Hip Hop’s Most Ridiculous Influences Pt 1

Posted on December 26, 2010 by admin | 0 Comments

I woke up this morning with no idea what to write on the blog one day past christmas. I figured it should be something entertaining and light-hearted and then it hit me...

No one can logically debate that Hip Hop isn't globally influential on multiple levels; music, movies, fashion, slang, etc... Hip Hop is the type of culture that draws in the listener to become a such a devoted fan that you often start to pick up certain mannerisms and styles without even noticing...it just becomes part of you.

At a glance, the early 90s seem to be the worst of times for this. Undoubtly, the early 90s are a powerful time for introducing some amazing MCs (Wu-tang, Nas, B.I.G, Tupac, Snoop, Organized Konfusion, Redman, etc...), perfecting the sciences of production that are still prominent today (Primo, Pete Rock, Large Professor, D.I.T.C, Dr Dre, Prince Paul, Sir Jinx, Beatminerz, Beatnuts, etc...), impressive advancements in technical DJing (Beat Juggles, Scratch Techniques, etc...) and the rise of Independent labels. On the other hand, it's one of the most gimmick heavy times in Hip Hop History; backwards pants, polka dots, psychotic rappers, kid groups, tung twisting, blond hair streaks, and...

Genie Pants-Perhaps the most harlmless and short-lived on my picks today are the genie pants explosion of the 90s. It was the uglier, sillier, flashier evolution of the Parachute pants of the 80s. I definitely rocked some Parachute pants. It was sort of the unofficial "work uniform" of the young breakdancer. Mine were dark black, with full leg zippers from the thigh to the ankle that opened up to a shiny silver lining; pure sweetness. However, by the 90s Breaking was facing a second (or third...I lost track) perceived extinction. Rap groups needed their back up dancers and they patterned themselves more after the flashy styles of 60s R&B routines and/or the Pop-Locking of the 80s. Gone were the power moves of getting down and dirty on the floors surface, thus eliminating the need for those dark colors to mask the dust and grime. It was time to splash in some color and get fancy on your feet. MC Hammer most often gets the credit/blame for popularizing it and the results were stunning. I never saw so many people, who were at least kind of hardcore, rocking bright yellow pants! I can proudly say that I sat that trend out...

The Iggedy's: Das Efx came on the scene and debuted a creative and refreshing new sound*. Hip Hop embraced it, as did commercial radio and along with that parents, grand-parents, etc... The style was a great combination of playful yet dirty and underground. Their influence was huge and 100s of copy cats sprung up with the "iggedys" in songs, yey none coming close to delivering in the same flavor as Das Efx. What the copy cats failed to realize was that it was simply about "The Iggedys" that made them "blow up". It was their look, approach, use of children songs/jingles, production, voices, delivery, marketing, theme ("The Sewer"), affiliation (Hit Squad), and least but not least, talent. All those combined factors created something unique and intriguing.

*I'd like to point out a "possible" influence for the "Iggedy" style. The Jaz (a.k.a Big Jaz, Jaz O, etc...) has been representing Brooklyn since the mid 80s and is recognized as a battle vet and creator of styles, hence his song "The Originators" with a young Jay Z. Yet it's the title track on that same album, "To The Soul", that we look to for this possible linkage to Das Efx

Books (a.k.a Skoob) of Das Efx is from Brooklyn so perhaps he picked it up from The Jaz along the way...just a theory. However, The Jaz only used a touch here and there to add a little flavor, while Das Efx definitely flipped it, developed it and ultimately owned it into a style of their own.

The Mad Face-Perhaps most famously became used as the logo for Onyx, the Mad Face became a photo standard in the 90s. Smiling was way out...you might just be taken for soft, god forbid. Just when you thought the male-dominated, ego driven, over-the-top macho-isms where to the max, they surprised you and took it up a notch. Try flipping thru 90s Hip Hop magazines and/or press kits and find a smile...good luck. Better yet compare most 80s artists album cover to his 90s album cover and see how his facial expressions changed...not to mention his musical content. It never occurred to me until now but maybe Rakim is the roots of this with his straight-face seriousness approach, since his debut with lines like "hyper as a heart attack, nobody smiling". From there it morphed it to something much more exaggerated and intense, but never the less somewhat ridiculous...

Sucking Spit: This is probably the weirdest of them all. It's also the one I'm personally most guilty of. I was able to side-step the rest of the those above, but somehow this one became a standard for me and members of my crew for brief, yet reflective painful, time. I cringe when I listen to the earliest tapes of my Time Travel Radio show and hear that sound. Thanx Method Man & Raekwon for influencing me to to sound like an idiot...live on-air at that...ha. Somebody once informed me that was something they did to control the excess saliva due to their gold teeth, although I'm assuming they probably exaggerated it for effect. On the other hand, me and my crew had no gold teeth a.k.a no excuse. Who knows why that seemed like the cool thing to do... I suppose that the only explanation is the undeniable influence and power Hip Hop has on the human psyche, even if only temporary for some things, I suppose I can live with that...

Please add on with more "Ridiculous Influences"...

Written By Kevin Beacham


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