Rappcats. Los Angeles Pop-Up. Record Store Day, Apr 18–19.

Rappcats — April 15, 2015 | Comments (4)

Rappcats first pop-up event is happening this weekend.

April 18-19, Saturday & Sunday, Noon-6PM
RAPPCATS. 5636 YORK BLVD, LOS ANGELES CA 90042

We will have:
J Dilla “Fuck the Police” 10-inch die cut picture disc from Pay Jay
MF Doom / KMD – Black Bastards – Book/CD/45 reissue from Metal Face Records
Amanaz – Africa Essential 1970s African rock album, definitive reissue on Now-Again
Our final stock of the J DILLA FIGURE. We will have 100 available on Saturday, 100 available on Sunday.
& Good times.

If you’re nowhere near Los Angeles, most of these items will go on sale at rappcats.com midnight on Record Store Day, Apr 18. The J Dilla Figures will be at the pop-up event only / 1 per customer. Credit cards accepted.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib PIÑATA GIBBS T-shirt

Freddie Gibbs — April 6, 2015 | Comments (1)

ON SALE NOW: PINATA GIBBS ON BLACK | PINATA GIBBS ON WHITE

Freddie Gibbs in the Piñata/zebra style. This is a blue/orange print on black t-shirt. Photo by Peter Beste, design by Jeff Jank.

BEYONDOOM

MF DOOM, mos def — April 4, 2015 | Comments (26)

Mos Def (Yassin Bey) covers Doom: Rainbows, Beef Rap, Strange Ways, Accordion, Curls, All Caps, Mayo Clinic (over J Dilla’s beat for Oh No’s “Move Pt. 2”). Filmed last May at Fort d’Aubervilliers by Samuel Thiebaut, edited by Antoine Kerninon, produced by Culturebox.


ORIGINS OF THE VILLAIN

MF DOOM — March 12, 2015 | Comments (7)

This is a video & audio mix that has played as an opening for MF DOOM shows in Europe. Put together by Sims, Mass & Alan the G of French collective Now Futur, it’s plays tribute to much of Doom’s source material, flipping his beats and recreating them using original samples and videos.

Thanks again to Mr Mass, the man with the camera: Doom, Madlib, J Rocc & Gibbs turn a Newport Light to a joint right before your eyes | DOOM in Lyon


J Dilla – FUCK THE POLICE – Badge 45

J Dilla — March 10, 2015 | Comments (12)

IN THE SHOP: J DILLA – FUCK THE POLICE – BADGE 45

Available Record Store at Rappcats Pop-Up Shop.
April 18-19, Saturday & Sunday, Noon-6PM
RAPPCATS. 5636 YORK BLVD, LOS ANGELES CA 90042

J Dilla’s classic, out of print for over a decade, has been remastered from Dilla’s original mixes and issued on Pay Jay Productions as a badge-shaped 9“ picture disc single. Both the vocal and instrumental come straight from mix-downs that Dilla himself created.

This limited edition 9″ badge-shaped picture disc single features Jeff Jank’s ironic take on Dilla’s message and comes in a thick, custom-made pocket fold-over, inserted into a Japanese-style, resealable clear plastic sleeve.

This is a Record Store Day release. It will be available Apr 18 2015 at Rappcats.com, at the Rappcats Pop-Up Record Shop – address TBA – and at participating record stores around the U.S.

KMD – Black Bastards – Popup Book, CD, 45

IN THE SHOP: KMD – BLACK BASTARDS – BOOK/CD/VINYL

Available Record Store at Rappcats Pop-Up Shop.
April 18-19, Saturday & Sunday, Noon-6PM
RAPPCATS. 5630 YORK BLVD, LOS ANGELES CA 90042

MF DOOM’s first group and their controversial sophomore release Black Bastards (Bl_ck B_st_rds) is being reissued by DOOM’s own Metalface Records imprint for Record Store Day 2015 in the format of a children’s pop-up book.

This includes two CDs – the original album and second disc of bonus material – and a 7-inch picture disc of “What A Nigga Know” housed in the back cover featuring the group’s iconic “sambo” mascot. This “board book” package has a sambo pop-up on the last spread.

In Brian Coleman’s recent book Check the Technique, he wrote extensively about the album and it’s critical role in shaping the persona of MF DOOM: “There are few releases in hip-hop history with as much mystery behind them as KMD’s second full-length, Black Bastards. The album, whose cover boldly depicted a cartoon ‘Sambo’ being hanged, didn’t even receive the insult of being shelved or pushed back by Elektra Records upon its completion in 1994. Instead, it was outright refused, with very little above-board explanation as to the reason, or even much of an apology, as they ushered the group’s leader out the door.”

READ: KMD’S BLACK BASTARDS AND THE BIRTH OF MF DOOM

This is a Record Store Day release. It will be available Apr 18 2015 at Rappcats.com, at the Rappcats Pop-Up Record Shop – address TBA – and at participating record stores around the U.S. A vinyl release of Black Bastards will follow.

Below: early 90s photo of Zev Love X (Photo by Pete Nice); promotional postcard for Black Bastards c.1994 (Adler Hip-Hop Archives, Cornell University Hip-Hop Collection)



Amanaz – Africa

IN THE SHOP: AMANAZ – AFRICA

Available Record Store at Rappcats Pop-Up Shop.
April 18-19, Saturday & Sunday, Noon-6PM
RAPPCATS. 5636 YORK BLVD, LOS ANGELES CA 90042

Essential 1970s African rock album, definitive reissue on Now-Again

Issued in 1975, this is the articulation of Zambia’s “Zamrock” ethos. While other albums – Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia, WITCH’s Lazy Bones!! – are competitors, it’s hard to best this album as it covers each major quadrant of the Zamrock whole: it came from the mines; its musicians were anti-colonial freedom fighters, it envelops Zambian folk music traditions. And it rocks.

The album was given two separate mixes and two separate presses: one version is dry, with the vocals and drums mixed loud, the other slathered in reverb, with the vocals and drums disappearing into the mix, and with the guitar solos mixed much louder. Now-Again has presented them both in this anthology. This is a highpoint of the Zamrock scene and this is its definitive reissue.

2/LP, 2/CD set contains both released versions of the album: a dry, drums-up mix and reverb-drenched fuzz-guitar dominated mix and an extensive booklet containing an essay on the album and detailing the history of the Zamrock scene and this album, with notes from Amanaz’s Isaac Mpofu and Keith Kabwe and rare photos. Download card included with LP version.

This is a Record Store Day release. It will be available Apr 18 2015 at Rappcats.com, at the Rappcats Pop-Up Record Shop – address TBA – and at participating record stores around the U.S.

Shipping update: J Dilla Figure & Stussy shirts

Rappcats — February 25, 2015 | Comments (7)

An update for everyone who has pre-ordered a J Dilla Figure from Rappcats: We’re happy to announce that all of our figures have now arrived at our warehouse. There is a lot to pack and ship, but we expect to have them all in the hands of USPS by the end of this week (February 28). The figures are shipping from Boston MA.

Tracking numbers: Once your order has been processed for shipping, you should receive an email from our distributor with a subject line of “TEG has sent you a package” or “Chris Jimson has sent you a package.” This email will contain your tracking number.

February 2015 release. When we announced the J Dilla Figure back in December, we estimated a February ship date. It’s been a long wait, and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience.

J Dilla x Stussy T-shirts. Theses are currently on backorder and are expected to ship sometime the first week of March.

Thanks JPrez805 for the photos.

Fabiano do Nascimento – Dança dos Tempos – with Airto Moreira, from Now-Again Records

Now-Again — February 24, 2015 | Comments (1)

ON SALE NOW: FABIANO DO NASCIMENTO – DANCA DOS TEMPOS

Fabiano do Nascimento’s debut album: folkloric Brasilian/Afro-Brasilian, featuring Airto Moreira.

Dança dos Tempos is the debut album from Brasilian guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento, featuring legendary percussionist Airto Moreira in his first album project in over ten years. Dança dos Tempos follows folkloric Brasilian music as experienced through the mind and able fingers of an expansive musician, not yet thirty years old, and combines the heady ‘60s and ‘70s experimentalism of Hermeto Pascoal and Baden Powell with the childlike elegance of music played and passed down by native Brasilians for generations. It is the second Brasilian album released on Now-Again, following Seu Jorge and Almaz.

Moreira, the bandleader, songwriter and producer, plays percussion on the album and is joined by Fabiano do Nascimento’s long time drummer, Ricardo “Tiki” Pasillas on trap drums. Do Nascimento and Kana Shimanuki handle vocals on what is otherwise an airy instrumental album that allows the guitarist’s virtuosity to shine through originals, folkloric Brasilian songs, and select covers by the likes of Pascoal and Powell, both formative influences on the guitarist.

These duets show the camaraderie that two master Brasilian musicians – of two different generations, but of the same spirit – share with comrades of ages past as they imagine music for the years to come. These tracks were recorded live in the studio with no overdubs by producer Luther Russell and engineer Jason Hiller – straight to 2-inch analog-tape, and only sparingly mastered to focus on the subtleties of the performances.

Here is a short film about the project shot and edited by Bennett Piscitelli.

J Dilla x Stussy Tee – DILLA COLLAGE

J Dilla — February 10, 2015 | Comments (15)

ON SALE: J DILLA X STUSSY: DILLA COLLAGE (BLACK) | J DILLA X STUSSY: DILLA COLLAGE (WHITE)

The new Stussy and J Dilla tee is here. This will be the third t-shirt collaboration between the iconic street wear brand Stussy and The Estate of James Yancey. Tees are on sale and shipping now from Rappcats.com and Stussy. Rappcats ships worldwide.


Madlib T-shirts.

Madlib — January 21, 2015 | Comments (1)

Madlib T-shirts are available again. Quasimoto Q.E. is a homage to Public Enemy, their logo flipped by Jeff Jank. Madlib by Parra is the Dutch illustrator’s nearly impossible-to-read take on the Los Angeles Dodgers logo. Aliases is a tribute to the many characters of Madlib’s musical universe, designed by Brent Rollins. Smoked Out … yes, that says “Madlib” … this was designed by Gustavo Eandi for Madlib Medicine Show #11.



THESE ARE THE JB’S, the lost James Brown / Bootsy Collins album, second edition.

Now-Again — January 20, 2015 | Comments (1)

IN THE SHOP: THE J.B.’s – THESE ARE THE J.B.’s (Second edition)

By popular demand, a second edition of the lost James Brown/Bootsy Collins album. 1LP, Standard LP jacket, booklet. Now shipping

Last year we quickly sold out of the J.B.’s album These Are The J.B.’s, released by Now-Again Records. We sold out so fast that we and the label were inundated with requests from funk fans who couldn’t fathom that a record that was meant to sell for $25 wasn’t available in their local store and was appearing on the secondary market for between $35 and $50.

They asked us to remedy the situation and we did. We’re pleased to announce the second edition of the album, which is now in production and will be released sometime in late February.

The second edition has a different color scheme on the cover (seen in the photos above), and a standard LP sleeve rather than the old-school thick cardboard “tip-on” sleeve of the first edition. The second edition is labeled “second edition” in the label and copyright line on the back.

All else remains the same: same quality of wax, same booklet, same funk. But we wanted to make sure the folks who bought the first edition had something special and there would be no confusion between the two issues.

The history of this album:

In 1970 James Brown perfectly captured a definitive moment in modern music when he called Bootsy Collins into the studio to record the tracks that would be These Are The J.B.’s, a title given to a King Records test-press LP that was never released, and only rumored to exist.

This album is the epitome of funk music, Brown’s innovation that influenced everything that came after it, from Afro-beat to disco to hip-hop.

If there is any funk ensemble as influential as Brown’s in the post-“Cold Sweat” musical landscape, it’s the Bootsy Collins/Parliament/Funkadelic contingent. Those two streams, as Grammy-winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds details in this album’s liner notes, converged for the first time here.

This is the first commercial issue of this album, overseen by Now-Again’s Eothen “Egon” Alapatt alongside Leeds and Universal Music Group’s James Brown expert Harry Weinger. It was mastered specifically for vinyl by Elysian Master’s Dave Cooley, from the original two-track stereo master that James Brown and his engineer Ron Lenhoff delivered to production forty-four years ago. The album includes a booklet with liner notes by Leeds and Alapatt and unpublished photographs.

Photos: The JB’s in 1970; The JB’s perform with James Brown in 1971; Bobby Byrd and Bootsy Collins c. 1970; These Are The JB’s test-press credit sheet.


Video: The JB’s (with Bootsy and Phelps Collins) backing James Brown and Bobby Byrd in Rome on April 24, 1971.

Ghostface and DOOM reunite for “Ray Gun” by BADBADNOTGOOD

BBNG, MF DOOM — January 9, 2015 | Comments (11)

Freddie Gibbs at Boiler Room

Freddie Gibbs — January 6, 2015 | Comments (5)

Now-Again 7″ Sure Shots

Now-Again — December 11, 2014 | Comments (1)

ON SALE: NOW-AGAIN 7″ SURE SHOTS

Four 7-inch singles by Now-Again. 500 copies of each 45 produced: not to be repressed. Download card for entire series included with each 45.

Deep American Funk and Soul…
Richard Marks “I’m The Man For You” b/w Buddy Cantrell “You Ain’t No Good” (NA 7027)
Two of America’s most sought after deep funk/soul sides available. Originally issued on the tiny Atlanta imprint Tuska at the turn of 1970, both of these singles will appear on our forthcoming Richard Marks anthology Never Satisfied.

Zimbabwean Fuzz Funk…
Stars of Liberty “Power To The People” b/w Eye Q “I Am Selfish” (NA 7028)
Tracks from the 1970s Zimbabwean black rock scene. Stars of Liberty and Eye Q are two of the most fiery ensembles to release fuzzy singles in funky protest of Ian Smith’s oppressive Rhodesian regime.

Zambian Proto-Punk…
Chissy Zebby Tembo “I’m Not Made Of Iron” b/w “Fisherman” (NA 7034)
Proto-punk Zamrock tracks from the drummer behind Paul Ngozi’s Ngozi Family Band whose work is focus of ongoing investigation and reissue on Now-Again. “Fisherman” was originally issued on Zebby Tembo’s My Ancestors album. “I’m Not Made Of Iron,” from his untitled third LP, has never been released in any form.

Rare Disco…
Split Decision Band “Watching Out (45 Ver.) b/w “Watching Out (Alt.)” (NA 7035)
One of the best independent disco songs ever released, out of the unlikely locale of Des Moines IA in the late 1970s. A reissue of the original 45 version of this song is paired here with an unreleased version, taken from an album that the band recorded but never released. Now-Again will reissue the full-length in full in 2015.


Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression

Some years ago, Madlib was offered the opportunity to dig into the master tapes of the legendary Blue Note Records, remix whatever he liked, and have them release the record. For a producer raised on the label, the offer couldn’t have been any better. The result was the album Shades of Blue, which was recently reissued on vinyl as a part of a year-long celebration of Blue Note’s 75th year in business.

Rounding out the birthday party is this substantial release, Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression, a heavy coffee table book documenting the 75 years of albums, credits, photos, cover art and production details.

One irony of the digital music is the continuing interest in record labels, vinyl album covers, and what seems like a flood of books about LP cover artwork. But if there’s one label who truly deserves it, whose work can fill nearly 400 pages, it’s Blue Note Records. They not only defined jazz in the 20th century, but defined several eras of jazz. Just as important to those of us who love the labels as much as the music, was their unique ability to combine the music and the recordings with photography and design in a way that presented Blue Note as an entire culture unto itself. Even their look defines jazz. Other labels did this to some extent, but never as long and with as much consistency as Blue Note. Many others tried and never came close. It’s now something of a lost art, but some still try.

It’s an honor to see Madlib’s Shades of Blue rounding out the last section of the book, and the album still sounds good today. The cover photo was shot by B+ (Brian Cross) and a couple pages of his proof sheets are also published in the book. I, Jeff Jank, designed the record, in the classic “Blue Note style.” Someone at Blue Note told me I was the only person in the history of label to design and perform on one of the records. The performance part is a stretch, since I played two notes on a broken-down standup bass which Madlib later re-processed, but I’ll accept the credit.

Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression was written by Richard Havers, published by Chronicle Books. 399 pages, 4 lbs.

Oh No – Rhythm Roulette

Oh No — December 9, 2014 | Comments (1)

Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette series puts producers on the spot and has them make a beat in front of the camera. Oh No goes for three video games, playing and makes a beat out of the sounds he recorded during gameplay.

J Dilla Figure – EDITION QUANTITIES

Rappcats — December 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

First, thanks to everyone who bought a J Dilla Figure. Second, we at Rappcats want to clarify an important point about the edition quantities of this limited edition item.

We were very lucky to be offered the exclusive pre-sale of this Figure, and we published the first edition size: 2,000 units of the Figure, the amount that has been manufactured.

This is not, however, the entire edition size. The actual edition size of the Stussy version of the Figure is 5,000 units. There will be NO MORE THAN 5,000 UNITS MADE.

To reiterate: the first edition of the Figure is 2,000 units. The second edition of the Figure is 3,000 units – these 3,000 units will carry the words “Second Edition” on the bottom of the box.

We have no way of guaranteeing which edition of the Figure that you will get if you have ordered from us. All we can guarantee is that you will actually get the Figure. The first edition is now sold out, and orders for the Figure will be shipped on a first come first serve basis. That means that those that ordered earliest will have the best chance of getting the first edition.

All orders placed after this message will receive the Second Edition of the Figure. All stores who, upon release date, carry this Figure will be carrying the Second Edition.

We will issue prompt refunds to anyone who wants one – please email INAMEL@RAPPCATS.COM and allow 1 to 2 business days for a response and refund as we have been inundated with emails since this Figure went on sale.

Thank you for your support.

J Dilla figure by Pay Jay

J Dilla — December 1, 2014 | Comments (114)

Buy here at Rappcats: J DILLA FIGURE J DILLA TOY

Exclusive pre-order at Rappcats.com for February 2015 release | The J Dilla Figure is an official Pay Jay Productions release, produced under the oversight of the Estate of James Yancey.

Feb. 24: Update on shipping status

The Figure was conceived and rendered by Detroit artist Sintex, designed and sculpted by Seoul-based toy artist P2PL. It was manufactured by Blitzway on behalf of Pay Jay. It is a collaborative release with Stussy, whose logo is officially licensed.

The Figure is 7.5″ tall. The Figure’s hat, sampler and chain are removable and the Figure’s arms articulate. The Figure comes in a custom designed box, wrapped in paper to best attempt to protect the box from rubbing in shipping. The Figure comes in a clamshell case inside the box. Please note that the box is for the protection of the Figure during transportation and is not replaceable if damaged.

Pay Jay Productions was founded by J Dilla (James Yancey). The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California on behalf of Yancey’s four heirs – his mother, Maureen “Madukes” Yancey, his brother John “Illa J” Yancey and his two daughters, Ja’Mya Yancey and Ty-monae Whitlow.

Note: Photos of an early prototype of this figure were leaked online last year. This is the first and only time the figure has been produced.

First edition of 2000 sold out. | Please read this note about the edition quantities.

HOE CAKES (Art Print) Jason Jägel x MF DOOM

MF DOOM — November 28, 2014 | Comments (5)

SOLD OUT | HOE CAKES (ART PRINT) JASON JAGEL X MF DOOM

10th anniversary of MF DOOM’s MM FOOD album and Hoe Cakes single. 14.75″ x 12.75″ Print on cotton rag, numbered and signed in an edition of 180.

The year was 2004. DOOM & Madlib’s Madvillainy had just been released and the album was enjoying a glow of critical success. Scores of new people were discovering, debating, and being dumbfounded by DOOM’s brilliant wordplay, and his long time underground fan base were all making their voices heard, and there were more of them than perhaps even DOOM knew about. These people – those among us who knew DOOM from the days of KMD and Operation Doomsday – they had already been living on bootleg copies of Madvillainy for a year, and wanted his new solo album, MM FOOD, which he’d been publicly hinting at for years.

I became the art director on MM FOOD when DOOM called me up one afternoon with a problem. He had an album cover that the label (Rhymesayers) didn’t want, and a second one that he didn’t want, and no money to spend on a third album cover, because all the budget had been spent on the first two. After agreeing to work for no more than a few bucks and a “good lookin’ out,” I called Jason Jagel, a painter in San Francisco. Even before I was through asking Jason if he’d split ten bucks with me to work on the FOOD album, I had the feeling he was already sketching out ideas.

Jason knocked out the MM FOOD painting in a matter of a couple sleepless days, and then we were asked for a back cover, and then a sleeve for the 12-inch single, Hoe Cakes b/w Potholders. This one, which we see here, is my favorite because it’s deceptively simple, full of the same in-jokes and hidden references that characterize the music – the Adidas stripes on the “shoe fly pie,” the box of bling cherries, the superhero comic reference of the city in a bottle. Next too Doom is Count Bass D, who is featured on “Potholders.”

– Jeff Jank

Watch teenage MF DOOM speak on behalf of Rock the Vote in the Senate, 1991

MF DOOM — November 4, 2014 | Comments (14)

In the 1980s and early 1990s, facing a wave of music censorship that included Parental Advisory stickers on records to the arrest of rap performers in Florida, political operative Steve Barr and Virgin Records exec Jeff Ayeroff launched Rock The Vote.

The idea behind Rock the Vote was simple: get young people to vote for politicians who wouldn’t censor music.

The organized movement behind Rock the Vote focused on the “Motor Voter” bill, which would allow people to register to vote at the DMV when they got a driver’s license, and to register by mail. In short, they wanted to encourage young people to engage in the voting process by making registration easy and welcoming.

After a successful petition drive in 1992 (with help from REM), the Motor Voter bill passed Congress, only to be vetoed by president George H.W. Bush. Bush’s opponent in that election year, Bill Clinton, took up the cause of the Motor Voter bill, and signed it into law when he became president as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Here is video from committee hearing for the National Noter Registration Act in congress, April 17, 1991, showing 19-year old MF DOOM (Zev Love X) with his partner Onyx from the group KMD. They’re sitting with Rock the Vote co-founder Steve Barr, speaking to Sen. Wendell Ford of Kentucky.

Video: http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4513596/kmd-rock-vote