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Adam Yauch: Not originally, though. Early on, hip-hop music was really positive, most of it. Early on, most of the lyrics were about unity and bringing different cultures together. Then around '86, it became a real powerful vehicle. Chuck D of Public Enemy just brought it into a whole different ballpark when he started using it as a vehicle to let people know about the oppression of blacks. He was using it for a combined thing: a voice directly to black youth culture in America and bringing unity and power into that, which was totally needed.
It just switched around—right then—because it was so powerful what Chuck D was doing with it. I think it's really important that that happened. So many people are unaware of the oppression that still goes on to this day of blacks, all of the time. He brought some whole new perspectives on that for a lot of people. Myself included. Affected my thinking a lot.
Jerry Granelli: Your generation of musicians, same as J. Anthony's, making whatever kind of music you want to call it, is fighting the same battle, in some way.
Adam Yauch: It's kinda cool when you KNOW, when you get a feel for right where that boundary is, to push, then you just, (whistles) "PHEW..." That's definitely fun.
J. Anthony Granelli: How did you guys make the progression from a hardcore style into more rap?
I think both those forms of music have the same kind of feeling behind
them, but they're coming from different cultures. Hardcore or punk is
coming from white, western culture, or whatever. Hip hop is coming from
African descent, black American music.
So a lot of hip-hop
groups just started coming downtown, and were playing at the clubs, and
we were all listening to a lot of hip-hop. We would be hangin' out at
the punk clubs and they'd be playing hip-hop records, too. So we just
kinda started gettin' into rhyming, because we were really into it.
Then we hooked up with Russell Simmons, somehow, who is a manager of a
lot of hip-hop groups. We started going and playing to more black
audiences, going up and gettin' on at The Fever, The Encore and places
So we crossed-over like that. At first when we
started rhyming, we were still rhyming in the downtown, hardcore-type
scene. Then we started doing gigs with hip-hop groups, like opening up
for Kurtis Blow, and we just disappeared from the hardcore scene for a
while. Then later it just kind of came back together and started
becoming more like one thing. The hardcore and the rap started coming
J. Anthony Granelli: And then you made another shift back into playing more instrumental.
When we were working on Paul's Boutique, the second album, we started
listening to a lot of funk and jazz stuff, looking for samples. We were
trying to find records to sample and just listening to that kind of
playing gets you back into the "playing" frame of mind. So right around
when we finished Paul's Boutique, we started jamming and playing again.
I guess that around '89. We started trying to play funk, and kinda'
wound up with somethin' else. But that's what we were trying to do.
Amy Green: Has
the energy changed? What is the difference in what it takes out of you
to be playing in front of 200 people or...I don't know how big it
Yeah. You get more amped off it, with the huge crowds. But sometimes
you're in a little room and everybody is going wild. The energy is ALL
in there. I just jumped on and played a song at CBGB's the other night,
with this friend of mine's band. The Cro-Mags were playing and they
asked me to get up and play. We did a cover of a Bad Brains song, and
everyone was just going wild at "CB's." And I was remembering that
feeling; it is just this LITTLE room and everybody is bouncing off the
walls. So it is different now, I guess it's different. (laughs)
Amy Green: How big is it getting now?
Well, we just did the Lollapolooza Tour. That's real big, but that's a
bunch of bands drawing the people in. That's not just us. I think the
biggest it got would be close to 47,000 people. And that's an AMAZING
feeling. That's like, "WHHHHHAAAAA...." just seeing them going ALL that
way back. But that's not just us pulling in (laughing) that kind of
number. (laughter) That's 15 bands.
Tao of the RZA
The Wu-Tang Clan rapper talks about his spirituality and
his book The Tao of the Wu in 2010. And in this audio interview on Shambhala SunSpace, he talks about the Heart Sutra and Right Speech.
Born I Music, one half of the now-defunct rap duo Shambhala, talks about music, meditation and the next generation in this Shambhala SunSpace interview.
The once-rebellious 1970’s rock star sat
down with the Shambhala Sun in 1996 to talk about how a period of sorrow in her life had
led to an outpouring of new music.
View from the Stage
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke talks about why he was
drawn to play at the Tibetan Freedom Concert.
Difference You Can Hear
Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo talks about his spiritual
journey—from his childhood on an ashram to his discovery of vipassana
meditation as an adult.
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