1989 saw the release of several albums
by members of "The Native Tongues", a loose-knit,
New York-based collective of artists who saw themselves (and
their music) as a necessary alternative to the violence and
negativity associated with many of their rap contemporaries.
Interested in promoting tolerance, respect, fun and harmony,
Native Tongues groups De La Soul, Jungle Brothers and Queen
Latifah all debuted in 1989. This same year, West Coast rapper
Tone-Loc scored big with "Wild Thing", Young MC
won the very first Grammy for Best Rap Performance, and the
Beastie Boys released Paul's Boutique.
De La Soul
De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising
refreshing, upbeat sonic alternative to hardcore rap' domination
of the airwaves. Dubbed neo-hippies, De La Soul were different
not only because of their "peace, love and harmony"
vibe, but also because of their complex, strikingly electical
musical style (courtesy of influential producer Prince Paul).
The album incorporated elements of jazz, reaggae, funk, soul
and pop, along with wacky vocal samples skits. Compared to
the previous years releases by hardcore artists such as Public
Enemy and N.W.A., Three Feet High and Rising
tracks like "Me, Myself and I" was a new different
California-based rapper Tone-Looc scored big in 1989 with
the hits "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina",
both of which appeared on his full-length debut, Loc-ed After
Dark. Combining catchy samples with clever lyrics and humorous
rhymes, the album's pop sensibility further cemented rap's
mainstream appeal and quickly rose to the top of the pop charts.
Despite the rather lukewarm reception at the time of its release
in 1989, Paul's Boutique
by the Beastie Boys was eventually
hailed as a landmark record. Sporting innovative production
by the Dust Brothers, a mind-bending blend of styles, and
a sonically sophisticated, art-rap vibe, the album was clear
departure form the Beastie's previous release Licensed
. AS evidenced by the track "Hey Ladies",
the Dust Brothers and the Beastie Boys pioneered an artful,
ingenious and avant-garde use of sampling, creating an album
that was very exciting and very different form the other releases
of the time.
Queen Latifah released her debut, All Hail the Queen
in 1989. Strong and intelligent, Queen Latifah brought a feminist
consciousness to the male-dominated world of hip-hop. Like
her fellow Native Tongues members, Latifah offered an alternative
to the straight up, hardcore - rap of the time. Tracks like
"Wrath of My Madness" and "Ladies First",
(a tribute to womanhood) found many fans among the hip hop