuine tough guys
It’s always a total joy to hear from one of the beautiful members of the Interestment family, so when Hip Hop Sam strode up wearing enormous trousers, brandishing an album cover review, we slapped five and took a mighty gulp from his gigantic bottle of lager. He had this to say…
Vincent van Gogh was a poor downtrodden artist, and nobody liked his childish oil paintings until he cut his ear off – probably following a Stella/Fosters binge drinking mix up. This led to instant respect in the art world, with experts referring to his Chair and his Sunflowers as “brilliant” and “very sexy indeed”. In much the same way, the Geto Boys were the outcasts of gangster rap, with their songs about necrophilia, killing people, and wearing Nikes frowned upon by beard twiddling hip hop bureaucrats. That was until one of the band members, a rapping dwarf called Bushwick Bill, drank a bit too much on a date and stupidly shot himself in the eye. Fortunately for Bill, every cloud has a silver lining, as the startling hospital scene made for the beatiful cover of We Can’t Be Stopped. Their ode to not being stopped. Great cover, excellent record. Here’s one of the tracks from it…
Daddy Freddy Raps on Record Breakers
Rita Coolidge. You know, Rita Coolidge. The one who broke up Crosby, Stills & Nash by servicing both Stills and Nash but totally ignoring Crosby. She was also a backing vocalist for Joe Cocker at one stage. Then she married Kris Kristofferson for a bit. Yeah, her. Now you remember her. Now you know who we’re on about. Her. Anyway, she’s 64 today, so as is the tradition in this country, we thought we’d pick up a present. We stood outside Blockbuster on Clapham High Street, smoking spliffs, knocking back bottle after bottle of orange WKD, trying desperately to figure out what to buy someone who we’d never really heard of. We cried, we talked, we wept. We punched a guy in the face. Then Hip Hop Sam strolled past in his gargantuan trousers and told us that we should either get her a tub of raspberry ripple ice cream or a clip from Record Breakers featuring the fast rapping of Daddy Freddy, and the legendary Wee Papa Girl Rappers. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Coolidge!
Without them, no sign of this strange man…
It’s with total and unreserved elation that we welcome Hip Hop Sam back into the Interestment fold. He’s been off the scene lately, spending nights rifling through his thousands of sleek vinyl records. Today, he’s provided an interesting historical lecture about Drum and Bass music, and how it really came about. He had this to say…
Drum and Bass is amazing, and in its heyday it was an exciting movement to be part of – cowering in a dark room throbbing with bass, crack smoke wafting through the air, fingering a rosary, praying that a gun crazed madman won’t get all shooty and kill the vibe. Ahh great days. No one really knows where this weird and frightening music originated from, but if you pull up a chair, I’ll tell you who invented it.
1. Rebel MC, Comin’ On Strong
We’ll forgive the Rebel for making awful pop-rap song Street Tuff, partly because when he preformed it on Top of the Pops he shouted “am I a yankee?” and we all cheerfully shouted “no I’m a Londoner!” back at the telly, but also because in 1990 he released a b side, Coming On Strong, that merged bleeps with drums, bass, and a bit of talking in strange new language, called Ragga. He later went on to release the Drum and Bass classic Conquering Lion under the name Code Red. Bo? Exactly.
2. The Ragga Twins, Spliffhead
Originally from Hackney’s s Heatwave Sound System (alongside future Drum and Bass great DJ Hype), Shut Up And Dance (PJ and Smiley) made a number of mistakes in their career including the terrifying release of Raving I’m Raving – a record banned the second it was released thanks to copyright naughtiness. They also appeared topless and greased up on their debut album cover, which is quite frankly a big no-no. However they were among the fist to mix House music with breakbeats creating early Drum and Bass. Above is the track Spliffhead – produced by Shut Up And Dance for the Ragga Twins, everyone’s favourite brothers.
3. The Winstons, Amen Brother
There wouldn’t’ be any Drum and Bass music without drum solos from early funk bands. Most of these drummers were fat, sweaty men with kind faces, and of course excellent rhythm. The best example of a breakbeat is the break from Amen Brother by The Winstons, which has been used in almost every single Drum and Bass track ever created. It’s located at around one minute twenty-seven seconds.
4. 4 Hero, Mr Kirk’s Nightmare
Before Drum and Bass, ravers were annoying. They used to take vast quantities of the evil drugs – acid and ecstasy – and then danced around sweating, gurning, and wearing Global Hypercolour t shirts and yellow smileys. They were an embarassment to our once proud nation. 4 Hero put a stop to this nonsense with the release of Mr Kirk’s Nightmare. The record was based on a cop telling Mr Kirk that his son had “died of an overdose”. This made all these grinning imbeciles feel frightened and paranoid… thus paving the way for the darker sounds of Jungle. Rewind? Yes please.
Some big names missed out…
It is with an enormous dollop of joy that we welcome excellent contributor Hip Hop Sam back into the fold. He’s been away for a while, rifling through his rec-rec-records, trying to figure out who the greatest rapper of all time might be. He had this to say…
Top four rappers? This is a difficult question as rap music, in itself, is terrible, and can barely be described as music – its monotonous beats sound like broken robots having violent sex, and as for those IDIOTS with their so-called hats on backwards talking in childish rhymes about who they’re going to kill, it’s simply… awful. Just kidding, I totally love it, as everyone should. So who is the best of this bad bunch of musicians?
KRS-One is a brilliant rapper. He’s released loads of excellent albums, especially with his posse BDP (every good rapper should have a posse). He’s had plenty of club bangers (songs that are popular in nightclubs). He’s been involved in some pretty exciting beefs (disagreements with other rappers) which he’s then squashed (made friends again). He’s pioneered both gangster, and intelligent conscious rap. He’s thrown PM Dawn off a stage. He’s worn some lovely tracksuits. He’s quite simply Mr Hip Hop – the best rapper ever.
A long time ago, the pinnacle of lyrical brilliance in hip hop involved matching the word hop with stop. Rakim is credited with introducing complex and intelligent rhyming patterns, alongside articulate metaphors. After Will Smith and, of course, Abs from 5ive, he’s every MCs favourite rapper. He’s also the coolest man ever to have walked the earth in a leather tracksuit, whilst simultaneously carrying a ridiculous amount of gold around his butter smooth neck.
3. Kool G Rap
Can you imagine what would happen if you combined the poetry of Keats, Milton, or Roald Dahl with the street savvy and gangster naughtiness of Nick Cotton, Dave Courteney or Danny Dyer? Of course you can’t. You’d have to borrow Jeff Goldblum’s machine from The Fly to achieve such a mix. The result, however, I assume, would be Kool G Rap. A magnificent rapper whose tongue twisting lyrical dexterity and story telling genius made everyone else look rubbish. Completely rubbish.
If you were to ask a posse of hip hop aficionados “hey guys, what’s the best hip hop album ever?”, they’d all shout “Illmatic”, and then take their tops off, start high fiving each other, and do that foot kicking dance that Kid n Play used to do in the House Party films. Despite this strange behaviour, they’ve got the album right. Illmatic is as close to hip hop perfection as you can get, and despite never being able to live up to the greatness of his debut, Nas definitely deserves a place in the top four.
Not including this amazing gentleman
Regardless of the giant steps towards a universal beigeness, there is still a gigantic racial divide when it comes to making music. You are still unlikely, for example, to find a decent black glam rock band, in the same way that white rappers often struggle with their hip hop swagger. Of course, Parliament could glam it up with the best. And here are Hip Hop Sam‘s white rapping exceptions that prove the rule…
1. RA The Rugged Man
In the glamorous world of hip hop – which revolves around diamond encrusted jewellery, expensive champagne and, of course, massive buttocked women – it’s highly unorthodox for an “ugly white dude with a big gut and shoulder hair” to be any good at rapping. RA The Rugged Man, however, is brilliant. A disgusting man, with incredible MC skills and a fascinating life story, his debut album Die Rugged Man Die is an underrated masterpiece.
If you’re unfortunate enough to have attended a UK Hip Hop night in the past fifteen years, you’ll probably be familiar with scary, sweaty venues where EVERYONE is furiously staring at each other. No one can afford cloakrooms, drinks or deodorant. It smells. You’ll also be familiar with the UK’s finest MC – Skinnyman.
3. 3rd Bass
Although they only released one decent album – The Cactus Album – it was so good that I’ve included it here. Produced by Prince Paul who also did De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, the cover art reveals the only time in history when a white person has been allowed by hip hop’s governing committee to have a logo shaved into the back of his head.
Not much needs to be said about Eminem, other than that the Slim Shady LP was amazing, and everything after was rubbish.
50 Cent not included…
There are few jobs where having a long criminal record is advisable. It’s probably important that bodyguard applicants have at least been in a fight, and city bankers have presumably been arrested numerous times during their youth for behaving like hateful little toads. But, of all jobs, a good position in Hip Hop damn near demands that you spend a decent portion of your life sitting thoughtfully in a cell contemplating why you shouldn’t have shot that gang member in the face, or why selling heroin to children mightn’t make the world a better place. Our most divine of contributors, Hip Hop Sam, doffs a slightly sarcastic cap to some of the rap game’s most intriguing criminals. His top four reads like so…
1. Slick Rick
For many years now Hip Hop’s wisest philosophers have arksed the question – “does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?” Of course, nobody actually cares, with the exception of Wimbledon’s finest export, Slick Rick. His 1988 classic, Children’s Story, tells a tale of a character getting involved in shootings, before running from the police in a high speed chase. Ironically, Slick was himself involved in a shooting/high speed chase with the police only two years later… with hilarious consequences (jail for five years)!
Not including Dreddy Kruger (below)
It’s always a total joy to hear from one of our favourite contributors, Hip Hop Sam. Today, he thought he’d tell us a little bit about misjudged showbiz decisions:
There’s nothing in the world cooler than a carefully worded rap name. Only a rap name could make a man whose first name is “Tracey” sound as mean and slick as west coast legend ICE-T. However, there are four exceptions to this rule:
In the UK, some words have totally different meanings than they do in the USA. But don’t tell Peedo, because he’d probably kill you. From the evidence of this video, he hangs around with a large and frightening posse, often with his top off and an intimidating dog. He’s also best friends with Bronx legends KRS One and Fat Joe, and he’s quite a good rapper to boot.
Shoes are for losers! Says Hip Hop Sam
It’s been a little while, but one of our favourite contributors, Hip Hop Sam, is back, re-emerged into society, and with this to say about sneakers:
Man, look at you: your hair’s rubbish, you’re getting old, you need to make a fashion statement that screams “LOOK AT ME WORLD – I’VE STILL GOT IT!” Skinny Jeans look ridiculous on anyone with chicken’s legs and a protruding bottom. Ear Piercing? You might as well get a spider’s web tattooed on your face, or a smurf on your groin. There’s only one possible option remaining – a fresh pair of sneaks. Now get yourself down to Footlocker, girlfriend!
Here’s my Top Four:
1. Adidas, Shell Toes
The Rolls Royce of sneakers, these were popularised by RUN DMC, and today are still “a la mode” amongst angry Grime loving urban youths. Rumour has it they’re called Shell Toes due to early b-boys eating vast quantities of oysters at breakdance festivals – the discarded shells of which would damage the toes of less sturdy sneakers.
Rap battle aftermath caught on camera
Once again, our favourite album cover analyst, Hip Hop Sam, is here to talk us through one of rap’s finest:
“This 1988 classic album explores the theme of sportswear versus urban decay. Moe Love and TR Love are wearing stylish matching white tracksuits, whilst Kool Keith and Ced Gee are sporting much glitzier, sexier outfits. Ced is wearing a homemade gold tracksuit, whilst Keith is wearing a delicious red tracksuit, which he’s accessorised with a Budweiser baseball cap – that signifies his love of ale and good times. It’s of particular interest that they’re standing over bodies lying in rubble, who we imagine are some wack MCs that they’ve recently defeated in an eventful rap battle. Good job, Ultramagnetics!”
Nice one, Hip Hop Sam. Hear some of the album after the jump…