Golden Age of Rap: BDP, Gang Starr, Run-DMC, Erik B & Rakim, more

The AADL recently added more than two dozen albums from the 'golden age' of rap to its music collection. The golden age refers to rap and hip hop music from the late '80s and early '90s, which Rolling Stone magazine describes as a period when "it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre."

Allmusic goes further to say the golden age "witnessed the best recordings from some of the biggest rappers in the genre's history....Overwhelmingly based in New York City, golden age rap is characterized by skeletal beats, samples cribbed from hard rock or soul tracks, and tough dis raps...rhymers like PE's Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Rakim, and LL Cool J basically invented the complex wordplay and lyrical kung-fu of later hip-hop."

Some highlights from the new additions:

Gang Starr -- Daily Operation (Released in 1992)
DJ Premier's crackling breakbeats and Guru's laid back delivery complement each other perfectly on Daily Operation -- whether Guru is rapping about relationships on "Ex Girl to the Next Girl" or breaking down the perpetuation of violence on "Soliloquy of Chaos", they had a way of accentuating each other's strengths like few other duos in music history.

Boogie Down Productions -- Criminal Minded (Released in 1987)
Criminal Minded is the first record from BDP, with KRS-One on the mic and DJ Scott La Rock laying down his signature sparse-yet-punchy beats. This is the KRS who can use one line to draw you into a scene, another to build the tension, and hit you right in the gut by the third.

Erik B & Rakim -- Paid in Full (Released in 1987)
It's still incredible how Rakim came up with his style back in 1987. There was no one as introspective, complex, and in the pocket at the time, and people are still trying to sound like him today. Erik B's innovative use of samples had everyone digging through dusty crates of James Brown LPs to find the next B-esque drum break to use. No doubt, this is a classic album.


Great blog post! Thanks, Caser. I'm super jazzed to check out some of these CDs that are missing from my home collection, and that my ears have been longing to hear. Especially after watching the recent documentary "Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap."