Nobody expected the 1983 motion picture BREAKIN’ to be a hit. At the time, breakdancing was quickly becoming a worldwide craze, rising from the urban neighborhoods and spilling into white-bread suburbia. Since Hollywood always loves to capitalize on current trends, TV commercials suddenly incorporated breakdancing and movies like BREAKIN’ and BEAT STREET (amongst others) were quickly put into production. BREAKIN’ was first out of the gate. The film was a commercial – and financial -success and was followed a year later by BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. Highly entertaining some 35 years later, both films were light on plot and acting ability but heavy on music and fun. Regardless of how lightweight the films were, the soundtracks served up a healthy selection of R&B, Soul, and Funk music that was surprisingly light on the more dangerous sounds of Rap/Hip Hop. Regardless, the music introduced young movie goers to a sound and culture that they may not have experienced otherwise. The BREAKIN’ films were like extended versions of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video – every problem can be solved by a dance-off! And what is wrong with that?
XXXTentacion was one of modern Hip Hop’s most controversial figures. In his short life – he was shot and killed at the age of 20 in June, 2018 – he achieved more fame and infamy than most rappers twice his age. Active on the Hip Hop scene for just a handful of years. XXXTentacion – real name Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy – left behind a small but beloved catalog of what some have referred to as Soundcloud Rap. Essentially, Soundcloud Rap is a lo-fi movement that relies on heavily distorted bass and intentional lack of polish in the sound. While that description may work well with XXXTentacion’s contemporaries, it certainly only describes a small portion of what X’s sound was all about.
Snoop Dogg is a pop culture icon. He’s a Hip Hop pioneer with a distinctive style and three decades of hits. No longer thought of solely as a rapper, Snoop has dipped his toes into every aspect of the entertainment business. He is one of the most recognizable figures in the music business and his reputation -if not his music – is known by pre-teens and grandparents alike. He’s topped the charts and sold millions of albums. He’s been nominated for Grammys, starred in motion pictures, logged in many TV appearances and invested in many business ventures (and not all of them marijuana- related!). However, just because Snoop has become a man for all seasons doesn’t mean that he’s playing it safe these days – far from it! From Reggae to Gospel, Mr. Dogg has expanded his musical vision and has successfully tackled a variety of styles yet he hasn’t turned his back on his Rap roots.
TELL ME WHAT I DON’T KNOW:
“All rap music sounds the same.”
That is a statement uttered by the non-believers – those who don’t connect with the music and the messages found on the plethora of rap and hip hop releases that hit the streets throughout any given year. However, one listen to Danny Brown’s fourth album, ATROCITY EXHIBITION, will obliterate any notion that all rap/hip hop “sounds the same.” Released on the legendary Warp Records label and featuring guest appearances by Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Petite Noir and B-Real (amongst others), this is one of the most original full-lengths of the year. While it may not sound like albums by acts like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, ATROCITY EXHIBITION is just as groundbreaking – an album that will appeal to all music lovers who like to live on the edge. On the surface, it will intrigue the listener but as they dig a little deeper, the depths of this album will lead to amazement. Peel away the layers and you’ll discover a cornucopia of musical ideas fighting for a chance to be noticed. This is an album to explore. It is a listening adventure. This is emotion in motion. It is hard-hitting yet loving and embracing at the same time. ATROCITY EXHIBITION – named after a Joy Division song! – is art for art’s sake.
Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to gather a few questions together and send them Danny Brown’s way. Danny was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer them…