Nothing new under the sun / What has been will be again….
So you think Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”, Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” & Snoop’s “Gin & Juice” were all original cuts that just evolved in the mind of the artist out of nowhere? Think again.
So much of today’s popular music has deep roots in the rich fertile fields of the seventies/eighties. There was something unique about that period that produced such brilliant music from the likes of Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, Queen..the list goes on. I am not sure why the music of that era was arguably better than the music of today. It could be that after the socio-cultural & political upheavals of the sixties with the Vietnam War, two Kennedy assassinations as well as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, the liberation struggles of the “Third World” nations, the oil crisis & a whole host of other interrelated issues caused undue stress on the psyche of the people both domestically and internationally. Music as a whole reacted and served as a valve to relieve these pressures, hence the emphasis on peace, understanding, and having a good time on the dance floor and in the bedroom. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”, Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key” (& “Talking Book”), Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall”, James Brown’s, “Sex Machine” are just a few of the gems that the seventies produced. What other era produced so much quality & originalty?
I assembled the following playlist to highlight a few of my favorite Hip Hop cuts that have their origins in the seventies/eighties musical landscape. Many of the samples are exact copies of the originals with a loopy bass added here and drum machine added there. I aint knocking it as I enjoy it all–I just want folks (especially the youths) to understand the debt owed to the greats of the past. .