Classic Hip Hop Year-By-Year: 1986-1995

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by kanno1ae, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Let's discuss the best tracks, albums, and music videos from the 10-year span that is arguably hip-hop's golden era. Whether you like hip hop a little or a lot, I'd like to know what your picks are from each year. If you know nothing about hip hop but want to learn, this thread will serve as a good introduction.

    Guidelines:
    1. We will talk about one year at a time (maybe a year each week, +/- a few days, depending on how the discussion is going). Let's try to stick to the year currently being discussed to keep the thread somewhat chronological.
    2. Anyone can bring up any hip-hop recording they want to from the year being discussed.

    1986

    At the young age of 7, this was the first year I took an interest in hip-hop music, thanks to Run-DMC's "Walk This Way."

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    This track was the first major mainstream rap/hip-hop song, making it all the way to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and an even bigger hit than Aerosmith's original that peaked at #10 in early 1977. (The Run-DMC recording also went to #10 on Radio & Records pop airplay chart.)

    How I discovered it: At the time, we had just moved to a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, from a rural town in Michigan. It was not only my first experience living in a bigger city, but it was the first time we had Nickelodeon on cable TV. Every night before bed, my parents would let me watch Nick At Night, and at the time, Mr. Ed was my favorite show they were airing. In the fall of 1986, I remember Nick running a promo ad for a contest to win a trip to a theme park (Six Flags?), and it was in this promo that they used the intro to Run-DMC's "Walk This Way." Night after night, I would see this promo spot and hear the song snippet with no lyrics, but man, I loved that guitar riff! What was it????

    My dad must've been able to identify the riff from the old Aerosmith classic, because he drove me to the record store and bought me the 45 (cover pictured above). After that, I was hooked.

    A few weeks ago, a friend and I were watching the Netflix Hip Hop Evolution documentary, and there's a cool story about how the song came about. Run-DMC used to hear the original Aerosmith track sampled on street mix tapes, where earlier rap groups would rhyme over the drum intro. Eventually Jam Master Jay would cut the beat up on his turntables. During the recording of Raising Hell, Rick Rubin suggested they remake the song. At first, DMC (Darryl) thought Rick was talking about just sampling the track with their own rhymes. But then Rick said (according to DMC), "No, you should do the record as is."

    Run (Joseph Simmons) and Darryl were completely against it, saying it was "hillbilly jibberish," which eventually turned into a screaming match between them, Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons (Joseph's brother, who co-founded Def Jam with Rick), although Jay was on-board with the idea of the remake. A week went by, and Jam Master Jay was in the studio with Russell and Rick (co-producers of the track), and Rick had brought Steven Tyler and Joe Perry with him to the studio. Jay called Run and Darryl from the studio, essentially convincing them to come down to record the record with the band.

    After laying down the track, Jay and DMC, still not convinced that the track was any good, told Rick and Russell that they had better not put it out as a single. They put it out anyway, and the rest is history.

     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  2. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
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    LL Cool J Radio

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    MC Shan "The Bridge"

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    Joeski Love "Pee Wee's Dance" (UK 12" picture cover)

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    Eric B. & Rakim "Eric B. Is President"
     
  3. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
  4. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Any fans of License To Ill?

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    Dflow, daveidmarx, Wes_in_va and 15 others like this.
  5. D.H.

    D.H. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Malmö, Sweden
    As a relative hip hop novice, I would say it's a good album (3/5), but they quickly became better with the next record. This one's a little bit dated, but it's charming and youthful. Check out my BB related thread.
     
  6. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Link to your thread?

    I'm with you on License To Ill. It's not my favorite Beastie album, but it's by far the biggest selling hip hop album released in 1986, as well as one of the biggest of all time. It's sold 10+ million copies in the US alone since its release. Personally I like the tracks with sparse production on the album more than the busy rap/rock tracks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  7. Merrick

    Merrick The return of the Thin White Duke

    Location:
    Portland
    Gotta agree, License to Ill stands up best due to the seemingly inexhaustible reserves of energy that the boys have. Some of their schtick is funny on the record but I prefer the records that came after.

    As for Run DMC, now they sound a little embryonic with their simpler beats, but like the Beastie Boys they have such boundless energy, and they had the foresight to go after rock audiences and not just existing hip hop audiences.

    Gotta admit I haven't given the LL Cool J more than a cursory listen.
     
  8. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    I absolutely love the "simpler beats" of Run-DMC, much more than the electro and synth-heavy songs that predated what they were doing.

    Regarding LL, "Radio" is also not my favorite album of his, but it's a really hard hitting debut. The AC/DC sample of "Flick Of The Switch" and the in-your-face rhymes on "Rock The Bells" make it an undeniable classic song. I'm not sure why Rick Rubin decided to practically drown LL's lyrics out when mixing it, but somehow it works.

    My one complaint about Radio is that they didn't include the original version of "I Need A Beat."
     
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  9. Piiijiii

    Piiijiii Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ruhr Area, Germany
    Of course! One of the best bands ever and what a debut.

    It predates the sound of the following years and to me sounds like a best of album.

    Imagine this album including "I'm Down" and "Rock Hard"!
     
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  10. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    It's definitely a great debut, no doubt. But I'm glad they said goodbye to Def Jam afterward. I can't imagine what path they might have taken if they had stayed with Rick and Russell.

    It's funny, outside of "Paul Revere," there aren't really any standout tracks for me. It's just a good, fun listen all the way through, but there aren't songs on the album that I would say I really, really love or that are far better than the rest.
     
    Beatnik_Daddyo'73 likes this.
  11. pig bodine

    pig bodine God’s Consolation Prize

    Location:
    Syracuse, NY USA
  12. Piiijiii

    Piiijiii Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ruhr Area, Germany
    I remember when it came out. I was fifteen and it sounded so new and fresh.
    I didn't listen to much else that year.
    But I agree it's good that they left Def Jam after that.

    Another great debut:
     
  13. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Yes! Were you in New York when the BDP and MC Shan records came out? Curious to hear stories and experiences with hip hop in NYC at this time.

    I'm also a fan of "PSK" and "Ego Tripping," but I could never get into electro.
     
  14. pig bodine

    pig bodine God’s Consolation Prize

    Location:
    Syracuse, NY USA
    Yes, I lived there from 1984 to 1993 (age 21-30) It was a great time, the mid 80's, it was still cutting edge, there were small record stores all over the 5 boroughs that sold mostly 12"s, most were gone by the time I left, but by then, hip hop had broken big and you could get the stuff at malls if you wanted to. This was the time of boom boxes and loud car systems that the police were supposed to crack down on, but never did, so you'd hear all this great music just walking down the street or riding the subway. I really miss those times. New York was so great in the 80's before Guiliani.
     
  15. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Wish I could've seen it! Speaking of boom boxes, around this time (early '86) a kid on my school bus would bring his boom box and play Boogie Boys "A Fly Girl" every morning on the way to school. (Side note: The record has a copyright of 1985, but it might have been early '86 when it was popular...not sure.) That's another one of my mid-'80s favorites with fond memories attached to it.
     
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  16. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Who else loves this track??



    What's crazy to me is that the single has been out of print probably since the '80s, and it's only been issued on CD a couple times: on Rap's Greatest Hits (Priority) and Tommy Boy Presents Hip Hop Essentials. (If you're looking to get a copy on CD, avoid the Tommy Boy disc, as the song is dubbed from a scratched up copy of the 12".) You would think it would be easier to find, but you can't even buy it on iTunes.
     

  17. this was always my favorite Run DMC track
     
  18. JohnnyQuest

    JohnnyQuest Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise
    @kanno1ae Glad you tagged me in. I'd love to participate but I can't truly bring anything to this discussion until we hit 1988.

    Until then I'll be gladly following this thread and sampling each track posted. :)
     
    kanno1ae likes this.
  19. ModernDayWarrior

    ModernDayWarrior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rahway, NJ, USA
    Funny thing is, when Paul's Boutique came out, nobody really got it. Yes it's a hip hop classic now (I think one of the greatest of all time) but it confused a lot of people when it was first released. IMO it's their SGT Pepper.
     
  20. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    When we get to '89, there's a ton of great stuff talk about, including this gem.
     
    ModernDayWarrior likes this.
  21. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    Great thread idea. Unfortunately I didn't get much into hip hop until the last few years, so I'll be following this thread with a view to learn more than contribute. Once we get into the 90s I may have more to say though.
     
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  22. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    '86 had a lot of minimalist beats, as samplers were still very expensive but were just starting to become accessible to some hip hop producers. Here's the track by the Boogie Boys I mentioned above:



    "A Fly Girl" was then sampled by their label mates Sly Fox on Capitol Records, who used the beat for their top 10 hit "Let's Go All The Way."
     
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  23. ModernDayWarrior

    ModernDayWarrior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rahway, NJ, USA
    I can't believe they missed the 30th anniversary of it by not issuing a deluxe version. She's On It could have been one of the bonus tracks as well.
     
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  24. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    If you aren't familiar with "Pee Wee's Dance" (posted above), the vocal ("get busy y'all") was sampled on at least a couple of your favorite hip hop albums by PE and NWA, as well as countless others.
     
    JohnnyQuest likes this.
  25. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    I wonder how much say the Beasties have over this. It's a well known fact that they are not fond of License To Ill, and their relationship with Def Jam did not end well.
     

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