Following the success of King Of Rock [MOVLP675], Raising Hell (1986) raised more than just a massive revenue stream by selling over three million albums worldwide. It's a well known fact that the record, produced by Rock/Hip Hop production pioneer Rick Rubin, raised the bar for Hip Hop albums in general. Musically it indeed raises hell, being crammed to the brim with hard-hitting hooks, loops, samples, scratches, inventive tong-twisting braggadocio and catchy choruses. Too many classics on this one: "Peter Piper" with the massive Bob James bell drum sample, "It's Tricky" (putting The Knack's "My Sharona" sample to extremely good use) and the song that popularized a certain brand of shoes in the Hip Hop community, "My Adidas". However the album's flag bearer is undoubtedly "Walk This Way" which literally rendered Aerosmith's original version obsolete. Viewing from an eighties Hip Hop perspective, the collaboration with Aerosmith seemed rather unusual to say the least, but at the same time it proved that Hip Hop and Rock are merely next door neighbors. The album's timeless quality surfaces in its ability to bring together masses of fans of both genres.
Dan The Automator’s and Kool Keith’s famed collaboration from the mid-‘90s is celebrated with a 28-track set housed in a custom, octagonal box, with 5 unreleased songs (originals + remixes); original Pushead cover artwork; and 40 page liner notes booklet.
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“The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight” has a long and storied history among connoisseurs of ‘80s New York dance music. Combining catchy, deadpan synth-pop and classic ‘80s electro hallmarks with the provocative edge of leather-and-lace sex culture, it remains a worldwide dancefloor staple to this day. Despite its popularity, little has been known about the song’s background. The brainchild of producer Stuart Argabright (nee Arbright, a member of the groups Ike Yard and Death Comet Crew); alongside DJ and remixer Ivan Ivan; Kenneth Lockie (from Cowboys International, and early Death Comet Crew); and vocalist Claudia Summers; the song’s dominating female subject was based on a person whom Arbright had dated. The song – and a banned-by-MTV video that today could be mistaken for a Victoria’s Secret commercial – became a club smash at famed Danceteria and other urban meccas. But, despite some leather-clad live dates in 1984, the group itself was short-lived. This special Get On Down vinyl edition is sure to be coveted by fans and collectors. This configuration has never been available before: beyond four original mixes of the song (12”, Chants, Dominant and Beat Me) that fans know and love – this full-length LP includes the newly unearthed song “Play It Safe” and the rarely heard, hypnotic “City That Never Sleeps,” in addition to the rare 1984 “Scratch Mix” of the original title song, with cuts by the legendary DJ Red Alert. The deluxe vinyl package is accompanied by a 16-page glossy booklet with text by writer Dave Tompkins and input from Argabright and Ivan Ivan. Additionally, fans will be thrilled into submission by visuals and press clips relating to the original release on Arthur Baker’s Street Wise Records; the song’s provocative video; as well as the dominatrix culture in New York City at the time which inspired this unlikely smash hit.
As music fans know, James Brown wasn’t just the greatest funk and soul singer the world has ever seen – he was also a musical visionary and businessman, who surrounded himself with geniuses who made him better and pushed him further. From horn masters Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis to vocalists Lyn Collins and Bobby Byrd, Brown was a musical A & R master, restless and always looking for the next big thing. Most times, that would manifest in the latest James Brown smash under his own name. But not always. His stable of talent was overflowing in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and, thankfully, the tape machine in his studio was always rolling. Originally released in 1988, during the era of hip-hop’s golden age of sampling, it’s no surprise that just about every note heard in this incredible collection has been used on not one but multiple rap classics. Which, at the time, was proof of Brown’s (and his crew’s) staying power. But we’re almost three decades beyond those days now, and it has lost none of its musical potency. Diving deeper into the vaults than the also-incredible Part 1 of the Funky People series, there is not a weak track in the bunch. Moving beyond well-known JBs cuts, things get interesting from the get-go with Bobby Byrd’s monumental groover “I Know You Got Soul.” Hank Ballard and Marva Whitney also enter the fray, leading the way to Myra Barnes’ emotional and powerful “Message From The Soul Sisters (Parts 1 & 2)” and Lyn Collins’ slow, smoldering cover of Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing,” Politics even get the funky soul treatment, with Fred Wesley & The JBs’ “You Can Have Watergate But Gimme Some Bucks And I’ll Be Straight” and “I’m Paying Taxes, But What Am I Buying?” And it should not be overlooked that Maceo & The Macks’ instrumental workout “Soul Power ‘74” even features a proto-sampling snippet from MLK’s “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech from 1968. This is another amazing collection of James Brown’s funky friends, without one second of filler, brought to you as a glorious 2-LP gatefold by your friends at Get On Down.
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Future archaeologists will discuss two periods in 1980s: before Run-DMC and after Run-DMC. It’s no exaggeration to say that the group changed the course of music in the ‘80s, bringing the old-school of rap into the new with one simple piece of flat, black plastic. Coming up in the rap world of the early 1980s under the wing of Kurtis Blow (group manager Russell Simmons managed Blow, and Run was, at one time, a DJ known as “Son of Kurtis Blow”) and Blow’s bassist and burgeoning super-producer Larry Smith, the trio – Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell – learned from the best, but created their own path. 1983 was the year that they first broke out. With only an Oberheim DMX drum program and some cuts by Jay, “Sucker M.C.s (Krush-Groove 1)” was a shot across the bow to the slick, post-disco pocket rap had settled into. It was raw, pure swagger and it took both New Yorkers and music aficionados around the world by storm. The song’s lyrics are a mandatory memorization assignment to this day by MCs learning their craft. “Two years ago, a friend of mine…” The group’s sound, which was laid out muscularly on Run-DMC, had a harder approach than their peers, thanks to producer Larry Smith’s use of live musicians who laid down grooves but didn’t soften the edges. Lyrically the group wasn’t just about brags either, with songs like “Hard Times,” “It’s Like That” and “Wake Up” (the first two were singles). Run’s and DMC’s overlapping tag-team approach to lyricism was powerful and immensely influential. “Rock Box,” another single and arguably the centerpiece of the album, was a nod to their hard edge, and a foreshadowing of their first worldwide smash, 1985’s “King Of Rock.” Jam Master Jay’s DJ work was stellar, knowing exactly when to jump in and put listeners’ ears in a headlock. The album was the first rap full-length to achieve Gold status, and as fans know, the group was just getting started – their next two LPs would take them to even higher status in the music world, critically and sales-wise. But this is where it all started, and it’s a classic that still sounds fresh today as it did more than 30 years ago.
The Jungle Brothers' 1988 debut, Straight Out The Jungle, was important for many reasons. It was sloppy and goofy but had moments of real focus and social consciousness. It was a true "kitchen sink" record, that caught a rap fan-base enraptured by Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions a bit off-guard. Also of note, beyond the excellence of the album itself, the Jungle Brothers were the fulcrum for what would become the Native Tongues movement - they came first, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest followed, under their guidance. By 1989, the group had even more confidence, plus a Warner Bros. contract and advance in their back pocket. They used it to great advantage on the self-produced and criminally underrated Done By The Forces Of Nature, expanding their sonic palette and continuing their Afrocentric approach to music and life. Singles like "What 'U' Waitin' 4" and "Doin' Our Own Dang" (with De La and Q-Tip, alongside Monie Love) showed the group's fun side, which has also lead the way in the "hip-house" movement. But things weren't all fun and games, as deeper, more pensive album tracks like "Black Woman," "Beeds On A String," and "Acknowledge Your Own History" show. It was another accomplished mix of fun, frolic and knowledge-of-self, proving that you could be serious in the rap game but still let off steam and fill the dancefloor. Done By The Forces Of Nature stands as one of the most cherished hip-hop documents of the late '80s among true-school heads, and this edition is the perfect way to revisit this classic thinking-man's (and woman's) rap platter. Issued for the first time ever on 2-LP with the original picture sleeve artwork, it also comes with a reproduction of the original insert, with credits and lyrics.
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Limited Texas-shaped vinyl pressing! "Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You)" by U.G.K. is one of the most recognizable Hip Hop songs of the 2000s. This is the kind of record that can be heard anywhere, from car shows in Texas to basement parties in Brooklyn, maybe even at your cousin's wedding. This song is so good that at the 2007 BET Hip Hop Awards Kanye West famously gave his Video Of The Year award to U.G.K. after "Stronger" beat "Int'l Players Anthem". Let's also not forget it's Grammy Nomination. Yes, it's that good. U.G.K.'s celebratory anthem also features Outkast and the groups combine as one over a very hypnotic Three 6 Mafia produced beat. The sample used is Willie Hutch's "I Choose You" from the movie The Mack, which is the perfect backdrop for Andre 3000, Pimp C (R.I.P.), Bun B and Big Boi to spit tales of women, money, and marriage. The song starts off with Andre 3000 rhyming over the elegant doo-wop vocal harmonies until a stuttered drum kick changes the mood for Pimp C to spit fire. This beat change/mood switch happens each verse, fitting each rapper's personality and tone, kudos to DJ Paul and Juicy J for expertly crafting this record. For Black Friday Record Store Day, Get On Down presents "International Players Anthem" as a special collectible vinyl release shaped like U.G.K.'s home state of Texas!
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On vinyl for the first time ever! Get On Down continues its very welcome obsession with James Brown's stable of late '60s and early '70s talent - much of it culled from his People Records label, including various backing bands - by bringing this firsttime- ever-on-vinyl package to the world. The third volume in the groundbreaking Funky People series, originally released on CD in 2000, is just as incredible as the first two. And maybe even more fascinating to JB fans, because of the less-heard discoveries lurking in these grooves. With 12 tracks spanning 1967 to 1975, this is far from a "remainders" collection. Each cut here packs an undeniable punch. Featuring James' most talented side-people, including The JBs, Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins and Vicki Anderson, Volume 3 goes even deeper in the cut than previous collections, with the white Ohio-based studio crew The Dapps (featuring drummer / vocalist Beau Dollar), the Dee Felice Trio and even a cheekily named side crew called the A.A.B.B. (Above Average Black Band). There are some impressive covers here, including the Dee Felice Trio's driving, jazzy version of James' "There Was A Time" (known to the hip-hop nation thanks to Chubb Rock's "Treat 'Em Right"); a live version of Lyn Collins covering the Isley Brothers' "It's My Thing"; in addition to her studio cover of James' "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose." In retrospect it even sounds like James covers himself on the raw and powerful "Original Rock Version" of his 1972 hit "Talkin' Loud And Saying Nothin'," even though the Rock version was recorded first, in 1970. Marva Whitney's "If You Don't Give Me What I Want" is as powerful and emotional as a soul ballad gets. The A.A.B.B.'s "Pick Up The Pieces One By One" must have made the Average White Band want to hang up their instruments. And one truly fascinating alternate take here is the "Undubbed Version" of the JBs' "Blow Your Head," with the Moog work and main Fred Wesley trombone solo removed. It lets the groove shimmer in whole new light. The more that newcomers and diehard fans alike dig into the James Brown and People Records vaults, the more they realize that it's a never-ending source of truly next-level funk and soul music. And you can be sure this aural goodness will keep flowing to the public, thanks to the exhaustive efforts of Get On Down.
Too Short’s 2006 certified club staple “Blow The Whistle” gets the 7” treatment for the first time ever, and it’s safe to say it’s about time. Short Dog has long been considered Hip Hop royalty with countless classic singles and albums, but “Blow the Whistle” might be the biggest. It’s been referenced countless times (epic call outs – “what’s my favorite word”) and Drake grabbing a few lines to paraphrase this song 10 years after speaks to its staying power and relevancy. It takes a legend like Too Short to bring it like this and it doesn’t hurt that Lil Jon cooked up a fire pot beat to propel the cut up the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop and Hip Hop Songs chart. It staying power is undeniable.
"“Off the Books” was one of the biggest records of ’97 with The Beatnuts plugging to their trusted formula of dusty-ass beats and funny punchlines. These elements are what made “Off The Books” extra special in a time when the “shiny suit era” was rearing it’s shiny head. The Beatnuts bring along Big Pun who opens up the track with such a memorable verse, introducing the world to what Pun would later have in store. Les and JuJu (along with Cuban Link) all ride the song out with “shoot bro, I got a waterproof suit yo” and “your career’s on life support, and I’mma pull the plug”- just countless quotable lines from an already legendary group. The cut’s infectious nature makes this a must-have 7” for any DJ or collector."
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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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