Video Hangover: “All Star Rap Jamz”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“Self-Destruction”
Stop the Violence Movement, 1989

“We All in the Same Gang”
West Coast Rap All-Stars, 1989

The first East Coast-West Coast rap battle was fought over who could battle less.

This is the first time I’ve listened to MC Hammer, Tone Loc and the Digital Underground in one sitting since my Bar Mitzvah
True to their Hollywood origins, the West Coat Rap All-Stars make being in a gang look positively Shakespearean. A youth betrayed by gang loyalty, a young man cut down in his prime, basketball — basically Boyz n the Hood before there was Boyz n the Hood. The main difference being that the blue and red of the Bloods and Crips have been replaced by yellow and green threads so bright that the threatened bat attack at 3:44 could pass for a detergent commercial. Until, of course MC Hammer shows up wearing his black genie outfit. Which begs the question: who was the most effective West-Coast affiliated rapper from 1989, in terms of preventing gang violence? Eazy E, Ice T, and Dr. Dre were in too deep to be credible; Young MC had no street cred whatsoever. And Def Jef brought along those ridiculous interpretive dancers (see them in action at :54). Strangely enough, it might actually be Tone Loc, who drops his novelty schtick and proves he can rap over something other than Van Halen.

Some were headed for self-destruction, others were headed for Flavor of Love
If “We All in the Same Gang” is a Marlo Stanfield ego trip, “Self Destruction” is Prop Joe’s co-op — stuffy and procedural, right down to the boardroom table and perfunctory, funk-based-but-not-exactly-funky beat. But hey, at least they took their own cause seriously. KRS-One and Kool Moe D come out swinging, and the guys from Stetsasonic drop some heavy shit in front of a “scared straight” jail cell. And then, at 2:24, D Nice comes in with perhaps one of the worst lip syncs of all time, and things start to get mildly hilarious. First, there’s Ms. Melodie, looking like an extra from an Eddie Murphy fat-suit comedy (not to be confused with Heavy D, who looks more like Honky Grandma Be Trippin’), and then Doug E Fresh tries to throw dirt on a camera and misses completely. Luckily Flavor Flav is on hand to restore order. And by restore order I mean: hold up a giant clock and say “yeah boyeeee.”

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