We use to say “back in the days, hiphop was hiphop because all elements were combined”. It was true, it used to be graffiti, breakdance, DJing, rap, battles… And on the side, you had basketball which was loved by many hiphop headz, and it was conversation topic different from the routine of a B.Boy. And at the end of 90’s, AND1 was born!
No wonder someone had the great idea to do videos of basketball, with a DJ scratching the hottest hiphop tracks at the time. the man who had this idea is DJ Set free, much props to him! This man, raised in Philadelphia had a dope concept, and his videos were a classic during b.boys parties… I mean, basketball and pure hiphop, how could it have gone wrong?
The first mixtape came out in 1999 (as the name of “skip tape”) and it sold 100 000 units, which is an impressive score for a first release. Impact of this mixtape? Replace yourself in 1999, Michael Jordan just retired, and some as Q-Tip (yeah, Q-tip) were (already) saying : “Hiphop is dead” (link: http://www.okayplayer.com/interviews/q_tip-no-time-for-hibernation-only-elation-200811136822.html). But what is And1 exactly? And1 gathers all the streeball players, the best ones, such as Skip to my Lou, The Professor, Hot Sauce, or Star Bury, just to name a few.
Well, all this guys were very talented at streetbasketball, and made stuff such as doing a dunk over antoher (see Anthony Heywards), this is where Hihpop and Basketball are smiilar to me : donig alway more and more impressive stuff, always try to upgrade your skills and reach the respect. Guys like Skip 2 my Lou made their way to NBA because of the skills they shown during AND1. No surprise the And1 mixtapes came out when you think of it…
As well, AND1 helped both cultures a lot, indeed, as I said Jordan was retiring, and people were seeing Hiphop declining… but with this kind of videos, people took basketball to another level, and it popularized it a lot! As well, You had a lot of Mos Def, and the whole Rawkus movement actually, on those mixtapes. And we all know how good Rawkus used to be, Thanks to AND1, rappers of this pure tradition had a large visibility, and while Basketball was helping Hiphop (visibility), Hihhop was helping Basketball… How many kids strated basketball cause they were hiphop fans? Quite a few, no doubt…
On the first mixtape, you had Common, GZA, Sadat X, Prince Paul, Xzibit Mos Def, and Dyme. Regarding DJ’s, an intro made by Sway and King Tech feat. DJ Revolution (it’s not a mixed intro or anything, even if you can see Revolution’s name). Classic mixtape right here!
Before we leave for this week, Let’s not forget to mention that AND1 is the name of a shoes company too! founded in 1993 by Seth Berger and Tom Austin, it’s not related to Hiphop, but as some sneakers addict read us, we couldn’t forget this point!