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Beats and Rhymes

In honor of Molly Ringwald, I hollered at my man DJ Z-Trip this month for a little conversation on Anthony Michael Hall's favorite decade.
Κείμενο Fritz The Cat

Public Enemy

The Clash

Eric B. and Rakim

Run-DMC and Beastie Boys

In honor of Molly Ringwald, I hollered at my man DJ Z-Trip this month for a little conversation on Anthony Michael Hall’s favorite decade…

VICE: What are your best 80s memories?


: Twisted Sister, hearing KRS-One for the first time, Rubik’s Cubes, John Hughes movies, getting my first blowjob, Max Headroom, the miniseries V, seeing Randy Rhoads play with Ozzy before he died, and listening/taping Mr. Magic and Marley Marl on WBLS or Red Alert on Kiss FM in New York while working out sketches in my piece book. That’s when Run-DMC sounded fresh and DJs still came before MCs in their titles—Eric B. and Rakim, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5. That’s when shit meant a lot more, to me, to everybody.


Hip hop basically “grew up” in the 80s alongside our generation. How do you think the culture of the decade affected hip hop and vice versa?

At a time when nothing was really bringing younger people together, the hip hop movement in the 80s bonded people like glue—we were in this shit together. It was a movement that people all over the world were getting turned on to through 12”s and mix tapes and word of mouth. No matter where you were, if you were in the streets doing street shit, you were bound to know what time it was. It brought people together who had the same agenda, but I think the culture of the 80s turned it quickly into a money maker and that’s where we started to lose our innocence.

It was the best time for hip hop and heavy metal but the sad thing is, that innocence is gone. The music and culture we have now is very predictable.

Looking back, what are the biggest lessons to be learned from the 80s?

Don’t peg your pants. And tucking in your shirt—back then it was acceptable, today it’s super wack.

In the 80s hip hop had to fight for respect; not so much anymore. With the 80s making a comeback, will hip hop embrace 80s music?

I think it always has. The songs people were coming out with at the time worked well enough that you could throw them in as fast as you heard them, like DJ Cash Money and Marvelous using Tears for Fears on their album. Shit, that was brand-new at the time.


How has the music of the 80s affected your styles of DJing and production?

It worked well back then because there were no rules. People were experimenting all over the place and everyone had a new sound. That’s what drew me to it in the first place. The fact that it’s not like that as much today is what pushes me to sound as different as possible. Public Enemy is a good example. They stood out to me at the time because nobody was making music like that at all. Now, most things sound the same to me in hip hop. A lot of it has lost its edge. Thank God for the few who still push boundaries. But sad to say, there aren’t many left who do that anymore.

Send VINYL, friendship bracelets, legwarmers and cocaine to: Fritz tha Cat, c/o VICE, 383 Queen St. W., Toronto ON, M5V 2A5. New e-mail:

Z-Trip’s Top Nine 80s Records

1. Eric B. and Rakim - Paid In Full 2. Run-DMC - Raising Hell 3. AC/DC - Flick of the Switch 4. The Clash - Combat Rock 5. Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush The Show 6. J. Geils Band - Freeze Frame 7. Steady B. - Bring the Beat Back 8. Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill 9. Metallica - Ride the Lightning

Honorable Mentions: Newcleus - Jam On It; Prince - Purple Rain; Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry; Van Halen - 1984; Michael Jackson - Thriller; ZZ Top - Eliminator; Stetsasonic - On Fire; Art of Noise - Into Battle With…