Brown Paper Tickets uses cookies to provide the best experience on our website. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy

Cookie Settings

The Mid-Week Beat: From Slick Rick to Mobb Deep – The Evolution of Rap

tumblr_mhfcf6wyEm1s3ctpmo1_500This week’s beat catches up with three extremely different, if not equally influential, rap entities.

It starts with two legendary MCs, thirty years in the game, then takes us to one of the more contentious and popular New York groups involved in the legendary “East Coast/West Coast” feud of the 1990’s and concludes with a film that documents the “thug life” that permeated 1990s hip hop culture.

For me, the most fascinating aspect of the evolution of rap is the prevalence of outlandish, unique and creatively brave artists that peppered the early years of the genre, and how the global success of hip hop in recent years seems to have resulted in, for the most part, artistic mediocrity.

Maybe I just don’t get “these kids today.” I am in my 40s after all.

Either way, it doesn’t matter which side of the fence you find yourself on, or if you prefer to occupy both, this is a good weekend for rap fans.

Friday, August 16th

Kool KeithBuffalo, New York

The amazing Kool Keith got his start in legendary New York hip-hop group Ultramagnetic MCs in the late 80s. He recorded three albums with the group before venturing out on his own and he quickly established himself as one of the most gifted free stylers in the game, and also the most unusual. In fact, a popular rumor circulated that he was institutionalized for mental problems.

In 1995 he transformed himself into the insanely genius Dr. Octagon and released his first solo single “Earth People.” His solo releases were highly acclaimed by critics and he would go on to record 15 solo records, the most recent being 2013’s Magnetic Pimp Force Field.

In 2000, he also collaborated with Ice-T, Marc Live, Black Silver and Pimp Rex to form the extraordinary Analog Brothers.

I was lucky enough to be able to see two of Dr. Octagon’s performances in person back in the day. One was the greatest hip hop show I ever attended, the other was absolute confusion and mayhem. One thing is certain, they broke the mold when they made this guy.

Carrying the torch into the 21st century as one of the most uniquely brave and outlandishly smart lyricists in hip hop, this kind of talent is rarer and rarer these days. He’s not so much into shouting about how much money he has as much as he is into weaving tales of intergalactic weirdness and “romantic” exploits.

Kool Keith performs this Friday, August 16 at Dukes Bohemian in Buffalo, New York. Click the link above to get tickets before they’re gone and witness this mad genius in person!

Read More…

Music >