This afternoon on Jersey City’s WFMU, there’ll be a three-hour celebration of the year 1988.
Included in the discussion will be culture bloggers Michael Gonzales, Donnell Alexander and Invisible Woman... each of whom has blogged about 1988 today. (Cool!)
The show is Billy Jam’s “Put the Needle on the Record.” Go to the WFMU website if you wanna live-stream it.
I don’t recall ’88 as a great year culturally. The R&B charts were dominated by names like Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure!, Johnny Kemp and Cheryl Pepsii Riley. The passage of time has not been good to these people... or their music.
But 1988 was the year all the major record companies started investing heavily in hip-hop artists. Record executives finally were convinced that rap music wasn’t a passing fancy. This investment brought forth the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
Living Colour also exploded on the scene in 1988, creating a flurry of interest in “black rock.” (Remember 24-7 Spyz?)
Personally, I remember ’88 fondly because that summer I traveled to Minneapolis – at the Washington Times’s expense – to do a story on the music scene there. From all over the Midwest, young Negroes with talent had moved to Minneapolis hoping to be discovered.
Everything seemed possible then.
UPDATE (05/09/08): I caught the first hour and the final half-hour of this show. It was kinda cool. Very hip-hop-centered.
But there was no Invisible Woman and no Donnell Alexander, and that disappointed me.
I’m a connoisseur of talk radio, and Billy Jam’s show is amateurish by the standards I’m used to. I don’t know if he considers that part of the hip-hop aesthetic or what. But I left behind that college-radio vibe when I graduated from college.
On the positive tip, guest callers Bill Adler and Lisa Cortes were entertaining and informative on the subject of hip-hop’s glory days.