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Hip Hop Got To Stop 7: The International Brigade
Josh Davis, the once relevant DJ Shadow, let us know why Hip Hop sucked in the '96.I remember hearing on some long lost pre Facebook forum about Endtroducing.People were getting off all over it in ways beyond my remembering. No samples I knew. Some mysterious compositional intelligence naked and alone with cheap Akai gear, obscure records and a fucktonne of genius had made something more than the already limping Massive Attack could touch.MTV mattered after dark when the teeny boppers, grunge goons and hair band hooligans were in bed or otherwise irrelevant. There was some "show" called "Amp" that had all the cool shit. So cool I recorded it every night on Super VHS. We were one of the last Betamax families so needed to go Super to kill the stink of being able to rent fucking videos in a very inferior format. Today when people smell the urine of overcompressed streams, this interest in things looking decent is sadly just weird.Midnight in a Perfect World redefined Hip Hop again for me in a way that had not happened until the first time I touched Bristol. And then later in the same segment something called Doctor Octagon grabbed my privates, subjected them to Sub Bass genitorture with Shadow's help and sent my soul into some surreal place based on bad LSD and worse bootleg valium.Shadow said it.Hip Hop Sucked in the 96. And he swallowed his own curse and now worse than sucks today. He trombones the festival circuit and tried to grasp the pop chalice like Prison Rape penis.But I had no idea what happened to make it blow dead ape, nor that Dr. Octagon was a ghost of what we had lost. Kool Keith survived, for a while, assisted by the briefly brilliant producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura. Who was one of these cats that burned hard and bright like an illegal firework before becoming a punchline.Thing be, Josh was not totally fair.The Wu Tang had disintegrated into variable Solo mess, other than the majesty of Liquid Swords and sub rate puffa jackets. The latest news is some geezer less associated in real terms than any fan cutting off his own fun stick.The mainstream had ceased to deliver for a few years. Bubbling under though, was something else. Even Stateside, there were movements and records that had much to say.The Ultramagnetic MCs were largely slept on geniuses from New York. They cut a magic LP and more in 1988, Critical Beatdown and were vaguely noticed locally.Critical Beatdown was the last will and fucking testament of East Coast Real.The follow-up was a label infested too many cooks microwave shit meal in the wake of the West Coast posing. Like a Black Hole of pop uncool, the foetus of what Apple just bought for reasons even moneymen don't understand, Funk Your Head Up was badly pimped in the wrong place and time. Feel the "remix" as in what Kool Keith really wanted of Poppa Large. It was more immense than a mammoth's arse but I had no idea until a French member of the International Brigade that keeps the idea alive, DJ Cam, told me about it. For the marketing world, this would have made less than no sense compared to Clinton with boasting on it.Hip Hop Sucks in the 96.Not if you felt some of the tangential genres like "Horrorcore" which sounds embarrassing until you hear it. Stuff based on the tragedy of being alive, the cold rough core of the Crack Epidemic and the brutal reality of breath. Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus is a bitter toilet block cocktail antidote to anything pop. The only macho posing here is who is first in the needle exchange line.Josh smelt the death, but did not look overseas.From where stand, Public Enemy toured from the late 80s in Europe and the UK made a particular impact. People tired of fake arsed MDMA hippie hardcore happy realised that the basic drum and bass dub and sex sound lurking around the sound clashes had something to say. And we'll be listening to that next.
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