Back on the wayback

I'm sure that both of you have seen where I not-so-famously discussed some years in hip hop past... I started with 1998 and more recently dropped one about 1996.

I have since decided "Hey, Phlip, perhaps it would be a good idea to continue discussion about the years that formed your love of hip hop?"
I promptly thanked myself and started typing on this post that the both of you are reading right now... Today, we'll talk about 1997, the first half of which I spent busting ass and escaping Grimsley Senior High School.

January gave us Camp Lo's "Uptown Saturday Night," which shared ONLY the 'Blaxplotation' element with the movie from which they cribbed the title. This album was HUGE down here in Greensboro, largely because Ski Beatz (who also did a fuck ton of beats for Jay-Z and later The Sporty Thievz) is from down here in the 336... Or 919 as it was at the time, lol.
Only hip hop released that month, and it was a STELLAR kickoff to the year, I can still pop this shit in and listen to it now, in fact it is in the iPod and will be employed in the gym this week.

February (and no, the R is not silent) "Move along, children! Nothing to see here!!!" Seriously, the closest we got to hip hop this month was the release of Erykah Badu's "Baduizm," and that only counts as being close to hip hop because she is a groupie with 3 kids by 3 different rappers. Tru (Master P and his brothers) released "Tru 2 Da Game" as well, and no one cared.

March Biggie died on March 9th, I was at a party at Damian Ray's house when it happened. DJ Muggs dropped "Soul Assassins" 4 days prior, Scarface had the unfortunate distinction of releasing "The Untouchable" 2 days following. Later in the month, Biggie's own unfortunately ironically titled "Life After Death" dropped, on the same day that the entire rap world ignored a release from Warren G, "Take a Look Over Your Shoulder," which I personally think may be a service to Warren G seeing as how the album wasn't good anyway...

April saw us still reeling from losing BIG, but bubbling HARD on the forthcoming Wu album in June. Fortunate was it that we had a single to buzz to, because damn if we got any closer to hip hop this month than Mary J Blige's "Share My World," which might only count because she is 'the queen of hip hop soul' whatever the fuck that even means.

May served us only slightly more of what April had given us, in that we DID get KRS One's "I Got Next," and Michael Jackson's "Blood on the Dancefloor," which counts because he cursed on the song "This Time Around."
Hey, I make my own rules, this is MY blog.

June... Is it time? We get that Wu Tang album this month? It was exam week senior year, which is a full week before exams for underclasspersons. We were made to leave school after 12noon every day Monday through Wednesday, I made the purchase at 12:07 at The Record Exchange on the corner of Aycock and Spring Garden, which will be completely lost on most of the 2 of you, then chilled at home listening until time for work. I am to understand that Insane Clown Posse released "The Great Milenko" and Wyclef Jean released "The Carnival" in this month as well, I only own the Wyclef album and it was MONTHS later that I actually bought it. Mia X made "Un ladylike" and I ignored it, Capone N Noreaga also dropped "The War Report," which I slept on for months before buying and there was The Beatnuts with "Stone Crazy," which I bought on the strength of the "Off The Books" video.

July is upon us and Puff RUINED my 18th birthday by releasing "No Way Out," and Bone Thugs N Harmony didn't help me any by releasing "The Art of War" later in the month. The only solace I can take in the remembrance of the month of July 97 musically would be Company Flow's "Funcrusher Plus," which I did not own until 1998 sometime.

August only gave us Tha Alkoholiks "Likwidation" and Shaggy's "Midnight Lover" -- only if you count that one, which I don't personally. OC Also dropped "Jewelz" which I still listen to to this day.

September gave us Master P's "Ghetto D" (more on this later), as well as Mack 10's "Based on a True Story," Busta Rhymes' "When Disaster Strikes" and a Boogie Down Productions remix album, "Man and His Music," and EPMD's Groaner "Back in Business"

October showed us "The Jurassic 5 EP" from the group of the same name and a shitfest from James Todd Smith named "Phenomenon" -- which served only to show off his MAJOR bitch move over that whole "4,3,2,1" fiasco with Canibus -- then the FIRST "Soundbombing" compilation from Rawkus, then "The Album" by The Firm (Nas, AZ, Foxy and Nature -- and a bunch of their weed carriers), also was Lil Jon's "Get Crunk, Who U Wit" and Spice 1's "The Black Bossalini," Pastor Mase with "Harlem World," The Hot Boys' "Get it How U Live" and self-titled debut from "The Psycho Realm."
Damn, that was a pretty heavy month now that I look back on it... I only own 4 of those, though.

November is usually a pretty heavy month, but I am not sure how to take this, as Jay-Z's "Vol. 1" came out this month, as did Rakim's "The 18th Letter" (which, by the way, only contains one curse word) and Buju Banton's "Inna Heights" (fuck you, this is my blog!), BUT so did Will Smith's "Big Willie Style" and the floodgates for posthumous Pac releases with "R U Still Down?" Erykah the groupie released a live album this month as well, and we've already discussed how she counts as hip hop. Mic Geronimo also released "Vendetta," and Mystikal's "Unpredicatable," both of which I kinda dug, and MJG's "No More Glory," which I did not.

All December gave us was Eminem's "The Slim Shady EP," which I never had a reason to give a fuck about until the LP of similar name came out, I didn't have the internets yet in 1997...

1997 was a weird year, it was the year that the big companies started throwing those 50/50 deals at people (Roc-A-Fella, No Limit, and later on Cash Money) and it would also be the calm before the storm that would become the inundation of the industry with a TON of product as a result of those deals... Yes, even Roc-A-Fella tossed out a few Bleek albums, not to mention Christion's CRIMINALLY slept-on first album (I mean, if you're, like, tolerant of R&B) and random shit in the years immediately following, not to mention Jay-Z's own stranglehold on Novembers.
The No Limit/Cash Money thing was cute at first, as it was something DIFFERENT at the time, and didn't exactly pretend they should be taken seriously. Looking back on it now, I see how this might have been the beginning of the problem, in that they had NO qualms with flooding the industry with their shit at a time where we all had a little bit of extra cash to spend and gas was still less than a dollar a gallon, word to Bill Clinton.
I think I counted 38 up there in what I was not joking when I named them, and I wound up owning 27, for a robust 71%, and no I do not box myself into the whole "did I buy it new?" thing, just look at whether or not I have taken possession of them SINCE release, I spent a lot of the early decade digging in used record stores, it was one of my hobbies when I had money to spend... Fuck this real world shit.
Anyways, back on topic...

I have often spoken specifically to my issues with the born-after-1985s and how their minds are so closed to what came before them when I speak to this hip hop shit that I love so dearly.
These kids REALLY think that the shit I named above is "old school," as if there was not a MAJOR shift in hip hop in the EARLY 90's that saw the most of the aforementioned made possible... It really is becoming quite sad, somewhat like watching a loved one decimated by a chronic and lethal ailment. I hate to sound preachy, but I almost feel like I stumbled onto something with yesterday's drop. Lord knows how many more of these summaries of the years in hip hop I will be able to do, but I do know that it has been one hell of a ride running through my research in compiling this, so know that this will not be the last.

Now playing: Foreign Exchange - All Or Nothing / Comming Home To You (feat. Darien Brockington)
via FoxyTunes


Tony Grands said…
Good shit, sir. I must commend you on your memory. I have a hard enough time remembering my wedding anniversary (no TV sitcom Dad).

Thanks for the MJ trivia.
Mel aka Exitspeed said…
"The No Limit/Cash Money thing was cute at first, as it was something DIFFERENT at the time, and didn't exactly pretend they should be taken seriously. Looking back on it now, I see how this might have been the beginning of the problem"

I totally agree with this. While I still do love the albums from Cash Money for what they are, like you said, looking back I realize they started the shit Hip Hop is in today.

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