Monday, February 11, 2008

BHM: And The Winner Is....


Rap was in its golden age during the 80's. The Sugarhill Gang became the first rappers to appear on American Bandstand. Run DMC became arguably the first rappers to gain a crossover audience, but not even their massive popularity had landed them a Grammy win. No rapper(s) had taken home the coveted music award until 1989 when Jeffrey Townes and Willard Smith took home the first rap Grammy ever. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince had won over the ears of millions with their second album "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper." The West Philadelphia duo released "Parents Just Don't Understand," as the lead single for the LP, and its humorous attacks on extreme parental guidance made it a hit with young audiences worldwide.

In 1989 the Grammy Award committee announced that it would be introducing a separate rap award category for the first time (Run DMC had previously been nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance). This was a bittersweet moment for rap because it was later announced that the presentation of the award would not be televised. In a revolutionary move, some of the big names in rap, including DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, hosted a, "Boycott-The-Grammy's Party," on MTV during the ceremony. When the boycott ended however, it was Smith and Townes who took home the Gramaphone for Best Rap Performance.

It's hard to look at Will Smith now and remember him as a rapper. His success in television and film may be more celebrated, but he, along with Jeff Townes achieved something unprecedented. Hip Hop started in the 1970's, and no matter the age, or color, everyone could appreciate the artistry in this genre of music. Yet while the world was busy adoring rap, the Grammy Award committee had not even separated it from R&B. Despite what you think about DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince as artists, you'll always have to remember them as pioneers.

-Ant

3 comments:

  1. You are right...it is hard to remember Will Smith as a pioneer of Rap...but in the end...you have to admit it! However...Will Smith, pioneer or not, URKS my nerves something serious!!! I can't take him serious no matter how many "Pursuit of Happiness" movies he makes!...but you can't discredit his contribution to the rap game just because he's not a hard core rapper...But you have to admit "get jiggy wit' it" and "just the two of us" were pretty irritating!...primarily because the mainstream loved it! People who don't even like rap will accept his music and can be found in the club doing the "Get Jiggy wit it" dance..."Na Na Na Na Na NANA"...lol

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  2. It is hard to watch Will Smith in a movie let alone a rap video! He was cool when he rapped wit jazzy jeff...but when he did the "welcome to Miami" stunt he made me nauseous!!! He is one if those people that u love to hate with me. He has become so mainstream that he is annoying....but I still like him cuz he is black and successful.

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  3. First let me say welcome...to myself. To me Will Smith is floppying in Movies too. He is so over-rated. "Wild Wild West" "ID-4" "Men In Black" and all the RAP soundracks that went with those truly sucked! The only thing still concious about him is Jada (she keeps the balance between hollywood and conciousness).

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