It wasn’t a “Hip Hop” album — for those who don’t know, there was no such thing. The “Hip Hop” part of that name simply refers to all the records being made on a given album. These labels were typically made by artists in the early to mid ’80s, who had little money, many artists didn’t even sound like their records, and there wasn’t much radio play. To make a record, artists had to get it recorded and put it in the magazines or mail them out — which means they had much less to invest into their music. You can think of an album as the product of an artist, and the label they created to market their products. That’s just how it worked.
Is this the worst album since ’60s R&B? (That would be the groundbreaking “Benny Hill” album, released in 1971.)
No. “Benny Hill” was a great record. It didn’t start the modern era of ’60s and early ’70s R&B. But it’s a great song, and it’s been a popular one for several decades.
What was it like recording with the Beatles?
Bob Dylan is known for being a very private man. And he’s a genius of a musician, but he’s the consummate professional, and he does his job very well. So it was a pleasure working with him at such a high level, and he’s an artist that never leaves you wanting more.
Why are we seeing so many hip hop groups this year?
Right now there is the biggest wave of contemporary hip hop coming out that dates back to the early ’90s. It started with the group Blackstreet and continued to the group N.W.A. But a lot of the early hip hop, there were very few acts that had such a big impact as those two groups and still are.
What is hip hop about nowadays, and how does culture change?
The ’40s, for example, have always been the decade leading to what’s become known as urbanization. In the ’70s, the hippie generation was the most urbanized generation, the millennials have always been attracted to this urban feel. So it was a perfect storm for hip-hop. Because we saw so many young men coming out of the military, coming out of welfare, people who couldn’t afford college — it became a perfect storm.
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