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The Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time – A Chronological History of the Top Rap Songs, 1981 – 1983 (Volume 2)

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 30, 2010

Volume 2 of the Best Hip-Hop Songs of All-Time picks up in the Fall of 1981 with Tommy Boy Records first ever release “Jazzy Sensation” and covers the influential time period through 1983 including “The Message”, “White Lines”, Run-DMC exploding on the scene, Malcolm McLaren introducing Hip Hop to the British, and of course the Fresh 3 MCs.  I hope you too enjoy Volume 2.

Hip-Hop from Front to Back: Volume 2, Fall 1981 – 1983

  1. “Jazzy Sensation”  Afrika Bambaataa & The Jazzy Five
  2. “Genius Rap”          Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde
  3. “Planet Rock”          Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force
  4. “The Message”      Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5
  5. “Break Dance”      West Street Mob
  6. “We are Known As Emcees” (We Turn Party’s Out)”    Crash Crew
  7. “Rock It”                  Herbie Hancock
  8. “White Lines (Don’t Do It)”     Grandmaster Melle Mel
  9. “It’s Like That”     Run D.M.C.
  10. “Sucker MCs”        Run D.M.C.
  11. “Play That Beat Mr DJ    G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid
  12. “Buffalo Gal” & “Hobo Scratch”    Malcolm McLaren
  13. “Fresh”                   Fresh 3 MCs

1) Afrika Bambaata & The Jazzy Five “Jazzy Sensation” 1981

First rap single on Tom Silverman’s classic Tommy Boy Records

2) Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde   “Genius Rap” 1982

Where Andre “Dr Jeckyll” Harrell got his start (prior to hooking up intern Puff Daddy (Sean Combs)  as CEO of Uptown Records) along with Alonzo “Mr. Hyde” Brown, as one of the original rappers who rocked business attire.  They first performed under the name “Harlem World Crew”.  This hit sampled the famous Tom Tom Club track “Genius of Love”

3) Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force     “Planet Rock” 1982

All Time Classic produced by Arthur Baker and one of the first hip-hop tracks to use a drum machine.

Enjoy the video….

4) Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5      “The Message” 1982

Another All Time Classic

5)  West Street Mob    “Break Dance (Electric Boogie)” 1983

Sampled Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s song “Apache” from 1973 (highlighted on Volume 1)

6)  Crash Crew     “We are Known As Emcees” (We Turn Party’s Out)” 1983

Crash Crew members were DJ Daryll C., G. Man, La Shubee, Barry Bistro, Ek Mike C., and Reggie Reg.  Loved this track back in ’83.

Can’t find this track but here is another by Crash Crew which I liked (just not as much as “we are known as emcees”)

7) Herbie Hancock with GrandMixer DST “Rock It” 1983

Classic that influenced many for years to come.   Herbie with DST (aka DXT) with Bill Laswell on Bass.

Must see clip including Grammy Award win for Rock-It with MJ in the front row with Brooke

8)  Grandmaster Melle Mel    “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” 1983

9) Run D.M.C.     “It’s Like That” 1983

Pioneers (Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam-Master Jay” Mizell) in Hip-Hop from Hollis Queens.  I still remember the day I picked up this 12″ as side A (“It’s Like That”) and side B (“Sucker MCs”) as both tracks were instant classics.   Signed to Profile records and released this their first single in late 1983.  Everything changed as a result.  In 1984 they released their debut album Run-D.M.C. and it to this day is a Top 10 album of all time.  The seeds of hard core hip-hop were planted and cultivated for many years by Run D.M.C.

Classic performance live of “It’s Like That”

10) Run D.M.C.     “Sucker MCs” 1983

Great video of Run DMC doing Sucker MC’s and then battling Kool Moe Dee and Special K on Graffiti Rock….

11)  G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid   “Play That Beat Mr DJ 1983

Blew me away back in 1983 and it is still one of my favorites to this day.

good clip – starts 30 seconds in….

12)  Malcolm McLaren   “Hobo Scratch” 1983

McLaren may be best known for the Sex Pistols but what connected with me at the time was his “D’ya Like Scratching EP”.   Many say Malcolm was responsible for bringing Hip-Hop to the UK at the time via his “Buffalo Gals” track (it entered the UK Pop charts in December 1982 and went on to climb to a Top 10 hit) this original 12″ was a highlight for me back then; every track off this original 12″ is amazing.   Still spin this weekly.  Love that Trevor Horn co-wrote the song while next going on to work on one of my favorite artists, Art of Noise in 1984

In the great 1984 BBC documentary ‘Beat This! – A Hip Hop History’, Malcolm gave a rare TV interview on how he discovered Hip Hop and his initial reaction and thoughts.  A must watch.

Original Music Video

13) Fresh 3 MCs      “Fresh” 1983

Just sharing this track listing amazes me of the strength of hip-hop back in the early 1980s.  Fresh 3 MC’s (Mr. Bee, Supreme GQ, Jay Cool & DJ Devine) were signed to Profile Records in 1982 and put out this 12″ the following year {They were also featured on the Pumpkin 12″ called “Here Comes that Beat” as members of the Profile All-stars.}.  Loved this track and still do.

“Yo, That’s Fresh”

Honorable Mention:  Although I would classify it more as a dance track, it is still hip-hop to me…Freeze’s 1983 hit I.O.U. It was written, produced and mixed by Arthur Baker  and when featured in the movie Beat Street.

Link for Volume 1 of The Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time – A Chronological History of Rap Music 1979 – present


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The Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time – A Chronological History of the Top Rap Songs, 1979 – 1981 (Volume 1)

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 28, 2010

When my daughter Isabella was born I decided to put together a chronological history of Hip-Hop for her as she got old enough to appreciate and understand the gifts of the birth of Rap music.  What follows is not necessarily the best of hip-hop but rather songs I purchased on 12″ singles  (and later albums) that I viewed as most important for Isabella to be aware of and enjoy as she embraces the love of music and of course Hip Hop.  {There are clearly many influential and classic hip-hip tracks not included in these Volumes I put together for Isabella but these songs represent a sampling of my favorites — and to this day as we spin them every Friday night}

Here is Volume 1 that I put together for Isabella back in 2002 when she was born:

Hip-Hop from Front to Back: Volume 1, 1979 – 1981

  1. “King Tim III”              Fatback
  2. “Rappers Delight”         Sugarhill Gang
  3. “Love Rap”                    Spoonie Gee
  4. “Freedom”                   Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5
  5. “The Breaks”                Kurtis Blow
  6. “8th Wonder”               Sugarhill Gang
  7. “That’s The Joint”         Funky 4 + 1
  8. “Birthday Party”           Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5
  9. “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”     Grandmaster Flash
  10. “Let’s Dance”                 West Street Mob
  11. “Feel The Heartbeat”  The Treacherous Three

1) Fatback “King Tim III” July 1979

Considered by many (including myself) to be the first single of rap music

2) Sugarhill Gang “Rappers Delight” September 1979

The first break-out mainstream rap hit, which went on to become a Top 40 hit, which samples “Good Times” by Chic as its base to rap over.  The group came from my neighboring Englewood, New Jersey and were put together by founder of Sugar Hill Records Sylvia Robinson.

3) Spoonie Gee   “Love Rap” Fall 1979

Spoonie Gee’s first recording came about after Peter Brown (Top 10 song of all time for me is Brown’s 1977 classic “do you wanna get funky with me” visited Bobby Robinson’s record store (who was Spoonie’s uncle) and mentioned that he was looking to make a rap record; the result was Spoonie’s first record “Spoonin Rap”.  Love Rap was his second single (his first for Enjoy Records) with The Treacherous Three (see below as I loved Treacherous Three back in the day) on the B-Side with “The New Rap Language”.

4) Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 “Freedom” August 1980

South Bronx super-group formed in 1978comprised of GrandMaster Flash (the DJ) and five rappers (Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, Cowboy, Scorpio, and Rahiem) became the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (in 2007)  After “Freedom”, the group went on to record many classics including one of the best ever, “The Message”


5) Kurtis Blow         “The Breaks” November 1980

First rap artist signed to a major record label (Mercury) based on this hit song which became the first ever “Gold” rap single.  Run of Run DMC began his career billed as ‘The Son of Kurtis Blow”.  Kurtis Blow was the first artist to release a Hip-Hop album as well as the first Hip-Hop artist to appear on national television (Soul Train in the Fall of 1980).

6) Sugarhill Gang     “8th Wonder” November 1980

7) Funky 4 + 1      “That’s The joint” January 1981

Formed in 1976, the group was the first hip hop group to have a female rapper, Sha Rock.  This amazing track samples A Taste of Honey’s “Rescure Me”  They were the first rap artist ever to appear on   Their most significant hit was the nine-minute “That’s the Joint,” which was sampled by the Beastie Boys on the song “Shake Your Rump.” “That’s the Joint” was sampled from A Taste of Honey’s “Rescue Me”.  They were the first rap act to appear on national television appearing on Saturday Night Live with Deborah Harry as the host.

8) Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5   “Birthday Party” May 1981

9) Grandmaster Flash       “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” May 1981

A magnificent live studio recording of Flash scratching and mixing records from various groups using three turntables mixing and blending numerous songs including Chic’s “Good Times”, Blondie’s “Rapture”, Queens’ “Another One Bites the Dust” as well as Sugarhill Gang and The Furious 5

10) West Street Mob        “Let’s Dance (Make Your Body Move)” May 1981

One of my first 12″ singles when I was 13 (first 7″ single was Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” roughly a year earlier) which I still spin to this day.  Sampled by Public Enemy in their classic “Fight The Power”

11) The Treacherous Three  “Feel The Heartbeat” Summer 1981

Still to this day one of my all-time favorites.  (The Treacherous Three was originally DJ Easy Lee, Kool Moe Dee, LA Sunshine and Spoonie Gee (who left in the late 1970s to be replaced by Special K who appears on this classic track)

I hope you enjoyed Volume 1’s track listing…Volume 2 is on its way with Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde, Afrika Bambaata, Herbie Hancock, Run DMC, Davy DMX, Fat Boys, etc. covering hip-Hop and Rap Music from 1981 – 1983

It is definitely worth mentioning, although not an officially recognized hip-hop song, Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s song “Apache” from 1973 is considered by many to be the first official Hip-Hop Anthem because of its long percussion break in the middle of the song which went on in future years to be sampled in hundreds of hip-hops songs.

Also, although not on my list many would include Blondie’s January 1981 hit song “Rapture” on a list of old-school hip hop songs given it went to #1 in the U.S. but I always viewed it as more of a pop song then a hip-hop song.  I do love the video though with cameos by Fab Five Freddy and graffiti artist Lee Quinones and Jean-Michael Basquiat (while dancer William Barnes is the man in the white suit).

Bill Wilson

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Bill Wilson: Beautiful Beach in Montara, CA directly on Route 1

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 18, 2010

Amazing beach just a short drive south of San Francisco in Montara, CA that we enjoyed for half the day – great for kids to play at while watching the surfers and fisherman (and of course dogs in the surf along with the sea lions).  As you can see, great sand steps – about 200 – down to the beautiful beach.

Lovely Day

Great spot in Northern CA traveling with Kids

Lovely Day in Montara, CA on a beautiful beach right on Route 1

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Bill Wilson: Drake’s Thank Me Later is the Best Hip Hop Album of 2010 so far

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 15, 2010

Best Hip Hop Album of 2010 so far

I have been spinning Drake’s Thank Me Later album since it was officially released today and I have to say it is the best Hip Hop album released so far in 2010 and the best album since Jay Z’s Blueprint 3 released last September 8, 2009.

Official Track List is:

“Fireworks” (featuring Alicia Keys)
“The Resistance”
“Show Me a Good Time”
“Up All Night” (featuring Nicki Minaj)
“Fancy” (featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz)
“Shut It Down” (featuring The-Dream)
“Unforgettable” (featuring Young Jeezy)
“Light Up” (featuring Jay-Z)
“Miss Me” (featuring Lil Wayne)
“Cece’s” Interlude
“Find Your Love”
“Thank Me Now”

The album not only holds up track after track after track it is also one of the best Hip Hop albums in terms of storytelling and painting a picture through the words as well as via his delivery – from R&B to Rap and back.

Assuming you have already heard the singles “Over” and “Find Your Love” and the heavy rotation of the great collaborations with Jay Z (on Light Up (and now with Lil Wayne verse live from Riker’s on the remix version)) and Lil Wayne, The Dream (great jam), Young Jeezy…..but my favorite collaboration of the moment is the Alicia Keys track “Fireworks”

Nice reference to Rihanna relationship in the 2nd verse complete with Lucky Strike Lanes reference (

Hope you enjoy the album (great mix of R&B and Rap) as much as I like it.

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Bill Wilson: Watching Drake latest Freestyle Video in anticipation of Thank Me Later dropping tomorrow (at least officially)

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 14, 2010

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Bill Wilson: Family is enjoying every minute of Northern California trip

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 14, 2010

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, CA: We are taking advantage of the time off after AOL to spend priceless time together as a family. Traveling to Northern California has been paradise with this stop off at Point Lobos Natural Reserve 10 minutes south of Monterey - a definite recommendation for anyone in the area with kids.

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