Über Peter Wolf
Some might think it an odd distinction, but give or take his Boston homeboy Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, no rock star in the '70s anticipated rap music as thoroughly as Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band. Like Tyler, his verbose tongue-twisting was clearly schooled in the funk and blues that formed the foundation of Geils' boogie rock. But Wolf's style was equally indebted to the jive-talking disc jockeys who dominated much of rock 'n' roll radio in the '50s and '60s. Born in 1946 in the Bronx, he was just the right age for them. So it's no surprise that his own entry in the music world was as a DJ, for Boston's underground FM rock station WBCN. Before long he took his microphone skills to the stage, first in a local band called the Hallucinations and then in the Geils Band, whose initial regional popularity expanded through the '70s, eventually climaxing with 1981's chart-topping Freeze-Frame before they imploded. Three years later, on his first solo album, Wolf made his hip-hop connection explicit by teaming up with electro-funk producer Michael Jonzun of the Jonzun Crew. He has released several more solo albums since, increasingly adopting a more adult alternative aesthetic.