decades of fun

A Tone Poem Alone…


…is love medicine. Fug, 19 years ago already? I was but a bratty lad moshing about to the hip-hop beat.

This was one of the few new sounds of it’s day – hated on by many at first, this “rap-rock” was eventually watered down and ultimately exploited for low-denomination profits. Limp Bizkit indeed.

But there were some early rap-rock releases that make classic rock album status in my opinion — Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled debut LP in ’92, 311’s “Music” in ’93, “Jammin In Vicious Environments” by Shootyz Groove in ’94, and of course Urban Dance Squad’s amazing genre starter “Mental Floss For The Globe” in ’89.

Each of the above bands had a bit of different take on this new genre, because after all what do these people have in common other than the need to mix hip-hop with rock? Urban Dance Squad was the DJ/Band hybrid, Rage was hard street funk, 311 added spacey dub reggae vibe, and Shootyz brought the death metal chords and dual emcees. Every one of them managed to rap all night long while melting your face with guitars, drums, bass, and reckless abandon.

[Sidenote – I’ve met alot of these musicians over the years – they are always the coolest, down to earth folks. Resigning your music to a hard sell between racial lines in America is usually a commercial failure. These guys are true artists, not playing the fame game by doing what is expected.]

Quick mention while I’m in the early 90’s flashback to a couple more great bands of the era that fought the mainstream (without rapping): 24/7 Spyz, Dan Reed Network, Living Colour, Follow For Now, Sinister Dane.