People power - it is truly amazing what can be achieved. Who would have ever thought five years ago (in the midst of the then dismal Hip Hop industry), that a new avenue of hope would eventually open up for us real Hip Hop fans. Not only were we tired of the major labels in the industry trying to spoon feed us weak beats and poor rhymes and package it as "Hip Hop", but the drop in vinyl sales generally also affected the profitability of our so-important indie labels. Some fell on hard times, and the majors' vice-like grip only tightened. Things did not look good from any angle.
But finally we have stood up for ourselves and offered out a big "Fuck You" to the industry
and found our own "new" shit to listen to. I say "new" because a lot of it wasn't actually "new" music. Of course the internet and websites like Myspace and others had allowed great new artists to get their music heard by the punters without the need for any kind of corporate backing. But at the same time it also allowed the punters to track down the artists of their choice. And who says it has to be a new artist??
So in the last couple of years it's not suprising to see that many record lovers have (via the web) made contact with their favourite artist(s) from back in the day, and maybe passed on a few compliments ("YO I got all your records!!" LOL!). Possibly asked a few nerdout questions...."who did the scratching on this track?"....and then one day BOOM! the reply they receive is....."Actually you don't have ALL my tracks!"
Many Hip Hop artists from bygone days had unreleased cuts that didn't make their 12" release, or perhaps were pulled from their LP, or sometimes that were recorded purely as a demo in order to obtain a deal. On hearing this, a Hip Hop lovers heart starts pulsating in a funkydrummer-like rhythm, and their eyes start spinning like a pair of Technics 1200s in beat-juggle mode!!
So now a quest to find that ever-elusive promo 12" that you always wanted, has incredibly now been eclipsed by the search for the unheard and unreleased shit! The grail of all grails! And as music lovers and Hip Hoppers, we have only good things to gain from this kind of situation.
A few of the more estute members of our diggin community, namely diggerswithgratitude, were among the first, to pull off some amazing "never heard this shit before" type steez. And what a dome-belter it was with a vinyl release of PHILL MOST CHILL's "Be Intelligent" EP featuring unreleased cuts from the same era as his 12" on IN EFFECT RECORDS.
Swiftly followed by DWG002 - a selection of unreleased tracks from GODFATHER DON which were partially aired on or recorded for the legendary Stretch & Bobbito 89TEC9 radio show. Entitled THE SLAVE OF NEW YORK EP, this once again set a standard by which others had to adhere. And we didn't have to wait that long.
Shortly before the DWG first release, the FREESTYLE PROFESSORS had just dropped unreleased gems from their back catalogue with the aid of Ed Catto (nice work Ed).
Priced at $100 this may initially seem like an expensive purchase, but just sit and think for a moment what you are actually getting here. You're not paying huge amounts for an overpriced and overhyped twelve after entering an eBay bidding war beacuse of the word "random". What you are purchasing in most cases is a truely limited (and in many cases less than a couple of hundred pressed only) and one-off chance to own some dope material which is UNAVAILABLE elsewhere. And very often these vinyl releases are signed by the artist so it truely makes it a collectable piece. OK so your boy down the road might have an mp3 of this or that track, but personally I couldn't give a rats arse what mp3s he has. I'm a vinyl lover period!
The DWG releases have also been priced around the £40 mark, and they have flown off the shelves like hot cakes on a frosty morning! In this game if you snooze, you lose. And if you didn't cop some of these incredibly dope and very limited releases, then I guess you will be kicking yourself pretty damn hard in the very near future.
Only this weekend a copy of UNIQUE's DIE HARD EP (DWG003) hit the Daily Diggers doormat greeted by a large smile and very soon after some serious volume cranking. Remember the dude who brought us "Pure Dynamite" and "Axe Maniac" in '89?? To have 4 more cuts from UNIQUE that I have never heard before kinda blows my grey matter to be honest. It's like being a kid again. Not that I ever grew up!
And now I learn that those crazy cats at VINYL ADDICTS have got some unreleased LORD FINESSE & MIKE SMOOTH due to drop on wax, and DJ CRO (MAIN INGREDIENT RADIO) plus his CRATE ESCAPE label are gonna bring us the KURIOUS JORGE "CONSTIPATED MONKEY DEMO EP" in February of this year. Holy smoke where will it all end?? I'm not sure I can digest all this at once! Don't get me wrong....I ain't complaining.
So now the music industry can kiss my skinny white butt while I listen to Golden Era dopeness that they thought we wouldn't wanna hear. Let them release that pish they call Hip Hop. Because we know better don't we??
And huge props to the guys making these releases happen. It's enough to make an ageing hip hop junkie like me go OD! It takes a hell of a lot of time and effort to make these releases happen. And to the odd few who have complained that the prices are high because these cats are only out to make a fast buck or two.....you knuckleheads! If they were in it for the money they wouldn't be putting out "true" Hip Hop like this in such small quantities! Do the maths!!
Here's some essential unreleased listening...
PHILL MOST CHILL - Be Intelligent EP (DWG001)
GODFATHER DON - Slave of New York EP (DWG 002)
UNIQUE - Die Hard EP (DWG003)
KURIOUS JORGE - The Constipated Monkey Demos (Crate Escape)
LORD FINESSE & MIKE SMOOTH - Funky Dope Maneuver EP (VA001)
BARITONE TIPLOVE - Livin' Foul DBL LP (white)