The 1980s was a golden age in hip-hop. On the East Coast, you had Run-DMC and LL Cool J running things with the help of the legendary Rick Rubin. On the West Coast, you were getting the emergence of Gangsta rap with Ice-T and N.W.A. However, acts were emerging all over America, such as the Geto Boys in Houston and various Chicago rappers on the rise. The genre achieved many incredible feats during the decade, and many boundaries got broken.
The Sugarhill Gang just managed to enter the Billboard Top 40 with their anthemic ‘Rapper’s Delight’, and other acts, such as Kurtis Blow, began signing major label record deals. The 1980s saw the genre finally find its legs.
With the release of ‘The Message’ in the early ’80s, the genre began to become more political, and with figures such as Public Enemy’s Chuck D and KRS-One spearheading this shift towards more socially conscious music, the establishment and political institutions began to pay more attention to hip-hop.
Aside from institutions, brands and companies started to invest in rap groups, with Adidas beginning a partnership with Run-DMC. The epic Queens trio’s third album, Raising Hell, even sold over one million units making it the first rap project to get certified platinum.
The dynamism of hip-hop during the 1980s will forever remain unmatched. However, one artist achieved the impossible and successfully sold over one million copies of his single, landing a platinum-selling single. During the late-’80s, an underground West Coast rapper gained traction as N.W.A. dissipated behind the scenes.
Born and raised in LA, Tone Loc (real name Anthony Smith) was signed to the independent label Delicious Vinyl before the turn of the decade and, while on the label, released his debut album, Lōc-ed After Dark, which would end up boasting two massive anthems.
‘Funky Cold Medina’ is one of Smith’s most well-known. However, another hit from Lōc-ed After Dark was ‘I Got It Goin’ On.’ Produced by Matt Dike and Michael Ross, the catchy track sampled Van Halen’s ‘Jamie’s Cryin’.
With an infectious chorus, the single peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over one million copies, making it the first hip-hop song to be certified platinum. It was certified by the RIAA in 1989. You can hear ‘Wild Thing’ in the video below.