I never thought that as a young teenager back in High School with a large rap tape and record collection, I would be here on the big bad interwebs telling you how incredible this year was and why in my honest opinion that this was the pinnacle year for Hip Hop some 20 years later.
If I may share a memory, I had a good friend from Maryland, Washington who was at my school and in my class and Kory H (what's good B?..it has been a minute huh?) and I became close friends through what else?...Hip Hop, this dude had the illest collection and I got so much music and knowledge through him...well one boring school day he told me got some new tapes and that I was going to flip over what he had...we went around and looked for a tape recorder, found one and four of us locked ourselves in the school's film room, and on that day Kory (aka Kool Korz) reached into his bag and played four albums I have never forgotten, we got to hear Follow The Leader, Straight Out The Jungle,He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper and Smoke Some Kill and I think that is why those albums are still so important to me.
I also fondly remember doing tapes for him and other classmates and bugging out at his music collection, I am hoping he reads this because I haven't seen the dude since the late 80's and I owe a lot to him...thanks for letting me share that memory.
This post is also dedicated to the MVC Posse, Mikey, Vee and Cam this is for you chaps :D
Creativity and rhymes that meant something dominated rap in 1988, you had heavy, political and conscious groups like Public Enemy, Jungle Brothers, Boogie Down Productions and then you had groups like Ultramagnetic MC's, EPMD and Eric B & Rakim that stayed true to the essence of what the art form was all about and you also had the poppy and artists that just wanted to make you move like Kid N Play, JJ Fad,Finesse and Synquis etc.
MC meant Master of Ceremonies and Mic Control in 88 and even the gangster rap artists were actually saying things in their rhymes, gold chains were rocked when you earned the right to rock them, Slick Rick rocked truck jewels and so did the God Rakim.
Beatsmiths like Marley Marl, Prince Paul,Hurby Love Bug,Bomb Squad,Phil Most Chill,Baby Bam,Kool DJ Red Alert, the late great Paul C,Ced Gee,L.G. (Lawrence Goodman),Hitman Howie Tee,Curt Cazal, DJ Doc,King of Chill, DJ Mark The 45 King and others were taking chances and developing exciting new styles and sounds and moving away from just looped up drums or drum machine beats and a basic 4 bar sample.
James Brown loops,stabs, horns and drums were in full effect of course, even getting to the point where two artists said enough!, Hellrazor's "No More James" and the Kings of Swing's "Stop Jockin James", it didn't stop other artists digging out for fresh JB material though and in 1988, classic breaks were often the choice for MC's to flow over more than programmed drum beats.
1988 was all about identity and style as well, think EPMD and you think of fisherman hats, think of Stetsasonic and you think of Troop clothing, think of Rakim and you think of Dapper Dan, think of NWA and think of La Raiders and La Kings caps and giant clocks when you think of Public Enemy.
1988 was also the year that
The Source magazine released it's first issue
Yo MTV Raps first aired
NWA's-Straight Outta Compton LP goes Gold
D-Word aka Te Kupu released New Zealand's first ever rap single "Etu" with the Upper Hutt Posse
Making noise in the UK was 2 Tuff,Black Radical Mark II,D 2 The K, Demon Boyz, Einstein,Hijack, Faze One, Overlord X,Simon Harris, London Posse,Project X, Kash Da Masta, The Sindecut, Derek B, Korperayshun, MC Duke, MC Buzz B and the London Rhyme Syndicate plus more than a few others.
In Australia, Just Us from Sydney released "Combined Talent", the first Australian Hip Hop record.
The most sampled artist was James Brown
The first reggae/hip hop record known as Raggmuffin Hip Hop was recorded by Asher D & Daddy Freddy
The best ever posse rap cut "The Symphony" with Biz, Craig G, Kool G Rap and Masta Ace was recorded in 1988.
and the US had...
Dollar Bill & Cutmaster KG
Superlover Cee and Cassanove Rud
Kings of Swing
Eric B & Rakim
Salt N Pepa
Boogie Down Productions
DJ Ace and Daquan
Kool Rock Brothers
MC Don & EZ Ed
Top Choice Clique
Two Damn Fresh
Phase & Rhythm
Rob Base and DJ Ez Rock
Big Daddy Kane
Heavy D & The Boyz
Intellectuals Of Rhyme
D’von & Phreedom
Masters of Ceremony
Another Def Creation
LL Cool J
2 Live Crew
Chill Rob G
Captn G Whiz
Cold Crush Brothers
Cold City Crew
Fila Fresh Crew
3 The Hard Way
Dread & The Rhymesters
DJ Scratch & The God
DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
Sirvere and DJ Critical
LA Dream Team
Ice Cream Tee
Get Loose Crew
Known 2 Be Down
MC Nikke & DJ Rap-N-Scratch
Sway and King Tech
MC Rell and The Housereockers
De La Soul
Kings of Pressure
Kool D & Technolo G
Live N Effect Posse
Doug E Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew
MC Tee and Lord Tasheem
MC EZ & Troup
MC Sugar Ray
Mikey D & The LA Posse
Mr X and Mr Z
PDA In Effect
Lightnin Lee & Poppy Pee
Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5
Raw Dope Posse
Rhyme Poetic Mafia
Rodney O & Joe Cooley
Sir IBU & Divine Force
Sport G & Mastermind
Taking Your Business
Aaron Dee and C Nice
Tall Dark and Handsome
Prince Whipper Whip
Too Kool Posse
Money Earning Crew
Two The Rap
and many more...
here is the first Back To 1988 compilation, many thanks to those that have helped me track down some hard to find joints.
1. level one - keep the crowd in peace (first production from V.I.C.)
2. 360 - years to build
3. audio two - hickeys (soul shock mix)
4. biz markie - pickin' boogers (original 12inch version)
5. finesse & synquis - a jam ain't a jam
6. prince lover dalu - all praise
7. trouble - i get hype
8. true mathematics - portrait of a rap star
9. tds mob - crushin' em
10. sport g & mastermind - live
11. cool c - down to the grissle
12. bdp - im still 1 (extended remix)
13. dj ace and daquan - give it up
14. lakim shabazz - pure righteousness
15. lightnin lee & poppy pee - big time chillin
16. kings of swing - microphone junkie
17. skinny boys - get pepped
19. latee - wake up
20. domination-you haven't heard nothing