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The Originality of 90s era rap music

The Originality of 90s era rap music.

Clockwork Rhythms of a Sunband

I have a friend [the rapper Sean Derek] that’s always watching old school videos and listening to 90s era rap mixes. Every so often I get that bug and listen to my old Red Alert, Chuck Chillout and Mr Magic tapes, but I try not to be one of those dudes that think rap and hip hop died after the Golden Age. Sometimes it’s hard- especially when I remember how DIFFERENT every rap group sounded from the other; musically, lyrically, cadence and delivery.

Another friend plays satellite radio and I hear a lot of the newer music and it’s shocking to hear how similar everyone sounds. Swag that’s common isn’t really swag is it? As an emcee from Long Island, the desire to be unique was even greater. When you’re crammed into a project, it’s common to share styles among a close knit crew so it was okay to have a similar style to someone from that building you was buildin wit. Not so in sub-suburbia. We created our music in isolation and you didn’t want to share…anything. We really didn’t expose our music that widely- being paranoid that someone would copy or bite. I can recall a commercially known rapper using the same BREAK BEAT and us thinking they stole the idea from us.

All of this pondering led me to resurrect some of my own earliest recordings and review some of my musical history. “Clockwork Rhythms of a Sunband”: this was made in 1990 and I’m already digging into the abstract lyricism. This one aint that hard to follow, but you could see where the style originated from. That’s Sajo, my homie, doing the intro and outro talk. At the end he says “Thank you for attending this Sunband Production. For all those afraid of tans, Bain de Soleil will protect you. You can’t get sunburn without the Clockwork”.

In closing I do miss those days when rappers strove to be original and push the boundaries of lyricism and style instead of today’s’ rappers who differentiate themselves by trying to out-ignant each other. Our new bar is who is more obsessed with material items, debases women worse while they rely on outrageous quotes that are anywhere but in their lyrics. Oh snap, he’s listening to the audio of an old Roxanne Shante battle. Oh the irony. I wonder what she would thing of all the copycat rappers with similar names. If you’ve just decided to start rappin and you’re thinking about adding Lil or Young to your name, remember the 90s and don’t. Thank you.

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