Pop Will Eat Itself, The Bambi Slam: Town & Country Club, London

POP INDIGESTION BAMP BAMP — a Bambi Slam! Flailing hair and wailing cellos are an irresistible combination. I defy anyone to remain still in the Bambi Slam’s presence, and few people here tonight do. This group are leagues ahead of the ‘grebo gurus’ they are supporting; their be-bop backbeat, manic trash guitars and scraping strings … Read more

Bad Brains/Bambi Slam/The Stupids: Clarendon, Hammersmith, London

SLAM DANCE LIVE THE Stupids are never quite as monstrous as on record. Tonight, hampered by the nonappearance of guitarist Marty Tuff, their frantic thrashing stirred up a strangely immobile cloud of noise that loomed in the distance rather than sweeping over to engulf us. Hard core should drown. Bambi Slam songs are Pebbles tantrums. Sixties … Read more

Afrika Bambaataa: Play It Again Bam

Leader of the Zulu Nation. Godfather of hip-hop. Overlord of funk. Black youth guru. Creator of the most influential record of the Eighties. All this and more, AFRIKA BAMBAATAA is now recording with Johnny Rotten. What’s it all about then, Afrika? Lynden Barber corners the great man in the urban wastelands of Luton. MID-WAY down … Read more

UK Fresh ’86: Fresher’s Ball

Out of the subway and into the charts, hip hop is stronger than it’s ever been, with dazzling new talents like LL Cool J and Mantronix. While Run DMC are tearing up the stadium circuit in the States, we are about to be treated to the biggest array of hip hop talent ever assembled in … Read more

Afrika Bambaataa: The Funky Cassandra

Adam Sweeting spreads Bambaataa’s word for Planet Earth HARD TIMES have come to Planet Rock, the mythic universe of funk created by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force in 1982. Since then, Bambaataa, the Mr T of funk and the Godfather of Hip-Hop, has watched with an avuncular but concerned eye as rappers have … Read more

Rap: Rock Is Dead

THE RAW POWER OF CHEAP TECH CRASHES HEAD-ON INTO INNER-CITY DEFIANCE AND DESPAIR AMERICAN POP music is in bad shape. Stagnant, strangled by commercialism, it has fattened itself at the table of mediocrity, while the public feeds on scraps left over from distant eras of musical plenty. With more and more stars warbling sweetly in … Read more

15 Years of Hip Hop: Back in the Days

Most of what you know about the old school is wrong. THE HISTORY of hip hop is much more complex than we’ve been led to believe. When searching for a single point of origin, most people speak of South Bronx block parties in the 1970s. But the music’s roots run deeper and reach further back … Read more

Arthur Baker: Baker Groove

This week Vibes hops across to the Emerald Isle to hook up with one of the founding fathers of modern dance, the fabulous ARTHUR BAKER LOOKING MORE like a  wrestler or Hell’s Angel than a legendary dance producer, 41-year-old ARTHUR BAKER is a big guy with an even bigger reputation. Just back from a yachting holiday in … Read more

Who Put The Bleep In The Boom-Chi Bleep?

PAT BLASHILL TRACES THE HISTORY OF ELECTRO, THE UNSUNG SOURCE OF RAP, TECHNO, AND TRIP-HOP POP MUSIC can be like an unexpected houseguest: It arrives out of nowhere, with no explanations and no baggage, and suddenly it’s in your face. But if you listen up, you’ll find that, like a stranger with a story, even the freshest … Read more

Six Machines That Changed The Music World

EVER SINCE Sam Phillips stuffed some wads of paper into an amplifier, inadvertently creating the fuzzed-up, overdriven electric guitar sound on Ike Turner’s 1951 rave-up ‘Rocket 88’, pop musicians and producers have turned happy accidents into great records. But the history of house and techno, in particular, is underpinned with fits of serendipity and creative … Read more

How Clubbing Changed The World

LAST MONTH I was over in Chicago chilling out in my hotel room ahead of my first gig in the city, at Smart Bar, a venue with a rich tradition, which opened back in 1982. Chicago is, of course, along with Detroit, Philadelphia and New York, revered as a key US city when it comes … Read more

Afrika Bambaataa and Mark Ronson: Uptown and Downtown Funk Masters

The pair remember two influential generations of hip-hop dance parties ahead of being honoured next month for their contributions to New York City’s club scene. ON 17 NOVEMBER, the fourth annual Global Spin Awards will be celebrating the great and the good of DJ culture in New York. Special honourees include hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, … Read more

Bucking the Bronx with the B-Boys

“B-BOYS, ARE you ready, are you ready, are you ready?” Mr Freeze of The Jazzy 5 MCs was getting ready to introduce The Rock Steady Crew. The Crew had a touch of nerves showing through their smiles, but they were ready. This was the first downtown club gig for Bronx’s kings of the art of … Read more

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five: ‘The Message’ (Sugarhill import); Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force: ‘Planet Rock’ (Tommy Boy import)

ALREADY WRITTEN about in rival publications but well worth another mention here to remind you of their greatness. ‘The Message’ is Grandmaster Flash at his most dynamic and aggressive. The party’s seemingly over and someone’s kicked the trough over good and proper. In through the back door has sneaked Corruption with his pals Poverty and … Read more

Hip Hop: The Music Centre

Ever wondered where Wham! and Malcolm McLaren got their ideas from? Or how rapping and scratching actually started? The answers lie in the Bronx — a borough of New York City — and in its club music, street art and dancing. They call this mixture “Hip Hop” and it’s been gradually working its way into British pop. Dave Rimmer … Read more

Afrika Bambaataa: Bambaataa Of The Bronx

The Grandmaster of hip hop lectures Mark Cooper on the meaning of the Funk BORN AND raised in New York’s Bronx, DJ Afrika Bambaataa is known as the ‘Master Of The Records’. The music man, whose name means ‘affectionate leader’, he is a mighty force in the Bronx. “I don’t feel like a godfather but … Read more

Electro Therapy

CHRIS ROBERTS raps to Morgan Khan about the Streetwave sensation. OVER THE LAST two years, rap music’s predominance in the hip hop lifestyle has been redirected by electro, or electro-funk. The scratching and basic rhythms are still there (and how) but the instrumentation has advanced from the primitive to the futuristic. It’s become studio-orientated music, … Read more

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Beat Street (Atlantic 780 154-1)

Film break HERE WE go, Harry Belafonte and the Furious Five… well, not quite, but this latest breakdance boom flick is produced by old Harry and the soundtrack doesn’t include a breakin’ version of ‘The Banana Boat Song’. What it does include is one or two numbers that actually do work outside the context of the film, and that’s … Read more

James Brown (and Afrika Bambaataa): Sex Machine Today

WHAT DO you think of when you think of James Brown?A stretcher case raddled with emotional pain dragging himself back from endless encores of ‘Please Please Please’? The self proclaimed, undisputed Godfather of Soul roving across his kingdom in his robes and finery giving strength and supplication to the weak and weary masses? The man … Read more