It’s been a long time for LL Cool J, but the other acts in Thursday’s Kings of the Mic show have been rapping all along. Here’s a recap.
Last seen locally at Myth in 2009, the real-life O’Shea Jackson must have the most bipolar career of any rapper. The Los Angeles hip-hop icon went from releasing some of gangsta-rap’s scariest and best albums of the late ’80s and ’90s (including N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” and his own “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted”) to making a reputable jump to film in “Boyz n’ the Hood” to starring in the PG family comedy “Are We There Yet?” and producing the TBS TV series of the same name. There’s nothing fluffy about his albums, though. His next, due in the fall, is titled “Everythang’s Corrupt.”
“I think it’s time for classic hip-hop to start getting treated more like classic rock,” PE frontman Chuck D told us last December, when his revolutionary New York group packed First Ave but bemoaned the lack of radio and record-label support for older rap acts. PE itself is certainly classic. Chuck, his unreal reality-TV-star hype man Flavor Flav and their band landed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month (first year eligible), thanks to the sharp sociopolitical edge they brought to rap music with such landmark songs as “Fight the Power” and “Don’t Believe the Hype.” But they’re no dinosaur act, with two mostly powerful new albums issued last year and a continued activist side that brought Chuck to an Occupy homes rally in south Minneapolis last winter.
De La Soul
PE’s fellow Long Islanders shot straight into the hip-hop annals in 1989 with their debut album, “Three Feet High and Rising,” which interjected a jazzy and more laid-back hippie-soul sonic vibe into rap music and produced the radio hit “Me, Myself & I.” The trio dropped a semi-conceptual album last year, “Plug 1 & 2 Present: First Serve,” and they remain relatively popular with younger indie-rap fans, too, as evidenced by a local appearance at the Soundset festival in 2011.