From Brooklyn block parties to the world stage, hip-hop is a true American art form. Terry may not have turntables, but she's got a microphone ... and she's used it to interview some of the biggest names in the rap game.
DJ and hip hop forefather Grandmaster Flash. At the dawn of hip hop, he recorded with the Furious Five. Their hits included "The Message" and "White Lines (Don't Do it)". Nearly 3 decades ago, Flash created the 'Quick Mix Theory,' the process of blending one music break with another. His chose the songs for the new CD, Essential Mix: Classic Edition. It includes a collection of 70s and 80s dance songs.
Ahmir Thompson, aka Questlove, is the drummer for the Grammy-winning hip-hop group The Roots. The sextet melds musical styles: rock 'n' roll, jazz fusion, funk, poetry, shout-outs to hip-hop pioneers, black nationalism and groove-laden neo-soul musings. (This interview originally aired Feb. 6, 2003.)
Writer and critic Nelson George. He's one of this country's most prominent chroniclers of black music and culture. His new book "Hip Hop America" (Viking) is a history of Hip Hop, and a memoir of his own life, growing up to the musical strains of Hip Hop.
Called the "godfather of hip-hop," Russell Simmons has been credited with bringing rap to the mainstream. In the early 1980s, he founded Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin. The label launched legendary hip-hop acts like Run-D.M.C., the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J. Simmons' hip-hop business empire quickly expanded beyond music. At various points, it has included Def Comedy Jam, which introduced comedians Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, and the Phat Farm clothing line.
Known today equally as a musician and actor, Ice Cube was born O'Shea Jackson. He first gained notoriety in the late 1980s with the revolutionary group N.W.A. He now also acts in and produces movies, including this year's comedy Are We There Yet? (This interview originally aired Jan. 10, 2005.)
Hip Hop Artists De La Soul. Formed in 1985, De La Soul released their latest record “Art Official Intelligence” (Tommy Boy) this August. Dubbed “the hippies of hip hop”, De La Soul continue to pen songs without gangsta rap influence, focusing instead on the use of samples, jazz vamps, and wordplay. Consisting of Posdnuos, Trugouy the Dove, and Pasemaster Mace, the male trio began recording at the same time as Queen Latifah, Monie Love, and A Tribe Called Quest. De La Soul hails from Long Island, New York.
Born Carlton Ridenhour, Chuck D was the founder of Public Enemy. Formed in 1987, the rap group was a pioneering act that created explosive, politically conscious rap that focused on an urban world of limited opportunity, drugs and violence.
The RZA is one of the founding members of the kung-fu-meets-hip-hop group the Wu Tang Clan. He has also written film scores, including 'Kill Bill' and 'Ghost Dog'. Now he has turned his efforts to a new book, 'The Wu Tang Manual'.
It's hard to focus right now. So recommending a book can seem, well, out-of-touch. Unless, that is, the recommendation is for a novel that's so absorbing, so fully realized that it draws you out of your own constricted situation and expands your sense of possibilities. For me, over the past 10 days or so, the novel that's performed that act of deliverance has been The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel.