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Released in 1986, "Planet Rock" is the debut album release for Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force. The title for it comes from the first single, which launched their careers. Obvioulsy, looking at the year we are looking at very early Hip Hop, as the genre only came about as a proper style in the late '70s. Baambataa was a pioneer in making the Hip Hop movement get to the stge where it could be actually be recorded, rather than be listened to at block parties in New York, so he knew what to do to make his music appeal to those who help Hip hop on it's way out of New York, and to a wider audience.
1. "Planet Rock"
As the title track from the LP, and breakthrough in many ways (for Hip Hop, Afrika Bambaataa, Elctro-Funk, ect.), "Planet Rock" has to be considered one of few tracks in Hip Hop history which you couldn't dispute having it considered to be a classic. The beat which is brought was so simple, yet so original at the time, and became one of the most sampled pieces of production for Hip Hop. It's Electro-Funk elements also add an innovative twist for the tune.
2. "Looking For The Perfect Beat"
For someone who prefers the modern stuff, but appreciates the Old School, I was surprised to hear the beat from this. I felt this way as I was previously unawre that DJ Khaled's "Holla At Me" used a sample, but now looking on it, it's clear that noone today could come up with such a blend of Electro and Hip Hop.
After overcoming this, I got inot the swing of the tune and I found it to be extremmly fun to listen to as you hear Bambaataa experiment with various beats, all of which work together perfectly to make up a big track from him.
3. "Renegades Of Funk"
Here you have a variation of the ascending melody of "Looking For The Perfect Beat", and it come with a more Electronic take on it. The lyrics, which are always an issu with the Old School, focused on explaining who they consider to be "Renegades Of Funk", looking to important figures over history to express it.
4. "Frantic Situation"
Bambaataa's pounding bass is the first thing which hits you from his production in this track, and it eases the Electronic elements into it. As I don't really rate Electro music that much, I couldn't get into it as I could have liked to, but the throwback raps bring up the quality. Common recently did his own take on this track on "One Day It'll All Make Sense", and this tune gets you inot a panicking mind-frame as with Common's in 1997.
5. "Who You Funkin' With"
This is one of many big Hip Hop tracks from the album, and I specifically state "Hip Hop" as I think that referring to it is 'rap' leaves out the credit of the production, and here all of the samples and beats are a huge part of influencing the light-hearted raps which display the sound at the time.
6. "Go Go Pop"
This is a chaotic mash-up of synth and percussion from Babaataa, which sounds like a cool-donw tune as it takes the focus off the rapping and has a smooth rhyth shaken-up to give a dance twist to it. I can imagine that B-Boys back in the day made the most out of the breaks from this one.
7. "They Made A Mistake"
I found this to be an amzng party rap tune which fully expresses the sound of New York at the time as Afrika Bambaataa comes with some funk samples, and the Soulsonic Force are able to flow in a manner which was all the rage in this Old School (pre 1987), so it's all fun and exciting (witohut having to resort tgo violence as modern stars do when performing in this genre).
I think that for those who truely appreciate the very early days of hip Hop then this is the album for them, and I think that this discounts quite a lot of people. However, as it is so ealry, I think that it should also appeal to those who were into the dying days of Disco, as it took a few small changes from that to come to what you here in this album.
I think that those who like Electronica around this period will enjoy it to, but people that are deep inot the lyrical side of Hip Hop will find thmeselves lost here as it bare little resemblance to what it has become now.
I think that the maor downfall her is that the trakcs are so long ("Planet Rock" is seven and a half minutes long) that you actually lose concentration at times and the hype wears down unitl a new one kicks in, but apart from this, it is a very strong dance album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Planet Rock [Original Twelve Inch Version]
2 Looking for the Perfect Beat [Original Twelve Inch Version]
3 Renegades of Funk [Remix]
4 Frantic Situation [Frantic Mix]
5 Who You Funkin' With? - Afrika Bambaataa, Melle Mel, Soulsonic Force
6 Go Go Pop - Afrika Bambaataa, Soulsonic Force, Trouble Funk
7 They Made a Mistake - Afrika Bambaataa, , Pow Wow