Fat Beats is excited to announce Fat Beats Collections, a new recurring feature which will features carefully curated selections of records we love.
DJ Shadow, a.k.a. Josh Davis, could be credited with bringing newfound introspection to the gloating sounds of hip-hop. Condensed with urban oscillations and scatological beats, Endtroducing..... shutters with eclectic samples and aural montages that reach beyond the constraints of hip-hop style. Enhancing the mix with fundamentals of rock, soul, funk, ambient, and jazz, the modern fusions fail to go unnoticed, even by the casual listener. While most of the tracks are compiled by layering samples from vinyl treasures found in used-record bins, the production quality of the mosaic is unmatched. Darkened melodies carry throughout the album with its eye on the end of the tunnel. The narration samples come from numerous sources and keep the listener involved and waiting for resolution. With a message as fragmentary as an overheard conversation, Endtroducing..... conveys no apparent conclusion, but begs the mind, body, and soul for some rewind.
Best known for his work with CL Smooth, and his remixes for Public Enemy, House of Pain, Mary J Blige and Mick Jagger to mention a few. The Soul Brothers Number One album is a beats album with a total of 5 MC cuts across the two different pressings, including a new track with CL Smooth. One of the greatest hip hop records ever made ...it never leaves my box, man...- (Tim Westwood)
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Apollo Brown’s Thirty Eight is a contemporary throwback, inhabiting the realm of reverent reinvention and innovation. It deftly bridges the gap between ‘70s Blaxploitation soundtracks (e.g. Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly or Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man) and the hip-hop records that sampled from them. The tracks on Thirty Eight are presented in gritty, heavily saturated Technicolor, the scratches and cigarette burns as purposeful as they are happily accidental. These are suites sounding from long barrels held by lone men lurking in grimy project hallways. Tinged with revenge and regret, shrouded in thick tendrils of hollow-point smoke, the songs have all the makings of an epic gangster tragedy. They’re also great when paired with anything Raymond Chandler. Crackle and sample hiss run like electric current throughout, charging the record with a retro feel and resonant warmth. Yet these qualities are only secondary to Brown’s impeccable ear for instrumentation. Thirty Eight is full of funk, soul, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and everything in between. The bluesy guitar twang of slow-burner “Black Suits” and the lush, orchestral strings of “The Warning” are just two examples of the depth and diversity Brown brings to the table. All singing on the album comes in the form of brief samples, some high-pitched and sped up, others left untouched. Taken together, they amount to glimpses of an emotionally affecting narrative, enabling the listener to fill in the plot and words between the booms and baps. Brown enlists New York mercenary Roc Marciano for the soundtrack’s two features. With the sharpest of eyes and the frostbitten wit of a Polo clad hustler slanging in the dead of winter, Marciano delivers his best verses in recent memory, his vivid narratives perfectly suited for Brown’s soulful production. Each CD comes packaged with 5" inch vinyl featuring the aforementioned Roc Marciano tracks. Quite possibly the first time a CD and 5" inch record have ever been sold together, cop yours before they’re gone. For fans who desire the full analog experience, we’ve pressed up 180-gram vinyl. Each vinyl copy also includes a 45 featuring two bonus instrumentals. Whether you buy a physical copy or download Thirty Eight digitally, don't call it a beat tape. With this project Brown has created an expansive cinematic composition for the theatre of your mind. Listen, envision, and enjoy the show.
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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.
Looking back, his full-length Warp debut, Los Angeles appears to be much more of a mission statement than a simple introduction - laying the foundation for a field on which an entire generation of artists would soon be playing. While that album was an introspective, moody travelogue through the Californian metropolis, it certainly hinted at Flying Lotus inclination to expand his sound beyond terrestrial means. As you may deduce from the title of his latest opus, he s done just that. Not only has an entirely new range of sounds been unlocked by our intrepid astral traveler, but every genre touchstone associated with his name has been merged into a self-described space opera . Seamless in execution and too wide in scope to properly describe, it is the authentic embodiment of his unique musical heritage. The spirit of his famed aunt, Alice Coltrane permeates the record, notably in the powerful collaborations with relative Ravi Coltrane, bass virtuoso Thundercat and the brilliant harp prodigy, Rebekah Raff. Certainly these are further reaches into a musical space that Flying Lotus had hitherto been exploring, however other collaborators such as Erykah Badu and Outkast string arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and guest vocalists Thom Yorke and a returning Laura Darlington (featured on Los Angeles epic closing track Inifinitum ) help deliver Cosmogramma to dizzying new heights. All this name-dropping, however, is not to detract from the genius of the wizard-like figure behind it all. The most powerful aspect of FlyLo s output has always been it s ability to communicate his boundless love and enthusiasm for music in all it s forms and that is what is boldly on display here.
Knxwledge (pronounced “knowledge”) is a 26 year old, Los Angeles based beat maker making his debut on Stones Throw with the album Hud Dreems – 26 tracks of instrumental hip-hop. Standing out in a sea of producers rising from the L.A. beat scene, the prolific artist and record collector produces his sound by creating a pastiche of soul, jazz and hip-hop that melts together in a style uniquely his own. He has produced for hip-hop powerhouse Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp a Butterfly, for Joey Badass on 1999, and has released dozens of remix and beat tape collections on his Bandcamp. He calls these his “light work.” Knx has found a home on Stones Throw’s roster, working closely with Mndsgn and with Anderson Paak in an R&B/hip-hop collaboration as NxWorries, whose debut album will be released later this year. THE VINYL RELEASE: Double LP with gatefold, day-glow cover and a full side of exclusive bonus material called Side D.
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From the first glimpses of Henry Laufer's work as Shlohmo, it was clear that the LA native and visual artist turned self-taught musician was onto something. With an effortless grasp on sound design, Laufer combines deceptively simple and emotive melodies, subtle bass drops and swinging slow motion drums. His early work has placed him at the forefront of a new wave of rising talent amongst West Coast producers. Inspired by the desire to write songs and create a release of full-range instrumentation and vocals all his own, Laufer promptly began home-recording Bad Vibes, his proper full-length debut album for the Friends of Friends label. Some might say the songs on Bad Vibes represent the spawn of a new "rhythm and blues" - one that swings and sways under the backbone of Henry's own take on modern electronic music. Augmented with delicate slide guitar playing, homemade synth sounds and lilting, tuneful melodies, Shlohmo's latest output is one that will take you places - specifically the un-paralleled vibes swirling through this young man's head.
Meet Mndsgn. Mndsgn is pronounced mind design. The law calls him Ringgo. His album Yawn Zen will be released on Stones Throw Records Ringgo Ancheta is an anomaly among hip-hop producers - not raised in the suburbs on a steady diet of video games and hip-hop, but in the forest like a beast. His parents were members of the Philippine arm of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult, whose venture into terrorist activity caused them to flee the group in the late 1980s. They were granted political asylum in the U.S. and settled in rural New Jersey, where Ancheta was raised on the outskirts of a commune without electricity while his father worked as a researcher at Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Ancheta describes one of his earliest excursions of his own into the modern world, when he hitchhiked to Philadelphia. “The first guy I met on the street introduced me to the world of music and beat making. Within a day I was making my own beats on his sampler.” As his trips into the city became more frequent, he began using the name Mndsgn (pronounced “mind design”), inspired by the Nas lyric, “my mind is seeing through your design like blind fury,” and a not-so-subtle nod to his father’s work in neuroscience. His transformation complete, Mndsgn headed west. He now resides in Los Angeles and is signed to Stones Throw Records. He’s carved himself an unusually calm-sounding place in the Los Angeles beat scene. Songs on Yawn Zen were recorded “in a state of bliss,” as the producer explains. “I’ve allowed myself to study the absence of daily struggle and it’s effects, and began to subconsciously paint that vibe in the music. Yawn Zen comes from a very neutral place that we, sometimes, are too busy to realize is there.”
His debut LP for Definitive Jux, DJ/producer RJD2's DEAD RINGER is a deeply creative and musically poignant hip-hop record for summer 2002. Creating a raging underground listenership from a series of 45s and white labels and being the only non-MC signed to Def Jux, RJD2's talent as a DJ and as producer, to match beats and lay cult/pop gems over dusty soul tracks, is paralleled only by people like DJ Shadow and Z-Trip. However, his ability to record and marry MCs to his primarily instrumental and sample-based style is evidenced in outstanding tracks with Copywrite and Blueprint as well as his legacy with the MHz crew; at the end of the day that puts our man from Ohio ahead of his primarily one-dimensional peer group. This set will stand out as monumental for Definitive Jux, who with their first record outside of the New York MC box continues to stride toward really being definitive in their roster and catalog of independent hip-hop.
“The positive response and ongoing success of How It Should Sound 1 & 2 (first released in 2010) was as unexpected for Redefinition as a label as it was for myself as an artist. For the 5th anniversary I wanted to do something special to acknowledge what is arguably my most popular title: I figured that more music in the form of an extended sequel would be a dope way to celebrate. The tracks are combinations of obvious influences, my personal passion to contribute and challenge the craft, and the record collection I was building. I hope the audience is ready for more HISS. I had them in mind first whilst assembling the album.” - Damu The Fudgemunk If you’re reading this, we’ll assume that you are more than ready. Welcome to another installment of archived material from one of the finest purveyors of dusty, neck-snapping instrumentals to ever lay his fingers on those trusty sixteen pads: Damu The Fudgemunk. Pulled together from the same stack of basement-dwelling floppies that went into the creation of HISS Vol 1& 2 we here at Redefinition Records are confident that fans old and new will delight in this now expanded collection of material from the formative years of Damu’s craft. The (previously unheard / unreleased) beats featured in this collection were all created between 2003 and 2007 and although time moves on there are undoubtedly some things that are timeless. This is instrumental hip hop that stays true to its roots whilst building on tradition, the crack and pop of old vinyl nestled contentedly in layered compositions that knock, swing, and groove. Relax and enjoy: perhaps unsurprisingly, it sounds just like it should.
Peel back a layer of smog from the LA sky and fold yourself into the blanket of haze. The golden half-light catches glimmers that pass by most eyes. Up here, there are treasures for those who tune in. Matthewdavid operates In this magnetic cocoon, unspooling magic radiance. His music reflects beautiful, fleeting moments and magnifies them. Matthewdavid's compositions float like crackling clouds, antenna amplifying the dreams of the city below. Matthewdavid is a man who builds with warm tones. He travels new paths gathering sounds to enhance the intricate dimensions of his creations. It was this hunt for inspired trails and blazing progress that pulled him to California. Matthewdavid made the move from southern states and was immediately embraced by the Los Angeles community. A willowy figure with wide smiles, his gentle presence and generous talents made him a welcome addition to internationally applauded LA creative circles: dublab, Poo-Bah, Low End Theory and Brainfeeder. Constant collaboration with these collectives helped inspire Matthewdavid to a build a platform of his own. His Leaving Records label has an ear to the next and an eye on the original. Through all these outlets Matthewdavid is dedicated to sharing elevated sounds and visions. The songs unveiled on Outmind are destined for infinite replay. Light, gauzy moments blend with those densely layered. The biggest swing gives way to the slowest sway. These are classic jams obscured in fuzz and fog. Nostalgic jeeps bump invisibly to thumping bass. Outmind was lovingly crafted and resonates with Matthewdavid's heartfelt glow. His music's mysterious simplicity sparks senses. These songs come from far out to resonate within. Rotate your dial to a space between frequencies. Catch these ghost channels of golden pop. Outmind blends familiar rhythms with those lost long ago and others yet to come. Matthewdavid's live performances are akin to watching a sorcerer conjure spirits from the deep. He pulls tones like artifacts from an astral trail that ebbs and flows with fresh discoveries. Along the way Matthewdavid collects exotic sound figures: spiraling amethyst cones and wild flowering buds. He treats each found sound like a bright fiber to be weaved into new waveforms. Outmind pulsates with this sense of constant discovery. It is a mosaic sparkling with mystic, radiant matter. As you listen to Outmind set your ears to slow dissolve. Let yourself be wrapped in warmth and levitate skyward to an elegant high. This is the place Matthewdavid resides and if you want to get into the mindset you must get far far out out.
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Three years ago, Baths dropped his startlingly beautiful debut, Cerulean. Released on Anticon, the record blurred the line between post-modern pop and the LA beat scene with devastating emotional clarity. Its tone was as celestial as its album title, taken from a shade of blue typically used to describe the sky. Cerulean earned year-end “Best Of” recognition from Pitchfork and The Onion’s A.V. Club and established Chatsworth-raised Will Wiesenfeld as one of the finest young composers (and falsettos) in Los Angeles. His sophomore album, Obsidian, finds him emerging as one of the most complete artists of his generation. As you might expect, the name hints at darker overtones. The mood is shimmering and pitch-black, the lovely blood flow has turned into lava. “I’ve always been inspired by really dark material and from the beginning I knew I wanted the songs to be much darker, both musically and lyrically,” Baths says. Following the success of his first album, Baths spent much of the next year touring to progressively larger audiences. He also released an ethereal ambient project under the Geotic name. When he returned home in July of 2011 to record his sophomore effort, he was bedridden for months because of an E. Coli bacterial infection, barely able to digest solid food and bereft of creative energy. Obsidian understandably has these scars etched into its imprint. The first song is called “Worsening,” subsequent cuts include “Ossuary,” “No Past Lives” and “Earth Death.” While the mood is often bleak, it’s never bloated. “Miasma Sky” balances being “swallowed alive by the sky” with a gorgeous piano groove and levitative croon that could detonate a disco club night. The album is unusually cohesive, suffused with heavenly choirs, head-nodding percussion, sexually-charged lyrics, and wry humor. “The songs and lyrics all came out of a pretty fucked and arduous process of trial and error,” Baths says. ”But I hope people understand that I’m not the depressed, suicidal, and death-obsessed person the record may paint me as being. These are just darker areas that I wanted to explore.” The areas of exploration include reading and research into the Dark Ages and the black plague, different versions of Hell as spied through Dante’s Inferno, the Bible, and old world illuminated manuscripts and paintings. These noirish fascinations met the virtuosic chops of a 24-year old who has been playing piano for 20 years. “Anything I found that felt like a unique vision of darker emotions or atmospheres, I tried to absorb,” Baths says. “Being a positive and outgoing guy made it that much more difficult getting into that mindset. It was a matter of tapping into that and returning with songs that felt genuine and somehow from my own personal experience.” This is the power of Obsidian. It combines universal questions with personal pain. On just his second album, Baths exhibits what only a few artists are capable of: painting in any shade they desire.
Ras G is one of the definitive producers of the Los Angeles beat scene, a co-founder of the Poo-Bah label, and hip-hop beat-maker who digs probably deeper than any into the worlds of free jazz, jazz fusion and afrofuturism. The prolific producer currently has two albums on Brainfeeder, two released by Poo-Bah, and several on Leaving Records, including the beat tape series Raw Fruit. Focused and expansive, El-Aylien is a cosmic exhibit in Ras G’s sonic explorations of collage and rhythm.
Swarvy is dope. We all saw this when "Scotch" dropped last year to high acclaim. Stunts picks up where Scotch left off. Stunts is a four volume journey with a wide range of sonics, from live instrumentation, to beaten up samples. The 2xLP offers 40 tracks, 10 as of yet unheard by the world, and exclusive to the vinyl.
This deluxe reissue vinyl on Younge’s Linear Labs imprint includes a bonus instrumental song from the original album sessions – “Niacin.” In the four years since Adrian Younge’s Something About April album first appeared, the Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has become his own musical cottage industry. Not only has he collaborated with musical legends ranging from The Delfonics to Ghostface Killah, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and The Souls of Mischief; his work has also been sampled by such rap giants as 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Common. In an equally impressive twist, DJ Premier produced an entire album with Younge’s work as his only source material (including multiple samples from April, of course): 2014’s PRhyme, with MC Royce Da 5’9”. Something About April is an album that flaunts all of the trademarks that have made Younge an in-demand name as a composer and sample source-point. His work oozes raw, analog soul and the primal sonic edge of psychedelic rock, sitting nicely alongside Ennio Morricone’s best soundtrack work; Pink Floyd’s early catalog and Parliament’s Osmium. Younge’s songwriting is what truly makes this album unique and keeps ears engaged. While many of his tunes are initially vamp-driven, there are changes and aural twists that lurk around every corner, as evidenced on stand-out cuts including: The intense, deep groove and stripped-down vocals of “Turn Down The Sound” [sampled for Common’s “Out On Bond”]; The turns of both tension and beauty on “Reverie” (with all TWELVE instruments per formed by Younge) [sampled on Jay-Z’s “Heaven,” with Justin Timberlake]; The gorgeous, cinematic ballads “First Step On The Moon” and “Two Hearts Combine”; The breakbeat fiesta of “Sirens” [used by Jay-Z for “Picasso Baby”]; The new millennial soul/doo-wop of “Lovely Lady,” complete with lead guitar by funky soul legend Dennis Coffey.
Gossamer is Evan Reiner, a relatively new artist who wears his heart on his sleeve through chill electronic chopscapes. Having only released a couple of EPs so far, his first full length has emerged from Innovative Leisure, a label that are storming the musical earth with releases from BadBadNotGood, Nosaj Thing and Allah-Las. Inspired by sci-fi gaming and Steve Reich, Automaton is a gently swaying record showcasing some imaginative sampling/recording and some very personal themes. It sounds like Reiner has sorted his life out according to the press release. Good on ya. Restrained kick drums play out hypnotic, slow grooves, joined by all sorts of shakers, hand drums, clicks and delicious plucked things and synths. It’s a palette similar to Gold Panda, but arranged closer to Four Tet, Kutmah or Contact Field Orchestra. In fact, second track ‘Print’ bears a strong rhythmical resemblance to ‘Parallel Jalebi’ by the ‘Tet. Breathy syllabic vocals join on tracks 1 and 6, backed by some brooding synths on the latter. I’ve just realised that this is actually a fantastic debut.
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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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