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Hip Hop Got To Stop 5: You Gots To Chill
Bitching about the weather is an oftentimes even offensive British cliche.This island is in a Temperate Zone. Warmed and buffeted and bummed out by the Gulf Stream, a bit of warm stuff that ironically means we get as much rain as Borneo. And cold blasts, punctuated with stupid humid heat sometimes in the South we pretend is a blessing.You know I am obsessed with the sacred music of Jamaica. It is hot there in more ways than one. But in the case of Hip Hop, cold is needed to make heat.After the tragedy of sampling getting smashed out of the mainstream Hip Hop arsenal, it was the cold Esates of the East Coast that made something beautiful again.Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. was a rare case of a major label standing up for an artist and all that is right. "Alone Again", Track 12 from The Biz's third LP, "I Need A Haircut" took the Liberal approach to samples beyond the extreme. It took a full ten seconds from the odious Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1972 defecation that is "Alone Again, Naturally" and made something fun from it.Now back in the day, as we've been through already, the whole sample thing was a bit like trying to smuggle a bag of Skunk through Stansted in a more fair world where you could buy a licence to bring gear in if you asked, but wouldn't much bother. Chances are, you'd not be caught. People that were were unlucky paid a price, but the Man wasn't too interested. Major labels at the fag end of the 80s often made some attempt to find whoever owned a big, obvious, sample and pay up before any trouble.That's what Warners tried to do, and brought it all down. It was not clear, as it often isn't, who owned this turd and so they gave up after making a few enquires. The "rap" hating "Judge" in the case quoted the Bible and used the valid but shifty legal principle that Warners had tried to find who owned this scat before releasing it anyway as a way to say they knew they were criminals. They said The Biz was an artist worth hearing, clown that he is, and that everyone did this and that all was done in good faith. This didn't sell.So a cold wind blew across hip hop, much like a fart out of a zombie's arse.And it was just this cold that acted as a defibrillator on the whole damn scene.Andre Young is a business genius. He saw that paying George Clinton for rights to good but not GREAT pop funk junk from the late 70s was smarter than playing the labels, and spat fake closeted Middle Class gangsta fantasies on it all.Meanwhile, in the cold of the weather and the deep freeze of the US crack and gun disease, greater minds were stewing. In a rich brew of bootlegged Sir Run Run Shaw Kung Fu flicks, high grade bud and paranoia.Of course I'm talking of the likes of The Wu Tang Clang. Das Efx. Masta Ace
. People spending a lot of time alone or in small groups, avoiding Cold, and making hot magic as a result. And that is the door we will break down next...
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