5 Things From Old School Hip-Hop That Have All But Disappeared

All that scratching is making us itch.

You need this stuff in your life. If you missed it the first time around, keep the faith... it'll be back. Except maybe cassettes. 


1. Boomboxes.

Double cassette, ideally, so you could rip all your friends' music. Equalizer that nobody EVER knew how to use. 

If you were a badass, you had 10 different antennas coming off the thing and you spray painted it with your and your crew's tag(s). They usually took about 25 D batteries and weighed a hundred pounds, which is why they were carried on your shoulder.

2. Double Dutch.

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We don't think it was ever really out West, but in NYC in the early '80s, Double Dutch — team jump roping with two ropes — was crazy hot: the equivalent of dance battles, but usually girls-only. 

Here's what you might not know:

One of the first hip-hop singles that was used in both Double Dutch and break dance battles was "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith. Frankie Smith was the guy who made "izzle" slang a thing. Listen to the song if you don't believe us and get your history straight.

The video was one of the very first to feature Double Dutch girls. It was later sampled by West Coast rappers AMG in their song, "Tha Booty Up." 

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Almost every team had their own uniform and color scheme and as the New York summers got hotter and hotter, the competitions got fiercer and fiercer.

Double Dutch also saw popular recognition when Malcolm McClaren released his 1983 album "Duck Rock" which featured some of New York's hottest radio DJs and rappers. The video also featured teams from all over the 5 boroughs. "Buffalo Gals," a song on the album that helped popularize Double Dutch, was sampled by Eminem in his song "Without Me."

3. Crews.

Used to be that every breaking crew looked like a crew. It wasn't a gang thing, necessarily. Just everybody wore the same colors and basic  gear. When squads would go up against each other it clearly separated everyone.  

The above scene from "Beat Street" represents all that.

Check out this early pic of Crazy Legs and some original members of the Bronx's Rock Steady Crew.

Those shirts.

4. Parachute pants...

You know how hard it is to find a good picture of someone in parachute pants?

For those of you who missed the glory of the early 1980s, parachute pants were shiny, fairly tight, nylon pants with zippered pockets: usually two in the back, and then two on one leg and one on the other leg (it was the '80s, okay?). They also had zippers at the ankle. 

The most popular versions were made by a company called Bugle Boy, which some might argue helped secure the term "B-Boy" in the early Hip-Hop scene. They cost about $30.00, which seemed like a fortune at the time.

... And more.

Sleeveless shirts (homemade or otherwise). Fingerless gloves (made it easier to handspin, though some people would put down a piece of paper). Pork pie hats. By the mid-80s, Adidas everything. And huge pieces of cardboard to use as portable dance floors.

5. D.J.s with actual turntables.

Grandmaster Flash.

Turntabilism was a skill and a talent unto itself. The video below summarizes just about all of it.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.

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