Documentation of the early days of Hip-Hop and Rap is difficult enough to acquire, lets face it, obtaining the rawest form of Rap on 30 year old cassette recordings of community centre battles are difficult enough to procure. The moving picture footage of Hip-Hop pioneers is even harder to come by than the aural form, whether it’s footage of a park jam with Jazzy Jay, Flash at The Armory or insider scoops from the WKCR days of Stretch & Bobbito. From the TVone photo-play of the Unsung series and the VH1 rockDocs like NY77, to Eli Gessners footage of Stretch & Bobb hard at work in the studios of Columbia University, TV channels and production houses continue to demonstrate the validity of the days of wayback with previously unseen visual documentation. Having the ability to watch a 50minute video with a bunch of Rap superstars of the future, that hasnt seen the light of day in 25 years, is nothing short of miraculous IMO.
This latest drop from the golden olden days features the ‘greatest street club in the world’ as owner Sal Abatiello described it on its 10th Anniversary in 1986. If you truly know Hip-Hop in its embryonic form, youll already know that the first Rap radio show was presented by Sir Juice himself Mr Magic, and of course youll know that Magic co-presented one of the most popular Rap radio shows with Marley Marl, known as the leader of the Juice Crew. Did you know that Mr Magic was originally known as Lucky the Magician when he started his career on PAYG station WHBI [They sold airtime for $75 an hour]. Or did you know that the original JUICE CREW consisted of Sweet G, June Bug, Mr Magic, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Mandingo, Bam-Bam and owner Sal Abatiello?
According to Dan Charnas, who interviewed Mr Magic for his publication The Big Payback in October 2007, the OG Juice Crew All-Stars were the ‘Guys who hung out until dawn, breaking balls, playing cards, drinking and sniffing. They called themselves the “Juice Crew.” Sal even made them special “Juice Rings” to commemorate their degenerate bond’. In the clip above you’ll witness these bonds, these kinships and the connection Sal created at the Fever. Did you know that the Disco Fever was the ‘first club in the country’ to have metal detectors and a gun-check at the door? It’s interesting to note that the Disco Fever was THE first disco to charge for people to get in with sneakers on, it was a dollar to get in if you wore shoes, but it was 5 dollars if you wore sneaks.
In this prime piece of old school proceedings its all about the faces, the dance moves, the leather bombers, the mock necks as well as performances from artists like Run DMC dropping unreleased verses of Peter Piper. Youll see the Kangols and the Cazals, the Def Jam and Cutting Records promo jackets as well as the nauseous sway of the disco lights. It’s about artists like Love Bug Starski performing ‘Live At The Disco Fever’ erm, live at the Disco Fever. Melle Mels ‘energy’ as he describes the ‘old school’ of 1976 during 1986 gives me shudders, as does the shower-cap wearing, ‘green’ dealing Grandmaster Flash in the Style video also contained in this clip.
You wont witness any of the illicit goings on from the ‘back room’ at the Fever in this clip, but you can hear the avuncular way in which Sal [via Sweet G] describes the artists, that even in 1986 had progressed to successes on platforms such as ‘stage, screen & TV’, offering the viewer further evidence of how much of a family affair the Fever really was. The celebratory, kindred nature of the event is high-lighted in Whodinis closing and congregational ‘We Are The World’ type performance of Friends. Live-Aid aint got shit on this ! Run DMC share the stage along-side the Furious 5, Jimmy Spicer, Vandy C, Mr Magic and the Fat Boys as well as every other recording artist in the building that night, while a fresh-faced DJ Red Alert hangs his arm round Sal as they sing the chorus of Friends alongside the two Whodini head-liners. As Rap and Hip-Hop continue to find progression into 2012, its important to remember the innocence of these earlier times, throwbacks are a beautiful thing. More fever here, not forgetting Dante Ross’ interview with Sal for Mass Appeal magazine
From Friday, October 31, 2008 and from the same Vimeo account holder, an incredible Jeff Chang hosted panel discussion with a consummate group of pioneers from the cornerstones of the culture; Joe Conzo, Roxanne Shanté, Popmaster Fabel, Disco Wiz, Pebblee-Poo, Tony Tone, Grandwizard Theodore, Grandmaster Caz & Afrika Bambaataa alongside Born In The Bronx author Johan Kugelberg. As Chang explains during the intro, this is history.