Last month, DJ Eclipse blessed the dopehouse with an incredible and insightful editorial, building on the notion of the "instant artist" and how the game has become deplorably saturated. Today, E comes through with yet another dope article and reflects on "14 Years of Rap," and in traditional Eclipse style, also comes bearing gifts. And trust me, this is a great gift! Peep his words:
DJ Eclipse: On March 7th, 2012 I will be celebrating the 14th anniversary of The Halftime Show on 89.1FM WNYU. As some of you know I usually recruit around 30 MCs, a couple DJs and 3 or 4 producers. The theme of the show is to capture Hip Hop in it's purest form...live rhyming, DJ routines and beat making. It's definitely a challenge each year trying to get that many people into one room all the while making sure it's a different batch of people from whoever was up the year before. And being that next year (2013) will be my 15th anniversary and should be a monumental show I thought this year would be a good time to reflect. So this year's theme will be "14 Years Of Rap." A collection of some of the best past freestyles from guests we've had up on the show. Mainly focusing on the first few years.
While going through hundreds of tapes, dats and mini discs of audio it reminded me on how raw everyone's freestyles were during that time. You see before there was swag, there was style. Not only did Brooklyn go hard, but so did the other boroughs and even other states. Somewhere along the line swag appeared and became synonymous with an "overly confident" flow. To the point where the MC makes me think he or she is too good to be doing this. Sorry, not interested. Give me an MC that makes me believe he or she is hungry and into their craft (see LL "Rock The Bells"). Not someone making me feel like they'd rather be doing something else besides rhyming (see LL "Headsprung"). I understand artists mature and like to experiment with different styles, but what about those of us who loved how they sounded when they first came out? I still love Prodigy's music, but wouldn't choose it over an "Infamous/Hell On Earth" Prodigy. Shout out to all the new cats in the game that still respect their craft and the art form and inspire me to still be a DJ.
So while I'm still gathering classic freestyle sessions from WNYU for the 14th anniversary, here's a classic pre-swag session with Cam'ron & Mase alongside Big L and the rest of Children Of The Corn from a Stretch & Bobbito show on a night that I filled in for Stretch: