So, I went to see that Moog Doco. It was okay. A pretty good night out, since some chaps from work came along and that made it feel like a bit of an event. For what it’s worth I put a review of it up on IMDB.
Over the last year or so I’ve been inextricably drawn into the world of Hip Hop music. I haven’t forsaken my hoary rock roots, I’ve just added a genre to my library. It’s a scary old world I can tell you and hard to navigate. Once you get used to the guns and misogyny and cuss-words, however, it’s actually quite pleasant; even uplifting.
Imagining myself a year ago, keen but clueless, here’s my suggested list of introductory tracks for the curious beginner, someone who wants to dip a toe into the Hip Hop paddling pool.
1. California Love – 2Pac and Dr. Dre
Of course Dr. Dre isn’t a qualified G.P., but he looms very large in the whole West Coast sound. From what I’ve been able to pick up there’s basically West Coast and East Coast Hip Hop. The people in the middle (Idaho and South Dakota for example) aren’t very good at rapping and stick to what they know best, things like yodelling and incest. For me, West Coast Hip Hop towers over all else, but then I am a novice and willing to be put straight.
2. Put Your Ass Into It – Ice Cube
3. Steady Mobbin’ – Ice Cube
4. Today Was a Good Day – Ice Cube
5. Down For Whatever – Ice Cube
For me, Ice Cube (please don’t confuse with Ice T, famous for a rock track (not rap) called Cop Killer, or Vanilla Ice, the complete and utter twat who looks like the piss-poor Dolph Lundgren but who operates on about 1% of the talent) is at the pinnacle of good Hip Hop. He’s true to his roots, relevant, but there’s a sly optimism to what he does that suggests he’s not all ‘guns and hoses’.
6. Fight the Power – Public Enemy
Come on, we’ve all heard this one. PE’s third album, ‘Fear of A Black Planet’ has been referred to as the Sgt. Pepper’s of Hip-Hop. There are no guns and hos here, it’s political. The lines in this one about a racist Elvis are a particularly pleasing.
7. What’s My Name – Snoop Doggy Dog
Actually, apart from having an ever so cool vocal style, there doesn’t seem to be all that much to Snoop. My limited exposure to him leads me to believe that all he raps about is how excellent he is, how collected he is in a violent encounter and how he gets to copulate quite often. This, for me, gets a bit tiresome after a while. My white middleclass curiosity longs for further revelations, perhaps even a hint of insecurity. Is he scared of wasps, for example? What did he make of Iris? Is he concerned about Ozone depletion?
8. It’s Over Now – Kool Keith and Dan the Automator
9. Cartoon Capers – Kool Keith and Dan the Automator
10. Girls in Jail – Kool Keith
Which leads me to Kool Keith. An east-coaster who’s been able to transcend the bravado associated with this music and expose a softer, more articulate and poetic side. If Public Enemy created the Sgt. Pepper of Hip Hop, Keith blazed a prog-rock ‘concept album’ trail, as seen on the gothic-psycho-horror-hip-hop album Dr Octagon and work on the Sci-fi Hip Hop album Deltron 3030. The tracks listed above are not from those albums, though the first two are collaborations with Dan the Automator – the guy behind 3030.
11. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop – KRS One
Actors and sound fx! How cool is this (bang-bang-bang, open up it’s the DEA!)? KRS One are New Yorkers. No pimping but plenty of dealing here and a complete story narrative told within one track, which I always thought of as a Country and Western tradition.
12. Rap Superstar – Cypress Hill
13. Insane in the Menbrane – Cypress Hill
14. Mary Jane – Cypress Hill
You all know these guys, right? The grungy Hip-Hop pro-dopers with that funny voice. They mixed a little rock guitar in here and there and got an amazing new sound. Well done. Legalise, don’t penalise.
15. I Wish – Skee-Lo
16. I Got a Man – Positive K
Okay, now some comedy tracks. Just stuck these on the end for a bit of light relief. Skee is almost wholesome and does the counter-intuitive thing by rapping about his short-comings and insecurities instead of how many hos he’s boned or shot dead or both. I bet even Wogan would play him if he wasn’t scared off by the aggressive looking backwards baseball cap.
Two Good Comedy Things
1. Mitchell and Webb (the Peep Show guys) have a new radio show, which is funny.
2. The Goodies, back together and talking to Simon Mayo.
Published: 12 Feb 2005
‘Dogs Must Be Carried’ left this comment on 5 Mar 05
I’m still annoyed that Mitchell & Webb’s first sitcom, Daydream Believers, never got turned into a series. I saw a pilot at the Channel Four sitcom festival years back, which opened with a really funny gag about recording the outgoing message on an answering machine. Carlton took out an option on it, but made a different pilot episode, which wasn’t as good. Very pleased to see Peep Show becoming a success – haven’t they just sold the rights for an American version? I keep missing the radio show but have heard very good things about it.
Visit me @ http://dogsmustbecarried.blog-city.com/