The first actual albums I bought my self probably wouldn’t sit on many people’s greatest lists but I still have fond memories of them, “All Hail The Queen”, and “2 Hype”. Also soon after I had bought “Am I Black Enough For You”, “Salt with A Deadly Pepa”… Even the more commercial bands had a quality about them, maybe not cool looking back but fuck it! Listen back to Salt ‘n Pepa or Kid and Plays early stuff and the production is still dope, crisp and clean. At big school I met a couple of like minded lads, one of which is still a good mate. At this point the music consumption began growing exponentially, sharing albums and tapes, my brother was working at this point so “our” collection kept growing independently.
My first forays into record buying where solo, and from the likes of Our Price and HMV. Now there was a little crew forming and we would go on digging missions in the city and surrounding areas. We seemed to have our areas of expertise within Hip Hop, almost confined to labels and groups. We began being Hip Hop instead of just listening, tagging and graffiti and having run ins with older crews. When you look at the culture now, it just sits right in there as part of the norm, in those days though, white kids from working class families embracing this culture was met with derision especially in an area with an almost entirely white population. I hadn’t embarked on this path through rebellion or martyrdom, it was through love, love of the music, love of the culture , and more importantly the love of the fact it helped broaden my entire view point.
I had been listening to Jungle Brothers for a while when album came out with about a million tracks (“3 Feet High and Rising”), but it wasn’t that album that helped my view change it was the next album from the Native Tongues collective, “People’s Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm”. The sub genre known to some parts of the press as “Jazz Rap” had arrived, and I began an interested in not just the music, but the music it was based around. That led into some crazy directions and I love the fact Hip Hop didn’t just give herself to me but also her entire family.
In the modern era everything seems to becoming more and more convoluted, but I know one thing, my love of Hip Hop is pure and I’ll always love her because while some artists keep trying to whore her out to the masses, we will always have the underground, and personally I will always have the first time I fell in love with her.
Words by Craig M. Riding