Am I the only person who remembers when rap and rock weren’t friends?
I’m all for progression. And for the record, I like rock music. I did a Hendrix tribute a few years back my damn self. Rock records make up a good chunk of the greatest break beats ever spun and samples are brief snippets of bands in action themselves; but I never saw the appeal of the whole rap/rock “unplugged” thing. The more I watch the video for Schoolly D’s “No More Rock N Roll,” the more I see how important and pivotal it is. The song and video mark the last days of the rock vs. rap era.
Here’s the EQ’d dirty version, suitable for your eclectic Bonnaroo rap electro rock alternative DJ set
Rick Rubin’s contributions and Run-DMC/Aerosmith and Public Enemy/Anthrax collaborations aside, rap and rock pretty much hated each other back then. There was no sharing of water fountains or any of that rigmarole. Rock musicians didn’t respect rap because it was young, street, and nobody played an instrument. Run-DMC themselves had beef with all of the 80s R&B bands they opened for at shows, so it gave them a chip on their shoulder that would create the edge that they were loved for (which makes it ironic that they were responsible for the first rock/rap collaboration).
In schools with any type of mix in the student body, metal heads and rap kids were jumping each other in the hallways. Bon Jovi fans despised boom-boxes, high top fades, and gold chains like EPMD fans hated spiked pink hair. “Bi-partisanship” was a fancy term for when the rap or rock ringleader said “that’s enough” when someone was getting their face shellacked for being in the wrong part of the building. In that case, fuck no we can’t collaborate.
Rap and rock have much in common; maybe that’s why the hate was so deep. Rap was influenced by all musical genres, but nobody wanted to respect it. Meanwhile, rap respected nobody else. Fuck your rock band; just to spit in your face, I’ll sample your shit too. It was a beautiful thing, and it gave both rap and rock the mean streaks that made them so rogue and appealing.
In the way of unpopular opinion, rock/rap group collaborations always seemed bogus with the exception of Ice-T’s Body Count. The barbaric bravado and senseless disrespect that painted the portrait of the late 80s culture clash gave that era an edge that’s missing from this MTV2 sanctioned indie-rock-meets-rap let’s-join-forces-for-the-sake-of-moving-units mumbo jumbo. I can vividly remember fast forwarding through rock band/MC collaborations on every rap album I ever bought; I did it on just about every rock album I bought too. The only band/rapper exception I can remember was the Brand New Heavies and Kool G Rap’s “Deathwish,” which was just as street and ominous as anything on a G Rap album. I guess the whole scenario is comparable to saying I like popcorn shrimp and I like oatmeal, but I don’t want popcorn shrimp in my oatmeal. Same goes with jazz and rap. That US3 stuff from the early ’90s sounded like it was made for department stores that wanted to be cutting edge. I guess they figured playing that dreck as background music in the JcPenney bathroom while you took an emergency shit was being risque. No thanks, I’ll just listen to Herbie Hancock records by themselves.
But then there were the one live instrument line-ups like Stetsasonic (live drummer), Miri Ben-Ali (the hip-hop violinist), and Madkap (with the trumpet), all of which were dope. The all live/no sample funk of Ant Banks is amazing (and very underrated). Shit, even “No More Rock N Roll” is nothing but a three piece live band, with Andy “Funky Drummer” Kravitz wrecking shop at the end. Nonetheless, all of these collaborations still sounded like beats with different edges, but still beats. Rappers over full rock or jazz bands in unison usually sounds like a bad amateur night at the Nuyorican Poets Café unless it’s at a Roots show (another exception). Therefore, don’t talk to me about the Judgment Night Soundtrack.
When Schoolly came out with this, he represented the last of the macho MCs that refused to make friends.
“Yo man…Yo, Yo! Fuck Cinderella, fuck Bon Jovi and muthafuck Prince man…this is RAP.”
He went at Prince, aka the over-inflated, ego-maniacal, purple, 4 foot 3 king of pointless lawsuits himself. Nobody in 2011 has the cojones to challenge a star of that caliber. Everybody’s too busy getting along and dressing to gender confusion. The “you don’t like us, we don’t like you either, fuck you, and we‘ll sample your shit too” attitude is what made rap so endearing to begin with. The “No More Rock N Roll” video oozes with entertainment value, as a one-sided rap over rock ringside drubbing leaves a band of heavy metal bandits defeated and mistreated. It was a notch on the belt for rap and a slap in the face to anti-rap MTV viewers when the video aired on Yo! MTV Raps. MTV didn’t play much rap in the early 80s, so what’s with all this peace and unity nonsense between rap and other genres of music that never respected it circa 1987?
Things will change and progress over 20 years and that’s a given, but it also seems like rap has become such a joke, that everybody who happens to do it doesn’t want to even admit what they make is indeed rap or hip-hop anymore. It’s “Rockhop,” “Rocketry” or “Cuisinart Soul smoothed out on the Electro-hop tip with a polka feel appeal to it.” Creating something that isn’t a genre mash-up is no longer cool; it has to be labeled as an eclectic hybrid of some sort. All of a sudden, everybody is a God damn rock star because people with money just don’t buy rap these days. At the rate things are “progressing,” emo-rock and rap will soon be best friends while frowning upon songs like “No More Rock N Roll”; that would be a cotton pickin’ shame.
The first verse of the song has absolutely nothing to do with Schoolly’s dislike for rock n roll – nothing at all. However, the second verse of “No More Rock N Roll” sees Schoolly get into the concept a bit…
“You long haired freaks, get back on your bus/ me and Code Money, we’re coming to rush/ Rock & Rollers, we’re taking over/ stand on stage I’ll pimp and stroll ya/ Ya faggots, get outta my face/ I punch ya out, what a disgrace/ My name Schoolly D, on the microphone…”
Schoolly was so hard, he only needed 7 bars to get the point across and he didn’t even have to end his verse on a rhyme. Giving you less – now that’s what I call Reganomics. It doesn’t get any more 80s than that. Other songs of Schoolly’s like “We Don’t Rock, We Rap” and “I Don’t Like Rock N Roll” manage to stay on topic, with a tad more attention to detail (damn, he really didn’t like rock music). Here’s the video for the latter.
Meanwhile, out west, MC Ren hilariously (albeit ignorantly) compared rappers performing alongside live bands to homosexuality on 1992’s “Kizz My Black Azz” (at 1:17):
“I’m tired of rappers with live instruments on the stage…/ people don’t go to rap shows so they can hear a band, it’s like a man trying to fuck a man.”
His philosophical rants on rap becoming too open-minded (as hilariously exaggerated as they were) were highly entertaining and reminiscent of an era I loved that’s no more. This was an era when rap was rogue, not vogue. The achievements of rappers didn’t mean shit in the worlds of pop, rock and R&B, so rappers showed leaders and stars in those genres zero respect. Zilch. Schoolly threw stones at Prince’s short ass. “No More Rock N Roll” was the politically incorrect late 80s refusal to kowtow at its finest. The Grammys fronted on rap for years, thus it was rebellious and sported a Grand Canyon sized chip on its shoulder. Those factors made it all the more fun to listen to, plus your mother didn’t like it. Now I go on Twitter and see rap fans over 30 years of age giving a fuck about who got a God damn Grammy or an MTV Award. Y’all should know better.
So, with all of my unpopular and sure to be hated opinions stated, I therefore conclude that “No More Rock N Roll” is not only one of the most outstanding music videos of all time, but one of the top 20 most important rap songs of all time. If nothing else, it’s solely because you’ll never hear anything this bold, flagrant, closed-minded, intolerant, and edgy ever again. In 2011, everybody wants to compromise with, befriend, and snuggle under the covers with political correctness. Schoolly D was a hardcore rap pioneer that truly didn’t give a shit about any of the above, and his brand of archaic machismo is unfairly frowned upon in today’s male purse driven society.
THIS IS RAP