This new exciting launch of rap-stream.com gives readers around the world the perspective of the European hip-hop head from the 90s. Highly voyeuristic somewhat like Nas when he was writing his lyrics looking out from his project window. But even farther removed almost to the extreme the view becomes in a sort of way even more vivid due to the imagination of the mind.
I am 37 years old as I write this in 2021 And I was around 12 years old when I heard my first hardcore rap album which was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. The first chronic came out on death row in 1992. I was born in 1984 so when I heard this record on a tape that my uncle had made and sent to me from the United States (he lived in California) it was 1996. Although that was four years after the records release it still sounded at least to me extremely fresh. Which is not surprising considering that The Chronic had the best production of any rap album up to that point and in my opinion still has not been surpassed by any other records in terms of rawness and just a feel of the streets of LA… South Central that is.
As was common for most music listeners that were interested in rap music in Europe during this time they would often only hear certain songs that were included on soundtracks for popular movies. One of these being “Gangster’s Paradise” by Coolio which was the lead song off the soundtrack to the Michelle Pfeiffer movie Dangerous Minds which was very popular in 1995/96. A couple of other movies that were popular during this time was Space Jam and Men In Black which both featured rap music in their soundtracks. The space jam soundtrack featured some dope rap with its “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)” (B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Method Man). And the Men In Black Soundtrack featured Nas “Escobar ’97” and the slightly gangsta “We Just Wanna Party with You” by Snoop Doggy Dogg and Jermaine Dupri.
These were the gateways into another world, namely the black world that existed in the urban areas of American cities. And it was an exciting world full of graffiti, dilapidated buildings, basketball courts, and thousands of young black men wearing very over-the-top baggy clothes. They spoke with a flair and attitude that was foreign to what was the normal speech of “regular people”. Their speech was heavily slang orientated and had many cool words that to a new beginner as I was were often totally undecipherable until I gradually learned their slang from repeated listening and it was almost like learning a new language.
This new website, Rap Stream, will examine in detail all of my experiences with rap music in the late 1990s. I was lucky enough to get into rap during this period as it was a great period for rap music. Although the rap music of the mid-90s was arguably more raw, the sound of the late 90s in my opinion was the pinnacle because it retained some of the raw feeling of the sampling and hard beats but it also had a production that was becoming more refined making it the best of both worlds.
But not only will I be looking at late 90s rap, I will definitely be looking at a lot of 1980s rap also because it’s not for no reason that they call it the golden age of hip-hop. With artists like Slick Rick, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, the kings of rap Run DMC, and so many others.
I’m sure the readers of this website will find this perspective of the European listener or the UK listener or the Scandinavian listener, to be very interesting because either you were one of these and you’re going to relate. Or you are an American, maybe you’re black or maybe you’re a white listener from America and you just want to see another perspective. This website is meant to be fascinating and just like the music…exciting…raw…and candid!