Unbelievable as it may seem now, in the days before bitches, Benzes and muthaf***as, Hip Hop used to be fun.
The Street Sounds Hip Hop Electro series captured, mixed and released the finest Hip Hop examples of the day to create great big albums of bodypopping loveliness.
I don’t have all of them, but I do have most and pretty good collections they are too. Early albums (the low numbers, obviously) consisted of four or five full length classics of the day on each side, but by the time the heady heights of the series’ 13th incarnation the albums consisted of (generally badly) mixed together versions of 10 tunes or more per side.
As evidenced by this 1986 collection, Hip Hop of this era was almost universally hilarious, from the horror-film cartoony (Lovebug Starski’s ‘Amityville (House on the hill)’) to the unfeasibly pompous (MC Chill’s ‘The Prophecy Part 1 (in the beginning)’) and all points in between.
All of the usual suspects are present, Grandmaster Flash (with ‘Style (Peter Gunn theme)’), Afrika Bambaataa and Family (with ‘Bambaataa’s theme (Assault on Precinct 13)’), Eric B featuring Rakim with a rare unbracketed track (‘Eric B is President’) and Mantronix (with the very briefly titled ‘Ladies’).
Also making an appearance are the two Roxannes (The real one with Hitman Howie Tee and, by implication, the not real one, Roxanne Shante). The girls’ bitter rivalry shook the Hip Hop world as they traded cutting insults via the medium of vinyl and magnetic tape and, presumably, as this is 1986, CD too.
Picking favourites is a pretty tricky task on an album of this quality, but the two that make me grin the most are Sir Mix-a-lot’s ‘Square dance rap’ and Joe Ski Love’s masterful ‘Pee-Wee’s dance’.
These collections are not easy to find nowadays, but if you, like me, love Hip Hop of this vintage then you’ll have to part with at least 20 quid sterling to prise one from a seller on Ebay or Amazon.
Label – Street Sounds
Year - 1986