Posts Tagged ‘Hip-Hop’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “She’s Crafty” by Beastie Boys


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “She’s Crafty” by Beastie Boys

From their not-so-humble beginnings as a truly awful Hard Core band who I had the privilege to see as an opening act at Big Audio Dynamite’s first U.S. show at a club called “The World” in New York City in 1984…to the juvenile hardy partyers who opened for Madonna on her “Virgin” tour the following year riding on an inflatable penis…to the Brooklyn Dust masters who came into their own with Paul’s Boutique in 1989 and followed with iconic Spike Jonze-directed videos in in 1994…to the elder statesmen of Hip Hop today…the Beasties managed to invent and reinvent Rap and Hip Hop in their own image many times over.

Today’s Song Of The Day by Eric Berman comes from The Beasties The Beasties (Michael Diamond/”Mike D. ,” Adam Yauch/”MCA” & Adam Horovitz/”King Ad Rock”) debut Def Jam album License To Ill which was produced by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons.

It’s a record that could not exist today because of the prohibitive cost of samples by the likes of Led Zeppelin on this tune and The Beatles’ song “The End” on which they sampled for the song “The Sounds Of Science” from this record’s follow up. Such were the early days of hip-hop.

Edited: August 21st, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Eye Know” by De La Soul


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Eye Know” by De La Soul

With samples from Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and Steely Dan’s “Peg,” De La Soul unleashed this bouillabaisse of good times onto a hip-hop public in 1989 with today’s Song Of the Day by Eric Berman. The 3 Feet High And Rising album is one of two stone-cold sample-delic masterpieces that came out that year along with The Beastie Boys’ classic Paul’s Boutique, and they both sound as fresh today as they did when they were newly minted.

I was fortunate enough to see them perform shortly after the album’s release during the New Music Seminar in New York City opening for none other than George Clinton and the P-Funk All-stars. Not only was it a very late evening of music with the funksters doing their usual for then four hour set, but it was very memorable even after all these years.

If you’ve never heard the album…it is surely your loss…

Edited: August 14th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy

This track is ground zero in all of hip hop and perhaps the most in your face rap single of all time! While Public Enemy are no doubt the most influential rap group of all time, they were also the most innovative with their sampling and dynamic backing tracks provided by brothers Hank and Keith Shocklee, also known as The Bomb Squad.

The Shocklee brothers had their own mobile DJ business called Spectrum City DJs who also counted Professor Griff amongst its employees. Carlton Ridenhour, also known as Chuck D, was an aspiring graphic designer who offered to design some posters for the Spectrum City crew while he was a radio DJ at WBAU, the Adelphi College radio station. At one point, he also told them he could emcee, and along with another WBAU regular, Flavor Flav (William Drayton Jr.), and local DJ, Terminator X (Norman Rogers), Public Enemy was born.

Right from the start, PE’s sound was a mix of the serious brought out by Chuck D’s politically charged topical messages cooled off by the somewhat slacker presence of D’s amiable sidekick Flavor Flav, all supported by the hyper-charged backing tracks of The Bomb Squad.

It was through WBAU program director Bill Stephney that they came to the attention of producer Rick Rubin who signed them to his Def Jam record label and released their first album Yo! Bum Rush The Show in 1987. The group followed that record with the earth shattering It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, which was the first rap album to top the Village Voice’s Pazz and Jop Poll in 1988.

This song comes from their no less essential third release Fear Of A Black Planet from 1990 and it later turned up as the centerpiece of the “Spike Lee joint” Do The Right Thing. Other singles on this album included “Welcome To The Terrordome” and “911 Is A Joke” in which, Flavor Flav and company take on the response times of 911 in black neighborhoods.

Edited: June 26th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 9/30/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Clique” by GOOD Music featuring Kanye West, Jay-Z and Big Sean

Kanye West is a mutha-fucken’ “G” – that’s not “G” as in Gangsta, by the way, that’s “G” as in GENIUS. Think what you may about Kanye’s antics, and he’s always full of surprises, but you can’t touch him when it comes to creating some of the greatest Hip Hop records…ever! Truth be told, the point Kanye was making at the Grammy Awards when he interrupted Taylor Swift was a valid one. Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was the best video of that particular year, certainly better than the ones that were receiving the awards, and with the passage of time the video has become one of the most iconic music videos of all time. It was the bone-headed way he chose to handle himself that night that caused him problems. The “GOOD” of GOOD Music stands for “Getting Out Our Dreams” and it is also Kanye’s record label. The new album called “Cruel Summer” features many of the artists from the label’s roster including John Legend, Kid Cudi, Common, Pusha T, plus some of his other high-profile friends. This track features Kanye, Jay-Z and Big Sean.

Edited: September 29th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/12/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Disparate Youth” by Santigold

American born Santi White got her start as an A&R rep for Epic Records before joining the band Stiffed who released two punk rock records in the early two-thousands. In 2008 she went solo in a new direction as a singer, songwriter and dance music maven and scored with the hit “Creator” from her self-titled debut album. Many months touring supporting acts like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Bjork and M.I.A. led her to an afternoon Lollapalooza slot in 2009 where I caught her act and realized that she was much more than a product of some record company boardroom. Turns out she’s quite the performer who writes most of her material and seldom needs to lean on auto-tune to make her voice sound good. Several weeks ago she released her sophomore album “Master Of My Make Believe” with an assist from Karen O and Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs to much critical acclaim. She will again be featured at this year’s Lollapalooza Festival.

Edited: May 12th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/17/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers

Along with Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Groove Armada, The Propellerheads and The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers introduced the world to an influential dance oriented “Big Beat” music driven by heavy breakbeats in the early 1990s. The duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons called themselves “The Dust Brothers” after the influential U.S. producers of early Beastie Boy records. Once they began to become famous with their own records, they were forced to change their name to The Chemical Brothers after their early hit “Chemical Beats.” In the mid-1990s they released an album called “Exit Planet Dust” referencing the name change. They were asked by mega-fan Noel Gallagher of Oasis to work on a track together that became the U.K. #1 single “Setting Sun” landing them at the forefront of the British music scene. Which brings us to the 1997 album “Dig Your Own Hole” and its lead single “Block Rockin’ Beats” that broke them in America. It is not only a landmark dance record, but it is also one of the greatest albums for a workout in the gym. By the end of the 1990s, the Brothers were headlining the Glastonbury Festival in England. They still tour, produce other artists and release records today.

Edited: February 17th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 11/9/11

Song Of The Day – “Check The Rhime” by A Tribe Called Quest

Along with De La Soul, the trio of Q-Tip, Phife Dog and Ali Shaheed Muhammad emanated from Queens, NY and created a sound that melded Hip Hop with Jazz forming a new laid-back alternative style in Rap. This one comes from their second album called “The Low End Theory” from 1991. Check out Michael Rapaport’s 2011 documentary called “Beats, Rhymes & Life – The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest” for the “Low End Theory.”

Edited: November 9th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 10/22/11

Song Of The Day – “Jump Around” by House Of Pain

They were the one and only white Irish Hip-Hop act on the scene in 1992 when this infectious track took over the airwaves. The song was produced by Muggs, who was the same mastermind behind the sound of Cypress Hill. After two failed follow-up albums, Everlast left the group to release the exceptional 1998 record “Whitey Ford Sings The Blues.”

Edited: October 21st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 9/21/11

Song Of The Day – “Relax” by Das Racist

Music festivals are all about choices. Most of the time, I try to be exactly where I think the best music is also going to be. However, the biggest mistake I made at Pitchfork this year was to leave the stage I was at after tUnE-yArDs’ set to go to see Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Moore was good…but I’m sorry I didn’t stay where I was to see Das Racist. Live and learn…

Edited: September 21st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 7/30/11

Song Of The Day – “Cissy Strut” by The Meters

This 1969 instrumental is practically ground zero for all of Rap and Hip Hop tracks. It’s the essence of songs like this Allen Toussaint-produced classic that informs the genre with its groove and beats. The Meters were formed by Aaron Neville as a backing band for some of New Orleans’ greatest acts like Chris Kenner and Lee Dorsey.

Edited: July 29th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 4/14/11

Song Of The Day – “Finger Lickin’ Good” by Beastie Boys

From their not-so-humble beginnings as a truly awful Hard Core band who I saw as an opening act on Big Audio Dynamite’s first U.S. tour…to the hardy partyers who opened for Madonna on her “Virgin” tour…to the Brooklyn Dust masters who came into their own with “Paul’s Boutique” and Spike Jonze videos…to the elder statesmen of Hip Hop on the cusp of releasing their first new record in too many years…the Beasties have managed to invent and reinvent Rap and Hip Hop in their own image many times over. This one comes from “Check Your Head” and I love the use of the Fifth Dimension sample from “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In.”

Edited: April 14th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 3/28/11

Song Of The Day – “Eye Know” by De La Soul

With samples from Otis Redding and Steely Dan, De La Soul unleashed this bouillabaisse of good times onto a hip-hop public in 1989. The “3 Feet High And Rising” album is a stone-cold masterpiece and sounds as fresh today as it did in ’89. If you’ve never heard the album…it’s your loss…

Edited: March 27th, 2011

Song Of The Day – “What’s My Name?” by Rihanna feat. Drake

Song Of The Day – “What’s My Name?” by Rihanna feat. Drake – plus – “Shy Ronnie” feat. Adam Samberg

With a semi-auto tuned voice reminiscent of Ronnie Spector, flaming red hair and great dance moves — love that move she does with her legs! — “What’s My Name?” with its infectious melody and opening cameo by Drake is clearly the highlight of Rihanna’s fifth album “Loud.” Hailing from Barbados, Rihanna’s ascent to supremacy of the pop charts began in 2005 when she was signed by Jay-Z to Def Jam records. Her long list of hits includes “Umbrella,” “Only Girl (In The World),” “S.O.S.,” “Disturbia,” “Take A Bow,” and many others, but this song tops the chart toppers. For further enjoyment, check out one of her SNL “Shy Ronnie” digital shorts with Adam Samberg.

Edited: February 25th, 2011