Read: Beat Streets – An old school history lesson


With raucous reality shows at a pervasive premium, it is refreshing and timely that the naughty folks at Netflix have secured a dynamite dose of ‘hip-hopology’ in the funky form of ‘The Get Down’, an adaptation of the early formative years of hip hop in the boogie down Bronx. This humungous history lesson is the master creation of Baz Luhrmann, yes he of epic classics such as ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ and promises to be a colourful cut ’n ’paste mosaic of the music, moves and grandmasters of the day.
So, with my Casio timepiece set to back in the day, I kicked off my Adidas, donned my Kangol cap and popped a personal mixtape into my memory bank of the sounds and music that etched its’ way into my scratched up lined refill from Waiheke Area School, circa 1984.   

Grandmaster Flash and his Furious Five took street gangs to the op shop, styling up in fur coats and fat gold chains, with the seminal ‘The Message’, an urban heads up from the crack laden footpaths of NYC. Def jams jingled and jangled care of ladies love cool James (or LL Cool J to those in the know), with Run DMC raising hell on the mic whilst Jam Master Jay transformed cold cuts to order like a beat crazed butcher.
Brat hop became a tag stolen from the bonnets of VW convertibles, as those beers swilling Beastie Boys tapped the bottle of teenage frenzy, taking keg party anthems to the suburban screens of everyday America via MTV. And for those who wanted something to dance to, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, lay down the mat for futuristic funk and unearthly electro, a head spinning mix of German electronica injected with James Brown drum loops.

As an English born beat lover, raised on the average avenues of Avondale, my mid 80s love affair with ghetto blasters, turntables and bedroom beat-masters is a far reaching testament to the raw sentiment, back shed construction and articulate recollections of a walk on the wild side, The fashion, the production and the fanfare came later, predated by a need for expression, escapism and scrapbooking pages and sounds from the time.


Delve into the vaults of our back catalogue and discover some treats of your own.I recommend a few to get you going on the good foot.
Try some Run DMC for starters, or let the Beastie Boys set the root down. A great collection for beginners is Rappers Delight or throw your hands in the air with Anthems.
Dave Tucker


                          

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