Hip-Hop Week continues on In Third Person! What was your gateway into hip-hop music?
I remember my gateway into the world of hip-hop vividly. Borrowing my friend Faiz’s cassette copy of Homebase by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, I dubbed my own copy and bumped it all the time. Despite “Summertime” being an enduring classic, starting out with Will Smith doesn’t do anything for my street cred.
It got me thinking about other potential gateways into the genre. There’s no shame in where you start or where you end, but when I started to think about it, the “PokeRap” from the original Pokemon animated series immediately came to mind.
Hip-Hop Week continues! Let’s take to the streets where Just Blaze provided a soundtrack to streetball that still bangs today!
NBA Street Vol. 2 is a high watermark for arcade sports games. It found a brilliant balance between accessibility, depth, and swag for days. Though it’s been a while since I played it, one of the things that always stuck with me is its music. Look past the licensed tracks and you’ll find a killer selection of beats by Just Blaze, who was one of the hottest producers at the time, and still one of my faves to this day.
Here’s a pair of tracks that really stand out to me, but you should check out the whole soundtrack when you get a chance!
Hip-Hop Week continues on In Third Person! From Flava Flav to Migos, the hype man is an underrated role in a rapper’s crew. This is the story of how I got to live out my hype man dreams.
Like normal fans of hip-hop music, I’ve had dreams of being a rapper, producer, DJ, and breakdancer. But there’s another occupation in the world of hip-hop that I’ve always wanted to be that weirds people out every time I share this with them.
I’ve always wanted to be a hype man.
I’ve wanted to be the Flava Flav yelling, “********** you and John Wayne!”. Or in 90s terms, I wanted to be Puff Daddy, standing behind the Notorious B.I.G., punctuating his lines with chants of, “Whoo!” or, “Uh huh, yeah.” Or in modern times, I wanted to be one of the guys in Migos screaming, “Skrrt!”. My fascination with this role manifests itself in the car every time I drive. Sometimes, instead of singing or rapping along to a song, I’ll just ad lib over it. Even for songs that don’t make sense, I’ll do it. That scene in Carpool Karaoke where Migos is ad libbing over “Sweet Caroline”? That’s been my life for years, and I apologize to my wife for subjecting her to this every day.
A few years ago, during a night in with friends, I got to share my hype man talents to the world thanks to Def Jam Rapstar.
Hip-Hop Week officially begins on In Third Person! Of course we had to start with the N-O, T-O, R-I, O, U-S!
On August 9th, 1994, Christopher Wallace released “Juicy”, the first single from his forthcoming debut album Ready to Die. The song would peak at #1 on the Billboard charts and is still cited as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all-time.
Though it may not have been the first time video games and hip-hop connected – and it certainly wouldn’t be the last – the Notorious B.I.G. yelled out what would become the most iconic video game reference in hip-hop, and quite possibly all of music.
“Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis/When I was dead broke man, I couldn’t picture this”
– Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy”
What is it about this line that continues to resonate today? Being associated with an all-time great rap song by an all-time great rapper goes a long way, but I think there’s a bit more to it than that.