The Unkut Guide To The Not-So-Awesome 80’s
Thursday May 27th 2010,
Filed under: Not Your Average,Shots Fired,Steady Bootleggin',The Unkut Guide
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Forget the misty-eyed talk of hip-hop’s ‘Golden Age’ – the 80’s were responsible for more than their fair share of horrible trends in rap music. Here are just some of them….

1. Rap Ballads – Nothing would fuck-up your enjoyment of the latest LP from your favorite MC than the inclusion of a sappy love song. It’s almost as if there was a clause in record contracts back then that stated ‘No Ballad, No Deal!’. What were people thinking? That they might get some spins on the ‘Quiet Storm’ late-night radio shows?

Stetsasonic – ‘Float On’

2. Token Hip-House/New-Jack Swing Songs – Brand Nubian’s One For All managed to perfectly capture the vibe of New York hip-hop at the time, combining Zulu Nation-approved beats with 5% knowledge and cutting-edge rhyme techniques. And then ‘Try To Do Me’ comes on….1

Brand Nubian – ‘Try To Do Me’

Craig G – Turn This House Into A Home

3. Rock-Rap – If you weren’t Run-DMC, then there’s a good chance that your attempt to ‘bring the noise’ with some axe-work on your tracks was more headache-inducing than block-rocking.

Skinny Boys- ‘Cries of the City’

4. Jerri Curls…

5. Endless Answer Records – Do you know how many Roxanne records there are? Eight billion.

6. Spandex…

7. TV Show Theme Hooks – If I hear one more record from 1985 using Gilligan’s Island, I don’t know what I might do…

MC Chill – ‘Bust This Rhyme’

8. Videos with people pretending to play musical instruments…

9. The Polka-dot Fad – See Above.

10. Fake Raggamuffin – Lick-a-shot at Babylon one time selectah! Blame KRS-One.

JVC Force – ‘Love Line’

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  1. 1. Technically 1990 but still counts.[back]

24 Comments so far
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Forgot the god-awful hip-house tracks on EPMD’s records. “You’ve had too much to drink” qualifies for two categories given the guitars. Wasn’t there a video for that? Why?

Comment by haroon 05.27.10 @

Spandex rules!

And yes, you forgot hip-house. It sucked and blowed at the same time, but these fruits loved it:

Comment by End Level Boss 05.27.10 @

^ Hip-House is #2…

Comment by Robbie 05.27.10 @

Shows were rappers mimed over their tracks (Eric B pretending to scratch!).

“If I want to just listen to your record I’ll play it in my bedroom…. NOW PERFORM!”

Comment by Dan E Fresh 05.27.10 @

This has always been something i tried to impress upon the youngsters : in the 80’s hip hop had its problems too. For most of the kids pretty much anything pre-93 gets a pass, when really we should be learning from past mistakes.
Good article, shame the first two commenters didn’t seem to actually read it.

Comment by lair 05.27.10 @

Yeah, shame on me.

Comment by End Level Boss 05.27.10 @

Generally agree with the hip-house comment, though I liked the Jungle Brothers “Girl I’ll House You” (and still do).

Also not-so-awesome: padding an album with a “bonus beats” track. Save it for the 12″, not the LP!

Comment by Tim 05.27.10 @

the fatboys with that locomotion song, had everyone in nyc rocking hawaiian outfits in the effin hood…disgusting

Comment by biggist from brooklyn 05.27.10 @

“Generally agree with the hip-house comment, though I liked the Jungle Brothers “Girl I’ll House You” (and still do).”

Queen Latifah also had a pretty dope hip-house record(forget the name) besides Jungle Brothers but that’s about it

Comment by dj blendz 05.27.10 @

dj blendz the song youre referring to is “come into my house”.

Comment by ceelo 05.27.10 @

also I think skits on albums were TERRIBLE!!!!

Comment by ceelo 05.27.10 @

come in to my house

Comment by mercilesz 05.27.10 @

mosts people would say the golden age of hip hop was in the mid to early 90’s, when payola created platinum hits, but i guess that would apply to the #1 entry

Comment by gstatty 05.27.10 @

In the 80s any music out side of NYC,NJ or PHILLY was absoutley horrid!!!!
Great subject for your page,Robbie.JERI CURLS were the worst!!!! But VERY few NYC MCs had them.Kangol Kid,and Dougie Fresh are the only ones that come to mind.
I think 80s had far more good than bad trends….
All through the 90s every cornball rapper out of Cali or the south Had jeri curls and They probaby still do in compton,The skit shit was 90s and I hated skits,with the exception of DE LA SOUL’S “3 feet high and rising”.
And Spandex I think Women basically wore and that I had no problems with Women in spandex,I applaud it.
But 80’s lps with the ballads REALLY SUCKED you got me there and that poko dot shit was gay.
But their were some good Hip-House songs.
Jungle Brothers like you mentioned,Latifah’s joint was dope,KING SUN “On the club tip” STILL IS DOPE!Alot of Hip-House songs had some ill DJING too,MC LYTE’S DJ K-Rock had a dope cut,So did DJ K LA BOSS (EPMD),Twin Hype, Doug Lazy outta DC was a dope mc!
THE WORST THING ABOUT 80’S HIP-HOP WAS “MIAMI BASS” Sweet White Baby jesus that shit was the worse and I dont know why but like Crunk(maybe worse than Bass) it’s considered a backwards country off spring of Hip-Hop!!!!!

Comment by DJ DAVITO 05.27.10 @

Nah, you’re wrong on ALL counts, Rob. We love a Roxanne answer hip-house ballad with a token plastic rasta toast and a metal riff.

That Tony Tee cover is dope cubed. Pure masculine strength.

Comment by Daddy Bones 05.28.10 @

HAHA that Tony Tee-he had two dudes spotting him with 50 lbs on there

Comment by keatso 05.28.10 @

Not exactly related, but thought you’d be interested in this Milano Mixtape.

Comment by daboroboy 05.28.10 @

The classic Unkut formula right here, although Jheri Curls were obviously one of the best things about 80s rap.

Don’t front on the guitar solo on Spoonie’s The Godfather either.

Comment by MF 05.29.10 @

Ugh…I actually have Graig G’s KINGPIN album, and most of the songs on it was some fuckin’ Hip-House bullshit! I have never been more disappointed in my life!

Speaking of Hip-House, do any of you remember Kool Rock Steady’s “You Ain’t Nobody” where he shitted on KRS One for dissing the Hip-House ‘movement’? The guy was so convinced that “The Hip-House movement will overtake the Hip-Hop movement—which is TRUE!!!” (His words, by the way!) Hilarious.

Comment by Phil Watts, Jr. 05.29.10 @

@ DJ DAVITO; I disagree w/ the jeri curls, alot of NY rappers had them in the early 80’s (circa 1980-84).

I do agree w/ you on that god awful maimi bass sound, except for Le tigre and Bunny’s hit(‘cars that go boom’).lol

Comment by biggist from brooklyn 05.29.10 @

Another wack trend in ’80’s Hip-Hop:Wack DJ cuts on albums. The only one from that whole era worth even mentioning is DJ Premier in Deep Concentration. And it seems that the WACKEST DJ’s had their own songs. Hell, Eric B had 2 on Paid In Full. Imagine if they were substituted by 2 or 3 more Rakim bangers? I hated house music and I DESPISED hip-house (of course, except the aforementioned I’ll House You.) When Ultramagnetic had a house remix to Travellin’ At The Speed of Thought, I was done.

Comment by oskamadison 05.29.10 @

Didn’t Kurtis Blow rock the jheri curl too?

Comment by dj blendz 05.29.10 @

@ oskamadison, cosign on the DJ cuts. some of those were longass hell and sounded like shit. but I do miss the DJ/Emcee combo’s…

Comment by Big Gist from Brooklyn 05.30.10 @

Force mds….bloody awful then and now!

Comment by Kevlar 05.31.10 @

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