Did California Love essentially start with modern rap?
The History of the Commercialization of US Rap Music and Its Visualization in Music Videos
Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction: Why music videos are particularly important for the rap scene
1.1 Music video - what is it anyway?
2.0 The history of US rapeseed and its visualization
2.1 Oldschool: The Pioneer Days
2.2 Rap gains profile (t)
2.3 The 90s: Golden Era and Diversification
2.4 The noughties: Rap defines the mainstream
2.4.1 Intermediate Chapter: The Fat Years Gone - Crisis in the Music Industry and the Consequences for Rap
2.5 2007: Liberalization and generation change
2.6 How Rap Elected a US President
2.7 2008-2010: Rap in search of itself
2.8 2010- 2012: The third generation takes over the ship
1.0 Introduction: Why music videos are of particular importance to the rap scene
Some like to refer to the music video as “the radio single for music television” (Sandmann 2008, 10), although this description is an exemplary example of the views of a long outdated time. Today pop culture hardly takes place on regular television and the old concept of the music channel, which is sampled with video clips from the big record companies, has long since lost its relevance. Most of the action today has shifted to the Internet, mainly to the video platforms that most users visit, i.e. Google's YouTube.com and InterActiveCorp's Vimeo.com. As in many areas of the music industry, general liberalization has also begun in the production of music videos. In the past it was almost impossible to shoot a high-quality video with inexpensive equipment, but with today's high-resolution display of even the smallest and inexpensive cameras, this is much easier. The so-called "filter function" that was once held by record companies and then by radio and television has also disappeared today. That means: Without the help of a record company it used to be practically impossible for musicians to bring their own content to a large mass of people. Of course you could play many concerts in your own region or every day in a different city - but how should you start? Who goes to a concert of a band they don't know? This is where the record companies stepped in, who tracked down musicians without a record deal with their trend scouts and their own artists with their advertising budgets and PR channels (press meetings, circulars, advertisements in the print media, airtime on television and radio against payment or because of the common group structure), "Overnight" brought into the attention of a large crowd of people. When publishing music videos, however, there was still another hurdle to be overcome: the responsible editor / editorial staff of the music broadcaster, who had to decide whether the video should be classified as relevant for its own medium at all and thus be broadcast has been.
This situation changed dramatically at the latest in 2005 with the establishment of YouTube, when the publication of video material of all kinds became free and generally available for everyone. The portal of the former PayPal Inc. employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim1 stated in October 2011 that it had registered 20 billion hits on videos and 161 billion users in the USA alone2. The careers of globally successful musicians such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga also began on the Internet - and the next musicians with a tendency to global success are already in the starting blocks, measured solely by the number of hits on their videos.
Even if rap music is divided into mainstream and underground, aspiring artists apparently had an easier chance of becoming known, it was not easy for them to become relevant artists outside of the local scene. For example, rappers who "rose" from the underground to the mainstream in the mid-nineties came to their fame either through lucky coincidences, wins at contests, acquaintances or financially strong investors in the background3.
Nevertheless, at the end of the nineties of the last century there were signs of a fundamental change in the rap music industry. Mixtapes had always made the rounds in the scene, i.e. music cassettes that were sometimes played with pure live recordings, sometimes with compilations of various songs by DJs4, but from around 1997 the then well-known New York DJ Clue began inviting rappers to his home studio to record exclusive parts on the beats of already well-known songs.
Due to the high reputation of Ernesto Shaw (DJ Clue) in the scene and his high publication frequency (around 100 tapes in 6 years), he soon found himself in a position in which he found new talents such as DMX, The Lox, Ja Rule or Noreaga in a very short time and only through his mixtapes in a very short time to a scene-wide fame5. This fact was further facilitated by the fact that Clue hosted its own radio show on the radio station Hot97 in New York ("Clue's Monday Night Show"). Because of this popularity, established rappers began to search for a guest appearance on the Clue mixtapes This even went so far that they also contributed unreleased songs (so-called exclusives)6.
This means that new artists without record contracts were suddenly able to present their well-known releases to various representatives of record companies, as well as to the public through the mixtape DJs (Clue was of course not the only one).
In the years that followed, the distribution of mixtapes developed into a branch of its own, which even the established artists no longer want to leave only to the DJs. These use mixtapes to publish unpublished material or material that is not suitable for albums "für die Strafe" at a lower price. In addition, numerous aspiring rappers also use the mixtape to increase their own awareness (on which they sometimes rapped on beats, for the They didn't even have the publishing rights.) The hip-hop journalist Shaheem Reid describes this using the example of the 50Cent in an MTV special about the history of mixtapes:
,, When 50 Cent's LP, Get Rich or Die Tryin1, dropped on February 6, it was something like the 20th release of his career, though the first official album you could find from the rapper on the shelves at your favorite record store. 50, the latest star to come out of Eminem and Dr. Dre's Shady / Aftermath camp, had already found great success in the music industry. But not that music industry. The other music industry, the one where labels don't exist and there are no highly paid Lizzie Grubmans to publicize your new release, where the CDs are sold by vendors hawking them off dirty blankets on city streets, and bootlegging is encouraged. Welcome to the world of mixtapes - artists as big as P. Diddy use mixtapes as radio for the streets, and new rappers will do anything they can to get on them if they want to make a name for themselves. "I saturate the street market." - 50 Cent explained, "because mixtapes are the entry level of hip-hop." Those words have never been more true. And every hip-hop artist, producer and label exec knows it. "Mixtapes are incredible because they're straight from a brother's heart," LL Cool J said. "Music that they really feel, not music that just researches well. That's special, and that's my favorite way to listen to music: mixtapes." "That's the way we got our fame and the way we got our word-of-mouth on the streets," Roc-A-Fella CEO Damon Dash said about the mixtape phenomenon. "Jay-Z would rap on every mixtape that meant something. That's the best way to talk to that real hip-hop consumer. That's how you get your respect. If you're a real rapper, you don't have to make a record for the radio or something for MTV. You get to really showcase your skills on mixtapes. We're always gonna use that as a tool. (...) "We had mixtapes then and we got some coming out. [You got to] get your mixtape hustle on. "7
Around the same time, at the beginning of the "noughties", the second phase of the liberalization of the rap music market began with the increasing popularity of the music portal "MySpace", where artists could make their music available on the Internet free of charge from home . When the audience numbers of the major music channels collapsed at the same time and video platforms such as YouTube.com were enjoying increasing popularity, a new type of musician was born: the Internet rapper. With this name of the scene one meant all those artists who had managed to establish a successful career solely through their diverse presence on social media platforms.
The focus of the potential listeners also shifted: now it was no longer just about the music of an artist - it was about the overall concept and its aesthetics, which should be reflected in every detail of the output. In addition to the merchandise, the concerts and sometimes even special words, the music video became even more important for aspiring rappers as a veritable exhibition of all these codes and styles of an artist and thus as an opportunity for fans to identify with them.
As I write this work, we are in an age in which rappers can practically no longer exist without a viral presence and activity - the publication of music videos, video diaries (vlogs), short documentaries, live videos and constant promotions for the video channels of known and unknown rappers in high, sometimes daily, frequency have become part of everyday life. The importance of the moving image has never been more important to rap artists.
In view of this great significance, I will trace the history of music videos in rap music in terms of content and visual aspects in the context of this text. But because this story would only be half told if one focused only on rap music videos, the history of the subculture as a whole represents a second, important element of my work.
Finally, I would like to point out that the commercial success of an album or a single in this work will primarily be measured by the high sales awards given by the Recording Association Of America (RIAA). The RIAA currently records every album and single that is
- 500,000 May sell out with gold
- May 1,000,000 sell out with platinum
- More than 2,000,000 May sell out with multi-platinum
In the past, the minimum requirements for certification were defined differently. Until 1975, gold was awarded if an album reached at least a total sales value of one million dollars. By 1975 an album must not only have achieved a million dollars in revenue, but also sold at least 500,000 copies. The platinum award was only introduced in 1976. The lowering of the minimum requirements to today's standard was introduced in 1989 in view of the general decline in sales.
Because the RIAA, with the help of the management and controlling company Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, analyzes the development of sales figures long before other monitoring services such as Nielsen Soundscan, the author chose the apparently more comprehensive figures of the RIAA891011.
All certifications were researched in the RIAA's own "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database", which contains at least entries from at least 1954, but definitely for the entire period in which the rap genre was created. Citing in individual cases is dispensed with - with the footnote12 has thus adequately fulfilled this obligation.
1.1 Music video - what is it anyway?
Before we go even deeper into the subject, we should first agree on what we are talking about when we talk about “music videos”, “rap videos”, “clips” or “music clips”.
According to Klaus Neumann - Braun it is about the following;
"Video clips are usually three- to five-minute video films in which a piece of music (pop and rock music in all varieties) is presented by a solo artist or a group in connection with different visual elements (...)" (Neumann - Braun 1999 , 10).
About the history of the clips, we learn this from the author in the book "Viva MTV!", From which the previous quote is also taken:
“In the 17th century, color - music - machines (...) were created that wanted to unite fire and music, color and music. This was followed by around 1900 (...) visual music and abstract animation films (...) The roots of visual music, videos and films in a narrower sense can be found in the twenties and thirties, in which experiments with the abstract, graphic Film as well as the early synthetic sound film were made (...) in the sixties, when the entertainment industry presented television appearances produced by the entertainment industry for demonstration and promotional purposes (...) Already at this time, such video clips were also on television shown (in Germany: Beat Club) ”(ibid., 10-11).
According to the quoted author, the "invention" of the music video was essentially an attempt by the music industry to counter declining sales figures. These had resulted from the decreased importance of the radio during the seventies of the last century. Thereupon attempts were made to conquer the more relevant medium with “music channels”. The underlying business principle is to be found in the mutual support of the record company and the music broadcaster: while the sound recording industry gives music television program material free of charge, this reciprocates with the distribution of singles, in individual cases also in the heavy rotation process (multiple broadcasting of a clip in one day Over a longer period of time, which in turn affects sales, ibid., 12).
Klaus Neumann - Braun distinguishes between the following types of music videos:
- Presentation videos I performance clips
The protagonist of the video is shown singing (or making music) in one or more scenes
- Narrative videos
A story is told about an artist or a song text is made into a film
- concept video
A video is realized on the basis of an artistic concept, the aim of which is the realization and visualization of the same in every possible detail
Ultimately, however, a simple credo applies to all of these forms:
“The main task of the clips is to convey the personality of the star: the message is the product that the star is” (ibid., 13).
2.0 The history of US rapeseed and its visualization
When South American and Jamaican DJs held the first block parties (public celebrations that were free and open to all) in the Bronx in New York in the late 1970s, you probably never dreamed that you would be the inventor of a multi - Billion dollar industries will go down in history. Even if many people often refer to the West African tradition of rhythmically spoken storytelling (griots) or even earlier techniques such as the call-answer principle in often unspecified "African origins", we just want to leave it at this point that the The DJs described earlier began at some point to announce the title of each record they played with special words. This form of announcement soon became the independent task of "announcers" or MCs (Master of the Ceremony) and in the course of only a few Months to an independent discipline in the mother culture HipHop, as well as soon to an independent genre.
It is not that easy to tell the history of rap music videos. Here you can't start with the soundies or the like - on the one hand, because the protagonists of the new form of music often lacked any business professionalism, on the one hand, but also because they usually only had the money for simple recording technology and, thirdly, because they didn't the sense of a rap music video at the end of the seventies of the last century was simply not made accessible to anyone. When it was not performed live, rap music was mostly released on cassette tapes in small numbers.
After the block parties found more and more fans, established artists from the Bronx neighborhood also began to take an interest in rap music. The recently deceased R'n'B singer Sylvia Robinson from Harlem founded the record company "Sugar Hill Records" together with her husband and in 1979 put the band "Sugarhill Gang" together in Englewood, New Jersey. The debut single "Rappers Delight", published in 1980, was a massive, commercial success with seven million records sold and can now be regarded as the first commercially successful rap single (Caponi 1999, 211). The song is presented with a performance - Clip advertised - our story of rap music videos has begun.
2.1 Oldschool: The Pioneer Days
With the extraordinary success of the Sugarhill Gang, the media interest in rap itself increased. This development was also favored by the release of the film "Wildstyle", in which for the first time DJ's scratching, breakdancing dancing, writers spraying graffittis and so on rappers were also able to watch their performances. The film is broadcast worldwide - but there is still no real rap music video at this point in time.
This fact changes on January 1st, 1982 with the second release of the newly founded rap record company Sugarhill Records. "The Message",
written by Melle Mel and completely recorded by an in-house studio band, it becomes the second big hit of the young label, which also produces and publishes the first rap video for its promotion. As Melle Mel later explained in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), the group actually had no great interest in having the song released13. Therefore, on the final version of the song, it is not the stated artists, i.e. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, that rap, but only group member Melle Mel and one of the studio musicians, Ed Fletcher14.
In the music video, the Furious Five and Grandmaster Flash still appear as interpreters - while Melle Mel raps his self-written text, group member Raheem mimes the previously ripped-in verses by Ed Fletcher. Since this is a socially critical song that addresses the neglect and poverty in the New York Bronx at the end of the seventies and eighties, the aesthetics of the video correspond exactly to this worn, worn-out look.
At the beginning of the clip, the viewer first gets exactly what he has already learned from rappers or hip-hoppers through the media, or maybe even in everyday life: young African-Americans carrying their boom boxes through the area. Shortly thereafter, pictures from what was then the Bronx, of high-rise buildings and moving cars, follow. The action of the video begins with the first line of the song: When Ed Fletcher raps the lines of the song “Broken Glass, everywhere, People pissin on the station, no they just don't care”, you see, well, a bottle that is open smashed the floor (by the way, also matching the sound of breaking glass that you can also hear in the song) and a wildly gesticulating Raheem who mimes exactly these lines with a swinging upper body. This second level of conveyance of the lyrics through the body was substantiated with the video - for example, Raheem swings with both arms in the line Junkies in the alley with the baseball bat, as if he were holding a baseball bat in his hand. This new form of gesticulation should also characterize later rap videos and appear again and again in them. Where does this expressive dance take place? In front of a shabby single-family home with dirty walls in the Bronx, of course.
There is another element in the clip: the visualization of the metaphor. So when the song says: "I tried to get away but I couldn't get far, cause a man with a tow truck repossessed my car", we see a New York tow truck. Picture in the head, picture on the screen - that could be the motto here.
As soon as the chorus begins, the protagonist moves to the left towards a group of young men without looking at those standing behind him. Ultimately, he stands in front of the stairs and the men behind them. This is of course not a coincidence - it is the so-called "crewshot". This should either introduce the other artists with whom the rapper works in a crew / team, or they are closer friends of the same, or randomly present or paid people. The intention of such scenes is either, as already mentioned, to introduce artist friends to the fan base or simply to physically enlarge the artist. It is also conceivable that a director would want to provide the ultimate proof that the rapper in the focus of the camera enjoys respect in his neighborhood and has a large following.
In the following, the already mentioned "visualization of linguistic images" is consistently continued, as is clear from these examples:
- Line of text "It's like a jungle sometimes" = New York traffic jam, wide streets, crowds running around
- Text line "Crazy lady livin in the back" = neglected, old woman sits on the curb and stares into nothing
- Text line "Said she’ll dance the tango" = woman starts to dance in the middle of the sidewalk with a coffee mug in her hand
- Text line "Down at the peep show watchin 'all the creeps" = Sign of a porn cinema with the words "Peep Show" on it is shown
"Posing" also celebrates its premiere in the video clip. This can firstly be about certain postures that the strong should show, such as crossed arms that are pulled up to the chest or index fingers and thumbs that surround the chin Hand movements typical of a group or signs from local gangs such as middle fingers and peace signs are not uncommon, so essentially this is another way for the rapper to add emphasis to his own words only about scene-specific, but also about common everyday gestures.
In our specific example we find the Furious Five member Raheem in the front right part of the picture, who raps. To the left, standing behind him, is a person who is leaning against a lantern with legs wide apart and arms around themselves at the height of their chest. This is not only about an interesting picture division, but also about conveying a visual statement, which could go something like this: “Yes, the circumstances are tough, but these guys have banded together and take care of each other. Don't mess with you ”.
The video clip ends with a scene that presumably corresponded to the everyday life of young African-Americans of the time (and basically corresponds to today): the group members are all together in one picture, one of them tells a story about a girl. Since "standing around in large groups" (loitering) is still forbidden in many places in the USA, a police car appears and two police officers arrest all members of the Furious Five. The video ends with a zoom drive on the blue lights.
So let's summarize all the elements that we discovered in "The Message":
- The visualization of the lyrics through images or short clips that are directly related to the lines of text
- The gesture aimed at imitating and underlining the lyrics
- The crew shot in which the rapper stands in front of his fans or his crew, some of whom are supposed to move along with the music, some look angrily into the camera or are just supposed to look cool
- Posing - special, short or long postures or finger signs that symbolically stand for either a group or a statement
Since this first clip, all subsequent rap music videos should have borrowings and parallels to this one, or develop or change them.
Other sources15 on the other hand assume that Whodini released the world's first rap video with "Magic's Wand" two years earlier, in 1981. Whatever the case, the commercial triumph of rap music continues. With Kurtis Blow, the first is now also getting Sometimes a rapper signed a record deal with one of the larger, established labels: Mercury Records.
2.2 Newschool: Rap gains profile (t)
At the beginning of the eighties, rap music continued to develop - the old school rappers wrote mostly party-oriented rhymes16, the genre has now diversified into a wide variety of styles such as gangsta rap, fun rap, hardcore rap, conscious rap and battle rap, but more on that later.
In 1984 two New York college students, namely producer Rick Rubin and promoter Russell Simmons founded the record company Def Jam Records. All important and relevant rap publications are to appear on this in the course of the eighties.
A year earlier, Simmons' younger brother, Joseph Simmons (now also known as Reverend Run) and his band Run DMC17 but already to a relative notoriety. With “it's like that / Sucker MC's” the New York rappers end with everything they had known before. Hard texts, beats that are produced with the Roland 808 drum machine and are hardly catchy and danceable now define the new style. A self-titled album was released just one year after the single. Because the music broadcaster MTV, which emerged these days, is facing increasing accusations of racism because it “only plays rock music by two artists18 “, The young rappers from Queens come in handy with their sound, which with the use of guitars also has certain borrowings from rock, to prove the opposite. The single "Rock Box" becomes the first rap video to be shown on MTV1920.
Since it is difficult to correctly evaluate the video with its colorful mix of different style elements, I would like to go into only a few aspects here.
The framework story consists of the development of a little boy from a "normal teenager" to a "rap fan". In the intro, the American comedian Irwin Corey, disguised as a "confused professor" (who looks a bit like Dr. Emmet Brown from Back to the Future), a self-made story about the origins of rap music. In the center of the picture, the viewer sees a portable television set on a white background, in which the lecture described above is running. A zoom in the TV ends in such a way that you can only see Corey standing on a stage.
The monologue is repeatedly interrupted by pictures in black and white: first a moving car is shown, then a little boy who is leaning against a wall and seems to be listening to the lecture. The lecture is interrupted a second time by the approaching car (black and white). When Corey utters the words "Rap began in Hollywood, where a child was born", the little boy is shown again, also in black and white. This time he is sitting on an object that is not shown, is placed in the center of the picture and nods with a smile and approving. The lecture continues and this time is interrupted by the previously shown car, which is now stopping somewhere. In the lower right corner of the picture, the shoes of several people are shown who seem to be waiting for the car. The lecture continues and is again by the nodding Boys interrupted. After the words "The melody keeps coming in and the audience keeps going out" the camera zooms back to the original image (the television on a white background), now the history of the car is shown again in full, so: vehicle from a distance "The vehicle is approaching, it brakes, people applaud. After the last scene mentioned, the television fades out and the scene that is obviously ahead." playing a nightclub, shown in full screen.
Maybe it's a total coincidence or an actual reference, but in the previous chapter we talked about the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five video for "The Message" which ends with the entire crew in the back seat of one Police car is shipped. At this point in the RUN-DMC video, a similar number of people get out of the previously mentioned car (actually there are even more, a total of 12) and are greeted by those standing around clapping.
The spectacle of getting out of the car is followed by a short fade-in of the nodding boy, then the camera pans to a guitarist who is ecstatically playing his instrument. The camera zooms back and you can see the guitarist standing on the very same car from which the rappers are getting out and walking through a line of clapping people. The little boy reappears, this time his face is shown in full size and color. He winks, which is replied by Jam Master Jay, whose face is also shown again in a close-up, but in black and white.
In the following, Reverend Run performed in the presence of clapping fans around him, he interacted with Irwin Corey and the little boy reappeared between the skirts of two women. He tries to make his way through the crowd. The picture is still in black and white, RUN-DMC is now shown in complete formation. The only thing that is noticeable at this point is the reverend run's evil look, which is obviously supposed to demonstrate the harshness of the music. The form of the rapper's gestures to the music also has a different effect, more aggressive, his hands move almost beating.
What now follows is a crude mix of video effects from the eighties, such as dancing women on the television from the intro, in which shadow figures of two RUN-DMC members can be seen (who also dance). As strange as this description, the visual variant is extremely exhausting to look at, as everything is very confused.
Another example: RUN-DMC is shown in black and white for a long time during a performance with an accompanying band in front of enthusiastic fans. Suddenly a rotating vinyl record fills the lower edge of the picture in color. Reverend Run and Jam Master Jay sit on the tonearm, rapping while they are actually still standing in the background on the stage and performing.
One last example. The image suddenly changes from the performance scene to a completely sky-blue background, on the floor of which the bodies of the Reverend Run and DMC, facing the viewer, sink down from above. The bodies spin like table football figures and their heads fall on the floor, bounce off it again and land on the other's body. Of course, this is to be understood as a clear statement regarding the bond between the band members, but on the other hand it is also a completely crazy form of staging that of course always makes sense in connection with the marketing of music.
Also interesting is the representation of the band that is on the stage with RUN-DMC in the performance scene. Where you previously saw individual recordings of guitarists and the like in comparable music videos, a new type of musician is now being staged here, who at that time was not yet recognized as such: the DJ. In “Rock Box” the camera follows the playing hands of a bassist, a keyboard player and those of the DJ Jam Master Jay.
In the final scene the storyline that started at the beginning is resumed. RUN-DMC leave the venue through an underground tunnel, the walls of which are sprayed with graffiti. After the last member walks out of the picture, the camera pans back into the tunnel, in which the little boy now follows the rappers at a fast pace - dressed in the outfit that RUN-DMC had previously worn on the stage. The viewer is now shown photos of the encounter between the boy and the rappers in connection with "snapping noise", who smile friendly on them. So that this is a forgiving “Wasn't it all just fun” scene? Who knows, given all the craziness that was presented in this video.
In 1985, rap is on a steady commercial boom - RUN-DMC's second album and LL Cool J's debut album go platinum with over a million records sold. With their third studio album, which followed a year later, RUN-DMC even managed to get triple platinum, selling over three million recorders. The Beastie Boys overshadow this success, delivering the album "Licensed to lll" which, with sales of 9 million records, achieved the most sales of the decade.
The Beastie Boys are still seen in rap historiography as the answer of the white middle class to the subculture, which until 1986 was mainly dominated by Afro-Americans and Latinos. The three rappers from Brooklyn / New York introduce themselves to a larger audience as the opening act for RUN-DMC - but besides their musical releases, they are mainly known for their music videos, which in their creativity, self-irony and radicalism did not correspond to anything one imagined rap at the end of the eighties.
The publication and distribution of the music video for "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)" is additionally facilitated by a new marketing measure that MTV comes up with:
"In late 1986, MTV originated a specific mechanism for breaking new songs. Hip clips were born. The published identification of a Hip Clip was an off-beat, on-air, early launch of an unknown artist destined for hit status, and moved into ultra heavy rotation on the air (...) MTV followed that the next week with Colombia Records' "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)" by the Beastie Boys. (...) Armar Andon, Vice President of Artists and Development at Columbia reinforced the impact: "MTV's Hip Clip category certainly heightened awareness of the group (Beastie Boys)" (Stolpmann 2011, 4-5).
The Beastie Boys are former hardcore kids - wild, white, boozy and pounding youngsters, according to the cliché. The New Yorkers remain true to this image as rappers.
Accordingly, the clip for “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)” begins - namely with the mediation of the image through the mirror image of the same. This manifests itself in two young men who today would be called nerds according to their style of clothing (bow tie, white shirt, black tweed trousers and horn-rimmed glasses, side parting). They sit on a couch, next to them their father, who is dressed similarly. In front of the two boys stands their mother, who warns them with an outstretched forefinger not to cause any trouble or dirty the apartment. After the door closes with a bang, so the parents have disappeared, the two talk:
A: "Do you like parties?"
A: "We can invite all of our friends and have soda and pie!"
Then A turns into the camera and says: "1 hope no bad people will show up". The picture changes, you see the Beastie Boys screaming (Adrock shakes his head like mad and MCA hits the newspaper on the same), then another picture change, a living room where a cultivated dinner party takes place. The sounds of conversation can be heard for about 5 seconds, then the first guitar riff of the Beastie Boys song can be heard.This fades away, the party guests turn in shock in the direction of the entrance door of the room, which is entered and falls to the floor. The song begins with the words "Kick it" - the Beastie Boys now enter the living room through the hallway, which is illuminated in red. The association: they are nasty guys who come straight from hell. MCA takes the can of beer from a guest, drinks it and hits him on the head, spits another in the face with the one who has just drunk. Mike D steals the furniture of the apartment and Adrock chases away a woman who is sitting on a couch next to one of the hosts. He raps the lines “You wake up late for school man you don't wanna go” and pulls the man on his suit jacket, pushes him away and throws a woman nearby onto the seat next to him, kisses her. The Beastie Boys continue to riot at the parties. MCA lights a magazine that two guests are reading, Adrock grabs the next woman, while Mike D throws himself on the one that has just been abandoned. When the chorus begins, the camera turns to the entrance area one more time - now the friends of the Beastie Boys come to the party, who in the perception of these days correspond exactly to what would be called "nasty guys": Heavy Metal people with long hair, beards and leather jackets, women in tight latex dresses, hardcore kids who smash glass bottles on their heads, tattooed people with bare chests.
Again and again in the clip the contrasts between good and evil are shown: one of the hosts plays the guitar, MCA wrests it from him and hits it against the wall. When the Beastie Boys say "What's that noise?" rap, a stylish daddy appears in the entrance with an undershirt, bathrobe, beard and greasy hair - a cake is cut in his face. The party ends in a cake fight and the complete destruction of the apartment. The extent is now documented by a slow 360 degree pan of the camera, the two hosts are lying on the floor with their clothes torn. When the mother of the two "comes home", a cake is thrown in her face as well. The music video ends with the woman's face, which is now full of cream.
The diversification of rap music continues. By the end of 1986 there were already more than five subcategories:
- Conscious (Grandmaster Flash and the furious Five)
- Fun / White Boy (Beastie Boys)
- Hardcore (RUN-DMC)
- Female (Roxanne Shante, Salt-N-Pepa)
- Party (style of the first days, later also Doug E. Fresh
Perhaps rap has its tough image to this day from precisely this time, when many artists and groups make sure to keep raising the bar for hardness and coolness.
This tendency intensified in the following year - the accusing tone of "The Message" gave way to a relentless description of everyday life in the ghetto (Boogie Down Productions: Criminal Minded) to a glorification of the lifestyle associated with it.
While family-friendly party rap continues to be published with MC Hammer and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Price, another group appears two years later that relativizes everything that was known about hard texts and appearance in rap:
NWAfrom Compton, Los Angeles, California.
After the essential, first steps in the matter of rap were taken in New York, and thus on the east coast, there has been a hip hop scene on the west coast since 197821. Musically, however, this is not really noticed until 1988 by the listeners all over the USA. This year the "Niggaz with Attitude" (NWA) released their single "Straight outta Compton".
The group extracted the single from their album of the same name, which caused massive controversy in American society with songs like "Fuck tha Police", "Gangsta Gangsta" and "Dopeman". Radio stations refused to accept the songs Playing on the radio, police headquarters, guarding the group's concerts, and the FBI monitoring the musicians' activities22.
Other notes are also struck musically: on the east coast, if you choose to dominate beats based on jazz samples or collaborations with hardcore rock bands, NWA member Dr. Dre, with his sampling of old funk records (James Brown, James Pants) and an inflationary use of various synthesizers, created a new style of music within rap music: G-funk. But how was this attitude conveyed visually? For this purpose we want to deal more closely with the video clip of "Straight outta Compton", which was never played on MTV.
The direction of the march is made clear right from the start: Dr. Dre sits in front of a burning garbage can and mimes the words "You are now about the witness the strength of street knowledge". Police sirens sound and the beat starts, and you can see the group together with supporters through Compton, the sung district of Los Angeles Here, too, the image is conveyed through the mirror image of the same: on the one hand the tough guys, on the other the even tougher authorities, here in the form of the police. Again and again, images of grim-looking police officers alternate with the rapping NWA - Members from - the foreseeable meeting is not long in coming. While the spectator is watching Ice Cube rapping through Compton in front of a raw backdrop decorated with burning garbage cans and worn buildings, the police officers are portrayed more and more martially. One swings one Truncheon as if he was training, someone else is loading his pistol Police cars lock themselves up and it drives off so quickly that the breakfast utensils on the trunk fly around - the deployment is imminent.
This is depicted as it has happened to this day: a group of young Afro-American men are talking, a police car appears and everyone runs away. A chase through back yards follows, in which people with NWA caps are arrested again and again, thrown on bonnets and searched. The band itself is only led away a little later by the police with shotguns and pistols and all members are thrown into a prisoner bus (another reference to "The Message"?).
The appearance of the Eazy-E (NWA) is involuntarily amusing. When he starts his part in his familiar, comic-like voice in the middle, he mimes it while he is sitting in a convertible on the headrest of the passenger seat, which is at the same height as the prisoner transporter. He gesticulates his verses wildly in the direction of the policeman driving the bus (See, I don't give a fuck / that's the problem I see a motherfuckin cop I don't dodge him /), the camera pans to the view of the driver who shakes his head and asks Eazy-E and its driver to continue driving.
We are at the end of the song - to scratches with the words "City of Compton" the police sirens sound again. As the van drives past the NWA (and their friends) standing on the roadside, they throw stones at them. What a dramatic thing Of course it doesn't make that much sense (NWA saRen still in the transporter) looks all the more martial and harder. Somehow it seems as if NWA wanted to reformulate the message of RUN-DMC more aggressively: Don't mess with us, we're not boys that you can push around and if need be, we defend ourselves with all means.
At the end of the music video, the sequence of images is repeated: you see the musicians surrounded by a large crowd of friends walking towards the camera, the prisoner bus also driving towards the camera and tracking shots showing Compton from a moving car. In the last scene, the song has already ended, we see Dr. Dre in front of a burning garbage can, but this time in the company of the other members, who mimes the words "And thats how the story goes in the city of Compton".
Apart from the content-related part of the music video, you also show yourself differently in terms of clothing style and gestures on the west coast: where you often present massive gold chains (so-called rope chains) and other valuable jewelry in your own videos, especially at the end of the eighties here more conventional, street-oriented. You also adopt the names of other brands or a sports team for your own branding. NWA wear baseball caps from the Sacramento Kings in "Straight outta Compton", of course because the word "Kings" on the caps can be recognized from a distance, especially in a large font. The inflationary use of finger movements also appears striking Imitating the firing of a weapon, clenching the fist, turning it vertically and turning the index finger towards the body - just like that, one would pull the trigger of a weapon.
Also new to the group is the marketing concept and the structure of the record contract: if members of music groups were previously bound to a single contract, the members of NWA now assure themselves the right to distribute solo releases via other labels.
With Public Enemy, the conscious rap is continued with an increased, lyrical radicalism. RUN-DMC release their first film and with Yo! For the first time, MTV Raps has its own television platform for the genre, which can be seen by viewers across the United States.
In 1989 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded a Grammy in the newly created Rap category for the first time23 and with Queen Latifah the first female rapper to release an album with feminist lyrics. Ice Cube leaves NWA and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's Cowboy dies because of his addiction to crack.
1 who, by the way, also uploaded the first video to YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNQ.XAC9IVRw (last accessed April 14, 2012)
2 http://www.pcwelt.de/news/Zugriffszahlen-YouTube-durchbricht-Rekordmarke-von-20-Mrd-Video-Views- 4014044.html. (last accessed on April 9, 2012)
3 In 1997 the managing director of Interscope Records, Jimmy Lovine, became interested in a certain Eminem after seeing him at the freestyle contest "Rap Olympics". He put him in contact with the Californian producer Dr. Dre, who ultimately helped him to worldwide fame (Eminem: Biography, http://www.eminem.net/biography/, accessed on April 9, 2012). The Wu Tang Clan was only able to gain a following through a joint tour with Cypress Hill in 1993, which made it possible for them to release their debut single “Protect ya neck”. RZA from the Wu- Tang Clan got to know DJ Muggs in New York and thus enabled the clan to tour together (Wikipedia: Wu- Tang Clan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu-Tang Clan, accessed on April 9, 2012 ). Even 50 Cent was only made possible by a friend who made the big step into the industry after the said person introduced him to Run DMC member Jam Master Jay and enabled him to make further progress (MTV: All eyes on 50 Cent, http: // www. mtv.com/bands/123/50 cent / news feature 022505 / index.jhtml, accessed on April 9, 2012)
4 Using well-known DJ techniques such as juggling, scratching and the like
5 See also http://www.mtv.com/bands/rn/mixtape/news feature 021003 / index9.jhtml (last accessed on April 10, 2012)
6 See also http://www.laut.de/Di-Clue (last accessed on April 10, 2012)
7 http://www.mtv.com/bands/rn/mixtape/news feature 021003 / index.jhtml (last accessed on April 10, 2012)
8 http://riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php7content selector = certification (last accessed on December 24, 2012)
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA certification (last accessed on December 24, 2012)
10 http://pinkfloydarchives.com/DUSRIAA.htm (last accessed on December 24, 2012)
11 http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php7content selector = criteria (last accessed on December 24, 2012)
12 http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php7content selector = gold-platinum-searchable-database
13 http://www.npr.org/2005/08/29/4821649/rapper-melle-mel-delivering-the-message (last accessed on April 17, 2012)
14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Message% 28Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five song% 29 (last accessed on April 17, 2012)
15 http://digitaldremdoor.com/pages/best_rap-timeline1.html (last accessed on April 17, 2012)
16 Which of course doesn't apply to “The Message”, but: This song should be seen as an exception, especially when you consider that at least half of the lyrics come from a non-rapper.
17 The song was not, as often assumed, released by DefJam, but by Profile Records, which was later bought by Sony Records
18 http://racerelations.about.com/od/hollvwood/a/MTVsRaceRelatedGrowingPains.htm (last accessed on April 21, 2012)
19 Even though it is often stated in many MTV chronicles that the Blondie video for “Rapture” was the first rap video on MTV, I have deliberately excluded this because it is not one in the classic sense.
20 However, there is no official information from MTV. Therefore, here are some links to pages from which I have taken this information (all last accessed on April 24, 2012): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock Box, http://www.laut.de/ Run DMC. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run-D.M.C .. http://www.rp-online.de/kultur/musik/1983-run-dmc-hiphop-der-ersten-stunde-1.1611349. http://www.indiepedia.de/index.php?title=Run-D.M.C.
21 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West Coast hip hop (last accessed on May 2nd, 2012)
22 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pu3ByHBeU0 (last accessed on May 2nd, 2012)
23 The Academy refused to broadcast the award ceremony, which resulted in a "Grammy Boycott Party" organized by MTV, attended by three of five nominees. You can read more about this here: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-02-23/news/mn-228 1 backstage-harmony (last accessed on May 4th, 2012) and see: http://video.tvguide .com / Grammy + Boycott + Party / 9893200 (last accessed on May 4, 2012).
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