Pale Wire (Popscene)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Do the Dibby-Dibby Dive
Unearthing the roots of hip-hop

This Thursday every hipster's favorite reissue house, Soul Jazz Records, officially moves in on the hip-hop market with the release of the two-disc collection Big Apple Rappin': The Early Days of Hip-Hop Culture in New York City 1979-1982.

Most people my age have probably heard more rhetoric about the "old school" values of hip-hop's golden age than the music itself. While hardly the first effort to enshrine the era, this Soul Jazz release is special in how it offers the curious neophyte a representative sample while also digging deep enough to draw in the b-boys. Let's have a taste:

Brother D and The Collective Effort -
"How We Gonna Make The Black Nation Rise?"

The longstanding tension between the tantalizing potential of hip-hop's bully pulpit and the demands of the dancefloor moves front and center. This 1980 disco manifesto served as the inspiration for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's celebrated anthem "The Message." Brother D and his crew strut out over a throbbing bassline sampled from Cheryl Lynn's "Got to be Real" and deliver a call-to-arms laced with fevered mic tossing, infectious call-and-response lines and insistent political exhortations. This is rarity: a party song asking you to stop the party.

As you move to the beat to the early night,
The country is moving to, moving to, the right.
Prepare now or get high and wait,
Because there ain't no party in a police state.