Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lookin' For The Perfect Beat

After a little break, I'm back to my iTunes collection. I started with the one Afgan Whigs album I've uploaded to the computer, 1965. I've always liked the Afgan Whigs, but they haven't ever stood out as a big influence on me. That's one thing that I like about going through my collection this way, it forces me to revisit stuff I wouldn't normally. Like Afrika Bambaataa.

I'm listening to the only full album of his I have, which is the Looking for the Perfect Beat retrospective of his big hits between 1980 and 1985. I recently thumbed through a great book by Jeff Chang called Can't Stop Won't Stop detailing the orgins of Hip Hop, and attempts to define the "hip hop generation," of which Afrika Bambaataa plays a large part. He would unite all of the different burroughs of New York, and literally march between them when others stuck to their own neighborhoods, to gather kids together for block parties. To say he is a legendary and influential artist in the world of hip hop wouldn't come close to describing Bam, so I'll stick to this: I love the hip hop sound of the 80s that Bam helped shape. The old school 808 beats, the non-sensical words shouted out at during choruses in place of hooks, the fun that is epitimized in tracks like Unity Pt. 1 ("Peace, Unity, Love, and Havin' Fun" is the opening chant)...simply awesome.

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