Cleared a circle in the park and shoot five In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

To “shoot the five” is slang meaning to fight

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Echo chamber
"Check one two, one two", that's my favorite
In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

Hearkening back to hip-hop’s origins in Jamaican DJ battles known as sound clashes (via Jamaica-born DJ Kool Herc), early hip-hop DJs would use echo plates on their voices, similar to the way the effect was used in Jamaican dub music. Such an effect is put on Ghost’s voice here when he checks the microphone. An early EMT echo plate is below:

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Planet Rock, Bambaataa In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

“Planet Rock” was an extremely influential 1982 single by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force. It brought the sound of electro artists such as Kraftwerk (whose song “Trans-Europe Express” was interpolated into the tune) into hip-hop

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Getting juice from the fucking light poles
Shout out to the Bronx, nigga!
In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

At the 1970’s parties that formed the basis for hip-hop, the first of which were thrown in the Bronx by DJ Kool Herc, the DJs got power by plugging into outdoor light poles. Writer Nelson George recalled one of those parties years later:

The sun hadn’t gone down yet, and kids were just hanging out, waiting for something to happen. Van pulls up, a bunch of guys come out with a table, crates of records. They unscrew the base of the light pole, take their equipment, attach it to that, get the electricity – Boom! We got a concert right here in the schoolyard and it’s this guy Kool Herc. And he’s just standing with the turntable, and the guys were studying his hands. There are people dancing, but there’s as many people standing, just watching what he’s doing. That was my first introduction to in-the-street, hip hop DJing

Source

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(With the slipmats) In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

Slipmats are designed to provide a softer surface for the vinyl to rest upon, so as not to scratch records (and to make them move more easily for backspinning and other DJ tricks)

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The belt-driven turntables, the Technic joints In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

The Technics SL-1200, first manufactured in 1972, became the standard turntable for early hip-hop DJs. The phrase “ones and twos” comes from the “1200” model name of the turntable. The 1200 MK2 is below:

(Although Technics made plenty of belt-drive tables, the 1200s are all direct-drive models)

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Niggas coming back from the Funhouse dusted
Throwing bubbles on the wall
In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

The Funhouse was a popular nightclub in Manhattan’s Chelsea in the 1980’s. One of the regular DJ’s was John “Jellybean” Benitez, who would later gain fame for remixing and/or producing Madonna, Michael Jackson, and more

People from Ghost’s neighborhood would go there and do PCP (known as “angel dust”), then come home and throw up bubble letter graffiti

A reader who used to attend some of those parties writes of those times:

[You knew] if you were going there was that you were part of something. Something that people were so passionate about that they still write about it today on the internet. You also knew you were going to be hearing “the best music” that you’d ever hear in a club; period! If angel dust was your thing, you had come to the right place, as its burning scent was always in the air. Just take a walk up-stairs to the bumper cars. If you were lucky, you walked out on your own two feet when they played that last song at around 7 or 8 am the next morning. Much props to Ghost for a shout-out to all the “Funhouse Buggers” who are still out there. OZ Rocks The House!

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Hip hop was set out in the park
We used to do it out in the dark
In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

These two lines are an interpolation from “The Bridge” by M.C. Shan. The actual song has “in the dark” and “in the park” reversed. The B-side of Shan’s single was “They Used To Do It Out In The Park”, which contained the same lines

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Banging Schoolly, "Gangster Boogie" and "PSK" In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

West Philly rapper Jesse “Schoolly D” Weaver, Jr. was a (perhaps the) pioneer of gangster rap. “Gangster Boogie” was his first 12" release in 1984. “P.S.K. What Does it Mean?” was from the following year, and remains Schoolly’s best-known song. “P.S.K.” means “Park Side Killers”, a gang that Schoolly was affiliated with at the time. “P.S.K.” would later be updated by Biggie as “B.I.G. (Interlude)”

Hear the songs here:
“Gangster Boogie”

“P.S.K. What Does it Mean?”

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BVD's In Tha Park by Ghostface Killah (Ft. Black Thought) 2

BVD is a brand of men’s underwear (it stands for “Bradley, Voorhees & Day”). The brand has been around since 1876, but was purchased by Fruit of the Loom in 1976, which brought the company to worldwide attention. Watch Larry Hagman as his iconic character J.R. Ewing from the TV show Dallas in a BVD commercial here

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