Tale Lords Devils and pinstripe Lees Live @ the Dugout 87 by De La Soul

Two brands popular with New York b-boys in the early 80s (the suede Puma, Adidas shelltoe era).

Tale Lord was a designer jeans company based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They were informally known as ‘Devil jeans’ because of their logo. It’s the same brand that Ghostface rocked in 83 and Diamond D wore with Chinese mocknecks. Not to be confused with Taylors.

Lee jeans were a staple of the old school and the pinstripe ones were especially sought after. These are the ones that Jay-Z recalls hassling his mama for in “I Made It”.

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It's the true and living with a youthful vengeance Skills by Gang Starr

Guru opens with a Five Percent reference. The Nation of Gods and Earths believe that the black man is the true and living God rather than some mystery being in the sky.

The youthful vengeance sets the tone of the verse (and more broadly, the album). By this point, Gang Starr were elders in the game but they still had the same hunger and passion that they had in their youth. This whole album was them coming back to school the next generation.

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Reagan is the Pres but I voted for Shirley Chisholm Nobody Beats the Biz by Biz Markie

Representing Brooklyn, New York, politician and educator Shirley Chisholm had an impressive career in the 60s and 70s. Before the first black President was out of short trousers she had already become:

  • the first black woman elected to Congress
  • the first black presidential candidate
  • the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination

Chisholm had retired from politics by the time of this song so Biz deserves extra props for the shout out (and the implied Reagan diss).

This line has been recycled several times. Biz himself used a very similar lyric in “Biz Is Goin' Off”. It was updated for the Clinton era by Common in “Car Horn” and Method Man in “Maaad Crew”. And LL did the same for George W. Bush in “What You Want”. Nobody’s flipped the line under Obama yet.

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Clinton is the Pres I still voted for Shirley Chisholm Maaad Crew by Method Man & Redman

Meth updates the Biz Markie lyric from “Nobody Beats the Biz”

Reagan is the Pres but I voted for Shirley Chisholm

African-American politician Shirley Chisholm was the first black presidential candidate and the first black woman in Congress.

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And every Sunday I watch Gil Noble Stop The World by Black Rock & Ron

Gil Noble was a television reporter and journalist. He hosted New York’s African-American public affairs program Like It Is every week, from its inception in the late 60s to its close in 2011 (Gil suffered a stroke and was unable to continue).

The sometimes controversial show featured interviews with major black figures such as Louis Farrakhan, Muhammad Ali, Bob Marley and Stokely Carmichael.

He died in 2012.

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Back when Black Rock and Ron was on the map A Queens Story by Nas 1

The second most popular rap trio to come out of Hollis, Queens, Black Rock & Ron never reached anything like the heights of Run DMC. But they put out some decent tracks around 88/89 such as “Stop The World” and “Getting Large”.

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Mouth shining, Eddie’s gold caps all up in the dental A Queens Story by Nas 1

Eddie Plein, the godfather of grills, is credited with kick-starting the trend for gold teeth in Hip Hop. He made the fronts that Nas wears in the video for “Thief’s Theme”.

Eddie opened his first store in Queens back in the 80s, making custom fronts for trend-setters like Just Ice and Flavor Flav. In the 90s he moved to Atlanta and brought removable grills to the South.

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His face on his Shirt Kings A Queens Story by Nas 1

Shirt Kings was a graffiti-inspired fashion company from Jamaica, Queens. Working out of the famous Colosseum Mall, they airbrushed custom designs (your face, posse name, favourite cartoon character etc) onto t-shirts and sweaters.

Queens legends LL Cool J and Jam Master Jay were early customers, and rappers from other boroughs came to Queens just to cop the gear. You can see artists like Audio Two and Just Ice rocking it on old record sleeves.

Along with Harlem’s Dapper Dan, Shirt Kings was some of the flyest shit out in late 80s New York. Check out the Shirt Kings book for the full story.

Nas and Prodigy both shout out Shirt Kings on Run DMC’s “Queens Day”.

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Marc Ecko's photo

1,339

September 6th, 2013

The airbrush was the “existential” cousin of AEROSOL paint. Shirts kings were able to take the aesthetic of actual street graffiti, and apply it to fashion. They had a massive influence on the attitude of graphic design that went on to inform the commercialization of street wear around the planet. They are gods. Bow.

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And I'm known for the... {Doug E Fresh beatbox}
Not for the... {Fat Boys beatbox}
The Show by Doug E Fresh (Ft. The Get Fresh Crew & Slick Rick)

Back when this song came out there was a rivalry between Doug E Fresh and Buffy, the human beatbox from the Fat Boys.

Doug considered himself the originator of the beatbox and also the more advanced of the two. Here he takes a swipe at Buffy and the ‘heavy breathing’ style that he was known for.

Check the video for the full story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHBSEH1JkQI

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To the best of my knowledge I guess that I'm fresh
And when I manifest I never protest
Going Way Back by Just-Ice

An example of the “scientific” rhyme style that Just Ice used on a couple of songs from his previous album. These lines actually come from “Cold Gettin' Dumb” which was his most recent hit at the time.

Having his old rhymes interrupted by KRS One (who prompts him to kick some new lyrics) is more than just a novel way to start the song. It also draws a line under his previous work and marks the beginning of a new era. No more futuristic beats and scientific rhyming. Just Ice and KRS are all about the boom bap.

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