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Parental Discretion Advised

As you may have gathered from the recent batch of Throwback Thursday posts, our influences in Dual Core come from various corners of the hip hop world. From last week’s west coast underground special, to UK hip hop, smooth jazzy rap, and down south crunk, this week we get down and dirty with some ‘90s gangster rap.

This is a special post for me (c64), as we focus on the first three hip hop albums I ever heard, and consequently fell in love with. They remain in my top 10 to this day.

Back in my early teens, I used to hang out at my friend Ben’s house after school, doing crazy teenage things like drinking sugary drinks and eating Mars Bars. He shared a room with his older brother, and when the house was empty, we used to play a bunch of his (usually off-limits) CDs. Some had Parental Advisory stickers – a new concept to me at the time, and naughty words in the song titles. Naturally, we started to listen to these CDs. Over and over again.

In what seemed like no time at all, I had learned step by step instructions on how to pack a bong, the reasons why hoes are unsuitable for long term relationships, and lots of useful pointers on using my AK-47. However, I had yet to grasp what these words actually meant.

Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle (1993)

Doggystyle

Snoop’s debut release introduced me to the G-Funk production of Dr Dre, a distinctive California sound which borrowed heavily from the ‘70s P-Funk scene. The beats on Doggystyle sounded incredible. Heavy, funky and catchy. Snoop’s rhymes were the perfect fit – super smooth, yet at the same time gritty and evocotive.

When I first heard the start of Gz and Hustlas, the juxtaposition of a six year old kid against the dirty beat and explicit rhymes blew my simple little mind. And then there were the collaborations – Daz, Kurupt, Lady of Rage, Nate Dogg. I hadn’t heard music like this before.

At the time, gangster rap was getting a lot of bad press, and no doubt our parents wouldn’t want us to be guided by the questionable morals. But it was the beats, melodies and rhythm of the music that stuck in my mind. A mix of aggression, funk and rapid fire flows.

I still love this album. It was great to get to actually see Snoop perform all my childhood favourites in full a couple of years ago, for the album’s 20 year anniversary.


Cypress Hill – Black Sunday (1993)

Black Sunday

Another 1993 album from the west coast, Black Sunday brought a wicked concoction of bass-heavy beats, laid back loops and eerie samples from DJ Muggs. Topped off with raps from B-Real – a guy who seemed to have a bad cold and gun fetish, and rhymes from his constipated sidekick, Sen Dog. It was an unorthodox, yet somehow perfect mix.

Mostly dealing with subjects such as getting stoned, shooting guns, and disliking the police, this was another album that you probably wouldn’t recommend to a 12-13 year old. But once again, it was the production aesthetic that stayed with me. Sometimes hazy and psychedelic, sometimes edgy and dangerous. I was infatuated.


Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Enter the Wu-Tang

The Wu’s debut album is largely considered a hip hop classic, with numerous soundbites and quotables that have since been sampled and re-assigned by other artists. Pretty much all of the members have gone on to be successful in their own right.

When I first heard this album, I was a little overwhelmed. RZA’s east coast beats were moody, purposely off-key and rough-edged, interspersed by odd kung fu samples and rambling interludes. The tracks featured a huge gaggle of different rappers with their own distinct styles. From Method Man’s smooth voice and charismatic flow, to the sloppiness of ODB, Ghostface Killah’s abstract visuals, and several other rappers that I still can’t fully tell apart, it was all pretty full-on.

I didn’t find this album as instantly gratifying as Doggystyle or Black Sunday, but over time started to appreciate the Wu-Tang sound more and more, to the point of 36 Chambers becoming a personal favourite.

In relation to our own music, RZA’s beats were a big influence in my early days of studying hip hop drum patterns. I remember noting that he only dropped the kick and the snare where really necessary to keep the music flowing. This minimalist approach helps his numerous layers of weird samples breathe, and leave adequate room in the mix for vocals and sword fights.

There’s so much more music that I’ve discovered off the back of these three albums, that I’m sure we’ll have a bunch of related posts in the future.

Meanwhile you can let us know how this post corrupted your kids’ minds on Facebook and Twitter. To abuse me directly, add c64music on Twitter.

– c64

Posted April 9th 2015 by c64 in #TBT, History, Music, Throwback Thursday, Video

Brooklyn!!!!

You guys!  Come see us in Brooklyn with MC Frontalot and Schaffer The Darklord!  The HushCon East party is now open to the public so that means we can all hang out and do rap hands and hack things together.  See you May 1st in Brooklyn!  Tickets are available through Ticketfly: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/823487

Posted April 7th 2015 by eighty in Appearances, Dual Core News, Shows

Pacific Heights

I’m back in the Bay for work this week so it seemed apropos to talk about some west coast hip hop.  My main GOTOs for underground hip hop were midwest and east coast flavors for a long time.  But music from the west coast had a distinctively different feel to it that I enjoyed in its own way.

Hieroglyphics

My first introduction to underground sounds from the west coast was Hiero.  Talk about setting the bar high.  Hiero is such a great group with fantastic composition and chemistry.  The beats are so unique and each rapper has such a distinctive style.  In 2014 the city of Oakland declared September 3rd as “Hiero Day”, an official holiday.  Since 2013, Hieroglyphics have been putting on an all-day event by the same name which boasts multiple stages of hip hop acts in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

My first hacker-hip hopper crossover involving Hieroglyphics goes back to the early 2000s.  A friend that I used to program with also listened to Hiero.  We did some searching and maybe a little bit of Social Engineering to come up with the phone number to Hiero’s studio… which we promptly called.  I unsuccessfully tried to convince them to send me street team materials (stickers, posters, CDs, etc) to promote them in the bustling hip hop scene of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Even though I failed to get freebies, it was a cool experience to semi-anonymously chat with hip hop artists that I looked up to and admired.

Del / Deltron 3030

One of the rappers in Hieroglyphics is Del, short for Del The Funky Homosapien.  Del is arguably most popular for his project with Dan The Automator named Deltron 3030.  The Deltron 3030 album is a fantastic sci-fi hip hop album.  Published in 2000 it was a fresh taste of hip hop, unique and different and personally preferable to music on the radio.  For nerdcore fans, Deltron 3030 is essentially the progenitor project that preceded this scene and community we’ve cultivated.

Prior to 3030, however, Del had a powerful foundation with his history in Hiero.  In fact, quite possibly the first ever nerdcore song was by Del.  The song is called Proto Culture and is all about video games.  15+ years later, it’s still a classic.

Zion I

Zion I is another west coast underground act that I found via P2P.  I don’t remember the specific application but I do remember thoroughly enjoying their sounds.  Good beats, good flow, good west coast underground feel.  I saw Zion I live for the first time at a music festival about a year ago and it was a solid hip hop show that cemented my appreciation of their work.  This is one of the first Zion I songs to ever hit my mp3 player:

Tha ‘Liks

This one was a surprise to me, but not a disappointment.  Some of my friends were big fans of Tha ‘Liks but it wasn’t until I heard them that I understood the draw.  Really cool sounds and impressive lyrics.  They also worked with some excellent artists making for some fantastic collaborations.  This is one of my favorites.

This post only scratches the surface of our experience with west coast hip hop.  I’m sure we will re-visit the area, both literally and figuratively.  Meanwhile you can visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted April 2nd 2015 by eighty in #TBT, Dual Core News, History, Throwback Thursday

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