Friday, February 05, 2010
Bringing that Hip-house back!
It is interesting to look at the pop charts in the last couple of years and see how house and electro music has become so popular among the mainstream. Never ones to miss a beat, many of the higher profile hip-hop and r&b artists have jumped on the bandwagon too and the tempos of many of the biggest hits are quite high these days. This makes sense, particularly as dance-floors are easier to fill with more uptempo music, and with some of the best producers in pop music being from an r&b and hip-hop background, there is no shortage of armour in these chart assaults.
Will I Am, Timbaland, the Neptunes and many more have always been at the forefront of taste-making in the charts these last few years, and all continue to enjoy huge success. We have been there before though, and about twenty years ago both the charts and the nightclubs were awash with hip-house music that briefly became the next big trend. Commercial acts such as Technotronic, the Beatmasters, the excellent C&C Music Factory and lots of other acts enjoyed huge hits while underground obscure producers such as Fast Eddie, Tyree Cooper, Kool Rock Steady and Doug Lazy were very popular in the clubs. Many of these names soon disappeared from view and it's interesting to see what happened since. Even the commercially successful ones fell by the wayside in many ways, and it's no suprise seeing as there was a certain novelty element to the music in the first place.
It is a shame in some ways though that a few of these guys are not recognised, especially in light of the fact that they some of the music stands up favourably against the more popular modern day releases. The new Black Eyed Peas single, "Rock your body", uses a sample from Rob Base and EZ Rocks "It Takes Two" as it's backbone, but is still an inferior tune. The original, itself based one the James Brown produced Lyn Collins classic "Think", remains a big club track even in 2010 but at least the Black Eyed Peas are helping people to hear one or two of these old tracks.
Tyree Cooper tells a very interesting tale about the politics of hip-house. The Chicago producer and rapper now lives in Berlin, where he is still active in music. At one stage, after becoming disillusioned like many hip-hop and house artists of his era with a music industry that never rewarded him properly for record sales, Tyree had retired and ended up delivering pizzas rather than hot 12 inches of hip-house wax to the general public. In a story that in many ways echoes the fall of disco, Tyree tells of how many of the hip-hop fraternity in the late 80's initially distanced themselves from himself and the other producers and rappers who embraced house.
It was dismissed as "gay dance music" by a macho hip-hop scene who ironically ended up jumping on it's bandwagon in some ways when it became successful. The origins of house music in gay clubs was a bridge to far for a few rappers, and just like with the backlash against disco ten years previously, when hip-house went out of fashion there was a degree of homophobia involved. Tyree reminds us that Chicago was just as tough as many of the other cities that spawned hip-hop; "You don't know that shit was born and bred in Chicago on the South and Westside. Just as hard as y'all think y'all are, MFs in Chicago is just as hard." But in a macho hip-hop world the association with house, which ironically gave some of this music it's edge, was seen as a bad thing. Tyree and Fast Eddie and the others may be forgotten, but the music still sounds good to my ears regardless of petty narrow-minded politics and as a DJ i'll be doing my best to resurrect some interest in these pioneering sounds!
Free download of part one of my mix here
I'll House You Jungle Brothers
Let's Go-Fast Eddie
Nation Of Hip House Tyree
Hip-House-Fast Eddie Fast Eddie
hip house is a style of music today Tyree
Yo Yo Get Funky Fast Eddie
Turn Up the Bass Tyree feat. Kool Rock Steady
Get Into It-Tony Scott Tony Scott
4 Those Who Like To Groove (Club Groove Remix) twin hype
C'mon N Shake Yer Butts (Mike Dunn's Warehouse Mixx) 2 Young Brothers (Dynamite M.C. & D.J. Devastation)
Come Into My House (Zanzibar Mix) Queen Latifah
Do What You Want 2 In A Room
Let It Roll (Club Mix) Doug Lazy
In the mix-Mixmasters (Fast Eddie mix) Mixmasters
In the mix-Mixmasters (Vocal) Mixmasters
Work On Me Frankie Hollywood Rodriguez
Do It Robert Bond
It's About Time (Boogie Man Mix) Mix Masters & MC Action
I'll Make You Dance Kool Rock Steady
Hardcore Hip House Tyree
Let the Music Take Control Tyree
Get Busy Mr. Lee
I Git Minze Too Nice
Let d Ryhthm Pump-Doug Lazy Doug Lazy
Portrait of a Master Piece The D.O.C.
Portrait of a Masterpiece Remix-Doc The D.O.C.
Is there anybody out there?- The Bassheads with Afrika Bambattaa
Part 2 this Saturday
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- I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays http://www.pavilioncork.com also you can catch me at http://djstevieg.podomatic.com