It's arguably the greatest year in hip hop history. The genre was coming to the end of its first decade on wax when a series of ambitious and acclaimed records pushed it into a so-called "golden age," one which would establish new musical movements, stoke coastal rivalries and produce invaluable art.
Here at OneFourOne, we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of this influential chapter the only way we know how - with informative, unique pieces taking you behind some of the years most important efforts!
Before there was The Roots, there was Stetsasonic, the original hip hop band. Boasting a roster that included legendary producer Prince Paul, the six-man outfit were a unique addition to the scene, and their 1988 LP In Full Gear marked their critical apex. In celebration of the 30th anniversary, we’re breaking down the samples throughout that classic LP!
Slick Rick is one of hip hop’s great storytellers. His 1988 debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, has since become the gold standard of narrative hip hop, a lewd and crude retelling of Rick’s oft-unsavoury exploits. In this edition of Behind…, we’re looking at the samples scattered throughout Rick the Ruler’s landmark LP!
Impressive rhymes, innovative sampling and bold style: Ultramagnetic MC’s were some of the golden age’s most vibrant characters. In this instalment of the Behind… series, we’re breaking down their very particular style via the samples littered throughout their 1988 debut, Critical Beatdown!
Ice-T’s Power, his 1988 sophomore album, found him expanding on the niche he’d helped create - gangsta rap - just one month after N.W.A’s genre-defining debut. In celebration of the 30th anniversary, we’re looking at the samples on the Afrika Islam-produced LP!
JJ Fad’s Supersonic, though hardly a masterpiece, was the first effort out of Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, presaging 1988 efforts by N.W.A and Eazy himself. The charting album and its hit singles helped establish the label, a move which helped Straight Outta Compton make history. For the 30th anniversary, we’re breaking down the samples on the indispensable record.
Sweet Tee’s It’s Tee Time - her only record - remains an important but oft-overlooked slice of 1988 hip hop. Though hardly influential, the record found a new artist collaborating with one of the most successful pop-rap producers of the day, Hurby Luv Bug, to create a lighthearted and surprisingly versatile LP.
The Jungle Brothers’ debut LP, Straight Out The Jungle, paired upbeat jazz samples with positive Afrocentricity. This then-novel vision kickstarted jazz rap and marked the beginning of the Native Tongues collective, a loose group of likeminded artists whose vision would leave an indelible mark on ‘90s alternative hip hop.
Straight Outta Compton: the definitive gangsta rap album. It made legends out of Eazy, Cube and Dre, setting the stage for a five-year period of commercial dominance that established the West Coast as a hip hop powerhouse. In this instalment of Behind…, we’re diving into the samples that help keep the record as exciting and incendiary as it was 30 years ago.
Follow The Leader - Eric B. & Rakim’s sophomore album - was released on July 25, 1988. The album, which boasts some of Rakim’s most commanding verses, is steeped in old school sensibilities that would soon give way to the more socio-political bent of ‘90s hip hop. In this instalment of Behind…, we’re looking at a classic from one of hip hop’s most formidable and influential duos.
Though emcees such as Roxanne Shanté and Antoinette had been releasing standalone singles for some time, MC Lyte’s 1988 debut, Lyte As A Rock, was hip hop’s first solo female LP. A critical and commercial success, it paved the way for female emcees throughout the ‘90s and beyond. In this edition of Behind…, we break down the impressive and oft-hilarious trailblazer.
One of the most important albums of all time, Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, is turning thirty. In celebration of hip hop’s most revered LP, we’re taking a look at the samples that underpin PE’s magnum opus.
In this, the second part of our breakdown of Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, we cover from "Night of the Living Baseheads" to "Party For Your Right To Fight."
Big Daddy Kane’s 1988 debut, Long Live The Kane, remains an important milestone in hip hop. Kane’s lyrical dexterity and fast-paced delivery would influence artists such as Nas and RZA, helping shape the ever-evolving art of hip hop. In honour of the 30th anniversary, we’re breaking down the samples throughout the classic debut!
Boogie Down Productions’ second album, By All Means Necessary, is 30 years old. The classic 1988 LP helped shape politically-conscious hip hop, spurred by the untimely death of a founding member of the group. In this piece, we look back at the seminal album and the samples that underpinned it.