1989’s Three Feet High and Rising is the first (of three) collaborations between production pioneer Prince Paul and Long Island-based hip hop moguls De La Soul. Both a critical and commercial success, Three Feet harbors a unique brand of positive, conscious hip hop that was virtually unheard of in the late 80s, and would help to jettison a lucrative and fulfilling career for both parties. By far my favorite release from this essential band, Three Feet is critical for anyone wanting to simultaneously laugh, and swim inside intelligent hip hop grooves. If you don’t already own this, bump it to the top of your list.
1982… when Dead Kennedy’s were recording and releasing Plastic Surgery Disasters, Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force dropped Planet Rock (aka Don’t Stop… Planet Rock), which remains, in my humble opinion, one of the best hip-hop compositions of all time. This three track 12″ consists of the master, or hero track, a Planet Rock Bonus Beats ditty, and a 9+ minute instrumental version. An absolute must for, well, anyone, really, Planet Rock remains Bambattaa and team’s must successful adventure. This track is perfect background fodder for your next casual dinner party. Play loud and often.
Though not as prolific or, let’s say, monumental as their debut album, Deltron 3030’s 2nd offering, 2013’s Event 2 carries with it substantial clout and unparalleled brilliance, both in original and instrumental form. As a pair, this 4x LP set provides stellar DTA (Dan the Automator) production, and a with or without “optional” Del the Funky Homosapien vocals (read: vagrant poems). Event 2 is essential, for even the laziest hip hop connoisseur.
Kool Keith side projects are hit or miss (Nogatco Rd., Black Elvis, Tashan Dorrsett). But one thing is certain with each and every one of them, they’re all adventurous bursts of psychotic observations over (often) cool, baby-makin’ beats. Time? Astonishing! isn’t Dr. Octagonecolgyst (Dr. Octagon), First Come, First Served (Dr. Dooom), or even Project Polaroid, but it’s (very) laid back, classic Kool Keith, and worthy of a spin and a purchase. Keeping up with all of Mr. Keith’s aliases is exhausting, something I’m sure this legendary MC gets a maniacal chuckle over.
1998 was a seminal year for collecting records (every collector says the same thing for whatever year they found to be their most prolific). These fragile little discs could still be had for cheap ($8.99 cash), the masses were in the dark that records were still being pressed, and some damn good hip hop littered the dingy, underpicked crates. Take for example this EP by Queens’ The Beatnuts titled, Remix EP: The Spot. Though all tracks were produced by The ‘Nuts, it’s a fresh take on classic ‘Nut tracks, housed in a hilarious and detail-hidden cover. It’s worth checking out at any price.
A shameful reveal here… I didn’t realize that when I purchased Dan the Automator’s 2002 comp, Wanna Buy A Monkey? that it was, in fact, actually, “selections” from the full CD version of this catch-all release. I mean, honestly, we’re only talking about like, four tracks, but still… I should be happy for the vinyl opportunity, but still feel a bit short-changed. Anyway, ignore me. You have your own problems to worry about.
I’ll admit a few things, though I recognize this isn’t a wise attempt before my first cup of coffee. I was not immediately blown away by Run the Jewels’ Junior effort, RTJ3. Ok, that’s the first thing. The second thing is, as highly recommended as this album comes, I’m banking on the idea that this album is a slow-grower, and will eventually become one of my favorite spins. The same blanket statement can be said (because it happened) for the entire Dead Kennedys library. So, here’s hoping RTJ can channel some Jello Biafra, at least within these reverberating walls.
Well kids, it finally happened. I finally nabbed a copy of Dan the Automator’s 1989 EP, Music to be Murdered By. Needless to say, I’m beside myself with excitement to spin this 7-track dinosaur for the first time. I’m not really sure what to expect from a 1989 Dan Nakamura, but I can’t wait to find out. In regards to timeline, it would be another 10 years from the time of this release before I’d even hear of the man (1999’s So… How’s Your Girl? by Handsome Boy Modeling School), so let’s just say this is gonna be a fun spin.
Please take special note of the cheeky details in the album art. Classic Automator.