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F is for Feuds Rivalries and cutting contests are as germane to hip-hop as they are to jazz. [M. C. Hammer]. SERCH, of the white rap group 3RD BASS, alleges that M. C. HAMMER put a contract out on him with a Los Angeles gang because Serch insulted Hammer's mother and Hammer on record. Hammer denies this. [KOOL MOE DEE] alleges, at every opportunity, that ego rapper LL COOL J stole his style. Women rappers, whose careers are often launched by producers to create female "answer records" to popular male hits, have been especially prone to feuds. SALT-N-PEPA started their career with an answer record. Good female feuds: between Queens dismistress ROXANNE SHANTE and, variously, pretender THE REAL ROXANNE, Bronx crew BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS, and SPARKY-D (Shante, whose idol is salacious protorapper Millie Jackson, loves to dis); between Bed-Stuy tomgirl M. C. LYTE (sister to Milk of the Audio 2, who advocate beating up gays) and smooth talker ANTOINETTE. A recent collaboration between QUEEN LATIFAH and London rapper MONIE LOVE suggests that women rappers are entering a kinder, gentler age.
G is for Gangsta To understand the history of rap, DJ and former gang member AFRIKA BAMBAATAA once said, you have to understand the gang structure of the Bronx, from which it came. Rap has long enjoyed the affiliation of gangsters, and has shared with them a cinematic romance with gang violence. As the mainstream buys into the softer elements of hip-hop culture, the underground has pumped up the images of violence, treating crime as the purest expression of consumer capitalism. Harlem street poet SPOONIE GEE was the original gangster rapper, but of late, Los Angeles has dominated the gangster sound. ICE-T, a former New Yorker and former gang member, combines explicit language with bloody psychopathy and fierce beats. N.W.A. (Niggas With Attitude) shifted the scene to the neighborhood of Compton, making this the most mythic b-boy mecca since the South Bronx. N.W.A.'s rap " - - - tha Police" has drawn sharp criticism from the FBI and Fraternal Order of Police, who say the song - a protest against police brutality - advocates violence against police. ICE CUBE left the group over financial quarrels, only to get even more brutal on his solo album, "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted." ABOVE THE LAW, COMPTON'S MOST WANTED, and LOW PROFILE follow in N.W.A's footsteps. But the wild card in gangsta styling is the BOO-YAA T.R.I.B.E., six fearsome Samoans who have just released their own comic book. H is for Hip-House Dance music fans heard in rap a new world of possibility. Setting raps to the same fast and steady rhythms they liked for dancing, they created hip-house, a hybrid of hip-hop and house music. MILLI VANILLI touched the poppier edge of hip-house on "Girl You Know It's True," but the Belgian group TECHNOTRONIC brought the sound home whole in "Pump Up the Jam." LEILA K is the new contender from overseas. In the United States, DOUG LAZY, K-YZE, TYREE, and MR. LEE all make fast, formulaic, and often funky dance records with rap.
N is for New School RUN-D.M.C, the Queens rappers whose no-nonsense street style revitalized a sagging rap world in 1983, ushered in what is known as rap's New School: a sometimes flashy, always varied generation of performers from all over the city who pushed the music beyond its Bronx roots and began its crossover into the mainstream. N is also for Next School, the future of the music: bohemian rather than tough, often collegiate rather than street. Amityville's DE LA SOUL ushered in the Next School with a private language about daisies and buddies, and a palette that included soft beats. Friends and conspirators A TRIBE CALLED QUEST and the JUNGLE BROTHERS work different spokes off the same hub, as do 3RD BASS and, in her own way, English rapper MONIE LOVE. From the Bay Area, DIGITAL UNDERGROUND, authors of indefatigably silly "The Humpty Dance," conceive the future as a cartoon world in which the favorite street drug inspires designer sexual fantasies. This universe is, needless to say, very, very funky. O is for Owens Brooklyn Congressman MAJOR OWENS, that is, whose raps on topics such as the Savings & Loan thievery are etched for posterity in the Congressional Record.