NPR's Microphone Check Brings The Noise With '8 Million Stories: Hip-Hop In 1993'
NPR‘s Microphone Check gathered a handful of hip-hop’s most instrumental figures to present 8 Million Stories: Hip-Hop In 1993 – a panel assembled to discuss the significance of the year 1993 in hip-hop on Wednesday night at New York City’s Ace Hotel – moderated by host Frannie Kelley. The panel featured a list of heavyweights including Kelley’s Microphone Check cohost and A Tribe Called Quest co-founder Ali Shaheed Muhammad along with DJ Prince Paul, Faith Newman, Ralph McDaniels and Mike Dean. Though Ghostface Killah was also slated to sit on the panel, he did not make it. The renowned DJ Stretch Armstrong filled in for Tony Starks, rounding out the panel. The crew took us back in time to the year 1993 to discuss the music, atmosphere and ethos that informed hip-hop at the advent of the era commonly heralded as the golden age; Prince Paul refuted that commonly-held notion in favor of the year 1988 – a time he felt was more pivotal for hip-hop culture, citing The Bridge Wars and other notable occasions and innovators who rose to fame prior to the 90’s. Faith Newman addressed the role of women in the industry – from video dancers to record label executives – reflecting on the “boy’s club” that was once the A&R landscape to the current state of affairs for women in the industry; Newman stated that women are represented less now than they were back then. Newman and Ralph McDaniels traded stories about the inception and early promotion of Nas‘ seminal debut LP Illmatic while Prince Paul and Mike Dean detailed their involvement in a good number of legendary productions. Stretch Armstrong and Ali detailed their experiences in the industry at that time from their respective vantage points of the radio station and the stage. The gathering was capped by anecdotes from Large Professor and Combat Jack, both of whom were in the audience for the colorful and undoubtedly groundbreaking chat. From the accounts of industry insiders to the questions from journalists and lifelong fans it became abundantly clear as the conversation wrapped that none of the people in the room were ready for it to end. Check the photo above to take a look at the panel. Stay tuned for audio from 8 Million Stories: Hip-Hop In 1993, coming soon via NPR.