ON SALE: BEAT BOP BOX | Record Carrying Case with artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat, by Get On Down. Now Shipping from Rappcats.
This ultra-sturdy and highly practical record case is covered in classic images from the original Tartown Records version of the 1983 classic hip-hop track “Beat Bop,” produced and designed by Jean-Michel Basquiat, featuring MCs Rammellzee and K-Rob.
The box was manufactured by Get On Down in a limited edition of 1,000; holds up to 50 LPs; black leatherette exterior; metal hinges and clasps; plastic corner protectors. The “Beat Bop” images were licensed from the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Read all about the box here: Beat Bop Box.
Jean-Michel Basquiat gained worldwide fame as a graffiti-inspired painter, whose myth, legend and influence has continued to grow after his early death at age 27 in 1988. For hip-hop heads, Basquiat also earned respect for producing and releasing the 12-inch single, “Beat Bop” (1983) by Rammellzee and K-Rob. The record, which clocked in at only 10 minutes, has been heard by many, but held by few. Only a reputed 500 of the song’s initial run, on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s imprint Tartown Records, were made with jacket cover art by the infinitely influential graphic artist. The record was re-issued – with no picture sleeve – on Profile Records soon after the Tartown pressings, and went on to influence countless MCs, with its minimal, languishing funk beat and Rammellzee’s and K-Rob’s next-level lyricism.
Basquiat’s involvement in the music on “Beat Bop” had been subject to some debate over the years. An oral history of the record, written by Andrew Nosnitsky and published at Spin in 2013, does a fantastic job of setting the story straight. Read: Basquiat’s
Ambient Krautrock in line with Cluster, Popul Vuh, Tangerine Dream by JJ Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers/Karl Hector & The Malcouns).
Now-Again Records has enjoyed a long and creative partnership with Munich-based multi-instrumentalist JJ Whitefield, creative force behind the Poets of Rhythm, Whitefield Brothers and Karl Hector & The Malcouns. Rodinia, his latest project, is quite different than anything that’s come from his oeuvre to date, but follows in the line of the Poets of Rhythm’s great Discern/Define, as it reaches back to Krautrock’s experimental hey day but pushes its boundaries with a post-hip-hop approach.
That’s to say that everything you read in the header above is true, but the ambient sound Whitefield and his Rodinia collaborator – saxophonist and keyboardist Johannes Schleiermacher – reached for found itself morphing over the course of a year. What was originally recorded in a two-day studio lock-in, which found Whitefield and Schleiermacher hooking up “all our vintage synths (Korg MS-20, Moog Prodigy, Roland Juno 60, Jen SX 1000, Korg Polysix), triggering everything with a vintage Korg rhythm box, absorbing some mind altering substances and jamming out,” was later turned into two, side-long suites, with over-dubbed reeds, drums and guitar, and self-made Moroccan field recordings introducing the project on its Drumside.
The result is as winesome and exploratory as those from their forebears, but respectfully distanced from the past’s trappings. With original artwork by Jason Jagel (DOOM’s MM FOOD, Operation Doomsday).
MF DOOM, Aloe Blacc, Hodgy Beats, Anderson Paak, Mayer Hawthorne and Dam-Funk join MED and Blu over 100% Madlib beats.
A couple years ago Blu got a few Madlib instrumentals and put together a few demos. The rough collection became the foundation of what would become Bad Neighbor. MED, a longtime collaborator of Madlib, put the pieces together, bringing together an impressive group of MCs and vocalists to complete the album.
About the single: “Doom’s verse was the interesting one,” says MED. “Doom’s concept was that it’s a text message. He text messages me while I’m not home, so he comes to my house anyway and starts borrowing all kinds of shit, you know, villain-style … going to my house, drinking my beers, going through my DVDs.”
Eccentric soul and lost funk recordings from an unlikely crew of Los Angeles musical misfits – one of the finest and deepest examples of Los Angeles soul in the 1970s.
At its core, the 4th Coming was a songwriting duo – Porter and Jechonias “Jack” S. Williams – and a rotating cast of musicians – including members of lauded Los Angeles funk ensemble the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band – that Williams assembled at Artist Recording Studio to realize the pair’s ideas. They existed only from the latter half of 1969 until 1974; during that time they issued eight singles as 4th Coming and one as Impact! on Al Firth’s Alpha imprint.
When 4th Coming records surfaced in the ’90s, they were often disregarded as novelty. And some of their records were so rare that it took until the late ‘00s for them to reemerge, after the sinking of their initial pressing runs. Assembling a near set of 4th Coming recordings was nearly possible, until the issue of this, the lost 4th Coming album: Strange Things, The Complete Works 1970-1974.
So those four years — which coincided with the rise to international fame of Los Angeles funk ensembles like Charles Wright and soul singers like Bill Withers — must have seemed like a great time for Williams to record and release singles, in an attempt stitch his thread into the rope carrying LA’s progressive black musicians above the smog. Williams found an unlikely allegiance with Al Furth, Furth’s Artist Recording Studio and his Alpha label.
And now, Strange Things, a thrilling listen, a mysterious trove of recordings made possible by an open minded and well-funded indie impresario — Furth — which document a very real and very weird Los Angeles of the past. It’s a city we’ll never know again, and one that might never again produce an ensemble like the 4th Coming. If Furth’s faith only rolled snake-eyes in terms of commercial success, in terms of documenting Los Angeles’ vibrant soul and funk underground, he rolled boxcars. This, the album Williams and Furth always hoped would bring them real success, now sees its complete release and allows us to ponder the might-have and the would-have beens — had a 4th Coming album come together in the mid-‘70s.
Record out now; Here’s a new Madlib remix of “Streetsweeper”
Limited edition vinyl for the Sam Herring & Madlib project is now shipping. Thanks to everyone who came out to our events in Los Angeles and Chicago for the first round of records, and to everyone who patiently waited for the rest of them.
Produced by Madlib / A&R: Eothen Alapatt / Mixed and mastered by Dave Cooley for Elysian Masters. / Thanks to the Herring Family, Future Islands, Ben Gaffin, Ben Dickey, all the good teachers. The artwork is by Gustavo Eandi & Jeff Jank, printed by Hit & Run. There are 15-20 variations on the covers, each printed by hand.
MADLIB IN EUROPE THIS MONTH:
Sep 04: Deviation, London
Sep 06: Outlook Fest, Pula, Croatia