In 1988, KRS-One, leader of the rap group Boogie Down Productions, put together an all-star anti-black-on-black-violence track called “Self Destruction,” featuring such hip-hop luminaries as Public Enemy, Kool Moe Dee and MC Lyte. In the wake of that song’s success, KRS-One launched a solo worldwide tour, which brought him to Compton, California, this week in 1989.
“I heard a whole lot about Compton,” KRS-One said. ” ‘Oh Compton’s this, Compton’s that, the shooting, the killing, the stabbing and robbing,’ so we said, ‘Well, that’s the place we need to go.’ We did the concert. About 4,000 kids showed up, all gang members and not one spec of violence, not even an argument.”
The MC’s concerns weren’t limited to black-on-black violence, however. He reacted strongly to the racially motivated slaying of a 16-year-old black youth by a white gang in Brooklyn, New York, that had occurred one week earlier.
“It didn’t shock me at all,” he said. “It’s going on right now. It’s been going on. It will continue to go on and it’s all because we’re not learning how to live with each other, we’re not being taught basic how-to-live laws.”
Boogie Down Productions’ recently released album Ghetto Music: Blueprint of Hip Hop was an appeal to people to question authority, whether that be the bible or the local police officer, but KRS-One’s strongest concern was still awareness.
“Educate yourself,” he said, “because this society is geared to have us hate each other. The longer we hate each other the more we can’t come together as humanity and look at the knuckleheads screwing it up for everybody.”
Mötley Crüe were back in the racks this week in 1989 with their album Dr. Feelgood.
“We recorded it in Vancouver,” bassist Nikki Sixx said. “We moved to Vancouver to get away from the hustle of Los Angeles. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done. You know there’s a lot of real sexy stuff on this new album: ‘Dr. Feelgood,’ ‘Rattlesnake Shake,’ ‘Slice of Your Pie,’ ‘She Goes Down.’ Some of it’s borderline pornography but it’s tongue-in-cheek and it’s fun.”
It seemed important to Sixx that his band, often known more for its prodigious use of hairspray, makeup and spandex than its music, be taken more seriously this time around.
“We tried to press down the myth that Mötley Crüe is an image band,” Sixx said. “We don’t want people to look at us as an image, at all. Joe Cocker didn’t care what he looked like. He cared about the way he sang with pure emotion. Ike and Tina Turner and the Rolling Stones in the ’60s, that was real music. That’s what we’re trying to get back to. We don’t want anybody to even acknowledge that we have an image, just acknowledge the music.”
The Ramones found a replacement for their bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, who had recently left the band, back in ’89 and wanted everyone to meet him.
“This is C.J.,” drummer Marky Ramone said. “This is our new bass player and we’ve been wanting a new bass player for a while already and this is the guy and he’s gonna be on our tour promoting our Brain Drain European tour with us, in Germany, England, South America, and the Ritz shows and we’re gonna come back and do a big American tour, and you’ll be seeing us a lot more now with C.J. See ya later.”
(Dee Dee Ramone died on June 5, 2002 of an apparent accidental drug overdose).
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