Arts & Life

Snapshots: Favorite Hip-Hop Memories

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Despite hip-hop's international popularity, it's a very personal music for many rap fans. We wrap up News & Notes' Hip-Hop Series with listener blog entries and rap artists' reflections about their favorite hip-hop memories.

TONY COX, host:

It's time to wrap up our hip-hop series and it's been quite a journey. All this month, we've talked about the politics, business and global influence of hip-hop culture. But as big as rap has become, it's still a very personal thing for the folks who love the music.

We asked some of you to write in to our News & Views blog site and share your fondest hip-hop memories. We got lots of responses. DJ High Tome(ph) wrote to say, I can remember seeing Fresh vest way back with the Fat Boys, Houdini, Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC. It had to be like '84 or '85.

Adie(ph) visited our blog to share a flashback of when he started dancing to rap. Adie writes: my earliest hip-hop memory is learning a pop lock and ticking routine with my older brother to "Rapper's Delight." I was all of 7 years old and he played "The Puppet Master" working me up and down the dance floor. We moonwalked with me lolling my head around and popping my knees. I think we made $20 and quarters doing that on the street corner.

And a listener named James wrote in to say one of his oldest hip-hop memories is simply spraining his ankle at a Kris Kross concert, quote, "while I was jump jumping."

(Soundbite of song, "Jump")

COX: Thanks to all of you who wrote in to our News & Views blog. We also want to thank all of the hip-hop artists we had on this month. We asked many of them to share their fondest hip-hop memories as well.

First up is hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Of course, Simmons has been in the hip-hop gang for a long time having helped his brother Joseph "Run" Simmons launched Run-DMC. One of Russel's fondest memories stretches back to the 1980s.

Mr. RUSSEL SIMMONS (Music and Fashion Mogul): Run-DMC at the Garden and I remember bringing the head of Adidas and Run says, hold your sneakers in the air, and everybody held up their shell toe Adidas and that was the beginning of the endorsement process, you know, everybody got involved in, like, in trying to use hip-hop to sell their product. But the real example, of course, was that those sneakers were selling as a result of Run-DMC's endorsement. But when everyone held their sneaker up in the air, it was crazy. It's a great image.

(Soundbite of song, "My Adidas")

COX: We also asked MC Lyte, one of the first big-time queens of hip-hop, to take her own trip down rap's memory lane.

MC LYTE (Rapper): My favorite memory of hip-hop is, oh goodness, I guess it takes place in Hammels, which is a project - projects in Rockaway, Queens, where I was up on the third floor looking out the window at this guy in his huge boombox and he was playing "Eric B. for President," and I knew that I wanted to get downstairs and hear that real close and personal like. And by the time I got downstairs, "Showstoppers" was on by Salt-N-Pepa.

COX: Monie Love looks back finally at the time she spent touring with Queen Latifah, Tupac and Digital Underground.

Ms. MONIE LOVE (Rapper): My favorite memory of hip-hop is actually learning how to do the Humpty Hump dance. And I will never forget Tupac pulling me up on stage.

(Soundbite of song "Humpty Dance")

MONIE LOVE: And I stood there for a second, frozen, looking at him and Moneybeat(ph) doing the humpty dance and it really wasn't that difficult after I looked at it for a little while and I got right into it, and we all were screaming about that afterwards.

(Soundbite of song "Humpty Dance")

COX: Chicago-born rapper Da Brat blew up in the mid-90s with help from super producer Jermaine Dupri. One of Da Brat's fondest hip-hop memories comes from working with another rap legend.

DA BRAT (Rapper): I was in New York at the Apollo Theater and I performed the song "The B-Side" with the late great Notorious B.I.G. He was a great individual, and I am just grateful to have done a song with the late great Notorious B.I.G. I loved him. So that was the great moment in time for me, also to perform at the famous Apollo Theater.

COX: DJ Drama is a legend in the hip-hop underground for his mixtape CDs. Earlier this year, the DJ had some of his own drama when he was arrested for selling his mixes without licensing permissions. That was a rough day for DJ Drama but when we spoke with him earlier, he described one of his happier days as a hip-hop fan.

DJ DRAMA (Disc Jockey): I remember getting chills when I was just silly and I -at Jay-Z concert, and Nas came out on stage when they first unified. That was pretty big because, you know, they had a very historical feud and they came together and, you know, rocked the stage together, which was an amazing sight for hip-hop to see.

(Soundbite of music)

COX: Thanks again to all of our guests and to all of you for sharing your hip-hop memory.

(Soundbite of music)

COX: That's NEWS & NOTES. Thanks for listening.

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