Category Archives: Know Your History

Women in Hip-Hop 6 TONIGHT!

WIHH 6We are celebrating International Women’s Day in a big way tonight.

It’s our 6th Annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular. 

An entire overnight of radio programming dedicated to hip-hop’s better half.

We have all sorts of great content lined up for you tonight.

We have an exclusive interview with the one and only, Michie Mee. She was the first rap artist out of Canada, the first one to get a record deal, and a true pioneer of the form.

We also have interviews with Eternia, Adria Kain, Keep Rocking You, DJ Mel Boogie, and Tre-L.

We have an amazing guest DJ that will be spinning female-fronted hip-hop as well, DJ T-jr. 

We have a spotlight on the second year rap music was recorded and all of the female voices you could hear that year. Throwing it back to 1980 with this special edition of Know Your History. 

And of course, we have a roundtable discussion featuring some very talented women; Jae the Lyoness, Chris Jay, and DJ T-jr. 

You won’t want to miss this!

LISTEN LIVE – Midnight through 7am EST TONIGHT on CFMU 93.3 fm in Hamilton.

  • On your radio dial in the Hamilton, Ontario area 93.3 FM
  • with the Tune In App
  • with the CFMU online stream
  • by phone, just dial 716-274-2506 and listen to the show LIVE or ON DEMAND
  • and you can find CFMU on select digital cable providers as well

and share online using the hashtags #WIHH6 , #IWD , and #IWD2016

Thank you for listening, sharing, and interacting!

Know Your History – The Huge Influence of Rakim

WIB RakimRakim is one of hip-hop’s finest talents. He revolutionized the game with his unique wordplay and multi-syllabic style.

His influence expands well beyond hip-hop as well.

You can hear his voice sampled on dozens and dozens of hip-hop classics. He inspired musicians in pop music and beyond.

I wish I had the time to transcribe this episode like I used to do on the regular. Once again, I am sorry. You’ll just have to press play to hear all the knowledge dropped in this episode.

Press play to be educated and entertained. That’s the goal of this series. And this episode hits hard!

Download KYH Episode 33 – The Huge Influence of Rakim for free or stream it with the player below.

The Rap Guide to Evolution (Know Your History: Episode 52)

Baba BrinkmanWelcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. I’m your host Chase March and we have a great show for you today.

Normally, what I do on this program is build the show around a specific theme that is important to hip-hop culture. I do a lot of research, find songs that fit the topic, and combine all of that into a thirty minute documentary.

Today’s show is going to be a little different. We are going to combine science and hip-hop. Now, I know that doesn’t sound novel. Rappers often claim to drop science on their records, which of course is just slang meaning that they are going to try to educate you with their rhyme. When rappers drop science, they aren’t always discussing scientific principles.

Today, I am going to hand the reigns over to Baba Brinkman and he is going to be dropping actual science for the rest of the program. I will be airing his TED talk entitled, The Rap Guide to Evolution.

If you are not familiar with TED talks, you are in for a treat. TED started out as a conference back in 1984 where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, hence the name TED. Since then, it has grown to become a global phenomenon.

Basically the idea is that speakers are given less than 20 minutes to deliver a presentation on a topic. The goal is simply to educate and entertain.

On their website, they say, “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

That’s very similar to my goal for this monthly documentary series.

Creative Commons licensing allows us to air this talk on the program today as long as it isn’t edited or altered. So, without further ado, here is The Rap Guide to Evolution by Baba Brinkman from TEDxSMU.

Stream the show with the player below or download the podcast for free.

Enjoy!

Know Your History Season 4

Know Your History is a documentary radio series that I do once a month for DOPEfm Radio and The Word is Bond Rap Radio Hour.

I explore a different topic related to hip-hop music and culture every month. The show is normally half an hour long but I expanded several episodes to a full hour last year.

I fell a bit behind on transcribing the episodes for the blog, but they are all available as a free download right now. You can also stream them over at The Word is Bond.

Click on the individual episodes below to read the transcript and stream or download the show.

Thanks for listening

Know Your History – Season 4

Know Your History Season 4

Episode 37The History of Radio Broadcasting
Episode 38Hip-Hop’s Better Half
Episode 39 – Women in Hip-Hop Special
Episode 40Hashtag Rap
Episode 41 – Mother’s Day Special
Episode 42Metaphor Concepts
Episode 43Storytelling Rap
Episode 44 – Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Episode 45Back to School
Episode 46Haunted Rap Radio Hour
Episode 47Rest in Peace, Dad
Episode 48 – The Writing Process

You can download the entire season in this handy zip file.

Know Your History 42 – Metaphor Concepts

Welcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. Today, I want to start out our journey in 1995. That was the year that a member of the Wu-Tang Clan dropped a seminal hip-hop classic. The album is brilliant with banger after banger but there is one track that was so unique that people still talk about it today. It has even influenced other rappers to try doing the same style.

Hi, my name is Chase March and I hope you’ll stick with me for the next half hour as we look closely at name-dropping metaphors in rap songs. To explain what that is, let’s look at the song I’ve been teasing you with for a minute now.

This is “Labels” by GZA and you need to play attention to hear how seamlessly he incorporates the names of over 40 different record labels into the narrative of the song. It’s simply brilliant and it must have taken a long time to craft. This is precision to detail and it’s what you’d expect from a rapper known as The Genius.

GZA Liquid Swords

That’s is such an amazing song. It’s from the classic hip-hop album “Liquid Swords” by the GZA and it’s simply called “Labels.”

I wonder if you were able to pick up on every reference to record labels that he mentioned in that song. There were over 40 of them. The brilliance of the song is that he didn’t just list them. He didn’t merely throw nonsense rhymes in. He methodically weaved the names of those labels into the narrative.

People still talk about that song nearly twenty years later. In fact, Combat Jack recently tweeted that only 15% of the record labels that GZA name dropped in the song are still around. I knew the record industry had seen better days but I was really surprised at that number. So was a fellow hip-hop historian by the name of UpNorthTrips.

In an article for Get on Down (http://www.getondown.com/blog/2012/08/get-on-down-investigative-reports-breaking-down-gzas-labels/), he explores every label mentioned in the song, all 41 of them. He looks at the foundation date of those labels, their major acts, and whether or not they are still in business. And he comes to some interesting conclusions.

It turns out that 22 of the labels still operate. For those of you doing the math in your head right now, I’ll save you the trouble. That’s 54 percent up and running and 46 percent defunct. That’s a pretty telling number about the music business. 46% of those labels have gone out of business. Three of those labels had already gone belly up at the time GZA wrote the song but it does go to show the changing nature of the record business in this digital age that we live in now.

Of those 22 still functioning labels, only 3 of them operate independently. The remaining 19 fall under the umbrella of only 4 companies. Universal Music Group controls nine labels. (Def Jam, Mercury, Next Plateau, Island, Interscope, Bad Boy, Geffen, A&M Records, Loud Records.) EMI controls four labels (EMIRG [EMI Record Group], Virgin, Capitol, Priority.) Sony Music Entertainment controls three labels (Epic, Columbia, RCA.) And Warner Music Group controls three labels. (Warner Brothers, Atlantic, EastWest)

I really don’t like how the media outlets that we rely on for music on record or on the radio are owned by a handful of companies. It really makes you wonder about the programming we exposed to. But that’s a topic for another show. Let’s get back to the art of the metaphor-themed song.

Soda to Soap by Masta Ace is another great example. The title speaks for itself. In the first verse, Masta Ace is able to weave several different brands of beverages into his tale of romance. In the second verse, he takes a close look at the rap game by looking at detergents. I guess that sound pretty weird but it is a really cool song.

This is Chase March and you’re listening to Know Your History on DOPEfm and The Word is Bond. And this is “Soda to Soap” by Masta Ace. I love this song.

Masta Ace - Long Hot Summer

That was Soda and Soap by Masta Ace. A song where he is able to dedicate two verses to two very different metaphor topics.

In the first verse, he tells a romance story and interweaves all sorts of different beverages into his tale. All in all, he includes 16 varieties of pop including Pepsi, Coke, Minute Made, Fanta, and Canada Dry among others.

In the second verse, he changes the topic from soda to soap, hence the title of the song. In these 16 bars he includes11 varieties of soap including Ivory, Cheer, and Dawn.

Those brands sound bright and happy but it’s time to look at something a little darker right now. In this next song, there are over 20 brands mentioned and once again two different topics.

This is “Drink Away the Pain” by Mobb Deep where they name drop close to a dozen brands of alcohol. They are joined by Q-tip who goes the fashion route for his verse. I wonder if you can catch all the brands mentioned in this song. We’ll come back and talk about it in more detail in just a moment.

Infamous Mobb Deep

“Drink Away the Pain” by Mobb Deep is an interesting metaphor dropping song.

Prodigy starts out by mentioning a girl that he used to date. He then compares his relationship with women to that of alcohol. He notes how he started drinking Tanqueray and then moved on to Olde English, a brand of Malt Liquor that was primarily marketed in poor black neighbourhoods at the time.

He mentions how he loves drinking more than life. His partner in rhyme, Havoc, describes how alcohol has his brain in a headlock. It’s cool to see that they aren’t merely celebrating drinking and partying in this song. They are showing the negative side that is not often seen. And despite the title of the song, they illustrate how ineffective it is to drink away the pain.

The guest artist takes a completely different path in the song. He tells his story by linking all sorts of clothing brands into his rhyme including Tommy Hilfiger, Karl Kani, Walker Wear, and more. I’ve never been much for name brand fashion but I can admit to owning some Levis back in the day and I currently am rocking a North Face ball cap.

One thing I do every day though, is start my morning with cereal. I have a feeling this next artist does the same thing. This is LL Cool J “Milky Cereal.”

LL Cool J - Mama Said

Welcome back to Know Your History. Today, we’ve been looking at songs that are filled with metaphors built upon a specific topic. You just heard “Milky Cereal” by LL Cool J and it includes 10 cereal brands.

I start my morning with cereal every single day and can honestly say I’ve had every single brand LL mentions in that song. I mean who doesn’t love Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and Cheerios, especiallt the Honey Nut variety.

Book of BIG

Ruste Juxx “Scriptures from the Book of Big”

This song features almost the entire catalogue of the Notorious B.I.G. Ruste Juxx works these song titles into his narrative; Gimme The Loot, Ready to Die, Suicidal Thoughts, Me and My Bitch, One More Chance, Machine Gun Funk, Warning, Big Poppa, Juicy, Get Money, and more.

Pretty Unbelievable! (see what I did there)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at metaphor concepts in rap songs for this edition of Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge.

You can download the show for free or stream it with the player below.

KYH42 Metaphor Concepts

Know Your History 47 – Rest in Peace, Dad!

I wanted to honour and pay tribute to my father in a meaningful way. He was always a positive influence in my life and supported me in all of my musical endeavours. I wouldn’t be actively involved in hip-hop if it weren’t for him. So, for this edition of the show, I decided to look at the history my father and I have in hip-hop music and culture.

The first half hour is Episode 47 of my monthly documentary series Know Your History. I kick things off with Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s T.R.O.Y (They Reminisce Over You) and bookend the show with Thug Life’s Pour Out a Little Liquor. These songs can help us all cope with our grief and mourn for a loss.

I also play one of my old songs that has my brother and I trading lyrics back and forth. Out of all of the songs I recorded, it was my dad’s favourite.

You might be surprised to know that he was also a fan of Tone Loc. He would always perform Funky Cold Medina at karaoke night. I am really going to miss going to karaoke with him. It was always a blast.

After 30 minutes of Know Your History, I spin some great tunes for the remainder of the hour.

Pete Rock & CL Smooth – T.R.O.Y.
Reach – How to Fish
Mission 5 – Nameless
Tone Loc – Funky Cold Medina
Thug Life – Pour Out a Little Liquor
Vietnam / Wordsmith / Street Child – Move the Crowd
Dex Amora – Who I Be
MKV & Concept – The Path
Mic Boyd – Brighter Side
Tassnata / Elzhi / Adam Bomb – Heavyweights
Deltron – The Return
Dynasty – Street Music

Press play, enjoy the show, and pay tribute to my dad. I appreciate being able to share some of these memories and all of these songs with all of you. Thanks for listening!

The Word is Bond Haunted Rap Radio Hour

There are some great Halloween-themed rap songs. The first one I ever heard was “The Haunted House of Rock” by Whodini.

I was so captivated by this record for a number of reasons.

Number 1, the artwork is absolutely gorgeous.

Number 2, it’s a bright fluorescent green.

Another unusual thing about it is that it’s a 45 rpm. Seven inch singles were common for running at this speed but most 12 inch singles ran at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute.

I want to play that song for you right now to kick off this edition of Know Your History focusing on some iconic Halloween-themed hip-hop. After that, I spin some more Halloween-themed rap.

Press play and enjoy The Word is Bond Haunted Rap Radio Hour or download it for free.

Whodini – The Haunted House of Rock
DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – Nightmare on My Street
Geto Boys – Minds Playing Tricks
Gravediggaz
– Nowhere to run, Nowhere to hide
The Arsonists – Halloween
Mykill Myers – Straight Dirt
Bad Meets Evil – Scary Movie
Jay-Z– D’Evils
Dana Dane – Nightmares
Mission 5 – Celery Stalks
Ice Cube – Dr. Frankenstein
Bone Thugs and Harmony – Hell Sent
Bobby Boris Picket – Monster Mash

I hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween!

WIB Haunted Rap Radio Hour by Thewordisbond.Com on Mixcloud

Hip-Hop History Month is Every Month

Welcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge.

It’s hip-hop history month every month here on the program as we dive deep into topics that explore this rich, cultural history in detail.

I’m your host, Chase March, and this is Episode 35 of the program. Thanks for tuning in.

Remember you can catch Know Your History episodes anytime by clicking on the Hip-Hop History tab. You can subscribe to the weekly podcast at thewordisbond.com and you can listen to the radio program every week on 93.3 CFMU on your radio dial or worldwide at dopefm.ca.

Let’s celebrate all that is hip-hop for the next half hour.

There is a really strong hip-hop scene in Seattle. In fact, two years ago, the mayor issued a proclamation declaring November Hip-Hop History Month. It’s something to see that this month is actually recognized by a municipality. It isn’t just the local Zulu Nation chapter throwing a special event. It is a city-wide affair. That’s really cool.

I don’t know how they’ve decided that November 12, 1974 is the official birthday of hip-hop. I think the culture actually came together before this date. It just didn’t have a name yet.

The term was coined by Keith Cowboy, who apparently had been teasing a friend who joined the army by mimicking the marching cadence of soldiers. Instead of “left, right, left, right” he said, “Hip, hop, hip, hop” and even worked it into rhyme routine. People liked the sound of it and it caught on. You can hear it in quite a few songs.

Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang was the first rap song that many people heard, but it was by no means the first rap song. Rap had been going strong for years prior to this song ever being released. In fact, the rhymes on that record weren’t even new. They were recycled from a lot of artists that you probably aren’t even familiar with. I hope that changes.

I hope people get schooled on hip-hop history. I think it’s important. I like the fact that we have a hip-hop history month but I’ve been celebrating hip-hop history each and every month for the past three years. That’s what this program is all about. This is Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge and this is episode 35 of the program.

Today, we are celebrating the birth of hip-hop. We are now four decades into this unique and rich culture based around the music. We know it as hip-hop and this term isn’t disputed in the least. Now.

Back in the early days of this culture, it didn’t even have a name. It existed well before those tracks you just heard. In fact, hip-hop didn’t even start off as a recorded music artform. If you wanted to hear rap music, you needed to experience it live.

The first hip-hop live event is often cited as the party that legendary DJ Kool Herc performed at in August of 1973. It was held at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the West Bronx. It was his sister’s birthday party held in the community room of the building. She asked him to DJ for it as well. It was a modest event but successful enough. Soon, DJ Kool Herc was throwing regular block parties and the culture of hip-hop was starting to solidify.

In these early days of hip-hop, it was all about the deejay. The deejay would play records just to get people to dance. A few deejays realized that people really liked dancing to the breakdown portion of the records. This is the part of the song where many of the instruments drop out, sort of like a drum solo.

DJ Kool Herc used a style known as toasting. He would say short pithy rhymes to hype up the crowd. This was the earliest form of rapping in hip-hop culture. Soon, deejays employed MCs or Masters of Ceremonies to do all of the vocal work. They still weren’t called rappers. They were called MCs. This way deejays could focus on changing records quickly, scratching, and some of the more technical aspects of rocking a nice music set.

Afrika Bambataa heard the term “hip-hop” in used it to describe the entire subculture that was just starting to develop.

Some sources say that this new term “hip-hop” was used in a negative light to discredit the emerging new sound. If that’s true, it’s a pretty cool story about how we’ve made it our own over the past 38 years.

Hip-hop is a huge cultural force worldwide. But even four decades into its existence it is still misunderstood. Hip-Hop is not rap music. It is not deejyaing. It is not breakdancing. It is not graffiti art. And it’s not beatboxing. It does drive all of these things, however. It is a way of life. It is an expression. But most of all, it is a culture.

Grand Master Flash formed a group with 5 MCs and dropped their first single in 1979. He named the group Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. The five members were Keith Cowboy, Melle Mel, Kid Creole, Rahiem, and Scorpio.

I like how they seamlessly blend vocals in their first outing. “Taking 5 MCs and make ‘em sound like one.” If you’re a fan of hip-hop, you’re probably familiar with that phrase and many others that you just heard. I actually cut that record short too. The original version of “Superappin’” is twelve minutes long.

It was a different time back then. We didn’t have commercial radio dictating what an acceptable song length was. Early hip-hop records would fill the entire record with one song. It was not uncommon to see songs that were anywhere from 7 minutes all the way up to 15 minutes. Rapper’s Delight had a couple different versions, one of which clocks in at 14 minutes and 37 seconds.

Press play to hear the entire show, featuring some great old school tracks, interview clips from Krs-One, and lots of great stories and history. Or you can download the podcast for free to listen to it at your leisure. Thanks for tuning in!

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

Know Your History – Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Welcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. I’m your host Chase March and we’ve got a great show for you tonight. I’m just going to jump into things. It might not sound like a show on the history of rap music and hip-hop culture right at the start, but bear with me and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Married With Children was a very successful television series that ran for 11 seasons on Fox. The sitcom premiered in 1987 and was unlike anything else on television. It’s notable for a few reasons.

Number one, it was the first prime time series to run on the network that seemed like it was pretty much doomed to fail. At the time, there were three big networks and it was really iffy as to whether a new station could garner enough viewers to be sustainable.

Number two, the show deal with some pretty controversial topics. It was low-brow comedy and really stretched the limits of what cable television was able to do. Nowadays with speciality channels such as HBO, Showtime, FX, Space, and other such channels, it’s hard to remember a time where there were only a handful of options or channels available.

Number three, everyone knows this show. Everyone. Of all the sitcoms that have aired over the years, many of them are easily forgettable and fall of out popular culture references. Married with Children has been referenced in several rap songs.

These three reasons are enough to take another look at this groundbreaking sitcom but there is a hip-hop angle to it as well. Just bear with me a moment longer.

In Season 6 of the show, Al Bundy, the father character of the show has a dream that his son becomes a gangsta rapper. When he tells his son about the dream, Bud Bundy gets inspired and actually adopts the persona of Grandmaster B. He tries to get his family to call him by this new name. But it does invite mochery quite easily. His family constantly tease him about his rap persona on the show. They call him Ghostbuster B, Mixmaster, Grandma B, Bed Wetter B, Burgermeister, and Dustbuster among others.

David Faustino did a great job on the television show. He was perfect in the role. His character was the only one in the family who aspired and worked towards improving their situation in a any real way. He was able to be the butt of the joke and move on. He was a likeable character even though he was constantly teased and told he wouldn’t amount to anything.

It must be tough to be on a successful television series. People see you week in and week out and make all sorts of assumptions based on what they see on the screen. So, maybe it’s not so surprising when Faustino tried stepping out of the sitcom set and on to the rap stage that was teased about it in real life as well.

He adopted the rapper name of D’Lil and put out a song entitled “I Told Ya” in 1992. I remember being blown away by the video when I first saw it. I thought, “Woah, Bud Bundy is a rapper” but I gave it a chance.

In an interview Faustino did with Hip-Hop DX , he said that the writers of the series knew that he was really into hip-hop music and culture so they decided to write that into the show.

He said, “No one else was really feeling Hip Hop, yet. It wasn’t mainstream at all. So they all felt I was [weird]. ‘Cause I would bring Hip Hop cats around – people would come visit, from just different deejays and whoever – and they were like, ‘What’s this kid doing?’ They didn’t really understand it that much but they found a way to kind of poke fun at it and [Grandmaster B] was their attempt.”

David Faustino also explained in that article that he chose the rap posters that adorned the set in his fictional bedroom. Nas even commented that seeing his poster on Married With Children was really inspiring and that it was a sign that he had made it.

I can definitely understand that. Hip-Hop wasn’t in the mainstream as much as it is now. When the show started, hip-hop was seen as a new thing and as a fad. That is probably why it was poked fun at some much by the writers, but it was easy to see that Bud Bundy and the actor who played him were true fans.

D’Lil wasn’t well received by the hip-hop community though. I remember seeing the video on Much Music and, at the time, I thought it was decent. I actually went to the record store to pick it up but they had never heard of the record. I looked for it for a while and then gave up. The video fell out of rotation and I never heard anything else from David Faustino as a rapper. He is still involved in Hollywood and currently voices characters in animation.

D’Lil was the first actor turned rapper that I knew about. Maybe, he was a little before his time because I can think of one actor turned rapper who has been quite successful. Some people been call him the greatest rapper out right now.

That’s right, I am talking about Drake. He started his career as an actor in the popular television series Degrassi. Back then, he was simply Aubrey Graham and no one would have guessed that he would become a superstar rapper.

Just like David Faustino, Drake started his rap career while still in the middle of his stint on television. He began the series in 2001 and played the character of Jimmy Brookes for 139 episodes over the next eight years.

His character started pursuing a music career in the series and that translated to real life. In 2006, Aubrey Graham adopted the name of Drake and released a mixtape independently. He followed that up with several more independent releases and people started to take notice. He even managed to get play on BET, a feat that very few Canadian artists have ever done, and even more impressive is that he did so without any support from a record label.

Lil Wayne took him under his wing and the rest is history. He has won several music awards, struck critical acclaim, and sold a huge amount of records. Pretty impressive for someone who got his start on Canadian television.

Drake is a rarity though. There are very few actors who have managed to be sucessful in the rap world. It seems to work the other way around a lot easier. There are too many rappers turned actors to even mention, and some of them are very, very good. Ice Cube, Ice T, and the late great Tupac Shakur come to mind.

But this show is about actors-turned rappers. So, let’s turn our attention back to the small screen. Canada had been producing teenage drama series for years but the concept was starting to catch on south of the border as well.

One of the most successful teenage drama series on network television premiered on October 4th, 1990 and just like the first program mentioned today, it got its start on Fox. The show was set in a rich neighbourhood and even included its zip code in the title. That’s right, I am talking about Beverly Hills 90210.

When the series first hit the air, rap music was just starting to become a commercial phenomenon. It made sense that one of the characters in the show would start experimenting with the genre. In fact, the writers tailored the scripts to align with some of the actors hobbies and interests.

As such, Brian Austin Green, who played David Silver, started to deejay and eventually even rapped on the show.

He took that passion to the recording booth and dropped his middle name and an album in 1996. It was called One Stop Carnival and was produced by one of the members of the Pharcyde.

The lead single “You Send Me” was released by Brian Green in 1996. Back then, you would have know him better as David Silver from Beverly Hills 90210. I like that track. I’m surprised that it wasn’t more successful.

After all, Beverly Hills 90210 was one of the most popular shows on television at the time. Brian Austin Green had a bankable name and the album was produced by Slim Kid 3 of Pharcyde. Despite having this co-sign, Brian Green wasn’t able to capture the same amount of sucess on the radio as he was on television.

His television series was very successful and stayed on the air for ten years. It has even spawned spin-off series including Melrose Place and a new revamped series simply called 90210. It’s probably one of the reasons we have programs aimed specifically at the teenage market these days. The influence this program had cannot be overstated.

And while Brian Green’s album had an accesible sound, perhaps it was the high-pitched nasally flow that turned a few people off. Or maybe, it was because we were in the midst of hip-hop’s first Golden Age. There was so much great content dropping that year. This record probably got buried by the classics that came out around the same time. Or maybe it was just too commercial. What’s clear is that Brain Austin Green shoud stick to what he does best, acting. I really loved him in the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It’s a shame that that show got cancelled.

Why is it so hard for actors to make a successful transition to the rap game? Why are we, as listeners, movie viewers, and TV show fans, more accepting of rappers acting than we are of actors rapping? Who knows?

All I know is that there are a lot of actors who can sing. There are several who have managed to have a fairly successful singing career too. Selena Gomez. Bridgit Mendler, and Britney Spears all got there start on television and have sold crazy amounts of records and continue to do so. Yet, actors who rap fade into obscurity rather quickly.

I wonder if Drake had been on 90210 instead of Degrassi if he would have achieved as much success in the music industry as he did. He was relatively unknown as an actor when the buzz around him as a rapper started to build. Degrassi had a huge following but it has a pretty specific audience that is limited to mostly young Canadian viewers. 90210 on the other hand was the highest rated show on television for a period of time. Everyone knew of the show and the characters even if they didn’t watch it week in and week out.

Whatver the reason, it hasn’t stopped actors from stepping into the rap game. This next actor / rapper we are focusing on today has been part of the main cast of Community for the past five years now. He plays Troy Barnes on the NBC television series. And in the middle of the run of the series, he started a rap career. He signed to Glassnote records under the stage name of Childish Gambino.

It’s interesting to see what you can dig up when you start researching a topic. I didn’t think I’d be able to fill the entire thirty minutes with actors-turned-rappers but I guess I was wrong. I’m interested to see if Childish Gambino can make a name for himself in this rap game. I guess, only time will tell. He has some big shoes to follow though if he is going to make it work and, as we’ve seen, the track record is very good.

That being said, Donald Glover has been making moves in Hollywood for some time now. He was one of the writers for the hit show 30 Rock, he has done stand-up, sketch comedy, and starred in a few movies as well. He seems to have that kind of star-quality that will probably suit him well.

Looks like I’ve got time to play one more track. I’d like to play my favourite song from Amanda Diva. She got her start in 1993 in the film Cop and a Half alongside Burt Reynolds. She then landed on the small screen in the Nickelodean series My Brother and Me.

Beside acting, she is also a talented singer, rapper, and visual artist. She dropped four albums under the name Amanda Diva before she changed her last name to Seales. It’s a more appropriate name for her to go by. She doesn’t seem like a Diva whatsoever. She seems very down-to-earth.

You’ve been listening to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. This is the 44th episode and today we have been looking at actors-turned-rappers. We focused on D’Lil of Married With Children fame, Brian Green of Beverly Hills 90210 fame, Drake of Degrassi Fame, Childish Gambino of Community fame, and Amanda Diva of My Brother and Me fame.

It seems that rappers can turn to acting with relative ease but the transition doesn’t seem to work the other way. I’m not sure why that is the case, but I can say that if you have achieved fame in some other medium, it might not be in your best interest to initiate a rap career. That is why I jokingly titled this episode “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.”

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Know Your History 37 – The History of Radio Broadcasting

We have a need for home entertainment. A true need for it.

Nowadays we don’t even think much about it. There are so many ways for us to keep busy while relaxing at home. We can kick back with a book and spend a quiet afternoon reading. We can play a video game on a console system such as a Wii, Xbox, or Playstation. We can play all sorts of games on our computers or waste the day away surfing around online. We can watch videos on YouTube, movies on DVD, or episodes of our favourite shows on TV. All without ever leaving the confines of our homes.

We can be constantly entertained. And we can bring our entertainment with us. Many of us have portable computers that we carry in our pocket all the time. We have so-called “smart” or “super” phones that allow us to listen to music, to watch videos, and to interact with social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

But where did home entertainment, as we know it, truly start?

I think you’ll be surprised at the answer.

Hi, my name is Chase March and welcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. I’m not about to say that hip-hop started the home entertainment phenomenon. But this is a radio show and as such I want to take this episode to examine something that we all take for granted, radio.

It’s hard to imagine a time before radio. It’s something that has been instrumental in my life. I grew up with the radio playing almost all day long. My mother kept the dial locked to a country station. I soon discovered that there were other genres of music.

I listened to AM 680, which is now an all-news station, but when I was a kid, it played music from a wide variety of acts and genres. It soon had competition with a station that billed itself as “contemporary hit radio” on AM 640.

The radio was good when I was a kid. My mom had her station and I had mine. My grandpa even had a favourite station that played oldies. It seemed liked there was something on the radio for all. And that’s the way it should be. Unfortunately, things changed at some point over the years and the radio doesn’t seem to offer as diverse a programming as it used to. Not on the commercial airwaves anyway.

The programming that we offer here on 93.3 CFMU is quite diverse. It truly is a community radio station that reflects the voices of that community. I could go on an on about that but I’m afraid I’d start sounding like it’s pledge week and if you’ve come to this program because you’ve been listening for the last three years, you expect to be entertained with some music and talk about the history behind it.

This is Season 4 of Know Your History, a monthly documentary radio show that focuses on hip-hop music and culture. It’s part of a larger program called DOPEfm that has been on the air for nine years now. We bring you the best in underground hip-hop music and talk each and every week, Saturday Overnights.

We have big things planned for the 2013 season. Big things. We continue our affiliation with The Word is Bond.com as well. Please go there for daily hip-hop news and a dope weekly podcast, hosted by yours truly.

For the next half hour, we are going to look at the grandfather of all home entertainment mediums. The first broadcasts that sent programming right into our homes, like magic. I’m talking about radio.

The pioneers of radio entertainment are a lot like the pioneers of hip-hop. They started something absolutely incredible and changed the world as we know it. Yet, they were not recognized for their contributions or compensated fairly.

The same thing happened in the world of visual art. Vincent Van Gogh is heralded as one of the all-time greats. Yet in his time, he lived in abject poverty.

Sometimes the art or genius gets buried in time and it really is a shame.

I think it’s important to know names such as Kool Herc and Grandmaster Caz. These are just two of the pioneers of hip-hop and I have mentioned them several times over the past three years I’ve been on the radio.

But truth be told, I never thought much about the pioneers of radio. The technological aspect doesn’t interest me much. I know that it was a culture back in the day. Enthusiasts would build equipment to send and receive signals. It had some great implications for communication, especially to send and receive signals from a boat where wired technology such as telephones simply couldn’t reach.

At this point, using radio as a medium to deliver entertainment was still pretty much unheard of. But not for long.

Christmas Eve, 1906, Reginald Fessenden hosted the first radio broadcast. He was a Canadian inventor and he outfitted ships with his radio technology to send them an entire program. He announced the program, played a recording of Handel’s “Largo,” and then played a Chirstmas carol on his violin.

Fessenden was the first person to transmit human voices over the airwaves and he was the first person to play music on it as well. Perhaps, this makes him the first DJ.

This historic broadcast didn’t even have a name at the time. The term broadcast, in fact, wasn’t even used for a few more years in this context.

And while Fessenden is acknowledged as the inventor of radio by modern scholars, he was never recognized for it in his own time. Instead, other people won the patents for what would become radio as we know it now and they in turn would achieve the wealth that unfairly eluded this pioneer of radio.

We’re used to radio programming being available at all times. You can turn on your radio at any time day or night and receive a signal. This wasn’t always the case.

In fact, radio might not even have took off as a commercial endeavour if it were not for one tragedy at sea.

April 14th, 1912. The unsinkable Titanic is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. The crew members that operated the radio sent and received all sorts of personal messages from the wealthy clientele on board. They sent over 250 such messages prior to the ship hitting the iceberg.

They were then able to send out a distress call over the radio. They sent over 30 messages before having to abandon ship. Tragically, a lot of lives were lost that day. It’s conceivable that this tragedy could have been even worse if a rescue operation hadn’t been started as quickly as it was. And all of this was thanks to the radio.

The power of radio is something that cannot be taken lightly. Used simply as a communication tool, much like a phone, it allowed us to stay in contact over large distances without the need for wires. It was the original wireless before cellphones and the Internet.

If you’re just tuning in, this is Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. Today we are taking a special look at the medium of radio, focusing on the pioneers of radio broadcasting.

This show can be heard each and every Saturday night on 93.3 CFMU on your radio dial in the Hamilton, Ontario area. You can also stream it worldwide on cfmu.mcmaster.ca

I remember my favourite radio programs from back in the day. The Mastermind Street Jam on Energy 108 was required listening. It was on Saturday afternoons and I’d stop whatever I was doing to run home and listen to it. I’d even tape the shows onto audio cassette so I could relive the program over and over again.

Unfortunately, that show and even that station are now defunct. Mastermind can still be heard on the radio but not in a specialized hip-hop mix show format. If you want that kind of programming now, you need to look at campus radio stations such as this one. Stations that operate by a diverse team of volunteers to bring you programming they are dedicated and passionate about.

I think of all of the radio shows I have loved over time. I think of how I ended up in radio myself and how it just seems so natural. Hip-hop shows on terrestrial radio or on podcasts are just a great way to get music. I discovered all sorts of great music by listening to the radio. I learned about things I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Radio shows are just something we take for granted. It’s hard to imagine not having regular programs to listen to. I rely on the morning show to give me traffic and weather updates. On the drive home, I get educated and entertained by talk radio. Thursday nights, I catch In Tha Kut for a dope hip-hop show. And I listen to podcasts of radio shows I don’t tune in live to every week.

In fact, I couldn’t live without my radio

That was LL Cool J “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” and the perfect song to play for the 37th episode of Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. This kicks off the fourth season of the show. Today’s topic is long overdue as well. It’s time we looked more closely at the history of radio broadcasts.

I consume a lot of radio programs. And it seems like this is just the way it always has been. It’s hard to believe that radio as I know it didn’t get its start until 100 years ago. 1912 to be exact. That was when Charles Herrold started broadcasting a regularly scheduled radio program.

Charles Herrold. That is a name we should all know. He is one of the founding fathers of broadcasting and if not for him, I wouldn’t be here on the airwaves for you right now.

He was the first person to use the term broadcasting to describe what he was doing in radio. Prior to this, the word was only used by farmers and it meant to scatter seeds out in all directions from a single source, to broadcast them.

Charles Herrold not only invented and built devices to send and receive radio signals, he taught other people how to do it as well. In fact, he’d been doing just that for three years prior to starting the world’s first radio show. He’d opened his own school in 1909 in San Jose, The Herrold College of Wireless and Engineering.

He started playing records into microphones as an easy way to test the radio signals his students were experimenting with. He then took this a step further by producing the first scheduled radio program. It was called The Little Hams Program. Ham refered to the hobbyists who built and operated short-wave radios.

Of course all of this was happening in the second decade of the 20th century. And just like the start of hip-hop culture, you had to be there to experience it. There aren’t any recordings of those early broadcasts for me to play for you. You had to be there. And unfortunately, this founding father of radio is no longer with us to tell his story.

But the good news is that there are quite a few radio scholars who are. Otherwise, his name might have been lost in history. One of the best places to find out more about Charles Herrold is the PBS documentary entitled “Broadcasting’s Forgotten Father. It celebrates the life of Charles “Doc” Herrold and shows his influence in the creation of radio as we know it today.

I want to play a clip from that documentary for you in a moment. First, let me just set the scene. Herrold began broadcasting his radio show in 1912. His assistant, Ray Newby said, “It was a religion for ‘Prof’ Herrold to have his equipment ready every Wednesday night at nine o’clock. He would have his records ready, all laid out, and what he wanted to say. And the public or listeners, it became a habit for them to wait for it.”

I wish I had more audio to share with you today, but the earliest radio broadcast couldn’t be recorded for posterity. So here’s a clip from the documentary “Broadcasting’s Forgotten Father” that was produced in 1995.

“Herrold tells his students that the Wednesday night programs are “broadcasting for the people of San Jose.” He also tells them that everyone else transmitting voice at the time is only “Narrowcasting.” He is on every week at the same time, and he knows that he is entertaining a public audience. And, as an early form of advertising, the broadcasts help attract students to his college.”

How cool is that? No one was doing what Charles Herrold was doing. He was at least eight years ahead of his time since the first commercial radio stations didn’t get started until 1920. He was on the air every week at the same time delivering a radio program for close to five years. And he started doing it in 1912.

He even had a regular audience. Of course, they were all radio hobybyists themselves as commerical radio receivers weren’t available at this time. But that didn’t stop his audience from calling in and requesting songs.

His radio program included music, talk, news, and even giveaways. It was everything that we’ve come to expect radio to be and pretty much what we hear every day on our radio waves now, 101 years after he established what radio could be.

Here’s another clip from the documentary television show PBS produced . . .

“One reason that the Wednesday night broadcasts attract so much attention is because of Herrold’s young wife Sybil. She became a disc jockey if you may. They didn’t use that term in those days. And I guess she liked it because I remember I interviewed her years later, and she was very very pleased because she got a lot of responses in the community. People called her up, she got a lot of fan letters, people talked to her on the street that they heard the programs.”

One of the first radio deejays was a woman. How cool is that?

I tell ya, I’m having a lot of fun putting this show together for you today. I’m learning all sorts of things about the medium I’ve been working in for close to five years now. This is Know Your History and I’m your host Chase March and we still have a lot to explore about the birth of radio broadcasting.

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