10th anniversary reissue of the hugely successful collaborative album between super producer Danger Mouse and Underground rap legend DOOM. The album features notable guest spots from Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah and pre Gnarls Barkley, CeeLo Green. The album also features skits and contributions from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim characters Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sea Lab 2010, Space Ghost and more. The album was a critical and commercial success and the iconic UK version of the vinyl designed by longterm Lex collaborator EHQuestionmark has been long sought after. The outer sleeve is made from thick translucent textured plastic with DOOM's mask printed on cover, and mouse ears on each side of the mask forming a pattern that looks like a Rorschach test (a technique reused in another Danger Mouse project six months later). The inner sleeves, visible through the outer at first glance pattern based on an Ishihara test, but inside the circles in the pattern are tiny icons depicting a different disasters - climate change, acid rain, holy war, nuclear leaks. "The Mouse and the Mask" was produced by Lex super-producer Danger Mouse and masked supervillain MF DOOM. The album features Cee-Lo Green (also of Gnarls Barkley), Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah, Money Mark and the cast of cult cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force and ten years on remains DOOM's best selling album to date. The reissue is presented in the exact same spec as the original double vinyl including the custom made frosted plastic outersleeve, spot flouro and metallic pantone printed inner sleeves. The album originally debuted at #2 on the Billboard independent albums charts. Subsequent releases from Danger Mouse include Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz and Broken Bells, as well as production work for Beck, A$AP Rocky and the Black Keys. DOOM is, of course, the legendary producer/MC behind the Special Herbs series, Madvillainy (with Madlib) and collaborations with Jneiro Jarel and Bishop Nehru.
Twelve Reasons To Die, a groundbreaking concept album conceived and created by Adrian Younge that follows Tony Starks (one of Ghostface Killah’s alter egos), as a soldier for the 12 Delucas, a 1960’s-era Italian crime family. But when Starks leaves the family, an epic story unfolds like a vintage horror film with gangster elements. It’s a gritty story of good verse evil that walks the line of the supernatural accented by Ghostface’s grandiose, vivid storytelling. Sonically, Younge constructs a distinct aural realm for Twelve Reasons To Die. It’s music based on the break, the sonic foundation of hip-hop culture. But Younge traverses new ground by incorporating elements of what a composer would have used while making music in the 1960s: live strings, horns and drums. He also recorded the songs on 2-inch tape, giving each track a sonic heft and depth virtually non-existent in modern music. Wu-Tang Clan architect RZA was the one who chose Younge for this musical mission. As executive producer of the project, RZA added his touch to the album by providing Younge with suggestions, direction and the confidence to execute his vision at the highest level. This is a reissue with new packaging on Adrian's own label, Linear Labs.
Issued in 1975, this is the articulation of Zambia’s Zamrock ethos. While other albums - Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia, WITCH’s Lazy Bones!! - are competitors, it’s hard to best this album as it covers each major quadrant of the Zamrock whole: it came from the mines; its musicians were anti-colonial freedom fighters, it envelops Zambian folk music traditions, and it rocks - hard. Amanaz were serious, and they made a serious stab at an album. They titled their album Africa, according to original band member Keith Kabwe, “because of how it was shared and how its inhabitants were butchered and enslaved, its resources stolen… all the atrocities slave drivers committed. “ Thus, their “Kale,” a blues sung in Nyanja, that traced the continent’s arc from slavery to Zambia’s independence closes the album. Kabwe and rhythm guitarist John Kanyepa have a winsome softness to their vocals, which sit politely aside the feral growl of drummer Watson Baldwin Lungu, bassist Jerry Mausala and bandleader/lead guitarist Isaac Mpofu. Africa’s vibe ranges from anxious (“Amanaz”) to escapist (“Easy Street”) to straight-up pissed-off. On the “History of Man,” his voice whiskey-burned, his distorted guitar buzzing like swarming hornets, Mpofu indicts his species. There’s a darkness to Africa not found on any other Zamrock records, and a melancholy drifts throughout, specifically on Mpofu’s more restrained “Khala My Friend,” which stands as an effective, bleak situation for the Zambian everyman, the average citizen of a struggling, new nation, who might have had relatives in conflict-torn countries on the horizon, who might have been struggling to find his next meal, who might have seen a bleaker future than his president promised. Then there’s the clear Velvet Underground-influence on the nostalgic “Sunday Morning,” which, as Kabwe recalls, was the first song written for the album, back in 1968, when Velvet Undergound and Nico was a new release - and the underground funk of “Making The Scene.” The album also tackles traditional Zambian music and early-‘60s rock – punctuated, of course by Kanyepa’s wah-wah and Mpofu’s fuzz guitars. But every time Amanaz get too deep, too violent, they come back with an accessible song and woo their listener back to the groove. “Green Apple” is a civil song, featuring Kanyepa’s sighing guitar. It is a perfectly arranged album, from the dichotomy of Mpofu’s and Kanyepa’s lead and rhythm guitars, to the vocal harmonies, to the rhythm section’s sense of space and time, which allows Africa’s funk to build. Inexplicably, Africa was given two separate mixes and two separate presses: one version is dry, with the vocals and drums mixed loud, the other slathered in reverb, with the vocals and drums disappearing into the mix, and with the guitar solos mixed much louder. We’ve presented them both here as they each have their appeal: it’s up to the listener to pick the one he or she prefers. This is a highpoint of the Zamrock scene and we hope that this can be seen as its definitive reissue.
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The Deluxe Edition of Fear of a Black Planet includes the original album, produced by the Bomb Squad and featuring the hit singles, 'Fight the Power,' 'Welcome to the Terrordome' and Flavor Flav's '911 Is a Joke.' The second disc includes 18 rare bonus mixes, among them, the almost 10 minute-long 'Enemy Assault Vehicle Mixx (Medley),' three separate remixes of 'Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Man!;' an uncensored and extended version of 'Anti-Ni***r Machine'; instrumental takes on '911 Is a Joke,' 'Power to the People,' 'Revolutionary Generation' and 'War at 33 1/3,' in addition to three separate mixes of 'Fight the Power,' including the 'Flavor Flav Meets Spike Lee' take, featuring Branford Marsalis on sax. Fear of a Black Planet, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, finished #300 on Rolling Stone's list of the '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' and was added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2005. The album is certified platinum by the RIAA for more than one million shipped, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. Writes Wax Poetics editor-in-chief Torres in the liner notes, 'Though it sits in the shadow of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, Fear of a Black Planet is a formidable contender for one of the finest hip-hop albums ever recorded.'
2014 2CD/DVD Deluxe edition reissue which includes the original album, executive produced by Rick Rubin, & produced by Hank Shocklee and Carl Ryder (aka Chuck D.), better known as the Bomb Squad. It features the classic tracks, "Bring the Noise," "Don't Believe the Hype," "Louder Than a Bomb" and "Rebel Without a Pause." The second disc includes 13 rare bonus mixes, among them the original "No Noise" version of "Bring the Noise," instrumental versions of "Rebel Without a Pause," "Night of the Living Baseheads" and "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," as well as the soundtrack version of "Fight the Power" from Spike Lee's groundbreaking Do the Right Thing movie. The third disc is a DVD of the 1989 VHS release Fight the Power.. Live, directed by Hart Perry and long unavailable for sale. It includes the original videos for "Fight the Power," "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" and "Night of the Living Baseheads" along with several live performances.