Whether it’s Hip Hop, its face pointed reverentially to the Old School, or House stealing Disco riffs by the truck load, people are increasingly intrigued by back-in-the-day. And common to both the aforementioned scenes and much more is one person, Arthur Russell, a man some regard as the best songwriter of the 20th century. In 1981 Arthur set up Sleeping Bag Records with Will Socolov. The first release was the album “24-24 Music” as Dinosaur L. If you’re wondering about the name it would appear Arthur would often use the names of extinct or near-extinct animals. On one production credit he’s “Killer Whale, whilst the logo for Sleeping Bag is a Koala bear! Will remembers how they came up with the name for their label. “We were joking about names, and James Brown was on with “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and I was sleeping in a sleeping bag in my apartment and I kind of made a joke about that, and Arthur said that was a great idea for the name of the company!” The line up was pretty much the same as the Loose Joints sessions, (which boasted the Ingram Brothers rhythm section) and a similar stream-of-conscience approach was taken with the recording itself. Russell arranged the beats so there’d be a change every 24 bars (hence the title) and the band would have to improvise the songs over the top. He also made sure he went into the studio when there was a full moon! The album is again very experimental, and makes occasional uneasy listening but the same magic is very much in evidence. Arthur would continue to be involved in production and mixing duties for the label, but parted company with Socolov in 1985. Arthur sadly died of AIDS in 1992 leaving behind many songs; as one obituary put it, it was though he simply vanished into his music.
Remastered from the original tapes and pressed on loud double vinyl. Includes 18" X 24" poster illustrated by cover artist Dr. Revolt. Hot of the success of Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, producer extraordinaire Ski was on fire when he flipped Dynasty's "Adventures In The Land of Music" for Camp Lo's breakout 1996 smash single "Luchini aka This Is It". The same year saw Camp Lo opening shows for De La Soul during their Stakes is High tour. Combine that with the fact that Ish aka Butterfly from Digable Planets had cosigned for the group's reputation and would appear on of the tracks (in addition to Trugoy from De La), there became a huge buzz around their debut album Uptown Saturday Night. Fast forward a few months to January 1997 and the heavily anticipated release of Camp Lo's first record, which did not disappoint. It struck the perfect balance between club tracks and underground bangers for the mixtape crowd. Critically acclaimed and fan approved, this late 90s must-have was complimented by the incredible cover art illustrated by legendary NYC graffiti artist Dr. Revolt that paid homage to Marvin Gaye's 1976 classic I Want You. It's hard to believe in the time of Puffy's heyday, Camp Lo had developed and delivered a style of Hip Hop that was not only fresh and creative, but also straight up dope. Flipping intricate rhyme styles over some of Rap's finer beats, the fact that Camp Lo got main stream radio play and love from big time club DJ's is a testament to the essence of what Hip Hop was once about: raw talent and originality!
After breaking out of the Bay Area underground scene in the early 90s Del The Funky Homosapien made a radical turn with his sophomore release, 93's "No Need For Alarm." Casting aside the familiar G-funk vibe of his debut, perhaps as "No Need" was produced without the involvement of his cousin Ice Cube, he moved into a jazzier - some would say more East Coast direction on this project. The verbal content on "No Need" shifted as well, moving away from comic interludes and towards a focus on battle raps. "No Need For Alarm" was produced with his Oakland based Hieroglyphics Crew with Domino, A-Plus and Casual all contributing beats making the record one of the three "Hiero Golden Age" releases (along with Souls of Mischief's "'93 til Infinity" and Casual's "Fear Itself").
KMD (Kausing Much Damage, or a positive Kause in a Much Damaged society) was a Hip Hop group in the early 90s perhaps best known for launching the career of acclaimed MC/Producer MF Doom (known during his KMD tenure as Zev Love X). After guesting on 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face,” the trio (Zev, brother Subroc, and Onyx) released the acclaimed and overlooked “Mr. Hood” full-length. Their political outlook was similar to the group Brand Nubian, who guested on Hood; however, the style was more comical and included a great deal of clips from old children’s recordings, mostly notably a sample of the Sesame Street character Bert on the single “Who Me?” This is the official Elektra Records/Traffic Entertainment Group re-release with original artwork and track listing in it’s entirety. Cutting edge, ahead of it’s time production and skits from KMD and Stimulated Dummies (John Gamble and Mr. Dante Ross). Features the singles “Peachfuzz”, “Who Me?” and “Nitty Gritty” (feat. Brand Nubian). This is one Rap album that is not to be missed.
In listing the greatest albums in hip-hop history, one title never seems to stray from the upper echelons, no matter how many years pass: Boogie Down Productions' undisputed classic from 1986, Criminal Minded. Released amidst a battle between BDP and MC Shan that would redefine the New York rap landscape as it was then known, the album, which features the songs "South Bronx," "Criminal Minded" and "The Bridge is Over," captures the excitement, urgency and raw power that embodies hip-hop culture as we know it, with KRS-One's aggressive yet intelligent lyricism backed by Scott La Rock's hard-hitting, stripped-down beats. A true classic, Criminal Minded has been recognized by Vibe Magazine, The Source and Rolling Stone as one of the most important albums of all time.Traffic Entertainment Group and B-Boy Records are proud to present Criminal Minded, presented for the first time ever in a double-LP pressing with a new digital transfer from the original analog master tapes.The album is packaged in a gatefold "paste-on style" jacket, featuring extensive liner notes from journalist Brian Coleman and KRS-One, full color printed dust sleeves with vintage B-Boy Records graffiti artwork, full-color 24" x 36" poster and the bonus track "P is Free (Original 12" Version)."
Return Of The Funky Man is the second album by New York legend Lord Finesse. Released in 1992, this album was very anticipated after his debut on the scene just a few years prior. Having already established himself as a punch-line king capable of humorous storytelling, Return Of The Funky Man cemented Finesse as a top notch producer. Tracks such as "Fat for the 90s" and "I Like My Girls With A Boom" showed the Funky Man truly living up to his name, both on the mic and behind the boards. After the gruff voiced "Lord Finesse Intro", the album goes on for 15 tracks on a nonstop journey of witty word play over top notch production. Along for this ride Finesse brings D.I.T.C brethren Showbiz and Diamond D on the production side while A.G and (at the time) newcomer Percee P share mic duties. Topically, Finesse doesn't stray too far from reminding us why he's earned the title "The Funky Man". Whether it's bragging and boasting, or breaking down females, he has a way of doing it with a tongue in cheek type way that is sure to have you letting out a laugh or two each couple of lines. He possesses that rare quality of being a solo MC that is capable of entertaining throughout the entire hour plus listening experience. Stand out tracks such as "Yes You May", "Stop Sweating the Next Man", and "Party Over Here" all show why this album was instantly praised by fans and critics alike.X
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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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