“Ill-Waukee” Chronicles Early Milwaukee Hip Hop

There are many eras to Milwaukee’s music history that, before the permanent record of the internet, are at risk of being lost forever due to limited availability of original source materials. For a long time, the early hip hop scene looked like it may fall victim to that fate, until former rapper and member of Prime Time Darrell D put out a documentary via YouTube, “Ill-Waukee: The Story Of Milwaukee Rap 1986-1991”, that is definitely recommended viewing.

The video is essentially an oral history of a pivotal time for hip hop nationwide, but focused on the underrepresented Milwaukee scene. From the perspective of several different prominent figures at the time, including local legends like Doctor B and Too Tuff Tony, “Ill-Waukee” takes a thorough look at the city’s primitive hip hop beginnings. From stories of battles at Fiesta Mexicana, to early footage from local public access station MATA, this is a nearly two-hour history lesson about the roots of Milwaukee hip hop.

Some of the most fascinating accounts involve the early production of records in the city, when artists were pressing short runs of vinyl with one song on each side, and consigning with local record shops to make their music discoverable. It really is a time capsule of music in Milwaukee as a whole, but told from perspectives that were often unheard. Make sure you carve out some time to do the Burger Bounce and check out the documentary below:

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