Like many people around my age who didn’t grow up in the five boroughs of New York City, rap pretty much got on my radar when I heard “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang on the radio. Some people may argue that Fatback Band’s “King Tim III (Personality Jock) was the first rap record on wax. No matter, it’s the Sugarhill Gang that sticks out pretty clearly in my memory. And while there has been a lot of shade thrown that song’s way over the years, like it or not, it is the way many of us became aware of rap.
I always like to tell people that back then in the stone age, one rap record had to make do for months before the next one came along. That wasn’t necessarily true, but it sure seemed like it was. And in those early days, you were always going to the record store to see what was new in the racks, if you had heard something new either on the radio or if you knew a guy that would DJ at parties. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, The Sequence (the first female rappers of note), The Treacherous Three, Funky Four + 1 More, Afrika Bambaataa & The Jazzy 5, Spoonie Gee, Kurtis Blow…these were among the names that I grew up with as rap dawned on an unsuspecting public.
I don’t listen to a lot of current rap music; it just doesn’t move me as much as it used to. Through the early 2000’s, I was if not deep into rap, I was at least more aware of it. But somewhere along the way, I left it behind and it just didn’t figure into my listening plans as much as it once did. Maybe the songs just weren’t as good. Maybe the rappers themselves just didn’t sound as good. Maybe I was tired of the same old “money, drugs, sex and hoes” narrative that was being served up in song after song. There were a few people I was checking for: Nas, Jay-Z, and some others. But it really wasn’t the same. (That whole “distancing myself from rap” theme could be another post).
During one of my Spotify excursions (or maybe it was on the Discover Weekly playlist), back in 2014 right after I moved, I heard today’s Morning Groove and was instantly grabbed by this rapper’s style and the music. His name was Logic, and his “Buried Alive” is today’s Morning Groove. Please note: this song is NSFW; there are a few choice expletives in the song.
I will say that Logic is one of the few rappers that I will listen to today, because his lyrics aren’t all about that narrative that I described. It also helps that I can understand most of the lyrics too. But the production was top notch on his debut album Under Pressure, which was one of the very few rap albums I played more than once. I love Eminem, but his latest Marshall Mathers LP 2 album I think I might have gotten through once, whereas the Recovery album I played a ton. Sometimes, Eminem’s style sounds like he’s yelling at me…but I get it. It’s that style that made him who he is. Logic sounds nothing like that to me.
The rapper, whose government name is Sir Robert Bryson Hall III, is actually from Gaithersburg, Maryland. He has been on the rise since a series of mixtapes were released since 2010. According to Wikipedia (yeah, take it or leave it), he and G-Eazy are to headline a tour starting in late June, so if you want to check him out, look to see if he is coming near you.
Since this week has unofficially been “shout out fellow bloggers who have inspired the Morning Groove” week, I’m going to cite the inspiration for this post: my buddy Lisa A. from the Life Of An El Paso Woman blog. She sent me the link to this song from YouTube when she heard it and asked if I knew it. I told her that I had already heard it and that he was from Maryland. From there, she suggested that I feature music from local artists here. And she also said that if I didn’t feature this song, she would! So I guess I beat her to the punch. In addition to Lisa A., thanks go out to Chevvy (Incognito & Maysa Leak), Lennon Carlyle (Tom Tom Club) and Gwin (Black Alley/Go-Go) for their inspiration this week.
If you play it, I hope you enjoy it. And as always, thanks for reading and listening.