Tag Archives: 1990s Hip Hop

Profound Hip Hop Quote #19: Homage to Philly Edition

14 May

“My aura is psychedelic flow non-prehistoric metamorphic boric like
acid no hat tricks a classic so park that ass like Jurassic and check
the matrix completed like 7 (seven) to overshadow the triple 6 (six)
complimenting zig-a-zicks with wisdom like the 5 percenters when doing
mathematics flips scripts like acrobatics intrinsic in rapping.”

—Bahamadia, “Wordplay”

Click here to hear the song!!

BahamadiaThis is the seventh profound hip hop quote specifically paying homage to Philly, and I feel extremely guilty because I have yet to acknowledge some of the female artists who have and are doing their thing to put Philly on the map.   There’s no denying that the “rap game” is male dominated, but there are many women who reign supreme when it comes to lyrical ability, and Bahamadia, aka Antonia Reed, is definitely one of them.

Even though Bahamadia may not have seen the same level of success as some of her counterparts, she has been revered locally, nationally and internationally as a lyrical wordsmith.   Though her voice is monotone, there’s something melodic and soothing about her flow, and her wittiness and lyrical finesse was what initially made me a fan when I first heard her in the 90s.

Rap plus Bahamadia automatically equals profoundness.   These specific lyrics from wordplay are representative of her mastery of language. Most rappers back then and even now do not possess such prowess or the deftness to deliver as she does.   One line alone could devour all challengers; “No hat tricks a classic so park that ass like Jurassic.”

When is the last time you heard a female or any artist deliver such crafty wordplay and require you to possess a certain level of expansive knowledge to be able to decipher his or her content?  Much respect is due to Bahamadia; thanks for representing Philly to the fullest!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
If you haven’t figured it out, Bahamadia’s “Wordplay” has a deluge of well-crafted literary elements.  It encompasses similes, metaphors, hyperboles, allusion, assonance, consonance, slant rhymes, etc.  For example, “No hat tricks a classic so park that ass like Jurassic,”  contains a simile “park that ass like Jurassic,” an allusion because it would be necessary to be familiar with  Jurassic Park” in order to get the cleverness of the line and consonance and assonance simultaneously as she uses the “s” sound and “a” sound for emphasis and to improve the flow of the rhyme.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #18: Homage to Philly Edition

7 May

“Tell you one lesson I learned
If you want to be something in life
You ain’t gonna get it unless
You give a little bit of sacrifice
Ooohh, sometimes before you smile you got to cry
You need a heart that’s filled with music
If you use it you can fly
If you want to be high.”

—The Roots featuring Nelly Furtado, “Sacrifice”

Click here to watch the video!!

The RootsIt’s the start of a new month, and there are still so many talented Philly rap artists who have made an impact on this culture and on me who I did not get to mention in April.  So I’ve decided to extend my homage to Philly rappers through the month of May.  When I think of one of the most talented rap groups to date who encompasses the complete package of lyrical ability, originality, style, and stage presence, I think of “The Legendary Roots Crew.”  These guys not only put Philly on the map but also put the United States on the map for producing some of the most innovative, talented artists.  I was in high school when I was first exposed to The Roots, and I ran their first full-length album, “Do You Want More,” into the ground.  What initially captivated me about The Roots was their sound; who ever heard of a rap group with a band who did more than just sample?  It was unlike anything I had ever heard before and is more than likely the reason for their longevity in the music industry today.

What is it that makes this specific song so profound?  Well, before I get into that, I must say that The Roots have an arsenal of profound lyrics, and I could potentially do a month dedicated to them.  Nevertheless, I selected this particular song, “Sacrifice” and the chorus of the song as profound because Black Thought (featuring Nelly Furtado) is doing much more than “spitting a few lines;” he’s evoking listeners to think by presenting us with words to live by.

We all want better lives for ourselves, but at what cost are we willing to pay or how much are we willing to endure to attain those dreams and goals?  Many people have a sense of entitlement and don’t want to work for anything.  Some people give up easily if there are a few barriers in their way.  Most people have heard the old adage,  “The best things in life are worth fighting for,” but Black Thought takes it a step further in acknowledging that sometimes we all most cry before we can smile.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
The Roots’ lead rap artist, Black Thought, is an exceptional lyricist and often employs many of the different literary elements found in some of the most well written poems of our time.  In this in particular chorus, he uses a lot of figurative language, which is the opposite of literal.  This means that what is being presented is either not plausible or possible or even exaggerated. What does it mean to have “A heart that’s filled with music?”  Think about the causes and effects associated with music and how many genres exist.  Music can be in accordance with your mood, or it can assist in changing your mood.  As you make sacrifices, shuffle to the appropriate music (literally and figuratively) to see you through, and eventually you will be able to fly high with a smile on your face.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #17: Homage to Philly Edition

30 Apr

“Smashing those who stand in my path;
counting ’em down like math.
planning, mapping, rapping them down,
from my part of town! 

—Tuff Crew, “My Part of Town”

Tuff CrewClick here to watch the video!!

It’s the end of the month, and I am still paying homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past who have made an impact on this culture and on me. Who knew there were so many from the late 80s and 90s.  When I think about a rap group  who not only put Philly on the map on a national and even  international level but also put my “town” on the map, I think of Tuff Crew consisting of Ice Dog, L. A. Kid, Monty G, Tone Love, and DJ Too Tuff.  I was in middle school when I was first heard, “My Part of Town.”  Not only were the lyrics and delivery on point, but  what really put this song on my radar was the tantalizing hook.

What is it that makes these specific song so profound?  It’s a combination of the music itself and the content.  Scratching and mixing it up on the “wheels of steel” was highly regarded in the 80s and early 90s, and DJ Too Tuff was a beast on the turn tables enticing all party goers to jump out of their seats and hit the dance floor to prove they were “So damn tuff!” The members of Tuff Crew were culturally and ethnically diverse and commanded the attention and respect of all who listened as they claimed what was theirs while fully displaying their machismo.  It takes courage and confidence to be willing to “smash those who stand in your path” as you represent where you are from and what’s most important to you.

Even though this behavior can potentially have an adverse effect, leading to gang turf  mentalities, it can be positive as well. Most people take pride in where they are from and will even give back to the community or put forth their best effort because they know that they are representing more than just themselves.  They may be representing a street, a neighborhood, a town, a city or even a nation.

Who or what do you represent?  Do you take pride in where you are from? Are you putting forth an effort to improve “your part of town?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Tuff Crew uses a simile  to stress their point about taking out all competition and opposition: “Counting ’em down like math.” Both similes and metaphors are excellent ways to demonstrate a point because it offers comparison to ensure that the lister has a clear understanding, and it also presents the information in a way that requires some critical thinking on behalf of the listener rather than stating it plainly.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #16: Homage to Philly Edition

23 Apr

“Oh Ohhhhhh
You got it!
The glamorous life!”

—Cool C, “The Glamorous Life”

Cool C Glamourous LifeClick here to watch the original video!!

The homage to Philly rappers continues.  There truly are so many talented Philly rappers, past and present, who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  Last week, I discussed Three Times Dope, so of course I must acknowledge EST’s rival at the time, who came out with a song “dissing” EST’s philosophy on “Funky Dividends,”  Cool C (Christopher Roney) with his song “Glamorous Life.”

“Glamorous Life” is definitely a classic party song with a chorus that beckoned all listeners to sing along.  The “oh ohhhhh” is even still utilized by some party goers today, some twenty years later.  Are these specific lyrics actually profound?  Not quite.  But they speak to a deeper societal issue that apparently plagued Cool C later on in his faltering rap career.   Also, so many of us are willing to compromise our ethics and will stop at nothing to attain this appealing “glamorous lifestyle.”

In 1996, Cool C was involved in a botched bank robbery in Philadelphia where he brutally shot a female police officer, Lauretha Vaird, resulting in her death.  Cool C proclaims to be innocent  though the evidence against him proves otherwise.  He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in 2006 but was granted a stay of execution.  “How glamorous is it to take another person’s life for riches?”

What is the “glamorous life” anyway?  Is it wearing only designer clothing, living in a luxurious home, driving a fancy car  and attaining all of the materialistic items you desire?  Of course, I admire those people who have worked hard, paid their dues, and are now reaping the benefits of a fabulous lifestyle where they want for nothing, but what about those who are willing to rob and kill to attain them?

Perhaps you haven’t robbed or killed anybody , but you have been perpetuating the image of this so-called “glamorous life.” Has it caught up with you as a result of the recession?  Naturally, people want to feel good about themselves or simply want to attain the “dream” of having it all: who doesn’t?  But how glamorous is it to have designer clothes but still live with your parents at 40?   How glamorous is it to receive an eviction or foreclosure notice on a place that is well beyond your means or to to have this wonderful place but only have enough money to pay the mortgage and can’t keep the lights or heat on regularly?  How glamorous is it to see your fancy car being towed away by a repo truck or to not be able to drive it because you can only afford the car payments, not the insurance or gas to fill the tank?

The term glamorous is relative to whom you ask.  Nevertheless, something to consider is once “you got it,” whatever that “it” might be, will you truly be happy?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Cool C employs an excellent technique to engage listeners and party goers in the chorus of the song “Glamorous Life.”  Chants are common in many African cultures and are usually quite rhythmic.  “Oh ohhh….You got it!  The glamorous life!” is by far one of the most memorable examples of a chant from the late 80s early 90s Philly rap vault.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #15: Homage to Philly Edition

16 Apr

“EST is the one that’s so original 
The boy so live should have his name on your cereal 
Instead of Swatch you wear a sinister watch 
Worn by the suckers who be swearin they clock 
Cause ain’t nobody takin’ my place, you know what I mean? 
Instead of Guess you wear some ES jeans 
Tight around your putang, so when you shake that thang 
Everybody wants you shake it again !”

—Three Times Dope, “Greatest Man Alive”

Three Times DopeClick here to watch the original video!!

This month, I would like to pay homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past and present who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  When I think about a rap group  who not only put Philly on the map on a national and even  international level but also put my neighborhood on the map, I think of Three Times Dope consisting of EST (Robert Waller), Chuck Nice (Walter Griggs) and Woody Wood (Duerwood Beale).

I was in middle school when I was first introduced to this “Acknickulous” trio, and I loved their style while many guys tried to don EST’s hair cut.  As a result of the members being from my neighborhood, the anticipation of possibly meeting them was something else.  Classmates and friends would often claim to be their relatives or neighbors.  These guys really made me feel proud to be from Logan.

Three Times Dope released the song, “Greatest Man Alive ” around 1989, and it was an instant hit and party song.  The beat was booming, and the lyrics and delivery were tight.

What is it that makes these specific lyrics so profound?  It’s the content.  EST was so confident and put forth an entire song full of bravado which was way before it’s time.  In the late 1980s and even early 90s most rappers would simply brag about what type of designer clothing they are wearing lining the pockets of many companies giving them free advertisement in their songs.  But EST cavalierly states that in being the greatest man alive that people should don clothing and even eat cereal with “his” name on the label.  “Cause ain’t nobody takin’ his place!”   Now, almost every rapper has either a clothing or footwear line or perfume or cologne.  The artists are starting to get it!  No if only the rest of us would.

What makes you the greatest “man” or “woman” alive?  Is it what you wear, what you eat or how you present yourself?  Do you follow what the masses do, or do they follow you?  Who’s setting the trends?  EST even embraced being the “unusual” fellow or the “original” while many people just want to fit in with the crowd and sheepishly follow the herd.  Are “you” the greatest man or woman alive?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
EST of Three Times Dope uses a double negative to stress his point which is commonly used in raps songs, “Cause ain’t nobody takin’ my place, you know what I mean?” It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing, to use a specific type of vernacular or common day speech because it is the voice of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line. Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.