Well, if you know me, you know I don't value all hip hop the same. There's differences--sub-genres, if you will. It's like all martial arts are not karate. All Italian food ain't spaghetti. All hip hop ain't hip hop. Now, I'm not saying that this list is not the most definitive list of genres, but it's nineteen different buckets that I'm categorizing every piece of music on Da Pocket Prophet. It makes it easy to pull up tracks that either fit a mood, a situation or I-just-want-some-crazy-stupid-gangsta-ish-type scenario. So here you have it. Punch holes in it, applaud it, hate it. I don't care. It's my Zune. Go get your own.
Yeah, why not just admit it. I'm a backpacker. Yeah, I got a genre called "BACKPACKING." I'm not sure what will go into it because, well, we're still in 1987. There really ain't no true backpack anthems yet, but I imagine the earliest stuff in this category would be Grand Puba solo, Black Moon, Organized Konfusion. It's like jazz--if you have to ask, you'll never know. I'll probably start using it in 1992-93 or so.
Example: Fat Boys, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie's "Goin' Off"
I thought it'd be important to break out some definitive beatboxing tracks even though the artform seems to have really hit a wall when beats became a lot more intricate. Fat Boys (or Disco3, as they were originally known), Biz Markie and Doug E. Fresh to name a very few, but this also includes Stetsasonic's "Faye" and DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's "My Buddy" featuring the great Ready Rock C. Yeah, it's a shortlist and might not every be comprised of more than twenty songs, but it's dope if you just play it as a genre and get twenty beatboxing songs.
Example: "Paul Revere," "Posse on Broadway"
"We like the cars, the cars that go 'boom'." Songs in this genre blazed the trail down every 9th Street in America as the backend got lower and bass got louder. Think the backwards bass of "Paul Revere" or Nemesis "Munchies," or lowriding anthems like Dr. Dre's "Let Me Ride," Cube's "It Was a Good Day." You play this genre from front to back in a car with a good trunk, someone's going deaf and, if you don't watch it, it could be you.
Example: Just-Ice's "Latoya," "Push It," "Jimmy," "Jimbrowski"
It's important to mention that, originally, I was thinking of moving forward with a genre called "STRIPCLUBBING," but really couldn't think of anything except for 2 Live Crew to go in there and thought, rather, I'd make one called "BOOTKNOCKING" which is dedicated to songs dealing with or focused on the pursuit of the opposite sex, whether comedic, serious, degrading or just straight-up baby-making. Or it could be about safe sex, protection, the seriousness of STD's. Yeah, it's broad (no pun intended), but it's still more specific than you'll find at your local record store.
Example: JVC Force's "Force Field (Alternative Mix)," Chill Rob G's "Chillin'"
Cold-lamping means to just col' relax. To chill. It's more downtempo. Ain't no M.O.P. or dance ish here. It's just what you put on kick back to. Think things like, well, most of Low End Theory, "Electric Relaxation," "T.R.O.Y."--that type of vibe. You know, the type of music that you use the word "vibe" in describing. There's much more to come in this genre in the future--Digable Planets, you know.
Example: Too $hort's "Freaky Tales," Ice-T's "Somebody Gotta Do It"
There's plenty of songs about pimping in hip hop's history because, well, it's a reality of the environment. Keep in mind, that songs in this category do not necessarily condone or celebrate the lifestyle, but like MC Shan's "Project Ho," it actually tells the story of a man who contracts some nasty disease as a result of a rendevous with a "ho" who, you never know, might belong to $hort Dog. Prostitution, pimping, street-walkers, they're all here.
Example: Bob James' "Take Me to Mardi Gras," Babe Ruth's "The Mexican"
It's all samples. In fact, it's like the hall of fame of breaks. I'm taking all the best, putting them altogether and presenting them all in one super-huge-beautiful-and-def collection. This right here is gonna be like a history lesson. Hone those sample-recognition skills by pressing play on this genre.
Example: Roxanne Shante's "Roxanne's Revenge"
Yeah, we're still pretty light on really bad beef, but the time will come so I might as well go ahead and reserve the space now. In about two or three years, there's gonna be so much beef on record, you'll be able to make a meatloaf. Hey, competition's part of hip hop. I didn't right the rules.
Example: "Nobody Beats the Biz," "No Compeition," "Long Live the Kane"
Any just stupid-pompous exhibit that can be described as nothing more than an "ego-trip" goes here. I'm talking about when rappers refer to themselves in the third person, refer to themselves as princes, kings, queens or Christ-like figures. There's a lot of hip hop that falls into this genre because, well, the competition brings it out in the music.
Example: King Tee, Ice-T, Eazy-E, NWA, Too $hort
Pretty simple. Hip hop dealing with, dwelling on, celebrating and/or describing the gang lifestyle. Highlights include Eazy's "Nobody Move," Ice-T's "Grand Larceny" and "High Rollers." Gun-fire, sirens, tough-talk and hard lessons of the streets. Now all those kids from the suburbs can experience the lifestyle safely and innocently. Bust a sag, cop an attitude and walk with your chin up, homeboy.
Example: "Rockin' It," Monster Jam," "Rappers' Delight"
Ol' school. You know, "here's a little story that must be told." It's that toprocking ish where you put it on and heads just go into a pop and lock. Party-type stuff--1980 to 1983. Headspins. Nylon jackets. Crazy Legs. Rock Steady. "F-R-E-S-H-fresh-fresh-fresh-yo that's fresh!"
Example: Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions
This genre is really just a catch-all for everything that doesn't have any other classification. I mean, it just makes you nod your head and go, "Yep, that's def as hell." It's dominated by your real classic ish right now--"Peter Piper," "Paid in Full," "It's My Thing." It's those type of records that from the very first beat, you have an instant and continuous physical reaction that involves both your head and neck muscles. It's alright, bob that head.
Example: "Dangerous," "I'm Bad," "2 Hard Muthas"
"MEANMUGGING" pulls together all of those tracks that are just about how bad you are, how hard you rock, how mean you and your crew are. They're not necessarily a diss because there's no specified subject of the aggression, since it's not necessarily illegal it can't be classified as "GANGBANGING," and they're not so much an ego-trip because you're just speaking your clout and you a tough-ass lyricists. You leave the mic smoking and ain't no one gonna touch it when you're done. Think of LL's muscles. Not in a gay way, but just out of admiration and a distinct feeling of fear and respect.
Example: "Brass Monkey," "Fight for Your Right to Party," Saturday Night"
No, it's not all Beasties, but almost all of Licensed to Ill does qualify for this genre. It's a definitive party record. But lesser-known, but just as dope songs belong here. Take, for instances, Rockmaster Scott's "The Roof is on Fire" or Just-Ice's "Cold Getting Dumb." Getting ill. Drinking until you pass out. Bustin' loose. Dancing until you dehydrate. This will get the party rockin'. At least, if you hanging out with real heads that can go into the robot at the drop of a Kangol.
Example: Public Enemy
Yeah, there's not much there yet, but Public Enemy will do for now. You pop off at cops, the government, Reagan--you're in. It's red, black and green. Malcolm X, MLK, Marcus Garvey. Coming up in the 90's, this genre's gonna be ill.
Example: "South Bronx," "Straight Outta Compton," "Oakland"
Tell me where you're from. Take me there. Tell me what you do. Tell me where you roll. Tell me how you get down. Tell me what's gonna happen to me when I get there. Represent. You ain't gotta be hawd, but you gotta be real. "No Sleep Til' Brooklyn," "The Bridge," "Riker's Island," "Christmas in Hollis." Representing at its finest.
Example: "Pickin' Boogers," "Small Time Hustlers," "Just Clownin'"
Cheap insults, moronic lyrics, gettin' stupid. It's Biz Markie picking his nose, Dismasters calling you out, Beasties prank calling in "Cooky Puss." It represents the most juvenile elements of hip hop whether parodying itself or just getting ignorant on its own. No beef, nothing illegal, not necessarily threatening...just good clean shittalking.
Example: "Dope Man," "White Lines," "Illegal Business"
Any song dealing with any element of any drug--whether condoning it or denouncing it. Any "element" can be the dealer, the user, the effects or the money you just made off of selling it. It can be coke, weed, meth, heroin. Not included in this are drugs generally accepted as being legal, specifically alcohol which all odes to alcohol will more than likely fall in the "PARTYING" genre.
Example: "Go Cut Creator Go!", "Eric B Never Scared," "Terminator X on the Edge of Panic"
In the early days (kiddies, listen up), almost every record had the dedicated DJ cut which acted as a platform for the DJ to flex. Among the songs in this genre are some of the finest showcases by some of the finest early DJ's. DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jam Master Jay, Mister Cee, Chuck Chillout, and on and on and on. Sure, the scratching styles are a little primitive and, certainly, some haven't aged too well, but show your respect.