Rap’s Greatest Hits

Do you own albums that immediately take you back to your childhood?

I have a few records in my collection that transport me back in time to different points in my life, but this album really speaks to me and brings up memories of being a little kid. I was five years old in 1986; my brother was nine years old and he had Rap’s Greatest Hits on cassette. We listened to this album all the time. I have vivid memories of putting this tape in my little brown Fisher-Price brand cassette player and carrying it around as if it was a giant boombox and I was strutting the streets of Harlem.

But, alas, I was stuck in Murfreesboro, TN far from the gangsta streets.

Rap’s Greatest Hits is from 1986. This is a different kind of rap than what pops in your mind when you first see the word. These are old school jams; this record is an education in the beginnings of the golden era of hip-hop.

The music on this album is full of the sharp clap of electronic drums, synthesizers, and cuts and scratches from a DJ on turntables. It is easy to hear how modern R&B has some basis in the musical sounds found in this era. Vocally the songs on Rap’s Greatest Hits float between smooth singing and classic playful party-style rapping.

The fun, upbeat, and lyrically clever rap styling on this album is great. I want to call it timeless, but it isn’t. This style of rap is specifically tied to this era and will most likely never rise to prominence again, but that is ok. This is the beginning.

On top of all of this, Rap’s Greatest Hits features some iconic examples of beatboxing from Doug E. Fresh and the Fat Boys.

This is a party record. Put this album on, turn it up loud, and hear your friends exclaim ”I haven’t heard this in forever!”

When I was a kid my favorite track on this record was Pee-Wee’s Dance

However, now with an older and more sophisticated ear, my favorite track: King of Rock

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