If you're in the north west and haven't been already there's still time to go to Manchester's Central Reference Library to see an exhibition charting the history of hip hop culture in the city. Using donated artefacts- clothing, tapes, empty paint cans, turntables, record sleeves, trainers, flyers- the Manchester Hip Hop Archive have told the story from the ground up, starting in the early 80s when against a backdrop of Thatcher and post-industrial decline breakdancing, graffiti and rap began to seep from the streets of New York to the pedestrianised precincts of Manchester through to the late 80s and 90s when homegrown talent began to breakthrough on microphone and twin decks and via pirate radio and into the 21st century. The influence of those early records is made clear (pictured above- the Electro series, Kraftwerk, Buffalo Girls), the soundtrack to breakdance crews like Broken Glass and Street Machine spinning on their backs outside the Arndale. The clothing too- Adidas and Nike trainers and tracksuits, goose down jackets, then in the 90s and 2000s Stussy and army trousers, caps and glasses. It also pays tribute to local radio and the importance of Piccadilly 261 and Stu Allen's legendary rap show. This is a lesser known musical history of Manchester than the usual one involving Factory, the Hacienda or The Smiths. It's on until the 28th so there's a few days left, free entry. My brother Zach is one of the key players in the Manchester Hip Hop Archive, the group that have put the whole thing together, and full nod of the baseball cap to him and them for pulling it off so well.
Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Saturday, 25 September 2021
And It Wasn't A Dream
Hip hip and rap were always a part of clubbing and music in the city in the late 80s and 90s. Dave Haslam will tell you that rap records were as much a part of his Thursday night residency at the Hacienda and Yellow at the Boardwalk as the indie and dance stuff. Young MC's singles were as well received as anything made by homegrown guitar bands. MC Buzz B, Kiss AMC, 808 State and MC Tunes were woven into the city with The Roses and the Mondays. Ruthless Rap Assassins were formed in Hulme and almost broke through in 1990/ 1991. Rapper Kermit would go on to partner Shaun Ryder in Black Grape. This song is a beauty, the story of their parents arrival in the the UK as immigrants hoping to realise their dream of life in the mother country...