Hey, Hip-Hop Fans, Remember 1990?

snippet.jpgThe June 1990 issue of Spin is certainly a time capsule. The cover star is Lisa Stansfield, which greatly annoyed the mag’s alt-leaning readers but is fine with me–Affection is one of my favorite albums ever, though “All Around the Girl” disqualifies it for the Cover Head Hall of Fame. The reviews section (“Edited by Jim Greer,” it notes; Greer went on to play bass for Guided by Voices and then write a book about them in which Greer’s time in the band is barely mentioned) features write-ups of albums by Nick Cave, Cowboy Junkies, Blue Aeroplanes, A Tribe Called Quest, Television Personalities, the House of Love, the Sundays, Ernie Isley, the Silos, Stone by Stone with Chris D., Tony Williams, and Loop; Frank Owen’s “Singles” column takes on New York’s John Cardinal O’Connor’s condemnation of heavy metal and the flap over Chill Rob G’s and Snap!’s competing versions of “The Power”; the contents page tells us the magazine has 98 pages, which is a good thing considering there are almost no page numbers on the actual pages themselves. (That Bob Guccione Jr. and his minimalist design sense!) But the main reason I tracked down this piece of nostalgia on eBay is that after seeing the Ludacris Area Codes Map, I remembered the “Hip-Hop Map of America” by Bob Mack, who would go on to edit the Beastie Boys’ ‘zine, Grand Royal. The full map, and some choice excerpts, below.


Download the full map (1.09 MB)

ATLANTA: Has a few groups like Success and Effect, but, according to Skyywalker, the scene and sound are basically the same as Miami’s. One A&R man at a New York-based major laber [sic] laments that all of the many demos that he gets from rappers in the deep south are marred by funny sounding accents and pronunciation. Unfortunately, “it’s just not happening yet.”

SEATTLE: Where the aptly named Sir Mix-a-Lot (real name Anthony Ray) has earned a reputation for eclecticism by doing everything from a “Squaredance Rap” to a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” While Mix-a-Lot has his disciples (Kid Sensation), his style is almost pop at times and his ability to adapt isn’t always mirrored by other, more garrulous crews from Tacoma’s gang infested hilltop section(recently profiled on CBS’s “48 Hours”), which has produced High Performance, America’s Most Wanted, PD 2, Ice Cold Mode and Ready and Wilin’. Also part of the Seattle scene are the Incredicrew and–to give you an idea of how far rap has come and will go–a Korean group called, but of course, the Seoul Brothers.

PORTLAND: May be put on the map by U Krew (signed to Enigma) who perform a kind of “MC Hammer, but more funky” type of rap.

HOUSTON: Has been heralded as the #3 market behind New York and “The West Coast,” but the Texas town already thinks of itself as #2. While not a gangster groove, the Houston sound has a rough, raw, low, slow beat coupled with a good-for-humping bass. Of the roughly 60 to 70 groups, the Ghetto Boys and Willie D stand out, along with Royal Flush, Raheem, MC Candy, Romeo Poet, OG Style, and Def IV.

THE MIDWEST: Thought to be devoid of first rate rap, though A&R men at New York labels receive up to 30 demos a day “from St. Louis to every nook and cranny imaginable.” As yet unimpressed, East Coast record execs don’t foresee any hip-hop from the heartland in the near future.

NEW JERSEY: 45 King, Queen Latifah, Chill Rob G, Poor Righetous Teachers, Redhead Kingpin (real name David Guppy), Ice-T, Ice Cream Tee (born in Gainesville, grew up in Philly, studied at Rutgers), K.C. Flightt, Twin Hype (emigrated from South Carolina), King Sun (6’7″ tall, speaks French and Spanish and his godfather is Muhammad Ali), Righteous Lakim Shabazz, K-9 Possee (met at Farleigh University and include Eddie Murphy’s brother).

CLEVELAND: Where the rappers Bango (signed to Epic) and Chunky A are from.

(MAJOR thanks to Dickdogfood)

  • Anonymous

    With the rise of Soulja Boy, Hurricane Chris, Akon, and Tpain, the only thing the hip hop world has left IS their nostalgia.

    Who in 20 years is going to look back and say “Hey, remember ‘Ay Bay Bay’? Wasn’t that the JAM?”

  • NickEddy

    “THE MIDWEST: Thought to be devoid of first rate rap,…”

    Little known is that Jim Greer also went on to be in Bone Thugz n Harmony!

    He also emailed me once to ask if I was the Nick Eddy commenting here all the time and told me to stop.

    I said “Say hi to Bizzy Bone!”

    Also: March ’89 Spin with Madonna is the ish you need. XTC profile, Morrissey at Wolverhampton review, one of those “best 100 singles of all time” lists that is insane…#2 “It Takes Two”. Right on!

  • Michaelangelo Matos

    The Madonna issue is on its way, actually, and “It Takes Two” was #1 on the singles list.

  • encyclopediablack

    @HONEYBFLY: Nostalgia is all we got.

  • Dickdogfood

    The provincialism of that “funny sounding accents and pronunciation” line makes me cringe. Oh, to hear those demos today…even if they all sucked.

  • Dickdogfood

    @NickEddy: My favorite music magazine issue ever, easy.

    Now who was the weisenheimer at Spin who rendered the map in Howard Johnson colors?

  • NickEddy

    Ah! Mention the Lakers fast break thing.

  • Dan Gibson

    Not at all related to the map, but I seem to remember Bob Mack getting fired spectacularly between issues of Grand Royal, but I also was never sure where the line between reality/fiction run with that mag.

    The Miami bass issue was spectacular, however.

  • Nicolars

    @Michaelangelo Matos: That was the issue that got me hooked on Spin. I wish I still had it.

  • Michaelangelo Matos

    I remember Mack writing about getting fired in a long first-person essay for Details (speaking of magazines I wish I still had back issues of).

  • Al Shipley

    major lolz @ the inclusion of Arsenio Hall alter ego Chunky A

  • bcapirigi

    1990, the good old days boston was in rhode island and connecticut was the capital of massachusetts.

  • How do I say this … THROWDINI!

    @Al Shipley: I have that Chunky A album somewhere. I remember picking it up in the $1.99 bin at a used cd store. I got the Milli Vannili album at the same place for the same price. Say what you want about my decision to purchase those albums, but I definitely got at least $2 worth of enjoyment out of each, some of it even unironically.

  • FionaScrapple

    8th ward, muthafuckas!

  • mackro

    Damn. I really need to start diggin’ at more Tacoma record stores.

  • Anonymous

    Detroit seems to have moved about 100 miles east since 1990.

  • futurehorse

    Portland: We tried REAL hard to find someone who wasn’t white and all we could come up with a group who sounds like “MC Hammer, but more funky”.

    Sadly, I don’t think we’ve progressed much further than that in the last 18 years….

  • drjimmy11

    “Bob Guccione Jr. from Spin, what you pissed off cause your dad gets more pussy than you??”

  • Raul23

    Detroit’s move really didn’t help Michigan’s economy out like it was supposed to, either.

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