The mid 90’s ~ The Jerky Boys soundtrack (1995)

Back in 1995 we didn’t have a global pandemic. Or if there was one I was fifteen and wasn’t paying close enough attention to notice. Pretty sure there wasn’t one though. But since all of us are stuck at home we might as well reminisce about 1995. So gather round and listen to a tale about what the world was like way back when.

Back in the 90’s there were beepers and CDs, not smart phones. The star quarterback at my high school had two beepers actually. One was for ganja sales and the other for powder. Dude was the best high school QB in Florida but he couldn’t stay out of jail long enough to play in very many games.

Cassette tapes and boom boxes were the thing back then too. They worked better actually because they didn’t skip like a scratched CD or a bumped CD player. A few people had these ridiculous looking car phones too. They were the size of the center consul and looked like a rejected prop from Back to the Future.

‘Zines where the main source of information about any sort of “underground” music that wasn’t played on the radio. That along with rooting through the used section of record stores and going to shows.

Shows back then were something. They were mostly DIY events at random venues advertised via photocopied paper fliers posted literally everywhere. The “real” punk rockers would print a bunch of fliers at the local corporate office supply store and then run out the back door without paying.

Cover was a dollar or two and there would be plenty of cheap warm beer. And then there were the touring bands. Van loads of sweaty kids who hadn’t showered in weeks whose presence could be smelled before seen. All were looking for a place to crash for the night before leaving in the morning for the next random stop. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, loved trash talking and rumors were the norm. The venues were cramped but the bands were loud and but people knew their equipment so the sound was phenomenal.

When this movie soundtrack came out it blew me away, or more accurately, L7 blew me away. That song was the first time I dipped my toes in the pool of underground music that wasn’t sponsored by corporate America.

The Jerky Boys soundtrack is the quintessential collection of mid-90’s mainstream/radio music overall. January of 1995 saw the it hit the record stores, just before the dumpster fire of the movie hit the box office. The soundtrack is a gem, with L7’s cover of Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone being the crown jewel of the album. It was with that song that I realized there was a whole world full of music besides for what was on the radio.

The first track can be skipped, it’s just some BS narrative. The music begins with Collective Soul, then onward to Green Day, Coolio, Superchunk and the Beastie Boys, a perfect snapshot of 90’s era radio music. Not to be rude though, all these songs are all stellar and very listenable.

After that comes L7, and yes, they are punk rock. This song proves it without a doubt. This way it is performed puts it is in the same league as GG Allen. That song struck me like a great white shark hitting a seal. The world changed, exposing a vast universe of music and scenes to explore.

After L7 is a track by House of Pain and then Helmet covering Black Sabbath. After that is the Wu Tang Clan, and this is still pretty early on before they became HUGE. They gave “hard core” rap traction, before them it was fringe genre.

The album ends with another BS track, but overall this is a classic example of the mid 1990’s. Listening to it brings back crisp, vivid memories from my freshman year of high school. The angst, the excitement about armpit hair, everything, all comes roaring back. This is one of those forgotten albums that everyone listened to a bunch and then it never got played much after that year. Twenty five years later it is still quite good and highly recommended, 94%.

Wiki

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Camp Lo- Uptown Saturday Night (1997)

While Camp Lo, Uptown Saturday Night made the Billboard Hot 100 it is still easily one of hip-hop’s most unknown classic albums. Since I mentioned it in a previous post I felt obligated to bring write a post about them.

Actually, I am not going to write about Camp Lo. I will introduce them with a quote from how I was introduced to their music;

“Yo, you haven’t heard Camp Lo?? Here, check them out. They’re dope”

DL

old fort at NSB

Hieroglyphics ~ Hiero Oldies Vol. 2 (1998)

The kid skating is doing some sick slappy curb stuff, but the music… It sounds like 90’s era West Coast hip-hop, but the structure is East Coast(ish) as well some elements such as horns, piano and the collective/collaboration format. It is surprising that I had not heard of Hieroglyphics, collective out of Oakland, California. The best comparison would probably be Camp Lo (I will post about them later, but another underground favorite.)

Growing up in Florida in the 90’s the knowledge base for “scene” music was very regional. We all knew the East and West coast hardcore, punk, emo and ska bands as well as possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of traditional ska. Underground Hip-Hop, Rap, Bounce, or whatever you want to call it, was incredibly hard to find in the 90’s. Obviously, since I am just now hearing about Hieroglyphics. This is an excellent album, 95%.

Hieroglyphics

Wiki

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The Roots- Organix! (1993)

Originally self-released and sold at their European shows back in ’93 (Wiki) this album propelled the Roots onto commercial success. While relatively unknown, this is one of hip-hop’s cornerstone albums bridging the gap between “old school” and 90’s era rap.
The Roots have a drummer. That’s how good they are. They’re jazz influenced with spoken word parts, Rahzel was with them… they are so much a part of hip-hop that they can and do reject the whole “bling” factor that defiles so much of the genre.
I hunted for years for this album, when it was re-released in 1998 I bought it… and was profoundly disappointed. It isn’t a hip-hop release that grabs the listener, it is more art. Now, nineteen years later it is apparent that this is one of the albums that bridged the gap between old school, free-styling rap (like The Sugar Hill Gang) and the commercially marketed sound that dominates pop culture.
Organix! is a must have for the serious digital music collection, and for the same reasons as Benny Goodman, Beetoven and Elvis, while not everyone’s cup of tea it’s still good music.

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