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Dead Prez

Let's Get Free

    Sermonizing Black Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and the benefits of a healthy and just lifestyle during the height of the Bad Boy / Roc-AFella era of nihilistic excess in the late ‘90s, Dead Prez also signed to a major label (Loud / Columbia) despite leaning much more towards the burgeoning indie aesthetics of the day. But this was a good thing – using major label muscle to wake up righteous hip-hop fans who might have fallen asleep at the wheel. The group itself – consisting of MCs stic.man and M-1, who produced or co-produced most of the duo’s music – was formed in Tallahassee, Florida in the early 1990s. By later that decade, the duo had started making significant waves, having their music heard on the soundtracks to “Soul In The Hole” and “Slam,” as well as appearing on albums by Big Pun and The Beatnuts. By 1998, they released their first official single, the serious, stark “Police State,” on Loud, appropriately brought to the label by Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian.

    After building a solid rep over the next two years with fiery live performances, in 2000 they unleashed their debut album, Let’s Get Free. The album was a welcome return to provocative and often radically political rhetoric that hearkened back to hip-hop forebears including The Coup, Public Enemy and KRS-One (as well as poetic descendants like the Last Poets and Watts Prophets). Let’s Get Free was critically acclaimed and benefited from multiple singles, including the infectious, thick analog drive of “Hip-Hop” “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop,” with a remix co-produced by a young Kanye West; “Mind Sex” (with Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets); and the poignant “I’m An African.”

    But the singles weren’t the only worthy songs, as just about every cut here has deeper meaning than most full albums by their early 2000s peers. Highlights: the thought-provoking, anti-drug album opener “Wolves”; “We Want Freedom” “They Schools” and “Propaganda” . All in all, this is one of the more underrated and possibly Top 5 fully-realized political hip-hop albums of all time.

    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. 

    Nas' 1994 debut "Illmatic" is rightly hailed as a paragon of underground hip-hop, a turning point in East Coast rap's development, and one of the all-time greatest debut albums in general. Though Nas' artistic legacy is without question, it was not always the case; if Nas had flourished during the mid-90s, he had stumbled clumsily while transitioning into the 00's. After achieving universal praise via Illmatic and commercial success with its' follow-up It Was Written, Nas' next few releases were considered inconsistent and lackluster compared to the critical one-two punch they followed. During this time period he had abandoned the socially-conscious and philosophical topics that made him a critical darling in favor of more commercially viable gangsta rap. Though he maintained a chart presence for much of the late-90s, review scores began to dwindle, and his status among the hip-hop community was thrown into question. This would change in 2001 with the release of Nas' fifth studio full-length, which made the effort to re-establish him as a legitimate artist. Eschewing the pop-friendliness he'd found success with, Nas instead opted to return to the underground style he came up in, with tracks about American politics, ghetto life, and social upheaval. Perhaps sensing this need to return to his roots, he titled the album "Stillmatic", a clear and present reference (and sequel of sorts) to Illmatic.

    The ploy worked perfectly; Stillmatic was hailed by critics as a stunning comeback, and a brilliant return to form, earning rave reviews from rap outlets such as The Source and HipHopDX as well as from more mainstream publications as The Rolling Stone and The Village Voice. Praise was heaped upon the complexity and introspective nature of Nas' lyrical content, the top-tier production from veterans like Large Professor, DJ Premier, L.E.S., and Trackmasters, and hard-hitting guest appearances from AZ, Mary J. Blige, and Amerie. Stillmatic would see release on December 18th of 2001, right as Nas was caught in the middle of a highly publicized feud with fellow New York rapper Jay-Z. As such, the record features one of the feud's most intense apexes in the form of its second track "Ether", a ruthless Ron Browz-produced diss track. A response to Jay-Z's own diss "Takeover", "Ether" savaged the Brooklyn-native, accusing him of brown-nosing to get ahead, of plagiarizing earlier rappers such as Notorious B.I.G. and KRS-One, and dismissing his street cred. To this day "Ether" is considered one of the best and most potent diss tracks ever recorded, a major turning point in the Nas/Jay-Z feud, a standout among the already critically acclaimed Stillmatic, and is even credited with boosting Jay-Z's career by proxy. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLtd LP Info: Standard black vinyl release.

    Dead Prez

    Hip Hop / Hip Hop (instrumental)

    Re-issued. The debut album by dead prez, Let's Get Free, had plenty of head nodding beats, but none quite matches the nerve grinding effect of their single "Hip-Hop". Produced by the duo, "Hip-Hop" was a record that immediately caught fire on both College and Commercial Radio mix-shows. A call to arms, “Hip-Hop" just sounds like a revolution, and is to be heard loud! Surprisingly enough, this song's legacy may be most defined by its use as the bed for Dave Chappelle's entrance music for his show on Comedy Central. But beyond that, this song remains as one of the greatest Hip Hop songs of all time.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: ANTHEM! That's the word that springs to mind. A neck-napping head nodder with a KILLLER B-line and lyrical content with glides between the conscious and the streetwise. Buy it now!

    Dr. John

    Babylon

      Get On Down is all too eager to reissue this unique record for Record Store Day Black Friday, which has not been repressed on vinyl in over 40 years. In keeping with the album's hallucinogenic sound, it is presented on trippy splatter colored vinyl, and housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Trippy Splatter vinyl.

      Nas

      It Was Written

        Illmatic, the 1994 studio debut of Nasir "Nas" Jones, was more than just a critical success for the Queensbridge-based rapper. At a time when East Coast hip-hop was increasingly being taken less seriously than their West Coast counterparts, Illmatic's raw jazz and soul-based production, dire atmosphere and lyrics, coupled with Nas' uncompromising flow was integral in restoring interest in the East Coast as a hotbed of hip-hop artistry. Along with key releases from Wu-Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G.,it shifted attention away from the funky, dayglo synth-based G-funk coming out of California and back to the grimy streets of New York. After such an unprecedented debut record, expectations were understandably high for Nas' follow-up. What came next threw critics and fans for a loop, but was no less influential than Illmatic, and would become the most commercially successful album in the entirety of Nas' discography.

        The 1996 sophomore follow-up was titled It Was Written, and in contrast to the urban bleakness of his debut, had Nas dipping his toes into the world of mafioso rap. Amidst production from heavy hitters like Trackmasters, Dr. Dre, L.E.S., Havoc of Mobb Deep, and Illmatic-collaborator DJ Premier, among others, Nas weaves evocative narratives of gang warfare, downtrodden neighborhoods, drug deals gone awry, and gangsta triumph, against a backdrop of samples from Sam Cooke, Etta James, the Isley Brothers, and even Chuck Mangione. It Was Written was not hard up for top-tier guests either, featuring major guest turns from Lauryn Hill and Joel "JoJo" Hailey of K-Ci & JoJo. It also introduced the world to The Firm, the brief Nas-led supergroup featuring rappers AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega. It even managed to cause some minor controversy in the hip-hop community for its collaboration with West Coast producer Dr. Dre, at a time when the East Coast/West Coast rap feud was reaching a fever pitch, briefly attracting the ire of one Tupac Shakur.

        Not only was It Was Written received warmly by critics, but became a major commercial success, reaching the top of the Billboard 200 charts, reaching platinum sales status four times, and alongside albums like Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, helped usher in the era of mafioso rap in the mainstream. It rendered chart hits out of singles like the Eurhythmics-mimicking "Street Dreams", and the Grammy-nominated "If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)", and proved to be a major influence on artists like Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, and many more

        It's safe to say that hip-hop has never seen an album like Ol’ Dirty Bastard's 1995 solo debut "Return to the 36 Chambers". The brief glimpses of ODB's unhinged genius provided by Wu-Tang Clan's landmark "Enter the Wu-Tang" album two years earlier were begging to be expanded on to a larger canvas, and, with RZA guiding production, the album promised to give Dirty the creative license to make one of the most bizarre, entertaining and original LPs in hip-hop history. With his raspy, drunken flow and dark sense of humor, Dirty fearlessly attacks from all angles, throwing himself fearlessly into punchy rhyme attacks (“Damage,” with GZA), drugged-out party jams (the monster singles “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) and bizarre, grimly hilarious fantasies of sex and violence (“Don't U Know” and the R&B-tinged “Sweet Sugar Pie”).

        Backed by RZA's appropriately gritty, dissonant beats and appearances from the Clan, Return became an instant hit, selling over 1 million copies and earning a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album in 1996. The album stands as a high water mark in the Wu-Tang Clan's collective creative output and was selected as one of the Best 100 Rap Albums by The Source magazine in 1998. In honoring the legacy of one of hip-hop's most innovative releases, Get On Down is proud to present this incredible and unique special edition of Ol’ Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers as a double LP which contains the complete original album, remastered for optimal sound quality. 

        David Axelrod

        Seriously Deep

        The rediscovery of the music of David Axelrod in the 1990s was a revelation to the scores of hip-hop and breakbeat DJs that sampled him, but his composition genius was on display as early as the 1960s. After producing and arranging major critical and commercial hits for Lou Rawls, The Electric Prunes, David McCallum, and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, he was encouraged by Capitol Records to record and produce solo material. Coming right on the heels of The Beatles' revolutionary 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, Axelrod would produce a slew of instrumental baroque pop records, which were intricately orchestrated, fused elements of jazz, psychedelic rock, chamber music, and neo-classical, and tackled issues of mental enlightenment, environmental impact, and would be hailed by critics as highly ambitious pieces of conceptual art.


        The albums Song Of Innocence (1968), Songs Of Experience (1969), and Earth Rot (1970) are most often hailed as David Axelrod's finest moments, but little is mentioned of the producer's 1970s material. Among these records is Seriously Deep, his lone album recorded for Polydor, and an unheralded gem of jazz-rock fusion. On Seriously Deep, Axelrod dispenses with the heavily orchestrated measures of previous works to conduct a powerhouse crew of session musicians, including Leon Ndugu Chancler of Santana on drums, Mailto Correa on percussion, Jim Hughart on bass, Joe Sample on electric keys, and many others, with production from frequent Axelrod collaborators Cannonball Adderley and Jimmy Bowen. Seriously Deep is an obscure release, but also one of David Axlerod's tightest, and most exploratory ones. Across six tracks, Axelrod and his collective of players dip in and out of bounding jazz-funk, Afro-Latin grooves, cinematic flourishes, psychedelic synth washes, and blaring big band horns. It's a singularly insular curiosity of musical impressionism that's equal parts brooding and joyous, a definitive part of Axelrod's discography, and a well of sample material for tracks by Mobb Deep, Large Professor, The Black Eyed Peas, and Beanie Siegel, among others

        Hip Hop's finest martial arts obsessives Wu-Tang cannot accurately be described without referencing one of the pillars in the Clan's discography; Chef Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" remains firmly planted as one of the defining triumphs in their artistic legacy. The oft referred "Purple Tape", has been cited and debated by many as the greatest Wu-Tang solo project to date (it's the second best, behind "Liquid Swords" - ed) and a remains a bullet point in any discussion involving the greatest "Cocaine Rap" or "Street Hop" albums of all time. Raekwon's narrative, plays out like a movie script from the violent, drug fueled, underbelly of New York City's criminal landscape, intricately woven over instrumentals from the legendary mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan, The RZA. Even the album's main feature "Tony Starks aka Ghostface Killer", referred to as such rather described as a "guest star" appearing on 12 of the albums 18 tracks.

        It should be noted that while the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx did produce a string of successful singles, such as "Ice Cream", "Incarcerated Scarfaces", and "Criminology", like all classic cinema, the album was intentionally engineered to be appreciated in one sitting, played from beginning to end. In continuing with it's proud tradition of honoring historically significant hip hop albums, Get On Down presents Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx", back on double translucent purple vinyl. This edition features for the first time ever on vinyl, the formerly CD only bonus track, "North Star (Jewels)". And if that wasn't enough, the entire album also features completely enhanced and painstakingly remastered audio. This is the definitive must-own vinyl edition of Raekwon’s masterpiece. 

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Purple vinyl pressing of 'The Purple Tape' - AKA the 3rd Greatest Hip Hop album of all time. (#1 "Enter The Wu Tang", #2 "Liquid Swords" FYI) Incredibly sounding even better nearly 25 years later, this classic has aged like a fine wine. If you're after lyrics, flow, hooks, beats and the finest document of street life, you got it son!

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xColoured LP Info: PURPLE VINYL EDITION!

        The neo-soul movement of the late 1990s, which fused classic soul sounds with contemporary elements, heralded the arrival of some of the greatest R&B recordings of the decade. Albums like Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill", D'Angelo's "Brown Sugar", and Maxwell's "Urban Hang Suite" were all born of this trend, while artists such as Mos Def, The Roots, and Common whole-heartedly embraced the sound, creating some of their most timeless material in the process (most of it we've championed whole-heartedly through the years! - Ed).

        These are some of neo-soul's great successes, but a slew of underground acts were what set the initial blueprint for their more pop-friendly acquaintances to follow. Acts such as R&B duo Groove Theory. The New York pair, consisting of singer / songwriter Amel Larrieux, and producer Bryce Wilson, (A veteran of the legendary 80s electronic group Mantronix) helped set the tone for neo-soul via their lone studio release, the self-titled "Groove Theory".

        The nearly hour-long record features 14 tracks of Wilson's smooth soul arrangements and atmospherics merged with golden era boom-bap beats, and Larrieux's siren-quality vocals, inspired equally by a combination of Native Tongues, peak Marvin Gaye, Joan Armatrading, Soul II Soul, as well as elements of breakbeat, jazz fusion, and even trip hop. It's a definitive, but often overlooked classic of the 1990s, which helped expand contemporary R&B's sound, render Billboard hits out the tracks "Tell Me", "Keep Tryin'", and "Baby Luv", and even found the time for a Todd Rundgren cover. On the cusp of Groove Theory's 25th anniversary, Get On Down is proud to bring you this vinyl reissue of an underrated 90s gem. The original record has never been re-released on wax since its 1995 debut, but is now presented here with fully remastered audio, and bundled in a full-color insert sleeve with complete lyrics and liner notes. 


        In 1994, hip-hop was going through an at-times painful growth spurt. Since NWA’s and Ice-T’s ascent in the late 80s, the rap game was no longer owned by the East Coast. After the worldwide popularity of Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ in 1992, things were looking even worse for hip-hop’s hometown. The East Coast / West Coast feud that would later indirectly claim the lives of Biggie and 2Pac was still in its infancy, but New York needed a shot in the arm. The hype behind young Queensbridge native Nasir “Nas” Jones had been in full swing months before his smash debut album ‘Illmatic’, thanks to Columbia Records’ promo machine. From his earliest appearance on Main Source’s ‘Live At The BBQ’, to his own accomplished debut ‘Half Time’ (as Nasty Nas, in late 1992), it was clear that this kid was something special. In fact, the pressure on him must have been overwhelming at times. April 19, 1994 couldn’t have come soon enough. And as soon as the first lines of ‘NY State Of Mind’ kick in, bolstered by perhaps DJ Premier’s darkest beat of all time, the entire East Coast breathed a collective sigh of relief. God’s Son had arrived. Backed by an absolute all-star cast of New York’s top-shelf producers - Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Q-Tip and a youngster named LES - the album never lets up. Serious to a fault, and lyrically dense to an extent that has possibly never been matched, the 20-year old Nas stood on the shoulders of his predecessors and proudly proclaimed, “Don’t f*** with the East… we are BACK”. ‘Illmatic’ was actually a slow-burn, which might surprise fans that have come to its genius more recently. Despite an unheard-of “5 Mics” rating in The Source – breaking an unwritten rule of never awarding classic status to debuts - it didn’t go gold until early 1996, and didn’t hit platinum status until late 2001. But when you dive deeper that shouldn’t be a shock: like Black Moon and Wu-Tang’s debuts, it was a dark, hard record, made for heads in New York, not teeny-boppers in Des Moines. There were no dance beats, no crossover love songs. Just boom-bap and rhymes, skills and heart.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        David says: This album pretty much single handedly reignited the flame of East Coast hip hop. Produced by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock AND Q Tip!! It's an authentic, masterpiece of minimal beats and street poetry that is universally recognised as one of the greatest rap albums of all time.

        This release has never been officially issued on vinyl outside of Japan. “Dedication” is a unique Herbie Hancock outing in more ways than one. This is a solo Hancock release, all sounds heard on this recording are Hancock at the keyboards, be it an acoustic piano, a Fender Rhodes or a synth. The result being a recording that’s full of air and space, yet thoroughly funky. The project was recorded live in Tokyo in July of 1974 and never saw release outside of Japan until well into the 21st century. No official vinyl issue has ever happened outside of Japan where the LP has been out of print for decades. There's some amazingly futurist soundscapes contained within Hancock's funky ass keys work, "Nobu" indeed, being sampled by one Radio Slave for an extended tribal adventure. It further cements Hancock's rock solid legacy as a true musical pioneer. Check!

        Dillinger

        CB 200

          THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

          First issued in 1976. Available on CD and digital but vinyl has been out of print since the mid-80s. 2000 only worldwide. By the 1970s Reggae had spread from Jamaica and become an international phenomena. Enter Dillinger, who rose up with the El Paso Sound System as part of the second generation of Jamaican toasters. His name came from American gangster John Dillinger at the suggestion of none other than Lee Perry (who produced his first album). A deal with Island Records followed, with sessions happening at Channel One Studios with Joseph ""Jo Jo"" Hoo Kim producing. Recording at Channel One in mid-70s meant Dillinger and Jo Jo were tapping into an immense talent pool in the form of The Revolutionaries, the studio’s in-house band. CB 200 features contributions from Earl “Chinna” Smith, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Ansel Collins, Sly Dunbar, and Tommy McCook among others. The release also brought forth the career defining cut “Cokane In My Brain”, a hit record on an international basis. Despite the success of CB 200 and “Cokane In My Brain” the release has remained out of print in all formats since the mid-1980s. Get On Down is about to change that, with their Record Store Day 2019 reissue of this too often overlooked Reggae masterpiece. Tracks : 1. CB 200 2. No Chuck It 3. Cokane In My Brain 4. The General 5. Power Bank 6. Plantation Heights 7. Race Day 8. Natty Kick Like Lightning 9. Buckingham Palace 10. Crankface

          The contemporary realm of hip hop music can be seen as polarized between two sides; mainstream versus underground, industry versus independent, at a base level boiled down to catchy sounds & infective hooks over higher quality lyrical content. These elements don’t need to be mutually exclusive, but these days it’s rare to find an act that can please all sides of the discussion. Clipse are one of the few groups that successfully and consistently caters to both sides of rap’s splintered psyche, simultaneously serving the scene with upbeat bangers that get the club poppin’ & subwoofers rattlin’ while crafting clever quotable compositions deserving of repeated headphone submersions. Though their preceding official albums "Lord Willin’" & "Hell Hath No Fury" made bigger splashes commercially, 2009’s "Til The Casket Drops" is surely no slouch, a gem which deserves to be revisited with fresh ears – good thing Get On Down has given it the proper treatment it deserves with its first-ever vinyl pressing!
          Clipse have always delighted in dualities, juxtapositions and contradictions, unabashedly celebrating the capitalistic lifestyle and the grind as the kings of ‘coke-rap’, while taking hard looks at society’s mores and those of their own individual journeys. We hear Malice’s eventual transition to No Malice taking form on this album as he found religion, warning others who might follow in his path on ‘Footsteps’: “don’t let my wrongs give you the right of way/ to emulate my past escaping the law’s grasp” while refusing to be pinned down in one lane: “it weights on my conscience and I hate conscious rap”. Meanwhile Pusha T continues his lyrical ascent into the King Push persona with bars like “pompous motherfucker, look what them jewels made me/ I’m only finding comfort in knowing you can’t replace me/ What a thing to say, but what am I to do/ I’m role-playing a conscious nigga and true is true/ Cocaine aside, all of the bloggers behooved/ My critics finally have a verse of mine to jerk off to” decisively on album opener “Freedom”.
          Since it dropped, the Clipse have stated that Casket… is their final album together while subsequently alluding to the possibility of an eventual reunion. Only time will tell, but until then it’s time to re-celebrate one of hip hop’s most dynamic duos by hearing "Til The Casket Drops" in a whole new light with its long-overdue, first time on vinyl pressing via Get On Down featuring all 13 original tracks on wax and cover art by the legendary KAWS! It’s kinda like a big deal…

          Dr. Octagon

          Dr. Octagonecologyst

            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. By the mid-1990s, the rap game had been through a lot in its two decades of existence: Early-days scraping to get by and be heard; The advent of sampling; The rise of groups ranging from Run-DMC to the Wu-Tang Clan and the sprawl of Dr. Dre’s shadow from the West across the globe; and solo juggernauts ranging from MC Hammer to the Notorious B.I.G. Thankfully, though, with everything that the genre had been through, there was still a lot of room to grow. And in early 1996, a new indie duo appeared that won over a whole new international audience, from hard rocks to skate punks. That pair was Dr. Octagon: Dan “The Automator” Nakamura and Kool Keith [Thornton]. In some ways, the Dr. Octagon album is a solo release.

            But Keith wasn’t the only hand on deck. He brought along a young, New York-based MC with him: Sir Menelik. Menelik was featured on four album tracks, starting with “Dr. Octagon,” and proved to be an excellent super-scientifical, fast-rhyming foil to Keith. And there was one final featured contributor who helped add to the album’s next-level sound: San Francisco’s DJ Q*Bert, who cuts on half of the album’s songs. The album originally came out on The Automator’s Bulk Recordings label in early 1996, with cover art by metal and punk cult hero visual artist Pushead. Pressing numbers weren’t huge, but as the year went on, the buzz grew, and a slightly expanded version of the album was released on James Lavelle’s London-based Mo Wax label.

            Then Dan took an offer from newly-formed major label DreamWorks, to re-release the album with extra tracks in mid-1997. The new domestic pressing allowed for a bigger press push, as well as the group’s first and only video, for “Blue Flowers.” Beyond “Blue Flowers,” the album is chock-full of mind-bending tracks, like “Earth People”; the wacked-out but sincere love ballad “Girl Let Me Touch You”; the metal-tinged “I’m Destructive”; Q-Bert’s turntable workout “Bear Witness”; and, of course, freaky Keith skits like “Elective Surgery” and “General Hospital”. Dr. Octagonecologyst is one of the most unique rap records the genre has ever seen, and this is the perfect way to celebrate it – whether it’s the first time you have heard this mind-expanding record, or the three thousandth. 

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            3xLtd LP Info: 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.

            Run DMC

            King Of Rock

              Run-DMC’s self-titled 1984 debut pushed the doors of pop music open, showing that hip-hop was not the fad that haters had prophesized. As they proved decisively on Run-DMC, rap was a legit art form, fully capable of producing long-players full of no-fast-forward cuts. By 1985, any doubters were running on fumes, as the group’s King Of Rock blew the aforementioned pop doors off their hinges.

              Emboldened by their success (including the first rap album to ever go Gold); energized by worldwide touring and accolades; and given all the support they could want by a genius producer (Larry Smith), an open-minded label (Profile) and a charismatic manager (Russell Simmons, who also lent a hand on production), they ruled the charts and hinted at even greater things to come. The album’s most fondly-remembered single set the album’s tone perfectly: “King Of Rock” was hard, full of charisma and tag-team vocal finesse, and had enough guitars to bring the suburbs into the rap fold. The song’s video was equally popular and powerful, and the pioneering MTV exposure drove the group into a new stratosphere. But there was much more to King Of Rock than the title track, including more rock / rap hybrids.

              Augustus Pablo

              This Is Augustus Pablo - Get On Down Edition

              Augustus Pablo (Horace Swaby) was born just outside of Kingston. “I am a Kingstonian,” he told the NME in 1986, “but my heart is for the hills.” This mystical connection to “the hills” is at the heart of Pablo's unique and immediately identifiable sound. By the late '60s, Swaby and his brother Dougie had founded a small sound system they called Rockers. The brothers spent a lot of time in record shops, including Aquarius, where owner Herman Chin-Loy heard Swaby experimenting on his melodica and was struck by the inspiration to record. The resulting tune was credited to Augustus Pablo, a name that Chin-Loy invented, as the story goes, to give an air of mystery to the release. Pablo recorded two more singles soon after with “Java” becoming a major hit and being voted Instrumental Song Of The Year by Jamaica's Swing Magazine. This success led to the Randy's label moving to create a full-length album from Pablo. Recording in the Randy's studio upstairs from the record shop “we weren't watching the clock...we had the studio,” Clive Chin recalled. The band included a cast of the greatest reggae musicians of all time: future Wailer Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, “Fully” Fullwood and Lloyd Parks on the bass, Carlton Barrett, “Santa” Davis and Lloyd “Tin Leg” Adams were on drums and Earl “Chinna” Smith played guitar. In addition to these future Hall of Famers, the mixing board was helmed by Errol Thompson. Thompson and Chin would together pioneer a tough, new reggae sound that, Chin referred to as “Rockers” after the Swaby brothers' Rockers Hi-Fi sound system. 'This Is Augustus Pablo' is considered among the greatest collections of Jamaican instrumental music and is an essential part of reggae history. 

              Jurassic 5 flexed serious old-to-the-new muscles in the ‘90s, beginning with their independently released single “Unified Rebelution” in 1994, and book-ending with their stellar debut full-length: 2000’s Quality Control. They walked a tightrope between underground and mainstream hip-hop, and toured alongside rap peers as well as punk rockers on the Vans Warped Tour. With double the pleasure of your average hip-hop group – two DJs and producers (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark); and four MCs (Chali 2na, Akil, Marc 7 and Zaakir aka Soup) – they brought the late 1970s “unison MC” style of pioneering groups like the Fantastic 5 and the Force MCs to a new generation. Even more surprisingly, they did so out of Los Angeles, whose hip-hop flavors generally leaned towards Gangsta, G-Funk or Electro lines. Musically inventive and lyrically forward-thinking, each song on Quality Control is a new adventure, exploring engaging territory, delivered via one of the best live hip-hop shows fans had seen in years. From singles like the strutting groove of the title track to the throwback doo-wop samples on “The Influence” and the catchy, keyboard groove-driven “World of Entertainment (WOE Is Me),” to deeper album tracks like the lyrical gymnastics of “Jurass Finish First” and the thought-provoking “Lausd,” Jurassic 5 consistently stepped to the plate and their fans responded in kind, nearly pushing the album to Gold status. Add the innovative DJ-and-sample workout which closes out the album, “Swing Set,” and you have one of the 2000s’ most unique and solid full-length platters.

              By 1976, Lee "Scratch" Perry was well established at his Black Ark studio, a fact proven by the quality of the creations emerging from its walls. The success of Max Romeo's "War in a Babylon" brought a deal with Island Records and the possibility of greater financial rewards. The single was followed by a full-length album of the same name as well as deejay Jah Lion's Columbia Colly LP. Riding this crest of productivity, Scratch then turned to a creation of his own. Super Ape offered a series of the producer's finest 1976 rhythms, from Devon Irons' "When Jah Come" and the Blue Bells' "Come Along" to Romeo's "War in a Babylon" and "Chase the Devil." All are bathed in the distinct, murky atmosphere that was becoming a Black Ark trademark, then served up in the form of dub-like de-constructions. Island's UK / US sequencing of Super Ape places "Dread Lion" at the album's heart. If any track fulfills the cover's promise to "Dub it up, blacker than dread", this is it. Vocals from numerous cuts seem to compete for their spot on the rhythm, while a dizzying mix of horns, flute and melodica swirl around them. Punctuating the song's rock-solid underbelly, Perry conjures startling thunderclaps from his mixing board. Other Super Ape heavyweights include "Croaking Lizard" and "Zion's Blood": thick muscular constructs from the Upsetter session team. The former features an excellent Prince Jazzbo toast over the "Chase the Devil" rhythm, while the latter, a cut of "When Jah Come," draws its elusive meaning from vocal phrases courtesy of Heptones Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn. Super Ape is a dubwise, alternate universe to Perry's Black Ark vocal hits. It awaits anyone willing to heed its closing call: "This is the ape-man, trodding through creation, are you ready to step with I man?".

              Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force

              Planet Rock - Glow In The Dark Vinyl Edition

                Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force “Planet Rock” 12-inch re-issue on glow-in-the-dark vinyl (Limited edition of 1982 copies) B-Boy anthem from 1982 lights up any dancefloor…literally! First time ever on glow-in-the-dark vinyl! Fresh off Bambaataa’s historic donation of his vinyl collection to the Cornell University Hip-Hop Collection and the Fall 2014 “Renegades of Rhythm” tour by DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist celebrating his unparalleled contribution to hip-hop, Get On Down celebrates the song for which the Godfather of Hip-Hop is best known: 1982’s “Planet Rock,” a Kraftwerk-meets-Bronx-B-Boy anthem. Renowned the world over as a never-fail floor-filler, this new 12-inch pressing of the single is pressed on glow-in-the-dark vinyl for the first time ever. Although Bambaataa may have gotten top-billing on the release, it was a team effort, with crucial contributions by a team including DJ Jazzy Jay, Afrika Islam, Arthur Baker, John Robie, a Roland TR-808 drum machine (aka Planet Patrol) and of course MCs Mr. Biggs, G.L.O.B.E. and Pow Wow. This edition is housed in a clear, custom-embossed Get On Down poly-bag to let the glow show through.

                Eric B. & Rakim

                Paid In Full (Mini Madness: Coldcut Remix)

                  THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                  Available from Get on Down, we are proud to bring back this rare 7”, the UK Picture sleeve release of Eric B & Rakim’s Paid in Full (Mini Madness – The Coldcut Remix). When Eric B & Rakim debuted with Paid in Full in the summer of ‘87 the album was an immediate classic. By the time the cut "Paid in Full" was released as the album's fifth and final single, it became a hit in clubs, radio and MTV largely due to the songs remix. Enter Coldcut, a new DJ/Remix team from the U.K who at the time just made a big splash with a record of their own, the cut & paste classic “Say Kids What Time Is It”. It made such a huge buzz that Julian Palmer from Island Records urged them to do a remix of “Paid in Full”. The result was the “Mini Madness” mix which turned Rakim's one verse song into a magnum opus that that crossed cultures and influences into one seamless remix. Today it still holds as one of the most groundbreaking remixes ever, Rakim himself is even quoted as saying it was the “best remix” he has ever heard. What made this remix so special was how Coldcut incorporated several new elements in producing their remix, mainly the use of vocal samples. The most prominent in these samples was the addition of Israeli singer Ofra Haza, whose voice when lowered in pitch, synced perfectly with the Paid in Full breakbeat. Another notable element of the Coldcut remix is its opening vocal sample, "This is a journey into sound” which even today it is recognizable as the start of this Remix. "Now wait a minute, you better talk to my mother" comes from Humphrey Bogart and lines like "Pump up the volume" and "Dance to the record" are sampled from Eric B. & Rakim's own song "I Know You Got Soul". While there are many more vocal bits and breaks that go into what makes this remix so special, it’s better to let the music speak for itself.

                  Ol' Dirty Bastard

                  Return To The 36 Chambers - The Dirty Version

                  It's safe to say that hip-hop has never seen an album like Ol’ Dirty Bastard's 1995 solo debut 'Return to the 36 Chambers'. The brief glimpses of ODB's unhinged genius provided by Wu-Tang Clan's landmark Enter the Wu-Tang album two years earlier were begging to be expanded on to a larger canvas, and, with RZA guiding production, the album promised to give Dirty the creative license to make one of the most bizarre, entertaining and original LPs in hip-hop history. With his raspy, drunken flow and dark sense of humor, Dirty fearlessly attacks from all angles, throwing himself fearlessly into punchy rhyme attacks (“Damage,” with GZA), drugged-out party jams (the monster singles “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) and bizarre, grimly hilarious fantasies of sex and violence (“Don't U Know” and the R&B-tinged “Sweet Sugar Pie”). Backed by RZA's appropriately gritty, dissonant beats and appearances from the Clan, Return became an instant hit, selling over 1 million copies and earning a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album in 1996. The album stands as a high water mark in the Wu-Tang Clan's collective creative output and was selected as one of the Best 100 Rap Albums by The Source magazine in 1998.



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