donderdag 24 maart 2011

Celluloid & The European Connection

In the summer of 1982, the Wheels of Steel parties started at the Roxy. As these parties started getting popular people like journalist Bernard Zekri and Jean Karakos from the french label Celluloid would come and connect with Afrika Bambaata and his Zulu crew. This way the New York City Rap Tour emerged; the first tour of France and the UK. In June 1982, 'Planet Rock' was released and at the end of that year the first international Roxy tour visited France and the UK. Bambaataa organized this very first European hip hop tour. Along with himself were rapper and graffiti artist Rammellzee, Zulu Nation DJ Grand Mixer DXT (formerly Grand Mixer D.St), B-boy and B-girl crews the Rock Steady Crew, and the Double Dutch Girls, as well as graffiti artists Fab 5 Freddy, PHASE 2, Futura 2000, and Dondi. The Rock Steady Crew were immediately signed to UK based label Charisma Virgin and had their pop chart success with ‘Hey You, The Rock Steady Crew’.

Most artists on this rap tour were got released on Celluloid. Celluloid already had a business relationship with Michael Zilkha and Michael Esteban's No Wave label Ze Records for distributing the new No Wave music. All these connections led to the idea to start exploiting the emerging Downtown meets Uptown scene. Releases like B-Side with Fab 5 Freddy ('Change the Beat'), Futura 2000 ('Escapades of Futura 2000', produced by the Clash when they were in town) and Phase2 ('The Roxy'). Most of the hip hop productions were done by the group Material, whose prime mover Bill Laswell would play an increasing role in the label's fortunes for the next five years.
Afrika Bambaataa began working with Bill Laswell and at Celluloid he developed and placed two groups: Time Zone and Shango. He recorded "Wildstyle" with Time Zone, and he recorded a collaboration with punk-rocker John Lydon and Time Zone in 1984, titled "World Destruction". Shango's album, "Shango Funk Theology", was released by the label in 1984. That same year, Bambaataa and other hip hop celebrities appeared in the movie Beat Street, signalling the end of the period.

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