Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's like that

photo: Volume, supplied.

There's a great story in this week's issue of Volume magazine. It's writer/actor Oscar Kightley recalling Run-DMCs show at the Powerstation on 18 November 1988. I was lucky enough to be at that show, it was incredible.

The support was UK rapper Derek B with DJ Scratch as his DJ, who pulled off some mind-blowing tricks that had never been seen here.  The Volume print edition has the original ad for the gig, which was scheduled for the Logan Campbell Centre, with a lineup that included Eric B and Rakim. The show was shifted to the Powerstation, and sadly, Eric B and Rakim didn't make it. I remember Run DMC saying it was the last night of their world tour, which explains how loose they got. They were having a ton of fun onstage.

Oscar's recollections take me right back to that night, it was so exciting. And also what it was like, being a rap fan at that time, when you had commercial radio blasting "No rap, no crap" on billboards across the city. It was rebel music. Thanks, Oscar...

"At the time I was 19 and working as a junior reporter at The Auckland Star. This was back in the days when there were all these stations that used to play ads on TV that said ridiculous shit like "no rap, no crap" - bFM was the only station that was flying the flag for hip hop. That was the music we'd come up on, so it was weird to see that kind of stuff. It was kind of like a statement on what the country was like at the time.

Run-D.M.C. came here in their prime and at a time when no other hip hop artists were coming to New Zealand. I was walking down Queen St before the show and I saw Jam Master Jay walking down the street. No one else around me knew who he was, but I was like, 'F**k - that's Jam Master Jay!' He caught my eye and I tentatively threw up a peace sign in greeting, 'cause that was what we did back then, and he did it back.

I will never forget that moment.

Being an impressionable young man, it was amazing to see Jam Master Jay onstage scratching - he was my favourite. And, the thing is, Run-D.M.C didn't just stand there and rap - they had a show and they rocked it.

Back at that time, hip hop was in its infancy in New Zealand, and the culture wasn't the same after that show. We had three kings of hip hop on that stage in Mt Eden, rocking it and getting the crowd involved. Back then, no one did that so it was pretty cool.

It wasn't at all what you'd expect a hip hop gig today to be, which would be a lot of baseball caps and brown people. It was packed and sweaty, and I remember being upstairs and looking down at this sea of young New Zealanders behaving like I'd never seen young New Zealanders behave at a concert, with their hands in the air, throwing them like they just didn't care.

It really wasn't about where you were from, it was where you were at, and that night everybody felt like they were at the same place."

1 comment:

Mike Hollywood said...

Great point about the mainstream attitude towards Hip Hop/Rap circa '88. I flatted with the DJ at Wellington's Clares nightclub in 87 and I distinctly recall him being threatened with the sack if he continued playing the likes of Run DMC, Mantronix, and Kool Moe Dee. A few years later that stuff was everywhere. I think the softer approach of De La Soul helped provide a breakthrough - at least in terms of clubs.