(Apologies in advance for the lack of video embeds – don’t blame me, blame WordPress. If it ain’t YouTube, Quicktime or Vimeo, it doesn’t want to know)
Anyone in the UK of a certain age recognises that ‘The Word’ was a watershed TV moment. Broadcast between 1990 and 1995, it gradually amassed an unjust amount of hatred a couple of generations above the show’s target age. Granted it was a little slapdash, and the presentation was a little wonky, but if you wanted to see Onyx doing a reverse radio edit for a rendition of ‘Throw Ya Gunz’ that rejected the notion of incinerating a choir in favour of going, “…live like a wire, I’ll set ya fucking mother on fire…” or the Pharcyde live alongside a segment on Desert Eagle handguns (most boys going back to school on Monday morning giddy on the notion of shooting your enemy in the head through a car), this was the spot.
Like ‘Dance Energy’ – a show where everybody knew someone who knew someone who did the running man in the studio to Heavy D or Adventures Of Stevie V, or the later ‘Passengers’ that tried to fill the gap left by ‘The Word’, these shows were invaluable to the non London-dwelling street culture disciple.
In retrospect, writing at a point where reality TV brings in the viewers and Channel 4, the channel that broadcast the show in the first place, moving it from an earlier slot to the Friday post-pub slot gleefully shows 1 hour documentaries with names like the ‘The Half Ton Man’ at 9pm on a weekday, I can’t help but think British society devlved to such an extent that ‘The Word’ seems advanced. In fact, compared to 99% of populist television, it’s ‘The World At War’ meets Ken Burns ‘Jazz’.
The following paragraphs are strangely topical, given that Mr Rifkind and Mr Ross‘s signee, Asher Roth released a ‘proper’ LP today. Not a mixtape and not a street album, but a fully fledged long player. Not only is that a surprise, given that blog rap, for the most part, looks doomed to ZShare giveaway purgatory, but he’s white. Why is that still something of an event? Because, as has been covered to death, certain individuals gave an already rocky road an extra avalanche coating to contend with. These guys however, were very, very bad -
In the last month, the internet has thrown two compelling pieces of evidence as to why we deserved underdog status. The first is a segment from ‘The Word’ taken from the excellent video archive of the show’s highlights, where you can watch Oasis’s debut performance, L7 and Sepultura as well. I had vague memories of this excruciating clip – footage from late ’93 of none other than Chilly Tee, Nike mastermind Phil Knight’s son being interviewed about his short-lived hip-hop career and Bomb Squad produced, wood-selling LP ‘Get Off Mine’ – even Phil drops some nuggets on his son’s career choice. It’s mind-boggling viewing. Of course Travis Knight ultimately dropped the rap act to become an animator of some note for Vinton (word to the California Raisins), ultimately working on the excellent ‘Coraline’ (future classic status guaranteed) and recently being made CEO of Laika, the company behind the film. Now that’s really gangster.
Worse/better still, something I believed to be apocyphal, was proven to be true last month. The Meaning Of Dope, the superb site of archive clips you won’t see anywhere else, is a site that certainly doesn’t take the lazy Life Magazine archive/YouTube way out with its posts, unlike me. Straight out of Canada, which alongside Drake, Goodfoot, Ransom and Inquiring Mind proves that the country has overtaken the majority while we were sleeping, posting bits like fantastic Grand Puba ’360 (What Goes Around)’ ‘In Living Color’ performance footage, with Mr Maxwell rocking Polo and Revaderchis in perfect harmony – those of you looking to emulate 1992 might want to take notes.
But they dropped a shocker in the shape of ‘Married With Children’s Bud Bundy rapping. I knew David Faustino was reputed to spit a rhyme or two,and he co-directed Jeru’s ‘Me Or The Papes’ video, but ‘I Told Ya’ under his D’LIL moniker is a shocker. It makes Fred Durst sounds like Kool G Rap by comparison. I don’t use that comparison lightly. To my knowledge, Faustino is currently not the CEO of any up-and-coming companies.