Monday, 10 July 2017

Hip Hop Connection Magazine - Issue #4


Here we go with issue #4, from May 1989.
For one reason or another KRS-1 has failed to make it to the front cover - probably off on one of his many lectures, spouting dodgy info about hip hop's past, perhaps.
Anyhoo, Red Alert is asking De La Soul to 'call me, yeah?' as he waits next to one of the giant props from Simon Harris' 'Bass....' music video. Above him are the short-lived and criminally-underrated Black, Rock & Ron playing Twister without actually owning the game while The Wee Papas continue to squeeze every ounce of photo opportunity out of the recently-sprayed Artful Dodger backdrop (see MC Mell 'O' on the back cover).

A quick glance at the first page to see where Normski's been pointing his lens this month and already I'm sounding the **DOUBLE DENIM KLAXXON** as Cash Money & Marvelous pose with a copy of HHC.
1989's big hype, Stezo, launches into the picture along with the sorely-researched "DJ". DJ who? HHC don't seem to give a flip.
Latifah's happy as she tells us the amount of comfortable shoes she's wearing whilst Londoner/Yankee Monie Lover Lover just flicks V's to persons unknown behind her.
An odd pose ensues as Monie (again) stands with DJ Pogo (and Mell 'O'?). Perhaps accepting a cup of tea from Josef Fritzl wasn't the best move. Hurry up or you'll be late for Grandpa's Party.  
And ending the set are the Jungle Brothers who would seemingly rather be in bed with a hot cocoa than about to perform yet another rendition of 'I'll House You' to students who now think they know what rap is all about. Yo man, I'm chilly fresh, boyeeeee....etc..

Some excellent history in the 'Strictly Business' news section as we learn about a new hip hop documentary to be shown during the teatime slot on BBC1 called The Lowdown.
Details are brief and there is no mention of kids sneezing and suddenly learning that they can beatbox, sadly. #Trauma
'Street '89' gets a nice mention. This is a big street festival in Bridlington and some big names are appearing - Bio, Vulcan, Nicer, T-Kid, Goldie, Chrome Angelz...... wow!
I'm pretty sure I have footage of this on an old VHS somewhere.

HHC is beginning to leave the training wheels behind and riding a Chopper/Grifter/Burner (whatever 1989 bike works best in this analogy) as it has a good smattering of competition prizes up for grabs.
Promo copies of 'Stop The Violence', De La Soul promo poster, Mell 'O' 'Comin' Correct' single....

I'd Forgotten All About That Dept: Cash Money was in court (a British one) for assaulting his UK Tour Promoter. Sheesh, play it kool, Cash.

An indispensable playlist from that nice, avuncular Afrika Bambaataa features such classics as Prophets Of Rage by Public Enemy, Give The Drummer Some by Ultramagnetic MCs and Baby Don't Lose My Number by Milli Vanilli.
Dett, as we would all be saying back in '89.
Turn the page and we get a better list. This time it's ten original breaks from James Brown and the songs that sampled them. YES! It's like listening to ten Break To The Beat Version Excursions in a row on Tim Westwood's Capital Rap Show.

I'd Forgotten All About That Dept Again: Apparently there were TWO Beastie Boys albums about to surface. The first was going to be unreleased vocal tracks with new production - for "new production" read 'house backing'. The other was to be the as-yet unnamed 'Paul's Boutique'.
Thankfully only one of these came to fruition.
Oh yes!

A Stezo feature mentions that he's also a carpenter. Very handy in case his career as a top-choice rapper never panned out.
A rather informative 'Dictionary Of Hip Hop Slang' gives us the definition of such terms as 'Chillin' Out', 'Burner' and 'Wack'. It also describes some "New School" slang, as well. For example, 'Bus' This, 'Clockin', 'Flavorvision' and 'Lampin'. Actually, this is just a day in the life of what comes out of Flavor Flav's mouth on any given day.

Ultramag and Dolby D articles have a nice story within them but the Wee Papa Girl Rappers is actually the better of the bunch. The girls give in-depth views behind why their album failed as well as a poorly-received American tour. Actually feel a bit sorry for them now as I don't think I even read this interview at the time. Well, it's the Wee Papas, innit? Durr! See, I can't stop myself even now.

Denmark's Cutfather & Soulshock were quite big on the scene for about 5 minutes and their article gives a bit of history behind what you only probably know as 'those funny Europeans from the 1989 DMC Championships'.

Remember radicalism in hip hop? Black Radical Mk II was certainly a good example of this especially in British circles. Reading his interview makes me yearn for these days again as I think about what the content of a lot of rap consists of nowadays. Monsoon was a fantastic tune.

This week's HHC upload contains yet another retro 80s poster to print-out and Blu-Tack onto your bedroom/garage/shed wall. It's the hip hop supergroup that kicked it in the mainstream as well as on the underground - Run DMC. FatDookeyGoldChainTastic!

There's an in-depth feature on DJ Red Alert in which he "remembers the 'old school". Wait a minute. "Old School" in 1989 was only 10 or so years ago.
It's actually a very good read.

At this point I'd like to request a bit of quiet. Can someone turn the lights down as well, please?
And now, a drum roll... for it is with great pleasure and immense joy that we can finally bring you the much-awaited 'Connections' page.
In case you are not aware of what this is, let me explain.
Before the internet existed if you wanted to speak to complete strangers from around the world then you had to use pen and paper and plenty of stamps. These people were known as 'Pen Pals'.
HHC decided to cash in on the many requests of friendship coming into their offices so introduced this new feature.

The late 1980s saw hospitals' A&E departments adorned with unfortunate superglue experiments from young hip hop fans

Imagine a kind of less romantic, double-entendre-filled forum but with more hip hop slang.
You would write a very brief bio and name your favourite artists and if someone liked the look of it then you might get a reply or two. Some foolhardy folk even sent in a photo of themselves (with the de rigeur hand-on-chin pose - what IS that all about?).
In later issues there would be many graffiti writers requesting the swapping of photos of recent bombing missions with like-minded spraycan aficionados. In hindsight this was a rather foolish considering you gave your home address details.

The HHC Letters page is bubbling away this month with topics ranging from Westwood's radio show being too late/early, Just-Ice's double standards, those pesky Troop/KKK rumours, irate non-Beastie Boys fans, hopeful lyricists, and the usual sycophants.

The record reviews are very Brit-centric this month and why not. In fact out of 14 reviews only 5 of them are from the US which was a very brave move on HHC's part.

1989 really was De La Soul's best year. Their debut album was released and they went meteoric, with good reason.
HHC devote a full four pages to them and they take the time to break down the making of 3 Feet High and Rising. Sure it's nothing groundbreaking and you've probably heard it all before but I have to emphasise that back in '89 this was mostly the only place that we could get any hip hop news.

So there we go, that's issue #4 done and dusted.
More fun and frolics soon in the fifth issue where we'll see more innocence of our youth portrayed through the readers' letters page, chuckle-worthy efforts on the Connections page and, most importantly, if KRS is back on the front cover. Fingers crossed, eh?


1 comment:

pete mescalero said...

brilliant stuff :) keep 'em coming.

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