The Wu and the Jews

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As I posted in days past I noted that there was a crop of young Jews who kept recorded rap alive in the early decade of the 1980’s. By the later part of that decade many music businessmen took notice. By the middle of the 1990’s the rap music business was growing at an exponential rate. The idea of making fat stacks of money was a dream many MC’s had since the early days of Hip Hop. Although, they failed to dream of an exorbitant amount. As I wrote in the past, one of the big differences between recorded rap in the 1980’s and 1990’s was the money. It was either a sizable amount of cheddar, or what would later be known as a shit load of money. Gone were the days of gold records….we’re seeking platinum status!!!

Along with the businessmen who envisioned the grand growth of the culture, other savants began to work in the industry. The owners of Def Jam broke apart, yet the business was considered the standard bearer as other labels began to fold or get bought out. One of these young businessmen and booster coming onto the scene in the early 1990’s were the Rifkind brothers.

Steve Rifkind was a major player boosting his little known “Street Team,” who kept their ears to the street for the next big star. He actively marketed and dictated at times what was the next hot joint or up and coming artists. Rifkind wanted to give the people what they wanted, but with an extra crisp of authenticity. This was music by the people for the people instead of being dictated by the corporate structure. Instead of being preached to about the next big thing by a white suit in his ivory tower, now you had the people on the street confirming what’s the big thing. He would market this to corporate America and would eventually create the legendary Loud Records label along with his brother Jon and (another Jew) partner Rich Isaacson. They signed many hungry artists or recently dropped artists as was the case with the young up and comers from Queens. Mobb Deep was dropped after their first album failed to move a considerable amount of units. They were picked up by Loud and would later record their amazingly morbid masterpiece, “The Infamous…Mobb Deep” However, one of the first signees to the label, and the method in how they signed, changed the entire game both in the annals of music history and in the history of Hip Hop economics and business acumen.

The Wu-Tang Clan are a household name, as most parents now have heard the immortal sounds of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It was a bit more then twenty years ago when the Wu came out with their initial feast of food for thought, which remains rough, rugged, and raw to this day. It is telling how they all formed like Votron, and always under the guiding force of Prince Rakeem or as we know him, the RZA.

They marketed themselves proper and as was documented in a recent documentary they all learned from slanging crack rock. In the documentary, titled Planet Roc: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation, The RZA and Chef Raekwon tell of their hustling on the streets of Shaolin, or as we know it Staten Island. Due to their experience they carved out a niche in their own way by creating an original business model. Instead of being signed to a record label as a group, they all wanted to invest in both the group and each other’s talents. This led them to strike a deal with Loud and the Rifkinds who allowed them to dictate the business model and use it very effectively. This meant that the group projects would be released by loud Records. All other solo efforts by the various group members was up for them to decide. In the past when groups would sign to a record label each member had to sign a “Leaving Member” clause holding them responsible if they left the group. Also, all solo projects by any member would be obligated to be released on the same label. Labels held this over certain artists heads by withholding the release of albums that would doom artists, like what Profile Records did to Run-DMC’s Tougher Than Leather album. So, like the Method Man (who released his solo albums on Def Jam) and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (who did the same with Elektra) certain members went to other prominent record labels. However, some like Raekwon and the RZA remained for certain solo joints and projects. Like the Wu Tang, the Rifkinds kept it all tight knit and strictly a family affair. The Jewish ethos and close families and kinship was relatable as the members of the Wu saw each other as one big family.

This was the beginning of the Hip Hop hustle and its capitalistic edge creeping into the corporate structure. The RZA and Steve Rifkind influenced many businessmen coming up including Puffy and the Bad Boy label, and up to today’s business ventures made by artists like Jay-Z. Thanks to the Wu and the Jews we see another breaking point for the evolution of Hip Hop.

Peace

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The Jews who kept Hip Hop Alive

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Hip Hop culture came from the grit and dirt steaming out of the ghettos of New York City. The squaller and filth is what made the aesthetic so authentic. However, it was a period of heavy decline for the city itself. The city’s budget had been drowning further into the pits of hell. By the time Abe Beame became Mayor of New York City his dapper predecessor, the boyishly handsome Republican by the name of John Lindsey, had brought the coiffeurs to the brink. Beame, who was demonized by the time he ran again in 1977, slashed and burned all that he could. Unfortunately this meant that the very heart of New York City’s institutions would never be the same again. Gone were the days of free College education as it was before he put into effect mandatory tuition costs. The City University of New York system prided itself on free education and the best quality. That was done away with including heavy cuts to the municipalities, cuts to the police force and the firefighters, and all after school programs, as well as cutting resources. This was the breeding ground for Hip Hop, and you can see the history written for your very eyes in the history books.

After the boiler explosions and many crazy innovations, which swept up by 1977, Hip Hop became more tangible. By 1979 the first Hip Hop recordings were pressed and released on vinyl. Most of the early recordings were seen as novelties, yet the sound caught the attention of Sylvia Robinson. Robinson, along with her husband Joe capitalized on the market by forming the first real Hip Hop label, Sugar Hill Records.

The irony rang clear in the choice of the name. Sugar Hill is a run down ghetto in Harlem, which was called sugar hill due to the cream of the crop of black intellectuals who lived there in the early part of the century. However, by the 1960’s the area was neglected and disheveled so it rang as an authentic ghetto. Sugar Hill records was based out of New Jersey, which was a slap in the face of the many originators who hailed and lived Hip Hop straight from its source, the South Bronx. Sylvia Robinson managed to usher in the new era of big recordings, starting with the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” released in 1979. The label picked up acts like the Funky 4 plus 1 more, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to name a few. However, after the shady deals, and the fact that the artists were not seeing a dime on the return profits, the label feel apart. This left a vacuum for small labels to pick up these artists and record them, when the world mostly saw this as a fad or they hadn’t heard anything at all. In come the Jews!!!

Dan Charnas writes that “By 1984, Sugar Hill Records – the Black-owned company that dominated the early years of rap on record – had been eclipsed by other, smaller companies run mostly by young, Jewish entrepreneurs and executives like Cory Robbins, Steve Plotnicki, Tom Silverman, and Barry Weiss.” I will add that this is not a new story, but rather a long story of the history of Jewish participation in American popular music. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s there were many Jewish businessmen who delved into the recording business. They were a bit seasoned, gruff, and older because they naturally progressed to that type of business. People like the Chess brothers, and many more laid the foundation for these young Jews in the Hip Hop game.

Each of the men mentioned above came into the rap game at a crucial time. They came at a time when, arguably the recording business could have taken a dive. However, like the Jews before them, they believed in the authentic sounds and bonding over Hip Hop culture. They trolled the many clubs in the city turing heads on to the potential of the music. They were inclined to get into the venture in order to make money, but they did it for much more than a profit.

Corry Robbins founded Profile Records in 1981, and remained its head until 1994. Profile is most notable for taking the risk in signing many underground groups, including the first real multiplatinum sellers, Run-DMC. Robbins, along with his partner Steve Plotnicki opened the company in 1981 with loans from their parents. This would become a formidable company signing acts like Dana Dane, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock, Special Ed, Poor Righteous Teachers, King Sun, and DJ Quick among others.

Tom Silverman was also one of these Jewish go getters who believed in the staying power of Hip Hop, and the recordings. He founded the NMS (New Music Seminar) in 1980, and shortly afterward he formed Tommy Boy Records. Named after his nickname he signed many acts across the spectrum in the early days. One example is Afrika Bambaata and his various groups such as Soulsonic Force. Tommy Boy Signed many notable artists, some who became famous over the years including De La Soul, Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah, House of Pain, and Everlast to name a few.

Last but not least on the list was Barry Weiss, who I wrote on earlier. He would influence the owner of Jive Records and brought him to all the rap music clubs. This sparked his interest, which led to them signing many important acts like the other labels. The roster included KRS-One, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Schoolly D to name a few.

This is no coincidence as many other smaller labels popped up that were also run or owned by Jews. History doesn’t allow for predictions, yet this could be as close as I’m willing to get. However, these Jews had the sheer energy, enthusiasm and money to fund these endeavors. Most of them were lucrative at the time, yet they all folded after some time. These young Jews deserve credit because if it wasn’t for them we might not have heard these super sounds. No one but the higher power can tell, yet the number of Jews in Hip Hop is overwhelming andy will be investigated much further.

Peace, and Shabbat Shalom

#TommyBoyRecords #ProfileRecords #JiveRecords #SugarHillRecords

The Jews who created The Source Magazine

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In the modern age of fast paced information oozing out of your device is all too common. We all take for granted the fact that not so long ago the super spread of information was not as prolific. Now you can just pop open your device or computer installed to what ever part of your body, please choose carefully. Any item that is deemed news worthy, unfortunately in this case it could be that your favorite tween artists flashed her not too proportionate body part, will flash instantly in your face. We are a generation of news sadists who are overloaded with this junk. However, music has been far easier to get at and obtain new sounds due to the overload. Hip Hop music is part of this model, yet as I wrote above not too long ago hip hop was very hard to communicate with the greater world. Newsworthy items and other hip hop matters were very localized from its inception up until the later part of the 1980’s. Hip Hop, or mostly rap music, was spread through word of mouth, through shows, through spreading mix tapes around and other methods wet the appetites of the listeners. However, it was hard to find and you had to know where to look.

There was a need by the late 1980’s for a sheet, or more properly a fanzine, such as the ones created for the punk movement like Punk magazine and Sniffin’ Glue from England. This came from two Harvard students, who’s sheer love of hip hop and belief of its strength in numbers fueled the need for a connection. They wanted to create a fanzine that would be able to show what their favorite hip hop track were. In a way they were creating the glue that would bind all these disparate communities of fans into one not so imagined community of hip hop heads.

Jon Shecter had tried his talents as a perfumer in the rap game, which ended in disaster. However, being a true fan of the art didn’t discourage him from expanding on his dreams. After the disappointment he strolled into a friend’s place apartment and quickly caught the gaze of a copy of a rap magazine. The scheme, concocted by his friend’s roommate, was a rap magazine to promote their local college radio rap show. After he met the man who concocted the magazine, by the name of Dave Mays, he realized that they were on the same page, literally. Hence, The Source was born. They both influenced each other’s tastes in music, but the common bond was that in the words of Dan Charnas they were “two white, Jewish guys at Harvard who loved Black music.” Naming it The Source gave it, and still gives it to this very day, a sense of true authenticity in Hip Hop culture. It will forever be solidified in our minds as “the” hip hop magazine that is the official bottom line, as it branded itself just that from day one. Like MTV is, or at least was, to the true authentic music channel  The Source will be the end all that is the truth in the game.

Both plunged deep into black music from the start. They crawled out of their mother’s wombs and onto the living room floor ready to plug in the head phones and kick out the jams! Shecter like most Hip Hop fans in the 1980’s, who lived outside of the urban centers of Hip Hop, was frustrated at the sheer lack of Hip Hop journalism and stories on his favorite artists. The big blow hard magazine like Rolling Stone and the great liberal rag the New York Times ignored hip hop music. Spin magazine catered to the alternative white crowd with the occasional hip hop story. They were the first to use a hip hop group in the guise of the Beastie Boys, which caused some backlash from African American critics. (Just read an early post on my blog on the Beastie Boys). The Village Voice occasionally ran op-ed’s, but they did run the “Hip-Hop Nation” article series. Harry Allen’s writings were on the topic, including articles by John Leland at Spin and certain articles by Nelson George. However, at that point this was scarce, so Shecter and Mays acted on this wide vacant chasm. Shecter would take up the article content while Mays would tackle the distribution and advertisement details. Between them and their highly motivated and skilled team, they would push the Source to great popularity. Dan Charnas adds from his book that “The Source quickly gained a readership outside of the local area. Retailers and record companies began to see The Source as a promotional vehicle even more potent than Mays and Shecter’s (previously run at Harvard) radio show.”

One thing that they prided themselves in was the integrity of the music and its artists. When the craze hit hard and artists like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice became the pop sensations they were The Source was pushed to include them in their pages. Big companies promised piles of money for name recognition giving them the hip hop stamp of approval. Instead of eating from the trough of greed and mundane music, they decided to take the opposite rout. They eschewed all the alcohol and cigarette brands who pushed for advertising space, who offered them a shit load of money (This is the SpaceBalls version of a lot of money!). They did this on principle as they knew all too well how alcohol and tobacco are heavily marketed to young black teens in urban settings, and still are. Instead they rejected them, and their dirty money, in order to invest in the up and coming crop of young talented hip hop artists.

Their stellar reporting and relevance remained until the mid to late 1990’s when it all came crashing down. Thanks to the Almighty RSO and Benzino’s tactics at making Dave Mays alienate his colleagues would be the final blow. This issue is too much to report on for details but the team that consisted of some of the best talents including but not limited to Reginald C. Dennis, James Bernard, Ed Young, Derrick Hawes, Matteo “Matty C” Capoluongo, Rob “Reef” Tewlow, Chris Wilder, and Phil Pabon, was no more.

After recently glancing at a recent issue, as they are rolling out the festivities of The Source‘s 25th anniversary there remains a bittersweet taste. The issue contained some of the older articles written from days past when the analysis was fresh. However, it seems far more full of fluff and artists who I can’t even identify let alone enjoy. It’s a fuzz but the Source remains poignant, along the many other trades, blogs, and magazines who took the model of the original one and only Source. Calling itself the “Hip Hop Bible” the issue boasted that “You can’t google this, MTV won’t show you this, and suburbia can’t explain it to you like we can. We culture.” I guess that in a way they are culture, or more specifically they were the first indicator in print of the potential of a musical genre that came out of the the streets of the Bronx. Thanks to these two white Jewish boys at Harvard.

Shecter and Mays in the early days of The Source

Peace, Shavua Tov and happy new week!

#TheSource

A Jewish Hip Hop Lesson

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The foundation of Hip Hop culture is comprised of elements. These elements, DJing, B-boying or breaking, rapping, and graffiti writing, were not created at the same time. However, they comprise the core of hip hop, which unfortunately veered into the rapping element  leaving the others behind. Some of my favorite types of hip hop tracks are nice and long collages of samples. Sampling is the core of hip hop music, spanning the past four decades. From the genesis of recorded hip hop records, the sound consisted of a mixed, cut and paste version of a sound that was previously heard. Whether the catchy bass lines from “Good Times” or the jingling from Bob James’s seminal recording of “Take Me to the Mardi Gras,” hip hop has used an array of snippets from all types and genres of recorded music.

Many DJ’s have made solid recordings using samples to veer the mood into a collage of soundscapes. DJ Shadow’s seminal first album, Entroducing, is a perfect example of a genius at work and play. The tracks are all comprised of samples, but the flow is so beautifully solid that the crackles of the vinyl sends chills of authenticity down your spine. Other groups have experimented with these feats such as Coldcut, check out their version of Eric B. and Rakim’s “Paid in Full,” The Avalanches, and the most recent Girl Talk. However, the original group to experiment with collage making were the old school outfit consisting of two guys known as Double Dee & Steinski. Doug “Double Dee” DiFranco (an Italian) and Steven “Steinski” Stein (A Jew) were older when they began recording, but Stein had hung out in the hip hop clubs for years. Like Rick Rubin and Bill Adler, Stein turned his friend onto the music and the bombastic sounds coming from the great DJ routines and live action rap battles.

The story of their initial creations begins in 1983 when Tommy Boy Records held a contest, in which they asked for the best remix of the song “Play That Beat, Mr. D.J.” by two of Afrika Bambaata’s MC’s, G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid. Their entry, “Lesson 1 – The Payoff Mix” was chock full of different types of samples ranging from Little Richard to the Supremes, along with lines by James Brown, instructional tap-dancing records and Humphrey Bogart films.

Their entry ended up wining the contest and getting the payoff.

Double Dee and Steinski followed this up with the “Lesson 2 – The James Brown Mix” in 1984.

The main samples used were by James Brown, which was not being overused just yet, and other famous break beat records used at the local parties. Hip Hop artists, or more appropriately the producers, were not using James Brown samples in the early 1980’s. This came into full swing and use by the middle of the decade.

In 1985 they released the last of the Lessons with “Lesson 3 – The HIstory of Hip Hop Mix.” This was a chance to show on record the types of breaks that the break dancers or B-boys and B-girls proffered to dance to.

Solid, hard breaks that will swing you to the drummer’s beat and right back into your lover’s arms.

There are other great DJ’s who have continued the lesson plan, but that’s for another time or place.

Enjoy the Sabbath peace and Shabbat Shalom.

The Death of a Poet, and a Farewell to the Israeli Tank

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Two men of valor, courage, wisdom and immense gravitas have passed away in the span of the last few days. Amiri Baraka remains the soul of research when it comes to writing on black/African American music. The amazing playwright, poet, commentator, critic, and all around accomplished artist paved the way for scholars when writing on black music. His seminal masterpiece, Blues People, forever changed the way we heard and thought of when speaking of African American musical traditions. I wrote a historiographical paper on this not too long ago where I claim that serious scholarship on this specific type of music began with him, and this magnificent book. Ariel Sharon was a tank of a man, never giving an inch to anyone and always bending the rules to his own fitting. He is in the true sense the last Israeli pioneer alive, or dead now, who lived and fought for the Zionist dream. Although they were born a few years apart, Baraka in 1934 and Sharon in 1928 respectively, they were also born worlds apart. But one of the most facilitating thing is that they were very controversial figures who were either loved to death, or loathed to life. Each was seen as a towering figure or a pariah by their own people (Israelis and Jews all over the diaspora for Sharon and the many liberal whites and African Americans for Baraka). The outsiders both hated and feared these men with a passion because at any moment they could unleash a flurry of rage through words or actions.

Amiri Barka, who’s birth name was Leroi Jones, lived through the many changes society was facing and became radicalized through his art. He said many incendiary things that held very true, yet stung like a swarm of attacking hornets. He could be very scathing and like certain African Americans around him, he felt that white liberals were fatally flawed as well. White liberals who fought for Civil Rights, and were disproportionately Jewish in representation, had this aura of condescension. This was felt by many black intellectuals, such as Malcolm X. In manning Marable’s masterly written biography on Malcolm X titled Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention he wrote that Malcolm was extremely weary of white liberal guilt. The guilt would also transform into a sense of waiting for gratitude to be given by African Americans. He could not stand that hence his criticisms on white liberals and the push for separation. Baraka was well aware of this and he made it well known.

In Jeffrey Melnick’s book on Jewish participation in African American musical forms he writes about an incident with Baraka. His book, A Right To Sing the Blues: African Americans, Jews, and American Popular Song, opens in 1965 with a panel discussion including Baraka and a few more artists discussing the Black Power Movement. He and a black colleague are asked what the white population can do to help. They said very frankly, absolutely nothing! After a deluge of variation of the same question, and the same response from the panelists, someone asked about the two Civil Rights workers who were killed in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Didn’t this mean anything to them that two white Jews sacrificed their lives for the progress of the African American people? After being pressed they still asserted that it meant nothing. Baraka said that the two Jewish men were “artifacts” and painting on the wall. He meant that as an African American man who had suffered for so long, why would he relent to another group. Plus, this demystifies the black-Jewish relations in the United States. We needed, and I say we as in Jews, a person like this to say wait, hold on and get the fuck off your high horse. Certain Jews, not all, have kept this waft of superiority because of their work during the movement. But this sense of ingratitude is a part that Baraka swatted right in the face. Fast forward to the attacks on September 11th, 2001 and his poem he still carried this iconoclastic stick to wave in our faces. I’m not condoning what he said, Israeli conspiracy theories are not an interest of mine, he still had the right to say it.

Ariel Sharon has carried the same type of stick for so long. When I was a kid growing up in Israel in the 1980’s he was an interesting figure. He was lionized for past heroics and his stedfast courage and boldness under immense pressure. Thanks to him, and his iron-clad resolve, that we won the Six Day War with a sweep and bested our attackers on the Yom Kippur October surprise. However, once becoming Minister of Defense under Menachem Begin he also carried this odd aura of superiority.

This would be tempered down after the findings on the Lebanon War, the first that is, and the murders at the Sabra and Shatila camps. He took the brunt of the findings and would leave his post under Begin. Still, his figure loomed large over the country and of course over Israeli politics. He would toe the line remaining steadfast in the belief that there were no Palestinian leaders to speak with. He also knew of the duplicitous behavior of Yassir Arafat of placating the west but goading his people to be violent. He kept him in his disheveled stronghold until he was air-lifted to his death. He was stubborn, which is why it had to be his way or the highway. Israel needed him and his brash tactics and methods. Maybe in places like the United States he wouldn’t hold well, but in Israel a fighter, a resolved tank, was exactly what we needed to get by. Not only for protection, but for sheer intimidation. Sharon knew this all too well seeing these tactics being used during the Independence War. His use of psychological warfare is amazing, which is why to this day his name still rings the alarm among Muslim leaders.

Also, like the hawk who went dove Yitzchak Rabin, Sharon came with a waft of hardcore right wing aggression, but then went through a sea change. He was a vocal supporter of the settlements, being a housing minister in the past, and now he was sending in Israeli troops to physically vacate settlers in the Gaza Strip. It is amazing to see catharsis in action because it gives us all hope that any type of change, whether individual or collective, is possible. In the words of the great David Ben-Gurion, a Jew who does’t believe in miracles is not a real Jew. Sharon was a real Israeli and Jew, and Baraka was a real black man, and a real artist in his own right.

Peace

#ArielSharon #AmiriBaraka

My Pre-Shabbat 3 – Ritual Time…

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Coming from a family that is loud, obnoxious, and in your face when it comes to cordial conversation made me the bearer of iconoclasm. Being Jewish gave us the extra pushiness, yet my family have always been progressive in the eyes of preconceived mores and traditions. My wonderfully amazing Grandmother, Bernice Wechsler who just passed away Z’L, was a trailblazer in her own right. After the Second World War my Grandfather was stationed in the south. My Grandmother worked in a social work office and she saw first hand the ugliness of Jim Crow. In the waiting room were two blazingly loud signs, one reading white waiting area and the other reading colored waiting area. We all know which side was well kept and which side was disheveled in parts. My Grandmother would not stand for the indignation of this bizarre system, as C. Van Woodward put it. One day she courageously stood up and removed both of the sings, forcefully integrating the waiting room area.

My mother, the ever hellfire of a protestor, is the same way. My mother began protesting the Vietnam War while the folkies were still conceded with Civil Rights. My mother was always very vocal on her opinions, yet she is also very intelligent in her fight for the good cause. The many amazing members of my family tree, climbing up and down or in the case of my Italian side – swinging through the rafters, gave me the push to be more vocal and pushy when the right seems so wrong. We were against traditional ideas, yet we still held firm to our Jewish tradition and the many wonderful Holy Days and gatherings.

So, Let’s make a tradition. It is less than an hour till Shabbat comes into full swing and the middle period of the uncertainty of Twilight is down for the day. I want to give you three videos of fun  and a completely mixed bag at that. I love adding the Jewish elements so let’s start with a great MC I had the pleasure of chatting with this past week. Eprhyme hails from Arizona and lived on the West Coast for sometime. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York, yet he still records in Washington. He made some great points including mentioning the enormity of the Jewish net I want to cast when it comes to Jews and Hip Hop. I’m including the video to his song “Life Sentence” from his album Dopestylevsky. 

He is a perfect example of the mailability of Jewish MC’s and how they brake the notions of the proper Jewish presentation, whatever that may be. He stays true to himself and his art, while eschewing the greater pressures that the corporate structure bestows upon the rappers who become literal slaves to the machine.

In light of this iconoclastic difference in rap styles I want to include a personal favorite. When I first heard the group Digable Planets I was blown by how cool they sounded. Each MC, Doodlebug, Butterfly, and Ladybug Mecca, has such a monotone sounding voice that blends beautifully with the rugged beats in the background. Their first album is a classic, but their second album Blowout Haircomb is one of the best Hip Hop albums ever. I’m adding their video for the song “9th Wonder”

because the flow of the rhyme steles are so catchy with the slow beat haze riding the words. There’s a slight connection as the young boy finds an old style ten shekel bill embossed with the light orange glaze with the soft eyes of Golda Meir looking on in awe.

The last, but not the very least, video is from my amazingly talented cousin, Jeremiah;s and the magnificent Sway Machinery. Jeremiah and the band have gone through many transitions with the stellar influences reaching the outer reaches of the cosmos. Two years or so ago the band flew to Mali, before the trouble began, and recorded with some amazing local artists. Check out the productive product in their album The House Of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1. The majesty of the horns blaze the path of glory, as the drums bang to reach the inner soul of your ear drum, and of course Jeremiah’s cutting razor blade guitar playing precision is laced lovely with his cantorial voice of heavenly wails…here’s the video for their song “Gawad Teriamou” with the help of the soulful voice of Khaira Arby.

Shabbat shalom to all and to all a restful weekend.

Peace

Hip Hop videos from my Pre-America days

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I moved the United of all States in the summer of 1992, and I have to admit  that I was fresh off the El Al flight, but I still knew the time thanks to my older brother. By 1993 my ears opened up to the multitude of music coming from the US. I’m not saying that I was devoid of American music while growing up in Israel, but being a youngen gave me the rebellious feel to search and destroy. I first got into Hip Hop music in Israel looting my brother’s tapes and banging what beats I could, before he gave me the head nod. I remember hearing many groups and artists like KRS-ONE, Run-DMC (check out Touger Than Leather, the film is one of my personal favorites), Big Daddy Kane, Eric B & Rakim, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, and of course one of my most vivid recollections of all time, 2 Live Crew’s seminal classic album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be.

I know I drop the Jewish Hip Hop love, but I still have a profound love for Hip Hop culture. These are some of my favorite videos I remember seeing before I moved to the United States, and I hope you enjoy this Israeli/American’s shout out to my life long love, Hip Hop.

2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horney”

and their video for “Do Wah Diddy”

Public Enemy’s video for “Can’t Trust It”

The Beastie Boys video for “Hey Ladies”

Run-DMC’s “Mary, Mary” from their phat ass movie, Tougher Than Leather

For shits and giggles, here’s a link to the full length movie.

LL Cool J’s video for “Mama Said Knock You Out” which is also featured in his debut film role alongside James Woods and Michael J. Fox in The Hard Way.

And of course one of my favorite introductions into bad-ass black cinema in the guise of the great film, New Jack City.