Main Source, Looking at the Front Door
Everyone needs a holiday, especially at this time of year when boiling hot rays of sunshine create a nationwide urge to down big icy bottles of brewski, roll one trouser leg up, and listen to some excellent raps. Hence Tuesday Jazz has been given the rest of the Summer off, and from now on we’ll be bumping metaphorical fists with some great hip hop from way back in the olden days. To kick things off, here’s Main Source, our number one Rap Group.
Aww, who’s that little cutie?
Say what you like about Eminem, but in 8 Mile, he taught us that if you embarrass yourself first, no one will ever be able to embarrass you again. It was a clever move, turning his rap attack on its head, making that other guy look like a chump. That’s why we always do something enormously humiliating first thing in the morning, just to make sure that the day can’t get any worse. We might deliberately trip up at the bus stop, or accidentally (on purpose) walk back from the office toilets completely naked. It works. So good for Eminem. Good for him. But, actually, he wasn’t the first rapper to gently mock himself, back in the early 90s a young rapper called Nasty Nas unlocked a painfully humiliating box of childhood snapshots, and hung them on a washing line for everyone to see. By which we mean he put a picture of himself as a child of the cover of his amazing Illmatic album. Look at him, staring out at you, a seven year old child, he looks lonely and frightened. And yet, when you hear him rapping as an adult he’s street tough. What a glorious juxtaposition! It made for a much better cover than the original idea, which was to have the rapper wrestling Jesus. Here’s a track from the album…
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.
Some tough guys didn’t make it…
When you break it down, rap groups are little circles of thoughtful poets singing to one another. It’s quite sweet really. Only, in some cases, their ditties tend to be about shooting people in the face and enjoying streetside oral intercourse. Wordsworth, they ain’t. We’re massive rap fans, so coming up with a top four groups was near impossible. In the end we had to toss Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and NWA overboard. The biggest fight of all revolved around Brand Nubian, who sadly just missed the cut as well. Here’s who made it…
1. Main Source
An early 90s crew, these guys essentially only made one album, Breaking Atoms, but it might just be the greatest hip hop album of all time. Made up of the legendary Large Professor, K-Cut, Mikey D, and Sir Scratch, Main Source also introduced the world to Nas (greatest ever?) on the track, Live at The Barbeque. Amazing band.
T-Baby, It’s so cold in the D
Yeah, all the doom mongers have been out and about, telling us that the rap game is OVER. “Where’s the next Biggie coming from?” they would mutter to themselve in organic food shops. “We can’t rely on Nas anymore, peeps!” they would weep to their wives, after making emotional love on Egyptian cotton. But they can all shut the hell up now, because above is a feeeemale showing that hip hop is alive, well, and just ever so slightly out of tune.
And a bit rubbish.