Back in the day, F'real

Before this thing called hip hop had a name, DJs such as Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash mixed songs from all genres. The only criterion was that they had to have a funky beat. Rock, reggae, disco and even classical music were all fair game. Often, the DJs would mix only the instrumental parts of a song, which were commonly called the breaks. The people who followed these DJs from party to party became known as breakdancers, a term that later evolved into the terms b-boys and b-girls. This 15-track release attempts to document a piece of musical history by bringing together one of the most diverse hip-hop compilations in recent memory. The majority of these songs were released in the early ’80s, the peak of breakdancing’s popularity. Of course, some of the typical cuts are here, including Nucleus’ "Jam On It" and James Brown’s "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved." Less expected, though, are tracks by New Order, Gary Numan and even Davy DMX.

For some, the range of musical styles on this CD may be a bit unsettling, but it’s probably a more accurate depiction of what hip hop was all about than is often remembered.

Sweet memories, indeed.

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