To some people this may seem mind blowing, but there was actually a time when hip-hop artists and punk bands would hang out, maybe even play shows together. Starting in the late 70s and early 80s, there was a time when the rebellious, political sentiments of the two genres actually lead to a surprising amount of collaboration and acknowledgment between artists.  Just for example, the  Beastie Boys became hip hop icons after originally starting as a hardcore punk band way back in 1982.  For a much better article on the early underground coexistence of the two genres check the blog located here. I doubt anyone rapped over sampled hardcore bands, but the idea of the two being in the same scene isn’t nearly as impossible as it would seem today.

Today if you were to go to a local show anywhere (or at least here in the northwest) you probably would not find Hip Hop artists and punks playing the same venue. What caused this rift? Most likley the gross assimilation of the two genres into mainstream culture. I’m sure things are far more complicated than this, but its undeniable that mainstream hip-hop‘s constant references to money being synonymous with greatness doesn’t fit with punk anymore than hip-hop would fit with the now seemingly nonexistent (perhaps somehow replaced by dubstep?) scene of whatever emo was. Likewise is the case with the underground, at least here in the Northwest. I don’t pretend to know everything, but as far as I know the Boom Bap Project playing a show with Rvivr still seems a little far fetched.

Meanwhile deep in the last ten(ish) years of California…

Somewhere in the strange limbo of artists of the California not-quite-mainstream-but-still-not-considered-underground-cus’-their-kinda’-well-known scene, there has been birthed some collaboration between punk and hip-hop artists (i.e Tim Armstrong being featured by Cypress hill here). Most of these collaborations are artists simply writing in another genre, but sometimes include a little experimental genre mixing. Notably a famous shampoo commercial jingle by The Transplants (Once again, still including Tim Armstrong, my apologies to the California Hip Hop Punks for not knowing anybody else).  Still, there are other artists who are not quite changing genres at all; but instead just giving shouts outs and playing basically the same stuff (shit, if you will). Say whatever you will (“no” for example, could be something you’d say) about many of these collaborations or whatever-they-are, at least it seems that they don’t do any real mixing of hardcore punk rock and hip-hop to make one  new weird-ass genre…

Or do they?!

Indeed, ass-whole cynicism aside; there are actually examples of Hip-Hop Punk Rock that in my opinion actually work (in the sense it blends both genres without sounding artificial, forced, or in general: terrible). So here are three very different songs by three very different artists all writing songs that blend punk and hip hop in three very different ways:

Zion I – Amerika

Extremely political. Probably the song that really blends the two genres the most, although be it with a higher emphasis on hip-hop. Listen to the whole thing before you rush to your own cynical judgments.

Leftover Crack – So you wanna be a cop

Leftover Crack, Chocking Victim, Crack Rock Steady Seven, Morning Glory; aren’t they all the exact same fucking band? Not really, but almost. Stza has been the front man and songwriter for pretty much all of them except Morning Glory (although he is still featured on some songs). I met Stza when Starfucking Hipsters were touring in 2009, during the ancient time when we actually booked shows in Olympia. I once heard a drunken rant from Stza claiming that they’ve actually played under a lot of different names in New York, due to constantly being banned from venues.  No idea if that’s true, but regardless! This song goes from old school breakdown to punk chorus, smoothly. I mean really, it works pretty well.

The Have Nots – Secret Machines ft. Cathy Cathotic

OK, so this is literally just a ska punk song until you get around 2:05.  The Have Nots are not exactly the most original thing to happen in 2011; a ska-punk + shout-talk (almost rap?) vocals reminiscent of Jessie Micheals (Op Ivy & Common Rider) + little bit of a pop-punk sound = not really breaking news. I like them, they played quite possibly one of the worst shows I’ve ever thrown in Olympia, and they came all the way from Boston! The lyrics in the chorus of this song feel a little lame to me, but its catchy as fuck. So here yo go, enjoy the sound of a Boston MC rapping over a ska punk break down, because apparently, that happens in Boston.

Finally-

-if you haven’t caught on by now I’m not exactly a Transplants fan (which is ironic, because the first show I ever chipped a tooth at was Rancid). But this is pretty goddamn badass:

Andrew

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Comments
  1. you have an awesome thing going on… taste wise, fuggin help me with my site

  2. great post! that transplants/snoop dogg performance was amazing.

  3. I reckon NO CA$H deserve a mention here, ever heard “Gasoline”..?

  4. Mike says:

    New Zealand (of all places) has a couple of rappers collaborating with punks or rappers with an overt punk influence. Tourettes being the first to spring to mind, in Auckland there’s an annual hip hop/punk show called “walk together rock together”.

  5. Paddy says:

    Night Gaunts
    China Shop Bull
    Jaya the Cat (some of their songs)
    Sonic Boom Six
    The King Blues (the new stuff)
    Beng Beng Cocktail
    Adequate Seven

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