While Wikipedia says that old school hip-hop was over by 1985, 30 years hence it’s probably okay to look back at something slightly fresher without considering it “new school.” That’s why when looking through these blogs that proudly carry the torch for the classics, you may run into some less than truly old school music and images. But whatever you’re hearing nowadays, this all helped set the foundation:
They not only own the “OldSchoolHipHop” domain, but this site is dedicated to nothing before 1986. Not religiously updated, it’s still an invaluable archive with lists and bios of MC’s, DJ’s and B-Boys. There is also a message board that is minorly active if you need an old school question answered, and nearly 200 bootleg recordings. Though, this is pretty much all East Coast. So if you’re looking for West…
Many of the names and faces on this site you may not know, but it’s what was happening on the other side of the country as hip hop blew up on the East Coast. Check it to see Dr. Dre back in 1983, three years before N.W.A., wearing a shiny red outfit that may possibly blind you.
This place hasn’t been updated for two years but before it went dark, it was plastered with scores of pictures, gifs and videos from the 80s and 90s. There is a lot of 2Pac, Wu and Snoop with the occasional pic of LL Cool J, Tribe Called Quest or Kid and Play. They’re unlikely still taking the requests they mention on the sidebar, and even if they are, they have one caveat: “Please don’t ask for any Drake.”
This is not the flashiest page, but there are links to things that you probably can’t find anywhere else. With recordings that go as early as 1977, and digging deep into some truly DIY tapes and live shows, this shows the first roots of hip hop. There are a lot of broken links but Dutch, the guy who runs it, has his email posted and seems like a nice enough guy; if you’re itching for something isn’t up anymore, he’ll probably come through.
The site itself is very solid, being a place to find that MC only you thought you knew about, or that one near legendary DJ who never got their break. But it also is part of the Philaflava hip-hop digital compound, which means it is also part of the Philaflava forums, which means if you have any opinion on hip-hop, or want to see what the true diehards of the scene are willing to go to battle over, you need to go there immediately.