Donuts began simply enough as an idea to turn a particularly good demo beat tape into a full-length release, and has since became a classic hip-hop album, one of the defining works of the artist’s life. Completed during a year in which J Dilla spent mostly in a hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Donuts would gain particular poignancy when, only three days after it’s release, February 10, 2006, the artist passed away, losing his battle with a rare blood disease. Back late 2005 when Stones Throw was getting ready to release J Dilla’s Donuts, they made a casual decision to use a drawing for the cover of the 2LP vinyl release, rather than the standard cover photo of Dilla used for the other releases. But now here it is, better late than never: J Dilla’s classic album Donuts now released on vinyl with the smile on the cover. Cover & illustrations by Jeff Jank; photo of Dilla by Andrew Gura. Just a few months ago Stones Throw published a short back-story on the cover photo.
With the official follow-up to the classic "Operation Doomsday," MF Doom has hip hop heads foaming at the mouth. Cooked up with his special herbs and spices, get ready to devour "Mmm...Food," with the help in the kitchen from Count Bass D, Mr. Fantastik, and the good folks at Rhyme Sayers Entertainment.
Long Beach, Cali rapper Vince Staples debuted his seven-song EP, HELL CAN WAIT late last year. The release of HELL CAN WAIT followed Vince s 3-week, 13-city Paisley Summer Tour headlining stint, which wrapped up at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas. Vince has contributed tracks to dozens of today's hottest artists, including Earl Sweatshirt's first and second albums to Dilated Peoples' Directors Of Photography to Jhené Aiko's The Vapors (on her Sail Out debut, the biggest-selling EP in Def Jam history) and Common's latest album, Nobody's Smiling, on his single Kingdom, performed live by Common with Vince at his side on Jimmy Kimmel Live and at the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards. As Common stated in XXL, "He's cold on the mic... This dude can really rhyme. It made me want to write." With HELL CAN WAIT, Vince turned the microscope on himself and his family for some of hip-hop s most remarkable music. Ain't nothing realer than the truth, he explains. Ain't nothing better than the truth, like I really did all that. I really seen all that. I really been around that my whole life. Vince's debut album, Summertime 06, set to drop this summer, will be no different. Vince describes Summertime 2006 as the summer that started it all. He looks back in time to tell a story of how his budding career came to be; this album will provide insight into who Vince is and why he does what he does. The countdown to Summertime 06 is on!
3 x black 180g 12"s in artworked 3mm spined sleeves all housed in a rigid board outer slipcase. Half speed cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy Mastering. Includes 2 x 12" poster inserts featuring exclusive artwork by KC Woolf Haxton and story adaptation and calligraphy by Kenturah Davis. MP3 download code also enclosed. The story begins with a man on high. He is an old man, a warrior, and the guardian to the gates of a city. Two miles below his mountainous perch, he observes a dojo, where a group of young men train night and day. Eventually, the old man expects a challenger to emerge. He hopes for the day of his destruction, for this is the cycle of life. Finally the doors fly open and three young men burst forth to challenge the old master. The first man is quick, but not strong enough. The second is quick, and strong, but not wise enough. The third stands tall, and overtakes the master. The Changing of the Guard has at long last been achieved. But then the old man wakes up. He looks down at the dojo and realizes he’s been daydreaming. The dojo below exists, but everyone in training is yet a child. By the time they grow old enough to challenge the old man, he has disappeared. This is, in essence, both a true story and a carefully constructed musical daydream, one that will further unfold in May of 2015, in a brazen release from young Los Angeles jazz giant, composer, and bandleader Kamasi Washington. The Epic is unlike anything jazz has seen, and not just because it emanates from the boundary-defying Brainfeeder, which isn’t so much a label in the traditional sense as it is an unfurling experiment conducted by the underground producer Flying Lotus. The Epic is a 172-minute, three-volume set that includes a 32-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir, and 17 songs overlaid with a compositional score written by Washington. Pulsing underneath is an otherworldly ten-piece band, each member of which is individually regarded as among the best young musicians on the planet – including bassist Thundercat and his brother, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., bassist (yes, there are two) Miles Mosley, drummer Tony Austin (of course there are two), keyboard player Brandon Coleman, pianist Cameron Graves, and trombonist Ryan Porter. Patrice Quinn’s ethereal vocals round out the ensemble. The band are all from Los Angeles, mostly South Central, and its members – who call themselves variously “The Next Step” and the “The West Coast Get Down” – have been congregating since they were barely teenagers in a backyard shack in Inglewood. Washington, 32, has known Bruner since he was two. The rest met, at various stages, by the time they were in high school. The hours they have put into the music, playing together and practicing alone, total cumulatively in the tens of thousands. "Nothing compares to these guys," says Barbara Sealy, the former West Coast director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, who has championed Kamasi and his compatriots from the beginning. “I challenge any group to go out on stage with them and see if they can keep up with it... Kamasi is at the top of his game, and only getting better.” “These young guys,” the rapper Common says, “remind me of why I love music.” And the story The Epic tells, without words but rather through some combination of magic, mastery, and sheer force of imagination, is the story of Kamasi Washington and the Next Step and their collective mission: to remove jazz from the shelf of relics and make it new, unexpected, and dangerous again. They seek to both honour and alter tradition: as The Epic’s opening track announces, they are the “Changing of the Guard”. The sound can be felt like flames, sometimes waving in the coziness of a fireplace, in other moments sweeping everything around like a backdraft. But Kamasi is always in control of the burning. “He just plays the craziest shit, man. I mean, everything — the past, present, the future,” Flying Lotus says, whose family lineage includes one of Washington’s direct musical forebears, John Coltrane. “It's hard to find unique voices in this music. Especially in jazz, more so lately, everybody is trying to do the same shit. I don't want to hear ‘My Favorite Things’ anymore… What I am hearing is a leader among artists.”
Oddisee makes music that rattles in your bone marrow. It’s imbued with love, honesty, and selflessness. It’s virtuosic in its musicality, direct in its language, and infinitely relatable.In a landscape overrun with abstract indulgence and shallow trend-chasers, the Prince George’s County, Maryland artist has created 'The Good Fight', a record that reminds you that it’s music before it’s hip-hop. Released on Mello Music Group, it’s for the fans and for himself. It finds the musical heavyweight balancing between craft, career, and successfully growing into the world around him.For Oddisee, 'The Good Fight' is about living fully as a musician without succumbing to the traps of hedonism, avarice, and materialism. It’s about not selling out and shilling for a paycheck, while still being aware that this is a business requiring compromise and collaboration. It’s music that yields an intangible feeling: the sacral sound of an organ whine, brass horns, or a cymbal crash. It’s not necessarily the syllables, but rather what they evoke. A song like “That’s Love” is more than a declaration; it’s a meditation on our capacity to love and the bonds binding us together. Ambition and greed war with our sense of propriety. “Contradiction’s Maze” offers a list of paradoxes we all face (“I want to tell the truth when it hurts/but when it comes to me, I want the blow softened.”) Oddisee’s production simmers in its own orchestral gumbo. You sense he’s really a jazzman in different form, inhabiting the spirit of Roy Ayers and other past greats. The Fader’s compared him to a musical MC Escher, calling hailing his “grandiose and symphonic sound” and “relevant relatable messages.” Pitchfork praised his “eclectic soulful boom-bap.” 'The Good Fight' acknowledges the stacked odds, but refuses to submit. It’s both universal and personal. The child of a Sudanese immigrant highlights the rigors of his own upbringing: his pregnant mother working the register until she was about to burst, his pops’ shuttered diner that couldn’t survive Reaganomics—the one that Oddisee drives past every time he returns home, just to remind him how quickly the world can turn bad. It’s these minor details that add into something major. It’s testament to the indelible nature of art: when you can turn what you love into something that lasts.
Official vinyl release features deluxe packaging, printed inner sleeve and a die-cut jacket. J Dilla is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time, having supplied timeless soundbeds for the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village, The Pharcyde, Busta Rhymes, Common, De La Soul, The Roots, D’Angelo, Erykah Babu, Madlib, and many more. In 2005, rumors began circulating about an album called “”Jay Love Japan””, a J Dilla solo project inspired by one of Jay Dee’s favorite locations to visit on tour. After Dilla’s untimely death in early 2006, the album became a lost classic shrouded in mystery, with only unofficial bootlegs and promo versions available. An official CD version was eventually released in 2008, but quickly went out of print. Now, the album is finally receiving the official release it always deserved. J Dilla’s mother Ma Dukes and her label Vintage Vibez Music Group are proud to present official Vinyl and CD versions of “Jay Love Japan”. With six soulful Dilla instrumentals and vocal appearances from Blu, Miguel, J*Davey, Ta’Raach, Exile, Baatin, and more, this 11-track collection is a perfect snapshot of late-period J Dilla brilliance.
Released four years after its previous album, Hard to Earn, this album could be perceived as a comeback, with a newer, updated style of the group's already-established jazz-tinged hip-hop. The album is the group's most commercially successful album to date. The lead single, "You Know My Steez," became the duo's second Billboard Hot 100 appearnce in 1997. Continuing with it's Respect The Classics campaign, UMe will be reissuing this classic album back on vinyl for the first time in 15 years.
The Unseen, released in 2000, was among the new decade's first sleeper hits, ranking on Spin's year-end list at a time when the producer and label were unknown outside of hip-hop DJ circles. Few could have known that this, Madlib's solo debut, would be just the first album in a rich catalog of music spanning from hip-hop to jazz, with wild experimentation and collaborations with MF DOOM & J Dilla. The identity of Quasimoto himself was a bit of a mystery - maybe he was Madlib, maybe he wasn't. Maybe it's none of our business. In fact, Madlib created Quasimoto as someone to rap on his beats for his own private listening while living in Oxnard and Santa Barbara in the 1990s. The Unseen was born out of Peanut Butter Wolf's convincing Madlib to release these recordings for the rest of us to hear.
"Before we get this started, let me explain it. It's Ruff Draft. For my real niggaz only ... Sound like it's straight from the ma'fuckin' cassette! ... Let's do it." ...Thus begins Ruff Draft. These self-produced tracks make up one of the late J Dilla's least known works during his lifetime. Released on vinyl only in February 2003 this sought-after release was elusive and virtually unknown to the casual Dilla fan until Stones Throw's reissue in 2007. Recorded in the wake of a failed deal with major label, Dilla returned to solo recordings as a fiercely independent artist with Ruff Draft. The CD contains photos from this era and detailed liner notes by Ronnie Reese discussing Dilla's career in 2002 when Ruff Draft was recorded. Tracks on this disc were taken from J Dilla's original master tapes, where additional previously-unreleased tracks “Wild” and “Take Notice” were also discovered.
Experience the exceedingly rare genius of an MF DOOM live performance with these exclusive “straight from the soundboard” audio recordings. Broadcasting from an undisclosed location, this limited-edition vinyl pressing of “Live From Planet X” offers fans a chance to own the most comprehensive glance into Doom’s lengthy career available. Debuting under the alias Zev Love X, DOOM first graced the world of hip-hop on the 3rd Bass single “The Gas Face.” A couple years later Zev re-emerged alongside his younger brother DJ Subroc, in New York’s legendary KMD. The group’s first album Mr. Hood was released in 1991 on Elektra Records but KMD was quickly dropped from the record label when, in the wake of Subroc being killed by a car, they returned in ‘93 with an unflinching attitude and an album titled “Bl_ck B_st_rds”. Deeply affected by his brother’s tragic death, while also carrying a grudge against the industry that screwed him, Zev disappeared from the rap scene for five years. It wasn’t until 1999, that Zev suddenly reemerged, face masked, as MF DOOM with his 1999 solo debut and underground classic “Operation: Doomsday”. Since then DOOM has completely reinvented the indie-rap landscape with a string of offbeat projects under an array of monikers: Metal Fingers, Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, Monsta Island Czars, Madvillain, DangerDOOM, NehruivanDOOM, and more. “Live From Planet X” includes over 50 minutes of live recordings spanning Operation Doomsday, Madvillain, MM...Food?, and more.
Good Things marks a shift in methodology from personal to political for Aloe, who refers to the project as his report on present conditions—joblessness, homeless, the misappropriation of wealth, pillaging of resources, and a universal lack of compassion from the capitalism at-large under which we all function, but some struggle to survive. Song titles such as "You Make Me Smile" and "Miss Fortune," coupled with airy, ethereal production from Truth & Soul's Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman mask a foreboding undercurrent in which Aloe crafts lyrics both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Nowhere is this more evident than on lead single, "I Need a Dollar"—commissioned by HBO as the theme music for the series How to Make It in America—because ultimately, that is how to make it in America. The first-generation American offspring of Panamanian parents, Aloe has become what writer and activist Amiri Baraka (nee Leroi Jones) once said of John Coltrane. He is a singular "scope of feeling...a more fixed traveler" who has found cohesion in art and life. The path from his 2006 debut, the multi-genre Shine Through, to Good Things is akin to the maturation of Marvin Gaye between That's the Way Love Is and the What's Going On masterwork that followed. Aloe has never purported to be any heir to Gaye, but musically, Good Things and What's Going On are companion pieces as both albums establish a character for the artists that sets them apart from the sea of performers making very vivid and discernible—yet normative and conformist—statements about who they are and what they do. Good Things is a definitive declaration that places Aloe directly in the framework of modern soul. At the heart of this musical character is a recession-age Robin Hood, whose goal is to sell and profit from his wares with hope of freeing the less fortunate from the capitalist system that serves as both their oppressor and his motivation. A 2001 graduate of the University of Southern California, Aloe credits a myriad of influences—transcendentalist scholars Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, French existentialism, Oprah Winfrey, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West—with leading him from the inner streams of consciousness he possessed as an MC early in his career, to a more disciplined approach to songwriting, and now, the desire to affect change and induce compassion by way of his own success. It is his grand scheme, which, not coincidentally, is also the name of his backing band (The Grand Scheme). The key is compromise and understanding the power of popular art. Aloe is willing to put the gloves on and engage in the marketplace. Good things lie ahead.
PayJay Productions, Inc. was the company James Dewitt “J Dilla” Yancey founded in 2001 to house his production company and his publishing company. The Estate of James Yancey has revived PayJay as a functioning imprint, and announced the release of J Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary. The tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla’s passing in 2006. Many were mixed by Dilla himself. Those that weren't have been mixed by engineer Dave Cooley, who worked extensively with Dilla during his years in Los Angeles. Using Dilla’s original demo mixes as his guide, Cooley attempted to finalize Dilla’s vision for these tracks, while keeping all of the elements that Dilla had in place in his original demos present. The Diary is an album of vocal performances recorded between in the early 2000s over production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. The Record Store Day vinyl issue of The Diary includes a special 7” pressing of The Ex that will only be found on the RSD issue of the LP.
Liquid Swords is the second solo studio album from Wu-Tang Clan member GZA. Upon its initial release, Liquid Swords received critical acclaim for its complex lyricism and hypnotic musical style. Over the years, its recognition has grown, with a number of famous publishers proclaiming it as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Continuing with its Respect The Classics campaign, UMe will be reissuing the classic back on standard weight vinyl for its 20th anniversary.
“Wondering how I got this high, fell asleep, and forgot to die,” raps Mac Miller on “Weekend.” GO:OD AM represents a reawakening for the rapper, who, after struggling with temptation and addiction, emerges with clear eyes and a stronger focus. He slays bars with impunity on “Break the Law” and “Clubhouse.” He imparts the value of experiences and repercussions on “Brand Name” and “100 Grandkids.” GO:OD AM is like a late-night conversation with the MC—all the crazy stories, deep thoughts, and laughs—reminding us that whatever happens in life, the sun will come out tomorrow.
Forever a wildcat and wild card, Los Angeles' bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, is impossible to tame artistically. A true master of his craft, he can be found playing bass with Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu and Suicidal Tendencies, in the same breath as performing live with the likes of Stanley Clarke, Snoop Dogg or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His 2011 solo debut (The Golden Age of Apocalypse, co-produced by Flying Lotus) created an equally genre-blurring enigma of indie rock and jazz, with a touch of electronica. On his second album, Apocalypse, Thundercat pairs up with executive producer Flying Lotus to pull the veil back and reveal the simple truths of the cycle of life, for all its beauty and destruction. An album about loss and rebuilding, trying to gain something back, and capturing that moment of clarity where one finally finds feet back on the ground again. Bringing a fusion of pop, soul, electronica, prog rock and funk into an unexplored dimension, the album slowly descends and tunnels to the core of what it takes to grasp peace, at a time that it seems most far. From the deep, rumbling entrance of 'Tenfold,' each of the 12 tracks coalesce with Thundercat's signature bass, his riffs and basslines gliding sky high to meet Fly Lo's astral touch. Bruner's vocals and harmonies also soar with open honesty, rising above heartbreak with uplifting odes to love and companionship ('Tron Song') and wise mantras to live by ('Special Stage'). The album plays as a comedy and tragedy at the same time, delicately addressing tracks like 'We'll Die' while bringing the all-out cosmic funk of the anthemic 'Oh Sheit, it's X.' As heavy as the lyrical weight may be, the divine musicality of Flying Lotus, and Thundercat's instrumental collaborations, brings light. Navigating dense rhythms and intense harmonic progressions, the LP pushes through the hypnotic strands of 'The Life Aquatic,' the analogue explorations of 'Lotus & The Jondy' (recorded in Adrian Younge's studio with drummer Thomas Pridgen), and Thundercat and Lotus' prog rock jam 'Seven,' a spontaneous improv recording that organically materialized in less than an hour. It's no wonder the kindred pair often refer to their freeform sessions as "going to space." Continually pushing tracks to their furthest point, they take the listener to another place completely - somewhere beyond time, a place that transcends this realm. As the aforementioned track 'Seven' (named for its challenging time signature) asks, "Can you hear the sounds of infinity?"
Released back in 2003, Take Me To Your Leader is arguably the most cinematic of MF DOOM’s albums from this period: entirely produced by him, it’s all dramatic strings, skyscraping samples and reflections on earth from Geedorah’s “alien perspective on humans. Reissue limited to 500 copies. Digital download included.
An original member of New York’s new-school pioneers the Ultramagnetic MCs, Keith Thornton is best known as a solo rapper. His signature style is stream-of-consciousness lyrical flow and complex vocals, two skills that earn him a perennial nod from the underground hip-hop community. The average Kool Keith album is peppered with bizarre, disjointed, even delusional or disassociated themes, concepts, and references. Nearly all of his albums incorporate a satirical dislike for more commercialized strains of hip-hop, as well as major record label scams. After single-handedly redefining "warped" as the mind and mouth behind the Bronx-based Ultramagnetic MC's, "Kool" Keith Thornton - aka Rhythm X, aka Dr. Octagon, aka Dr. Dooom, aka Mr. Gerbik - headed for the outer reaches of the stratosphere with a variety of solo projects. A onetime psychiatric patient at Bellevue, Keith's lyrical thematics remained as free-flowing here as they ever were with the N.Y. trio, connecting up complex meters with fierce, layers-deep metaphors and veiled criticisms of those who "water down the sound that comes from the ghetto." His own debut single, "Earth People" by Dr. Octagon, was quietly released in late 1995 on the San Francisco-based Bulk Recordings, and the track spread like wildfire through the hip-hop underground, as did the subsequent Dr. Octagonecologyst full-length released the following year. Featuring internationally renowned DJ Q-Bert (of Invisibl Skratch Piklz) on turntables, as well as Dan the Automator and DJ Shadow behind the boards, Dr. Octagon's left-field fusion of sound collage, fierce turntable work, and bizarre, impressionistic rapping found audiences in the most unlikely of places, from hardcore hip-hop heads to jaded rock critics. Although a somewhat sophomoric preoccupation with body parts and scatology tended to dominate the album, Keith's complex weave of associations and shifting references is quite often amazing in its intricacy. Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will continue its Respect the Classics tribute to many of hip-hop’s finest with the vinyl reissue of Dr. Octagon's underground masterwork Dr. Octagonecologyst with a trippy 3D lenticular cover that appears to suck you right into Dr. Octagon’s crazed world.
Triple vinyl LP pressing. 2010 release from 14-time Grammy-winning producer, writer and performer Kanye West. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy includes Nikki Minaj, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on the smash street single "Monster" and Pusha T on "Runaway" which received the Best New Music stamp from Pitchfork. Other guests include Kid Cudi and Raekwon and contributing producers include RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip. The album was recorded in Honolulu and at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in New York City.
Respect The Classics is proud to present the cassette reissue of Eminem's classic Interscope/Aftermath debut album, "The Slim Shady LP". The Slim Shady LP transformed Eminem from an unknown rapper into a high-profile celebrity and was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Continuing with its Respect The Classics campaign, UMe has reissued this classic on a translucent purple cassette and given it a removable 3D cover that doubles as a sticker.
Until December last year music was simply a hobby for Alex Crossan, aka Mura Masa. He may have had 7 million plays and 30,000 followers on Soundcloud but the 18 year old Channel Islander had never played his music live, DJ’d or even been to a gig himself. He had just started an English degree at Sussex University and was happy playing guitar and bass in function bands. It was an email from Jakarta Records that changed everything. The Cologne-based label (previously home to Kaytranada, Iamnobodi and Sango) felt Mura Masa’s mixtape ‘Soundtrack To A Death’ was too good to sit on Soundcloud and persuaded him to release it with them. The following 3 months were a whirlwind, with 30 spins on Radio 1, a sold out debut show & a top 5 position on the itunes electronic chart in the UK and US. At one point Mura Masa had 4 tracks in the HypeMachine top 50 and remix requests from Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, RL Grime and iLoveMakonnen in his inbox, whilst still juggling his degree. So as Mura Masa prepares for his first official EP release the stakes are very different and he has upped his game accordingly. As well as the sampling for which he known, Mura Masa plays live piano, guitar, drums and even sings on Someday Somewhere. He is keen to show that he is a musician and songwriter as well as a beat-maker and has called on new friends Nao, Denai Moore and Jay Prince to feature on tracks. Paul Epworth (Producer for Bloc Party, Adele, Santogold): “That 18 year old is taking over the world right now and he’s just delivering the most deeply textured music around, we have got such a talent on our hands in the form of Mura Masa and i think the UK has finally got our very own Kaytranada and it’s not beyond him to overtake that, so good, ridiculous....”
As part of the Ohnomite experience Oh No and the crew at Five Day Weekend have dreamed up something out of the ordinary. A special 5" vinyl offering of '3 Dollar' from the above mentioned full length. The A Side contains the full version of '3 Dollars' featuring MF Doom. On the B Side you'll find the instrumental version of '3 Dollars'. This one is guaranteed to be as collectable as it is unique.
Limited Edition of 500 Copies on black-white-marbled wax! With special printed brand new cover artwork by Georgia Anne Muldrow! For the first time this KanKick classic is finally available on Vinyl! Heavy 2LP press!
The fourth release on Austin Boogie Crew Records is one we couldn’t be more excited to roll out: an undeniable 45 from none other than Starship Connection! Representing San Francisco, Starship members B.Bravo & Teeko have been leading the scene for years with their unique brand of modern and hiphop infused funk. With their first appearance on ABC, the duo offers two complimentary jams... A: “Heartbreaker” (105 BPM) An amazing modern funk cover of the Zapp & Roger original. Driven by talkbox harmonies, cracking drums, thumping bass, and slick halftime break downs, Starship puts their signature twist on a classic. B: “Do It 4 U” (102 BPM) A sweet and sultry midtempo stepper exclusive to this 45! The duo chills things out on this one, offering declarations of love and devotion on the talkbox over a killer groove.
"Rock creek park is & has always been one of my favorite places in Washington, DC. It has a way of aging with you & adapting to where you are in life. When I was younger, it was a place for skipping rocks, bike rides & imaginary adventures in the woods. As a teen it was a place where I played basket ball, had cook outs with friends & walked through with dates. As an adult it's my short cut through the city, my quickest way from Silver Spring to George Town. One thing it still is and always well be is my retreat. Listening to the Black Byrd's "Rock Creek Park" inspired me to create an entire album around the park & my relationship with it. If the park were to have a soundtrack, what would it be? What does walking along the trails of the park sound like? What does driving on the narrow tree lined roads sound like? This album is my interpretation of Rock Creek Park through break beats, samples & live instrumentation."
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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