Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lazy Sunday: I say Captain...You say Wot!!! (aka when Hip Hop met Punk)

There is no denying that Hip Hop has been an influential force in our culture over the past 30 years. Magically though, somewhere in the 80's Hip Hop made an impression on an odd group of Punks and gave them the inspiration to give it a try of their own. Captain Sensible's "WOT" though almost a Rap Parody, it still labeled in Europe as an early hip hop classic. The Ex-Dammed singer was not however the only UK Punk to get the Hip Hop fever. Malcolm Mclaren of Sex Pistols fame, made a record collaborating with the "World's Famous Supreme Team" DJs (Hey DJ being their legacy) as well as graphically setting the tone of the record with art work by Grafitti Legends Keith Haring and Dondi White. At the time when Mclaren crafted "Duck Rock" though, it had been a couple of years since The Clash had released "Radio Clash" in which video one can actually spot Futura 2000 spray painting across New York City. The Influence of Hip Hop is quite obvious in this record, and their dedication was later reflected when Grandmaster Flash was asked to be the opening act for the Band. Futura and the Clash would later go into partnership again when they produced Futura 2000's "Escapades".

But perhaps the greatest document of the partnership between genres was Blondie's "Rapture" which united the vibrant Downtown scene to the new sounds coming from Uptown. In the song not only does Debby Harry do her own rapping, but she also gives shout outs to her new friends from the hip hop scene (Flash and Fab 5 Freddy). Perhaps the Video is even better, as we actually get to see some of the Artists do Cameos (including the gifted Jean-Michel Basquiat and other Lower East Side scenester). In some ways, the influence between Punk and Hip Hop was actually reciprocated when bands like ESG and Liquid Liquid were sampled by hip hop artists and most memorably when Grandmaster Flash sampled the Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love" (which in itself was a record influenced by Hip Hop). Although these were the conception of a very special time in our culture, the legacy that Hip Hop left on Punk Artists of that era was an important platform for the popularity of the genre in years to come. Here are some of those memorable moments...because it's Lazy Sunday and Lazy Sunday is always classic!

Listen: Captain Sensible - WOT

Listen: Malcolm McLaren - Buffalo Gals

Listen: Blondie - Rapture

Listen: The Clash - Radio Clash

Listen: The Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love