Showing posts with label 1997. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1997. Show all posts

Sunday, June 2, 2019

resonators 2019 - episode #017 - 'doom' by mood (VIDEO)

Okay, this probably won't get a ton of traffic, but I'm pretty pleased I was able to show some light on this...

Anyway, now for something completely different...

Saturday, June 1, 2019

resonators 2019 - episode #017 - 'doom' by mood

So last month when I covered Slum Village, I made sure to highlight how much of that project was a springboard for legendary producer J. Dilla, who had started to pick up traction in a few years before but really launched into major cult prominence off of that project. And while that success would cascade down somewhat into the other members of Slum Village, both present and future, today we're going to be exploring a similar launch point in underground hip-hop, but one that time might have forgotten if you didn't know where to look.

So, it's 1997 in Cincinnati, a city which has never really been a hotbed for hip-hop in any era, but things are moving for an up-and-coming group called Three Below Zero, featuring rappers Main Flow and Donte and producer Jahson. More to the point, they've also got a connection to future big name producer Hi-Tek, who hit it up well with an up-and-coming Brooklyn MC named Talib Kweli, who we covered on an earlier episode of this show. They had released a few singles over the past couple of years - the one that tends to be recognized the most is 1996's 'Hustle On The Side', which is a pretty terrific forgotten gem in its own right - but they had changed their name and had ventured up to New York to record their debut which would be released in 1997... and depending who you talk to, is mostly known as the launch-pad for Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, or is a forgotten underground classic in its own right... and it would take the group as a whole until 2011 to release a non-compilation follow-up. So okay, let's get into Doom, the debut album from Mood, and this is Resonators!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

resonators 2019 - episode #016 - 'fan-tas-tic vol. 1' by slum village (VIDEO)

Well I wasn't surprised this wasn't going to draw huge numbers... have to hope it'll pick up a bit more traction in a bit.

In the mean time, looks like folks want me to cover Vampire Weekend before P!nk (sigh), so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

resonators 2019 - episode #013 - 'funcrusher plus' by company flow (s02e01) (VIDEO)

So to be very honest, this is the season of Resonators for which I'm most worried, especially given how many self-proclaimed 'hip-hop historians' would love to jump down my throat, especially given the fact that I was slightly critical here... but hey, honesty is more important.

Next up... hey, another rap album, so stay tuned!

resonators 2019 - episode #013 - 'funcrusher plus' by company flow (s02e01)

There's a tendency among music historians and critics to say that after certain moments, nothing would ever be the same - and in the 1990s, many would agree there were two concrete moments where this would be the closest to being true. The first was in 1991 with the release of Nevermind by Nirvana, an album that would redefine rock music in a fundamental way. The second seemed more gradual but its ripple effects would shake the foundations of a different genre: the twin deaths of two of the greatest hip-hop legends of the era, Tupac Shakur in September of 1996, and The Notorious B.I.G. in March of 1997. It was a moment that shook gangsta rap to its core, and in the mainstream would prompt a hard shift towards brighter, glitzier subject matter on both coasts.

But true historians of that era would tell you it's never that simple. You could easily make the argument that Puff Daddy was laying the foundation in the last months of 1996 with Ma$e for a more polished and opulent sound, coupled with the signing of the Telecommunications Act in 1996 that would enable radio companies to buy up local stations and deliver nationally syndicated programs, which bucked against the regionality and feuds of the time. And that's not ignore the pushback building against the monopolistic presence of gangsta rap in the mid-90s, which had marginalized pop rap and the more conscious artists who had seen their momentum short-circuited after 93. But in 1997, with pop rap quickly gaining ascendancy, there was no incentive for national radio conglomerates to play the conscious, forward-thinking, or outright weird hip-hop that was starting to bubble forth again, especially given its instrumental palette seemed stuck in the past on a surface listen. And the rap industry began enforcing a divide, where major label success and hits were deemed worthy of critical acclaim while smaller, underground shops were disdained for not having the same maximalist appeal and sound and budget. And while there would be outliers like DMX and Eminem to keep the anger alive, to some extent they served a different audience and purpose, and even at the time rap publications like The Source would not always give them their due. 

But we're not even talking about them. No, for this year we're staying strictly underground - only indie hip-hop for 2019, many albums of which would garner critical acclaim from those in the know, but rarely accumulate the same praise or commercial success as even a few of them could have seen but a few years earlier. Marginalized as backpackers, weirdos, hipsters, and freaks, they would nevertheless keep a flame of lyrical and experimental hip-hop burning against an industry that would ignore them at best and spurn them at worst... and yet you could make the argument their influence lingers far more powerfully to this day. And there's really only one place where we can start: that's right, folks, for 2019 we're talking late-90s/early-to-mid 2000s underground hip-hop and we have to start with Funcrusher Plus by Company Flow - and this is Resonators!