The Clash & Grandmaster Flash, punk & hip hop pt. 2

“When we came to the U.S., Mick stumbled upon a music shop in Brooklyn that carried the music of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, the Sugar Hill Gang…these groups were radically changing music and they changed everything for us. ”

– Joe Strummer of The Clash

In 1980, the UK punk group The Clash released their fourth studio album, Sandinista, which featured two hiphop-influenced tracks, the opening song, “The Magnificent Seven“, and “Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)“. They followed up with another hiphop-influenced single, “This Is Radio Clash”.

They also had Grandmaster Flash and The Treacherous Three open for them at concerts in New York City in 1981.

In 1983, The Clash collaborated with rapper and graffiti artist Futura 2000 on his record “The Escapades of Futura 2000“. The Clash had previously worked with one of the original dub producers, Lee Scratch Perry, on the song “Complete Control” from their first album in 1977.

The Notting Hill carnival riot of 1976 was a formative experience for two members of the Clash, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, who explained in a documentary how they came down to check out Jamaican sound systems and music and ended up participating in the riot, throwing projectiles at cops and trying to set a car on fire. An image from the riot was used as the back cover for the first Clash album and the front of “Black Market Clash” and inspired the first Clash single, “White Riot”, featured on their first album in 1977.

(The interview about the riot starts at 1:04 minutes in the video).

Another connection between punk and hip hop was made early on by Rick Rubin, co-founder of Def Jam Records and producer for Run-DMC and The Beastie Boys, who originally played in the punk bands “The Pricks” and “Hose”. On the Beastie Boys single “No Sleep Till Brooklyn“, Rick Rubin had Kerry King of the heavy metal band Slayer play guitar on the recording and in the video for the song, since Rubin was producing Slayer’s album “Reign in Blood” at the same time.

The Beastie Boys had started as a strictly punk band in New York City in 1979 but incorporated hip hop into their act in 1983. They were one of the first hip hop groups to rap about sex, drugs and crime, including hooliganism such as breaking windows as well as robbing cars and banks.

Click the video then click “watch on youtube” to watch it on youtube (if you didn’t figure that out already).


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