January 28, 2015

Afrika Bambaataa - Planet Rock: The Album (1986)

My electro-hop knowledge is limited; Bambaataa, World Class Wreckin Cru, JJ Fad (and Whodini and Grandmaster Flash if you consider those electro) are pretty much my limits with the genre right now, but this Afrika Bambaataa compilation is my favorite. Booming bass, soaring synths, and a ridiculous barrage of drum machine beats are only a few of Afrika Bambaataa's techniques in making people dance to his socially aware music. People credit Melle Mel as the first rapper to ever do a socially conscious rap song, and while he may have wowed a huge audience with what he was saying, Bambaataa and his Zulu Nation were right there with the Sugarhill group (Brother D. and maybe some others were before them, even). But where Melle Mel's lyrics and delivery was intense and explicit, Bambaataa relies on making his listeners dance to the positive message; it's like his beats embody the pro-black and women's power messages without the lyrics. These tracks are so influential to entirety of hip hop. Not only are the beats influencing everything from 80s George Clinton to Dr. Dre to De La Soul, but he showed that hip hop could be successful containing all kinds of messages instead of only talking about the disco. A hip hop essential.


Planet Rock: The Album