Album #566 – Planet Rock: The Album

Album #556

Album #566

I hesitate to write a review for this album. I don’t want to seem like I’m out of touch or that I don’t get hip hop. On the contrary, I do. But, my favorite rap and hip hop music is takes sampling from rock, jazz, funk & r&b not electropop. Rap and hip-hop are also the best, for my taste, when they have something to say. The hip hop of my childhood for the most part, lacked that element. It took a lot from this album and the sounds it created back in 1986. While I didn’t particularly like Planet Rock all that much as an album, what I do respect about this album is that Afrika Bambaataa tried something new for hip hop at the time. Most DJs were using samples from the genres I mentioned above. Afrika Bambaataa used electronic music from groups like Kraftwerk as his musical backdrop. It took a lot of guts to do that. It’s not always easy to be an innovator. The cool thing is that much of today’s hip hop fuses electronic dance music much in the way that it was done 30 years earlier on Planet Rock: The Album. In fact, Afrika Bambaataa’s use of electropop, lead to new genres of dance music being created in the late 80’s. Modern hip hop would not exist had it not been for the experimentation that is found on this album. DJ culture also owes a lot to the sounds found here. Now, even though I found it to be much of the same, the title track is a great jam. I was dancing along to it in my kitchen as I was doing the dishes. To me, that is the true test. Hopefully, we will see another artist like Afrika Bambaataa take hip hop and create a new, influential sound. It takes risk takers to make music interesting. It can’t be the same way forever.

Other highlights include: Looking for the Perfect Beat, Renegades of Funk and Go-Go Pop

Overall, I give Planet Rock: The Album, 2.5 out of 5

Next: Licenced to Ill by Beastie Boys

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