Bulletin Board Archive

Topic: A Few Things to Ponder: Hip Hop

  1. Feb 6, 2006 08:46am by NRG - livin the art that is life ! www.64111clinic.com fam www.nrginmotion.com massage www.myspace.com/nrginmotion world community Location: havenhouse KCK/ 64111 Clinic 4 Life
    A Few Things to Ponder: Hip Hop and Live Bands by Davey D By now everyone is aware of The Roots Band and the accomplished musicians within it. They get major props and credit for helping diffuse the ridiculous notion that Hip Hop can only be done with two turntables. Last night at the House of Blues in LA, DJ Quik accompanied by an 11 Piece band and guest appearances by Nate Dogg, Sugar Free and B-Real underscored that point and showed and proved that Hip Hop can be so much more. Tonight (Friday Feb 3 2006), DJ Quik seeks to build upon that momentum by returning to the HOB with his band and having Game, Dr Dre, Ludacris and Chingy in tow. For folks who saw the show last night, there was no doubt in our minds that Quik could not have pulled off a better performance. The band added so much more energy and gave him the flexibility to improvise and almost be playful on stage. Case in point, during the first hour he jammed his way through a set of songs that included rapper Sugar Free who was nowhere to be seen. Quik rapped Sugar Free's parts and did a great job imitating him. About an hour later, during the ending part of his show Sugar Free showed up in the building and Quik quickly adjusted. He had his bass player bring out a new bass to get a different sound while him and Sugar Free gave new life to a song that the soldout crowd had heard just an hour earlier. Quik's 11 piece band gave us the opportunity to just vibe and have deeper appreciation for the music he choose to rock his songs over. For example, when he did the song 'Fandango' and the classic joint 'Black P...', you really had a chance to hear just how dope the music to those songs were. Quik took his time to rock the songs, as he interspersed his verses with commentary and crowd raising antics like pouring champaign into people's glasses while the band played on. To be honest it was hard to remember that at one point, Quik would do shows with only two turntables and a tape machine. It certainly would be hard to go back to that routine after seeing how Quik rocked the way he did last night. Quik's concert with his new band comes two weeks after a large San Francisco audience got a chance to see Hip Hop legend Slick Rick rip the stage at the Mezzanine Nightclub with a band that featured accomplished funk -jazz musicians Ricky-Ric and Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Tone Toni. Hearing Rick just take his time and ride every rhythm as he spit his classic joints just made you appreciate things so much more. Cuts like 'Children's Story' and 'Mona Lisa' sounded fuller and more infectious energy. As was the case with Quik, Rick's backing band were able to capture the energy and the feel of the original pieces. They didn't sound like weak carbon copies, but instead enhanced and in some cases even better versions. One thing that was apparent was that Quik's band and as well as the backing band for Slick Rick came up knowing Hip Hop so as musicians they were easily able to replicate and skillfully add to the songs. . Historically speaking we know that Hip Hop started with two turntables and yes, we know that one of the four main elements is deejaying. However, when we strip everything away and look at this in it's proper context we'll find that what was really driving Hip Hop was the percussion breakdown. Those early B-Boy records that pioneering deejays like Kool Herc extended indefinitely came from a wide variety of music genres. Some were disco. Others were rock or reggae. Some were vintage Motown. If the record had a funky drum beat breakdown, then a deejay worth his salt was gonna go out and grab it and rock it at a party. The other thing to keep in mind is that for the most part the turntable took the place of the drum set that most could not afford much less play back in the early days. In other words if the average Bronxite or Native New Yorker was able to play instruments, the turn table might not have been as prominent. We see this point underscored as we migrate west from New York and looked at other African based music movements during the same period that Hip Hop was in its embryo stage. When you came down to a place like Washington DC, you saw the popularity of GoGo. When you headed out west to Cali you saw the popularity of Funk bands. In fact during the 70s while hundred of deejay crews dotted the New York landscape, The Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area saw hundred of garage-funk bands. Just like every housing project had a Hip Hop Crew that would set up shop and do gigs in the local community center or high school. You saw the same phenomenon in the Bay Area where every block had a 3 or 4 member funk band. The activity of choice was for those bands to square off against one another and put on incredible shows. In New York we had the B-Boys that kept the crowds enthralled while the deejays rocked the crowds along with the then emerging rappers who played the background role. Out in Cali while the funk bands got down, strutters and poppers kept things on point. We should also note that the vocalization employed by the funk bands ranged from singing to spitting rhymes although back then that act was not called rapping or emceeing, Lastly, while many within Hip Hop like to paint this picture that suggests that bands and Hip Hop don't mix, there is no denying the influence. First we have to look at the early records that came out on the Sugar Hill label. Everything from Rapper's Delight to Apache were replayed by the house band which included well known funk-jazz musicians like guitarist Adrianne Sherwood, drummers Keith Leblanc and Tito Puentes, and bass player Doug Wimbush to name a few. The other thing is that many of the early groups were influenced by the showmanship techniques and ethics used by popular groups like Cameo, Parliament Funkadelic, the Temptation etc. This was reflected in many of the early groups ranging from Afrika Bambaataa to grand Master Flash, dressing up, developing routines and attacking the stage with a commitment to give the audience their money's worth. I bring all this up so we can better understand the context of what seems to be occurring with more and more frequency- Rap acts going out and getting full piece bands. Now we know this is nothing new persay.. Yes, there was that short period in the early 90s when we saw acts like MC Hammer, Stesasonic, Common, Mos Def, LL Cool J, Too Short Digital Underground and more recently Public Enemy do shows with bands. We are also aware of groups like Hip Hop Neo-soul oriented bands like Alphabet Soup, Jungle Biscuit, Justice System and Breakastra. Of course we had the onslaught of rock bands that infused Hip Hop with groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park who immediately come to mind. However, it appears that today Hip Hop acts are building upon the success stories of the aforementioned groups and time periods and at the same time re-tooling their approach so that the final product is something that truly resonates with the Hip Hop audience. DJ Quik's show at HOB shows that this final product can seriously and fundamentally change the way we do rap. Or as some who are older would say. Artist like Quik are taking us back to basics-before Hip Hop began....
  2. Feb 11, 2006 08:12am by Distorted_Mastermind - I reject your reality and substitute my own. Adam Savage Location: Olathe, KS
    You can look at it like it might put a DJ/Producer out of a job, but that is doubtfull. On the bright side of things it gives a guitar, bass, drum, horn, percussion, keyboard, and anything else that makes noise an opportunity to work and be involved in hip hop. It's evolution. Some people want to stick to the norm, and others are willing to try new things (in this case an old thing with a new twist). I'm all for it. Diversity is what attracts me to hip hop as much as it does.