So I didn't even hesitate on this one. It has already been purchased as I write. I love reissue collections but DAMN! Shit is hot.
Here's what PBW had to say about the collection and the tracks within:
"This record is such a great honor for me to be involved with. I’m sure it will hardly sell any units cuz the music industry SUCKS and most people only wanna hear bullshit (just look at which music videos get the most views on youtube or the top 10 sellers on itunes), but regardless, it’s a big deal. I mean, as a kid growing up in San Jose, CA when all this stuff came out, I was hooked and half a lifetime later I still am. I can only imagine what this stuff sounds like to the teenagers today hearing it for the first time right now, just as they probably wonder what it was like for adults like me to have heard it for the first time back when it was released.
1. Rockin' It - Fearless Four
The foundation. I read an interview with Large Professor where he was putting this in his top 10 of all time. Such a good feeling. Fearless Four are one of the most under-rated. And when they came out with “Problems Of The World/F-4000” later, that was huge too. That was a staple on my mix tapes when it came out and I used to imitate the scratch. And the video for “Problems”? black and red all the way.
2. Love Rap - Spoonie G
Back when Sugarhill Records was redoing disco songs with full bands as the backing tracks (which I love as well), Spoonie was rocking a straight up drum track. That was pretty bold at the time. Was definitely before Run DMC did it with Sucker MCs. His lyrics and voice were on point.
3. Tricky Tee Rap - Tricky Tee
This one’s also sparse production. I’m always a believer of less is more with music. It kinda trips me out how much his voice sounds like Common does now (although I’m guessing Common probably has never even heard Tricky Tee. I assume this is the same Tricky Tee that did “Leave It To The Drum” later, but that rapper sounds totally different, so who knows. Does anybody know if the old school rapper TJ Swann and the singer for Biz were one and the same?
4. Dancin Heart - Universal Two
I don’t know how this one slipped through the cracks back then. The drums and bassline are perfect. It’s great how they were just straight up rappers, not trying to be a cute novelty like some of the other females who came on the scene later. And why do they call themselves the Universal Three in the song, but the credits call them the Universal Two.
5. At The Place To Be - Sweety G
This was a bitch to re-edit. I felt funny doing re-edits of any of the songs, but it had to be done to make them fit on a 7”. I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons why 7” singles were never done of any of these songs in the first place. I think I did re-edits of all the songs except for one or two.
6. Old School - Busy Bee
This came out way later when rap had already morphed into something else, but I like how if someone heard it now for the first time, they’d assume it was from the early 80’s by the way it sounded. Actually, when I saw Wildstyle for the first time as a kid back when it came out, I remember being surprised because I was expecting the music to be more electro drum machine/synth based stuff like what was in Beat Street and Breakin, but I loved how it was different. Besides these 3 movies, no way for someone in San Jose to SEE hip hop. We only heard it.
7. Sucka DJ - Dimples D
Another “where are they now and why only one song” type of rapper. That just doesn’t make sense to me. This came out right about the time where I started programming my own beats on the Dr Rhythm drum machine, but I couldn’t find any rappers (male or female) who sounded this raw.
8. It's Yours - T La Rock
T La Rock changed the game with this song. Any rapper will tell you this. He had all those big words and they made sense the way he used them. When LL came out with “I Need A Beat” back then, I loved the song, but thought he was being T La Rock part 2. I remember looking for the scratch Jazzy Jay was using (“Full Tilt Boogie”) and was so happy when I found it a couple years later in 1987. One of the first “breaks” I discovered.
9. Cold Getting Dumb - Just Ice
By this point, we used to call the raw/underground stuff we liked “hardcore”. This is how we described Just Ice, Schooly D, etc. People say he paved the way for groups like NWA and I’m right there with them. I used to wear this album out.
10. Make The Music-Biz Markie
The reverb, the voice, the piano. It’s no wonder I lost interest in new wave, electro, soul, funk, everything else by this point. Helps me realize why people take their hip hop so seriously and make statements like “I’ll die for hip hop”.
11. Marley Marl Scratch - MC Shan
This is probably my favorite song on the whole box set. Marley Marl is one of the greatest of all time. Same formula as “Make The Music”, but Shan sounded so different. I hung on every word and every snare drum sound. I think this and (PSK) made me try rapping (ouch). Then I remember when KRS first came out, I was such an MC Shan fan, yet KRS was so dope, it really messed me up. I felt like such a trader.
12. Hardcore Hip Hop - Mantronix
This was only album cut, which was really strange to me. Was one of their best songs besides “Fresh Is The Word”. Was tough for me to decide which of those two to put on this collection. I remember when the Beat Junkies had a routine with this about 10 years ago and I was proud of them for bringing that song back. I was surprised they knew it. B-boy shit. To this day, 50 Cent’s flow reminds me of MC Tee on certain songs, although it’s probably just another coincidence.
13. Strong Island - JVC Force
Still don’t know who started the lazy Long Island flow with tons of delay between JVC, EPMD, De La, and Rakim, but they all did it well. I made my own JVC Force shirt at the mall a couple years back and wore in while in Japan and a Japanese guy took a picture of me and next time I came to Japan, they had the same exact shirt I made selling in stores. A bootleg of a bootleg.
14. Jimbrowski - Jungle Brothers
Damn, they were ahead of their time when they came out. This whole album was a start to finish masterpiece. It’s cool that groups like them paved the way for Arrested Development to have a number one hit on the pop charts that was still Afrocentric and still musically sound.
15. Mighty Hard Rocker - Cash Money & Marv
I like the beats and the rhymes on this, but the cuts on this are what do it for me. I can’t believe Cash was doing this back then. I studied his shit and still can’t do it nowadays (and hardly anyone else can either). His shit was straight up swingin’.
16. It's My Turn – Stezo
dirty drums!!! That’s what we all were trying to find back then and these were the dirtiest. Everyone who made beats sampled from this record. I used to try to mask it by taking the drum loop and filtering all the lows out to just use the high hat loop and adding a snare and different kick, then “Take It Personal” came out which was Primo’s “Fuck You” to everyone who made beats. Two classics outta one drum beat.
17. Just Rhymin With Biz- Big Daddy Kane
I wanna rhyme with the Biz. This represented the innocence of just having fun in the studio and not planning things out so much. At least that’s how it sounded. I kinda tried to do the same thing without even realizing it years later with Charizma when we had extra studio time left over and no song planned out with a song we called “My World Premiere”. That ended up being the first record on my label Stones Throw. Can’t say enough about Kane though. I think I learned more about him as a person by what Biz rapped in “Vapors” than I did in any song he rapped about himself in (although he penned Vapors for Biz).
18. The Bridge Is Over - BDP
This sounded like he was just having fun too. One of the sloppiest, purist, catchiest hip hop tracks ever. This is where the guilt started setting in for me.
19. MTS-Eastside Prep Boys (bonus track)
I made this when I was around 14. Just a drum machine I got at Toys R Us and and an MC bragging about his DJ M.T.S. the whole time. His DJ was really off beat, but all good. I met the MC and DJ that day and never saw them again since. At the end of the song, I came in and did my own cuts and they were really surprised I knew how to scratch. It was done live to tape. We didn’t have any multi-tracks back then.
20. One MC-Eastside Prep Boys (bonus track)
This was also done back when I was 14. I still talk to the MC to this day. He was the first rapper I worked with. Now he does ultimate fighting and security, but he still DJs too. I have another song by him we did back then where I had him rapping over “Sex” by Berlin. Now they call it mashup, but we were doing it back then uncredited."