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The Age of Hip Hop

Hip hop music, or as it is also called, loop, rapping, freestyle, DJing, scratching, sampling and beatboxing, stemmed from the Bronx during the 1970s. Professionals say that even though the term rap is used synonymously with hip hop, it denotes its own practices of an entire subculture.

To differentiate the terms, rapping, also called MCing, is a vocal style in which the artist speaks lyrically, in rhyme and verse, generally to an instrumental or synthesized beat. Beats are almost always in 4/4 time signatures and can be created by looping portions of other songs, usually by a DJ. Modern beats incorporate synthesizers, drum machines, and live bands. A rapper may write, memorize or improvise their lyrics.

The father of the term hip hop is Keith Cowboy, a rapper from the 70s who performed with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Cowboy came up with the word when teasing a friend who was in the U.S. Army, mimicking the cadence of marching soldiers he sang hip/hop/hip/hop. The term was quickly picked up by others during the time and it stuck.

Hip hop grew in popularity in the 70s with the increase in block parties, especially in New York City’s Bronx. At these block parties, a DJ was used, spinning popular genres of music. Getting creative, the DJ began isolating the percussion breaks of popular songs. This style was drawn out to include funk, soul and disco, drawing out the then short percussion breaks with an audio mixer and two records.

This in turn created various turntable techniques such as beat mixing and matching, scratching, beat juggling and remixing. DJ’s and MCs would then often add call and response chants, often comprised of a basic chorus, which allowed the performer to gather his thoughts. This evolved into the MC getting more varied in their vocal and rhythmic approach, incorporating brief rhymes with a sexual or scatological theme.

By the 80s, the usage of drum machines influenced the sound of hip hop. What was called over time sampling technology became more advanced. Lyrics began to change as well with words that were more metaphorical and complex. Some rappers brought the sound to mainstream audiences with appearances in commercials. Artists like LL Cool J also became a household name due to his success.

Hip hop was primarily an American sound and was almost completely unknown outside of the United States during the early 80s. When breakdancing became popular in places like Germany, Japan, Australia and South Africa, rapping and hip hop followed.

In the late 90s, hip hop started to diversify. The 90s is primarily known though for its hip hop rap artist Eminem. Eminem brought hip hop even further into main stream culture with his successful platinum album The Slim Shady. In the year 2000, Eminem sold over ten million copies of The Marshall Mathers album. Alternative hip hop became popular as well with artists such as The Roots, Gnarls Barkley and Mos Def.

By 2005, sales of hip hop music in the United States took a dive. Many questioned whether mainstream hip hop was dying. Speculation of the decline was that people were tired of the violence, degrading and negative lyrics.
Will hip hop continue to survive or will it evolve into another form and style of music as most music already has?

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

The Talent of Leonard Cohen

Anybody who has been listening to music for the last four decades has most likely heard a Leonard Cohen song as Cohen has been one of the most influential songwriters of his time. Taking on subjects such as sex, spirituality, religion, and power to just examining life issues has earned him the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Songs Cohen is most memorable for in his early years include “Suzanne,” “Sisters of Mercy,” “So Long, Marianne” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” all of which were in his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967). However, the two albums that followed, Songs From a Room (1969), which includes his classic song, “Bird on the Wire,” and Songs of Love and Hate (1971), continued to demonstrate and exemplify his talent. Some say his background in literature, including published works of poetry, added to his success. Published collections of poetry include Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956) and Flowers for Hitler (1964). If that isn’t enough, he also published novels that include The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). His dual careers in music and literature fed each other over the decades, giving his songs a rare literary quality that made his works so popular around the world.

With the onset of the early 70s, Cohen developed a desire to move beyond a more folky sound to what he called European Blues. Cohen’s 1974 album, New Skin for the Old Ceremony, found him making bolder use of the orchestration, a contrast to the more stripped-down sound he had earlier preferred. This was followed by Death of a Ladies’ Man, his 1977 collaboration with Phil Spector, and constitutes his most extreme experiment. 

In the 80s, Leonard Cohen began to rise in popularity once again. Those that had grown up with him had reached an age oof which they wanted to re-examine the music of their past, along with a new generation of artists and fansm discovered him. They were attracted by the dignity, ambition and sheer quality of his songs. During this time, Cohen released two consecutive albums, I’m Your Man (1988) and The Future (1992). Exploring issues such as AIDS with songs like “Ain’t No Cure for Love,” “I’m Your Man” and, most explicitly, “Everybody Knows” (“Everybody knows that the Plague is coming/Everybody knows that it’s moving fast/Everybody knows that the naked man and woman – just a shining artifact of the past”) allowed Cohen to boldly talk about contemporary problems with a new perspective and insight.

Since that time, Cohen has released the albums Ten New Songs (2001) which includes the songs “Boogie Nights” and “In My Secret Life”, and Dear Heather (2004), as well as Blue Alert (2006), a collaboration on which Cohen produced and co-wrote songs with his former background singer Anjani Thomas, who provides the vocals. All three albums solidified his place in the pantheon of contemporary songwriters. 

Collectively, Cohen has published 12 books the most recent 2006′s Book of Longing, a collection of poetry, prose and drawings.  Book of Longing reached #1 on the Top 10 Hardcover Fiction Books in Canada, as compiled by Maclean’s Magazine, being the first book of poetry ever to reach the top of the bestsellers’ lists in Canada. If that isn’t enough, in 2008, “Hallelujah” became a record-setting UK chart phenomenon when a version performed by Alexandra Burke, winner of the massively popular television talent competition “X Factor,” rocketed to the #1 slot on the UK singles chart, becoming the fastest-selling single by a female artist in UK chart history.  So much interest in the song was generated that Jeff Buckley’s rendition bulleted to #2 while Cohen’s original version entered the singles chart at #34, bringing the artist his first-ever British Top 40 single.  With versions of the song holding down three Top 40 UK Singles Chart positions simultaneously, “Hallelujah” became the fastest-selling digital single in European history.  RIAA, CRIA, ARIA and IFPI statistics alone show that, prior to late 2008, more than five million copies of “Hallelujah” sold in CD format.

What’s next for Leonard Cohen? Who knows, but those who have followed him for the last four decades are surely anxious to find out.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

ACL and other Big US Music Festivals

A few weeks ago, the Austin City Limits Music Festival took place in Austin, TX drawing in crowds of more than 65,000 people a day for the three day festival. The lineup included more than 130 bands that played nonstop for three days on eight different stages. The bands range from hip hop, to folk, to rock, to other types of music genres. It is a three day festival where music lovers meet up to enjoy the sounds of up and coming stars as well as classic bands. This year at ACL, Pearl Jam was the headlining band and they brought together people of all ages to rock out and enjoy the sounds of amazing music. Free Internet radio 977music.com was lucky to have had a presence at the festival and gave live Twitter updates and accounts from the day with micro blogging. Besides ACL, there are other big music festivals in the U.S. such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella. The music festivals promote good music and showcase bands that have proven to be worthy of radio hits or have produced hits that have made them key players in the music industry.

Bonnaroo takes place every year in Manchester, TN at the 700 acre Great Stage Park. Similar to ACL, the festival has food and drink vendors, retailers, and other attractions at the festival. Bonnaroo first took place in 2002 to feature jam bands and has since expanded their horizons to include bands from all types of music genres. The festival can last between four and five days and goes nonstop. They have tents set up with bands and even comedy acts to entertain the crowd all day and night.

Lollapalooza is another annual music festival. The three day festival takes place in Chicago at Grant Park and features rock bands. What makes this festival different from others is that it acts as a platform for political and non-profit groups. Originally Lollapalooza was supposed to be a farewell tour for the band Jane’s Addiction until the lead singer Perry Farrell partnered with C3 to start a music festival. The festival almost didn’t make it and has had some ups and down. It was an annual festival from 1991 until 1997 and then didn’t start back up again until 2003. Lollapalooza was down for two years and then restarted as an annual festival in 2005 and has continued to go on strong every year. This festival features rock bands and caters more towards that music genre.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, another annual festival, takes place in California at the Empire Polo Fields located in Indio. Besides being a musical influence, the festival also showcases art. Coachella features all types of music genres but focuses on bands with alternative, hip hop, and electronic influences. What makes this festival unique is that it offers an area for attendees to camp out during the weekend. Like ACL, it has one main stage for headlining bands and a number of other stages for bands to perform on.

About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

Music of the 90s – Good or Bad?

Some have labeled the music of the 90s the worse in history. But others think it some of the best music due to its originality and variety. Which is it?

The 90s was a time of new subgenres, old bands coming back to life and an era of one-hit-wonders. It was a time when hip-hop was displacing metal as the top-selling genre. Subgenres that were being created included things such as rap-rock. And then there were bands like Creed and Nickelback who were labeled as creating what was called butt-rock, music which focused less on complexity and musical talent and more on radio-friendliness as well as emotional impact on its listeners. And yet, the 90s was the era of pop hits that you either found annoying or loved such as Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice, Macarena by Los Del Rio, and Candle In The Wind by Elton John.


The early years of the 1990s began with a surge in popularity for music genres like techno (often called dance or house music). Groups like Technotronic entered the Billboard charts with big hits like “Pump Up the Jam” and “Get Up (Before the Night is Over)”. Similarly, the hip-hop music scene achieved popularity with artists like MC Hammer and Tone Loc.

Between 1992 and 1993, with the popularity of sexual lyrics dominating the airwaves, alternative music began making mainstream radio. Bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden became common names. Their lyrics were new and words that people who felt outside of society connected to. Songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” marked the beginning of the grunge and alternative rock phase that remained popular throughout the mid-1990s. 

The hopelessness that grunge bands sang about started wearing thin by late 1995.

And people were looking for something fresh and new, something that felt happy. To fill the niche were bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, Sister Hazel, and The Bodeans. Melodies were upbeat and lyrics were positive. These bands also created a resurgence in songs that dealt with love and relationships through ballads and happier-sounding songs. “All For You” by Sister Hazel was a popular song about the things a person does for another in a relationship while, contrastingly, “Let Her Cry” by Hootie and the Blowfish dealt with a tearful breakup that deeply hurt both people. 

”Happy rock” paved the way for the “bubblegum pop” that followed in the waning years of the decade. Artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera quickly dominated the mainstream pop music scene well into the late 1990s and beyond. Surprisingly enough, the sexual lyrics and innuendos also came back in the songs of this era that was one popular in the early years of the decade, but they were more blatant than before. Videos were more sexual in nature as well.

Then there were the boy bands. The Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, and N’Sync found a resurgence that older boy bands such as the New Kids on the Block from the late 1980s may have seen. 

Was the 90s a time of great music or confusion? Such a decision may be too subjective to make. Professionals say one can’t judge pop music until another generation of kids are born – will they be drawn to it and recreate it or think it is the worse thing they ever heard. Seems like only time can tell.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

ACL Day 3: Mud and Pearl Jam

The festival grounds at Austin City Limits Music Festival were completely destroyed by the rain on day 2 and the massive amounts of traffic walking through the park. The park looked like a giant mud pit. It was hard to walk, the smell from the fertilizer was gross, and the mud got all over the fans’ clothes and shoes. I’ve never seen anything like it before. You can see videos of the mud pit on 977music’s YouTube channel. Zilker Park is being forced to close for a month to try to repair the damages and allow the grass to grow back.

Despite the mud, the music was amazing! Pearl Jam was incredible live. Krystle said that seeing Pearl Jam was one of the best experiences of her life. Everyone at the festival crowded in to watch Pearl Jam give an amazing performance. It was great how they interacted with their fans and showed support to the American troops, police officers, and firefighters. The crowed cheered loudly in support of our nation’s helping forces. Pearl Jam was the only band playing during their time slot at ACL because they were the headliner of the entire weekend. So many people were cheering, singing along, and dancing with excitement. Pearl Jam brought people together of all ages.

Other bands that played live on the Livestrong stage that day were: The Dodos, Clutch, the Toadies, and The Dead Weather. All of the bands performing at ACL were great! If they didn’t have a big fan base before this weekend, playing at ACL will grow their fan base tenfold.

ACL Day 2: Rain and Music

“Rain rain go away, come and play another day.” I guess the rain couldn’t hear Krystle singing over the loud bands playing at Austin City Limits music festival today. There was a 100% chance of rain in the forecast today, and rain it did!

The festival grounds were filled with fans wearing ponchos and carrying umbrellas. There were also some brave souls toughing out the downpour wearing only a tank top and shorts. The rain would come down so hard at times that the ponchos and umbrellas lost the battle to keep Matt and Krystle dry. A lot of festival goers remarked that they would rather be in the rain than suffer in the hot Texas heat. Despite being wet and cold, the fans cheered loud, danced enthusiastically, and rocked out to the hits from the bands playing at the festival. Flogging Molly played drunken Irish lullabies and had everyone in the crowd dancing some sort of an Irish jig. It was hard to see the stage, however, because of everyone holding their umbrellas.

The festival grounds were covered with mud. The grass was completely saturated and you made puddles with every step you took. There were some folks sliding down a grassy hill acting as if it was a slip-n-slide and rolling around in the mud. Near the west entrance of the park, there was a huge mud pit. Krystle was surprised to see that there were hardly any fans rolling around in it. Matt said that the mud and rain reminded him of Woodstock.

ACL and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Rocking the Park

The band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, totally stole the night away from Kings of Leon. Other people on Twitter agree that Kings of Leon were disappointing tonight. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs had a gorgeous set with a lot of beautiful red colored lighting. Their stage presence and energy was much better than Kings of Leon who seemed boring and yesterday. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs seemed to be filled with energy and excitement as they jumped around the stage. Many people were seen walking away from the Kings of Leon stage and towards the show being performed by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Additionally, when even the older folk sitting with their camping gear under the big oak tree on the grassy null facing the Livestrong stage decided it was time to get up and move cross park, well that about sums up the performance by Kings of Leon. They were not impressive and much overrated and had nothing to offer the crowd except for a light show that couldn’t be beat by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

I’m not saying that Kings of Leon aren’t worth seeing, however tonight they didn’t perform. Their music is better heard from an Internet radio station such as 977music.com which doesn’t have any admission or membership fees.

The weather today held out great and we didn’t have to break out our ponchos. It was warm with a slight breeze. The lines for the bathroom were long and the actual facilities were horrendous. If there is one thing that ACL needs to do, they need to take care of the bathrooms especially for the ladies. The food and drink lines weren’t too bad considering the amount of people eating. The prices on both were very reasonable. Unfortunately I ate at Hoffbrau steaks and didn’t enjoy the steak sandwich I ordered. It was literally a cheap piece of meat on a bun with no condiments provided. It was overpriced for what it was. However, overall the food at ACL seemed good. Tomorrow I will sample more of the food being sold such as pizza, skewers, gyros, wraps, smoothies, kettle corn, and tacos.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit 977music.com.