Thursday, May 3, 2012

Name 1 Record That Changed Hip-Hop

Public Enemy's "Rebel Without a Pause" is one of those rare records that changed the sound and attitude of Hip-Hop dramatically. Released in 1987 (Def Jam) from one of the greatest albums of all time "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" (RIAA-certified Platinum). Not just one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time, but across all genre's of music. The moment the scream of the trumpet sample from JB's "Grunt" drops in it's a wrap. No one else had ever created a sound and an energy anywhere near similar to this groundbreaking single. Many people don't know that Flava Flav actually pounded out the beat on a drum machine for the full five minutes over the layered break from James Brown "Funky Drummer". They didn't want to create a loop to layer over the breaks. They wanted the feel and timing of a live drummer - enter Flava Flav. Chuck D's lyrics and delivery complete the aggressive tone of the record which has been sampled in more than 95 songs since being released in 1987.

More about Bomb Squad's Hank Shocklee and the infamous trumpet sample: Shocklee got the idea to sample a trumpet glissando from The J.B.'s "The Grunt" song. He had a Mirage sampler that was only able to hold 4bits (or 3 seconds) worth of audio to create his demo to give to Chuck to write his rhymes. When they got to a studio and had a superior sampler, the S-900 that held 30 seconds of audio, they felt it took away the impact of the Mirage sample, which forced in a second of delay before the sample reloaded as opposed to the endless loop the studio's sampler gave, and decided to go with it instead.

For the hardcore collectors, you need to get your hands on the UK Def Jam 7" single for the artwork alone. According to former Def Jam Director of Publicity Bill Adler, Public Enemy was mad as hell at photographer James Griffin for allowing that shot to get out to Def Jam UK. A picture of Chuck D, Flava Flav, and Terminator X hanging out at the train station - SMILING - didn't exactly fit with the flavor of this record or the image of Public Enemy as a whole.

"The Grunt" by The J.B.'s (1970)
"I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To" by The Soul Children ft Jesse Jackson (1972)
"Get Up Offa That" Thing by James Brown (1976)
"Pee-Wee's Dance" by Joeski Love (1986)
"Rock 'N Roll Dude" by Chubb Rock (1987)

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