The hip-hop performances continued for a while on Soul Train, and it featured some pretty iconic dudes.
Kurtis Blow – The Breaks
Run-DMC – Hit & Run
I think there’s a dude dressed like the Tin Man in the crowd for that one. Crazy. I wish I could find the Kurtis Blow interview on the internet someplace, but I can’t. Here’s another Run-DMC one though, which is pretty cool.
I think a lot of “conscious rap” puritans should remember what Run says about hip-hop in this interview: it’s party music, it’s funky, and everybody can dance to it. I love it when rap talks about cultural and political issues too, for sure, there’s always a place for that. But we should never forget that rap started out as fun, party music. Dance music. That’s what it is at its heart, from the beginning.
It’s also interesting to see how these dudes respond to the questions put to them vs. how the previous interviews have gone. It probably says something about the communities where those artists came from that they respond so differently. It’s not like Run-DMC are like the roughest street rappers ever by any means, but I would imagine that their upbringing was more difficult in a lot of ways than, say, Curtis Mayfield’s. There was probably more blatant racism and oppression going on in those 70s soul singers’ childhoods, which I would never describe as “easy”, but the state of poverty and desperation that the New York youth suffered in the 70s leading into the 80s probably led the average black kid from those areas to be a little more defensive and not so forthcoming with personal information and feelings than a man born 10 years earlier, you know? And the crowd is way different too, much more raucous and uncontrolled. It’s pretty interesting to see that difference, and I of course don’t know any of these dudes personally so it’s all a bunch of guesswork on my part, but I think there’s somethin to it. Maybe?