Some of your fave artists today wouldn’t be making the music you love if it weren’t for some pioneering musicians before them. Usher’s hip hop beats or even Eminem‘s controversial rap lyrics wouldn’t have a home in the music industry without these peeps. Check ’em out!
*Heads Up* If you plan on picking up a few of these albums you should know that some of the songs, on a few of the albums, may contain the occasional naughty word. We’re not talking about Eminem-style trash talking, but you’ll want to check with your ‘rents before blaring this stuff in the living room. Remind your folks that this is the music of their generation, maybe it’ll help! Also, some of these discs are available in clean versions.
Pioneers of Hip Hop – Grandmaster Flash
In the late ’70s, a teenager growing up in the Bronx started to develop a brand new genre of music. He would soon become known as Grandmaster Flash, a DJ who invented techniques like cutting, back-spinning and phasing. After a while, this influential DJ was joined by a group of rappers called the Furious Five. Melle Mel, Cowboy, Kid Creole, Mr. Ness (AKA Scorpio) and Rahiem brought some of the coolest lyrics to the table creating tracks with Grandmaster Flash like The Message, White Lines and The Roof is on Fire.
Pioneers of Hip Hop – Run-D.M.C.
Before they had even graduated high school, Joseph Simmons (AKA Run) and Darryl McDaniels (AKA D.M.C.), were on their way to becoming some of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time. When they graduated in 1982, they asked their friend Jason Mizell (soon to be dubbed Jam Master Jay), to join their group. Over the next few decades, Run-D.M.C. spit out hit after hit like It’s Like That and their cover of Aerosmith’s Walk This Way. Along with Run’s brother, Russell Simmons (who co-founded Def Jam Records), Run-D.M.C. helped to pave the way for many hip-hop artists to come. Unfortunately for hip hop fans everywhere, Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in a recording studio in Queens in 2002.
Pioneers of Hip Hop – Public Enemy
Following in the footsteps of Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy was formed by rapper and DJ, Chuck D in 1982. Tired of not being represented by the media, Chuck D and his sidekick Flava Flav, used their music to bring awareness to issues in the black community. They were one of the first rap groups to be signed by Def Jam Records and by 1988, Public Enemy had released their album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which is one of the most critically successful albums of all time. Chuck D was known for his deep voice and powerful lyrics, where as Flava Flav is probably best known for wearing a giant clock around his neck at all times.