Hip-Hop Did Not Start the Way You Think It Did

Categories: Commentary

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To hear most people tell it, the history of rap goes like this: MCs were originally rapping primarily to showcase their DJs. That is, until Sugar Hill Gang put out "Rapper's Delight" in 1979. It was the second rap record of all time and an enormous hit, proving there was a market for rapping on wax.

From there, Kool Moe Dee battled Busy Bee and changed how rappers could rap, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel put out "The Message" -- changing what rappers could rap about -- and Run-DMC released "Sucker MCs (Krush Groove 1)," which changed how rap could sound.

By Chaz Kangas

At the start of it all, of course, was DJ Kool Herc's 1973 block party in the Bronx, which effectively birthed hip-hop as we know it.

Those are the bullet points, but they don't answer the question: How did rapping get started in the first place?

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Rufus Baxter Meets a Useless Hippie

Categories: Rufus Baxter

The JAS Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Shows Are Now an "Experience," Not a Festival

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Steve Mundinger
The word "festival" carries some tricky connotations for the organizers of Jazz Aspen Snowmass, or JAS. For the past 23 years, they've used the term as a shorthand descriptor for the three-day concert series that falls on Labor Day. At first glance, that seems perfectly fitting. Every August, a faithful crowd of thousands reports to Snowmass for a diverse musical lineup. The event has hosted the legendary likes of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. It's featured jam bands and accomplished jazz statesmen, up-and-coming singer-songwriters, local bands made good and reggae superstars.

But the word has a different meaning in the era of Coachella and South By Southwest. With its single stage, small roster of artists and roots as a nonprofit organization devoted to music education, the Labor Day gathering is distinct from those epic affairs.

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Go See the Wild Joe King Carrasco Every Chance You Get

Categories: Profiles

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Courtney Harrell
Joe King Carrasco has traded his crown and cape for a cowboy hat and sparkly Lady of Guadalupe shirt, but he is still just as eccentric and entertaining as he was decades ago, when a particularly wild performance got him banned from Saturday Night Live.

Carrasco, who grew up in west Texas and fell deeply in love with Mexico and its music, is known as "the king of Tex-Mex rock and roll." He has been a charismatic bandleader for over 35 years, first with Joe King Carrasco & El Molino (which featured several future Tejano music legends), then Joe King Carrasco & the Crowns, with whom he recorded his most well-known song, "Party Weekend." He famously befriended Michael Jackson in the early '80s while they were recording in the same studio; Jackson sang back-up vocals on a Crowns song.

See also: Scenes From the Highly Civil Ted Nugent Protest

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Colorado's Ten Best Breweries for Music Fans

Categories: Best of Denver

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Brandon Marshall
Fans at this year's Breckenridge Hootenanny
It's no surprise that music and beer are meant to be together, especially in Colorado. Still, there are a handful of local breweries that like to turn it up a notch when it comes to supporting Colorado's music. We've picked out ten of the best places for music fans to find their microbrews. You'll find live music at some and others made the cut because of the way music informs everything from specific beers to the brewery's entire identity.

See also: Our extensive brewery coverage courtesy of the Beer Man

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Carpenter John Hollenbach Taught Himself How to Make Beautiful Guitars

Categories: DIY, Denver

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Oakland L. Childers
Louisville carpenter John Hollenbach started building custom guitars during the sleepless nights that followed the birth of his twin sons nine years ago.
Learning to play guitar came late in life for John Hollenbach. The Louisville carpenter wasn't a stranger to the instrument but had trouble finding the time to really focus on music. "I always had a guitar," he says. "There's always been one around me but I never really took it seriously until the kids were born."

Nine years ago Hollenbach and his wife, Katie, got a big surprise when they found out they were having twins. When they were born, Hollenbach found the inevitable disruption to his sleep schedule to be both a blessing and a curse. "I was awake in the middle of the night with nothing to do," he says. "I started reading a lot and playing guitar."

See also: Master Luthier Scott Baxendale Commissioned to Restore Elvis Presley's Guitars at Graceland

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Phillip Phillips, Cut Copy, Murs shows announced

Categories: Mile Highlights

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Aaron Thackeray
Phillip Phillips stops at the Paramount Theatre on Wednesday, October 1 as part of his North American tour that kicks off next month. Reserved tickets ($39.50-$57.50) go on sale on Friday, August 29 at 10 a.m.

Cut Copy comes to the area for a pair of shows: Wednesday October 29 at the Ogden Theatre ($30 tickets are on sale now) and Tuesday, October 28 at the Boulder Theater ($30.75 tickets are on sale now).

Murs and Mayday team for two co-headlining shows: Tuesday, September 30 at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs and Wednesday, October 1 at the Summit Music Hall. Tickets for both shows go sale on Friday, August 29 at 10 a.m.

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OutKast - Fiddler's Green - August 22, 2014

Categories: Last Night

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Robert Castro of Ultra5280
There was a moment on Friday night when, in the general vicinity of an IKEA, all six feet, three inches of Waka Flocka was jumping into a crowd of teenagers, waving a Flosstradamus flag. Flosstradamus, meanwhile was sending a cacophony of drums and drum-like electronics and rapid-fire laser noises and blown-out saxophone out onto a crowd of some 15,000 more teenagers who were rubbing against each other with their eyes rolled back in their heads.

But the night didn't belong to Flosstradamus or Waka Flocka. It didn't belong to Griz, who followed them, or Diplo, who orchestrated this whole thing. It belonged to two dudes from Atlanta who started making music long before all those kids out on the lawn at Fiddler's Green were born.

See also: The Slobbering Guide to OutKast's Festival Tour

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MC Frontalot Challenges You to Question the Authority of Bedtime

Categories: Interviews

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Deborah Lopez
MC Frontalot
When MC Frontalot (born Damien Hess) coined the term "nerdcore," which inspired his 2000 single "Nerdcore Hiphop," he wasn't part of a movement. But around then, when artists like YTCracker and MC Hawking became more visible alongside Frontalot and MC Chris, a phenomenon emerged, inspiring two 2008 documentaries: Nerdcore Rising and Nerdcore For Life. The label has come to describe a certain kind of rapping, superficially about nerdy pursuits but containing salient (if surreal) social and political commentary.

As one of the pioneers of a movement, Frontalot (due tonight, August 25th, at Larimer Lounge) hasn't rested on his laurels, and his albums have become increasingly collaborative affairs. Frontalot's new album, Question Bedtime, available tomorrow, pushes the collaborative element even further.

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The Seven Best Concerts in Denver This Week

Categories: Best Concerts

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Future Islands plays the Gothic on Wednesday.
Future Islands, touring on the strength of an album that has demonstrated to a much broader audience what the DIY crowd has known all along (namely that Future Islands are awesome), will be in town on Wednesday. There are a few other good ones, including MC Frontalot at Larimer Lounge and Crab Lab at Rhinoceropolis. The rest of our picks for the week follow.

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