Macklemore and DJ Beeba rap the Adams Center
(Missoula Current) Fifty years ago in the Bronx, Clive Campbell, who would soon be known as DJ Kool Herc, modified the two turntable's that allowed the dj's in Manhattan's disco clubs to move from one record into another without breaks.
He didn't play disco music but rather, the hard edged funk music of James Brown. He also was aware that when the singing stopped and instrumental music played, the crowds would dance harder. So he developed a technique in which he would extend the instrumental breaks by having the same record on both turntables, which created a continuous dance rhythm.
Naming it 'Merry-Go-Rounding,' it became the basis of Hip Hop.
The break beats as they became known lent the name break dancing to how people would create dance moves inside a circle of people. What started out in a Bronx street party quickly launched into a nationwide musical form that, by 1979 when Sugarhill Gang released 'Rappers Delight,' it became the first Hip Hop song to chart on Billboards top 100.
Sugarhill Gang was soon followed by Blondie's 'Rapture,' which brought combined disco beat with hip hop and rap. By the early 80's, Hip Hop had spread across the county, with new styles being explored by Run-D.M.C and LL Cool J, and others using the drum machine and aggressive socio-political commentary and notable taunts and boasts rapping.
This contrasted sharply with the the earlier funk and disco influenced hip hop. “Gangsta” rap is a genre of hip hop that deals with the violence of inner city black youth, Ice-T and N.W.A.'s 'Straight Outta Compton' established the West Coast hip hop as a vital genre and made Los Angeles a major rival in hip hop to New York City.
Dealing with the violence expressed in the lyrics raised controversy to the point that even Presidents Clinton and Bush criticized the genre. Sister Souljah said in an interview with The Times, "The reason why rap is under attack is because it exposes all the contradictions of American culture ...What started out as an underground art form has become a vehicle to expose a lot of critical issues that are not usually discussed in American politics. The problem here is that the White House and wanna-bes like Bill Clinton represent a political system that never intends to deal with inner city urban chaos."
The 2000's saw a commercial direction arise with Lil Wayne, Lill Smith, Puff Daddy and Mase. While hip hop and rap have come from black youth, there have been notable white artists like Eminem and Beastie Boys. Artists such as OuKast, Kanye West and Gnarls Barkley brought the genre into the mainstream.
One of the major figures in the commercial success of hip hop has been Dr. Dre. A rapper himself, he formed Death Row Records, allowing the artists to get out of the major record labels.
This brings me to the Macklemore concert at the Adams Center. The show was opened by DJ Beeba wearing a t-shirt with “love yourself, know your worth.” This would be the message sent to the sold-out Adams Center.
In 2009, Ben Hafferty and Ryan Lewis formed the rap duo of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They realized commercial success with the single 'Thrift Shop' from the Grammy winning album 'Heist'. Describing the motivation behind 'Thrift Shop,' when in an interview with MTV, he said "Rappers talk about, oh I buy this and I buy that, and I spend this much money and I make it rain, and this type of champagne and painting the club, and this is the kind of record that's the exact opposite," he explained.
"It's the polar opposite of it. It's kind of standing for like let's save some money, let's keep some money away, let's spend as little as possible and look as fresh as possible at the same time.”
They took Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance (for Thrift Shop). In 2017 the duo went on a hiatus. Hafferty is out on tour solo as Macklemore The Ben Tour. He has put together a heavily choreographed stage presence with bass, trombone, electronics and two dancers. At one point he told the crowd that no Iphone, Tik Tok or Twitter could match the energy created by live music.
The 6,000 in attendance spanning multiple ages were a part of a night filled with high energy and great hip hop.