Saturday, October 13, 2007

You Can't Have That: The Art & History of Beatboxing

"Yeah but...HE AIN'T NICE LIKE JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE!" I never understood why adults wanted to slap the shit out of teenagers on principle until that moment. I was on the bus with some cookie cutter wiggas (don't like the word but can't find another one that fits...) and heard the tail end of a conversation about BEATBOXING and JT was being considered as ONE OF THE BEST? If you want to pretend to know about a culture you so recklessly steal from, at least watch some old stuff or crack a book. The knowledge is out there. The legends deserve better than this.


Modern Beatboxing (the true 5th element of Hip-Hop) really took hold in the early 80's. A young MC by the name of Doug E. Fresh appeared on a single called Pass the Budda with Spoonie G. in 1983. Fresh would claim that he invented beatboxing even before the release of that single. Fresh was known for his rapid and deep bass sound as well as his tongue clicks. Now there is dispute and even a little friendly beef from back then as Darren "Buffy" Robinson of the Fat Boys had come out around the same time and was called "The Human Beat Box". It was his style that helped the then Disco 3 win a talent contest and record contract. Robinson's sound was very bass heavy and relied more on heavy exhaling and clapping his hands closely to his lips. It was unique in that he liked to talk and say his name while doing it. In the legendary La-Di-Da-Di/The Show single, The Get Fresh Crew (Chill Will, Barry B. and Slick Rick) referred to Doug as "The Original Human Beatbox". For many years, these two were the standard that all were measured by.










The Holy Trinity: Darren "Buffy" Robinson, Biz Markie & Doug E. Fresh

As the 80's rolled on, a young DJ by the name of Biz Markie started beat boxing for Roxanne Shante and a group of friends known as the Juice Crew. Biz did the usual bass, treble and clicks as the guys before him but by adding what looked like a light chop to his throat, he was able to greatly distort the sound that came out. He would often name his crew, himself and other things while "choppin" and later mimiced beats from popular songs by artists like Nu Shooz and Whistle. This inspired a whole new legion of beatboxers to try and improve upon what the men before them did and catapulted it to the mainstream. It is being kept alive today by innovators like Rahzel, Kenny Muhammed, Click The Supah Latin and a host of others.



For a real treat, try to pick up or rent Breath Control: The History of the Human Beatbox, a documentary by Joey Garfield. It has interviews from the aforementioned trinity and other experts at their craft such as Emanon, D.O.A. and Scratch. It feels short at 73 minutes but it's crammed full of good info and anecdotes. And to those Ecko wearing walking stand up routines, Justin Timberlake is NOT Hip-Hop! Those two idiots in the McDonald's commercial are NOT Hip-Hop! Sweater vest from American Idol IS NOT HIP-HOP! Don't let some corporate a-hole from the 'burbs tell you what is. Know your history and respect the culture. As a favor, I've included a Beatbox Sampler that includes:
Stick 'Em-The FatBoys: Buff overhsadows the 'Boys with a fierce beat boxing sessions that starts off with his version of The Star Bangled Banner.

La-Di-Da-Di-The Get Fresh Crew:The seminal hit which features Doug's signature bass and clicks.

A-One-Two-Biz Markie: The Inhuman Orchestra starts off with the naming of his crew but then gets ridiculous by singing in between and doing his versions of Just Buggin' and I Can't Wait.


One.













...And It's Still All Good Presents: Da Beat Box Sampla

15 comments:

Travis said...

Awesome fuckin' post man. Really good. Even got me on a few things, not that is too hard to do. One of the better ones I've seen on the subject though

Animal Mother said...

*Bows to Travis-San*

I learn from the blog masters...

What It Is said...

hi sassy,
I once made a track with all beatboxing. I'll try to find it. I love the post and big up to all the cats that spit (literally) all over the mic.

maren said...

I just wanted to say:

1. I know what you're saying but I'm not gonna slam JT and the American Idol kid, etc. because I get a feeling that they're doing what they're doing because they WISH they could be so cool. Can't blame them for that.

2. I went to a Lupe Fiasco show that was totally balls but the saving grace was Rahzel as the opening act. Totally effing awesome. Kind of couldn't believe that he was OPENING for lupe.

Animal Mother said...

Yeah, Rahzel is definitely NO JOKE...Godfather of Noise! As far as opening for Lupe, it happens. Little music history because I'm A NERD and not just hip-hop but MUSIC: Opening act for the MONKEES in 1966...JIMI HENDRIX!

BRANDONIAN 'the talking head said...

Good post. But from my understanding your saying if there is a white person who cant beatbox he or she is stealing from the culture? But if a different race attempts to beatbox and fails then thats ok? Also, your saying that beatboxing is not for corporate media yet it sells all the time and it usually isnt white people who are making the scrilla from it....
Isnt killa kella white and not to metnion one of the best beatboxing cats out there?

Have a good one.
Peace

Animal Mother said...

The ability to read is greatly complemented by the ability to COMPREHEND. With that being said, please show me where I referred to Justin or Blake as "culture thieves"? Or did you not read the second line where I referred to the assortment of teenaged wiggas I deal with regularly? And I never said it isn't for corporate media, i merely stated DON'T LET CORPORATE AMERICA TELL YOU what beatboxing is. I happen to not like when hip hop is improperly used to sell products. A few years ago, McDonalds had a lousy campaign with a dude that sounded kinda like Clue. He was DJ named "Supa Dupe" Real or not he was corny and the commercials sucked. He was black.

If you're gonna intimate that I'm a racist, at least read everything I typed and let it marinate before you go wreckless typing.

Anyway, keep bombing or whatever "ski" and I'ma do what I do.

You have a GREAT ONE.

BRANDONIAN 'the talking head said...

Thats how the post rubbed off on me my friend...

The term wigga? As in wigger?
"a couple wiggers on the bus the other day....." As in white
person(s) acting black who look ridiculous? So whats that saying about your race? -Bill Cosby
Therefore it being an unnecessary term.

Its hard enough being a white kid who adores hip hop as much as i do without being bashed or looked down upon because of it. The term "wigga" doesnt help. Im sure you see where im coming from.

No disrespect, just my opinion.

Peace

Animal Mother said...

I'm not gonna keep the dialogue going after this but I know you saw what I wrote right after the term. I'm not gonna keep beefin because Trav and Beats are some cats I respect and as far as i know, they ain't black. If they had a problem or didn't understand it, I think either of them would have said "What's up with that?" They didn't.


There's no way in hell I'm typing disclaimers for everything I post.

BRANDONIAN 'the talking head said...

ok fair enough, im not going to lie to you, I like debates especially when it come to hip hop.

* one word for "wigga" that is more appropiate though is
toy(s).

alley al said...

i caught a recent interview with doug e fresh and he blamed kurtis blow for robbing him of the title and the invention of the word human beat box. kb produced the fat boys, so at some show he called buffy that or someshit like that.

Dart Adams said...

I still think that "Sir Jock Box" by the Skinny Boys is one of the greatest beatboxing records ever.

One.

Just-Ice said...

He's perhaps less known, but Just-Ice had some dude named DMX with him back when that used to beatbox (see: Hip Hop Gangster off his debut)

He Who Killed The Darkness said...

Actually, Supa Dupe was the Burger King deejay, not McDonalds. Gotta love racist white executives trying to pander to new demographics.

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