Download Old School Hip Hop (right click and select “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”), or listen here:
01. Just-Ice – Back To The Old School
02. Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals
03. Herbie Hancock – Rockit (Mega Mix)
04. Whodini – 5 Minutes Of Funk (Instrumental)
05. Beatmaster – Lipservice
06. Kurtis Blow – Basketball
07. UTFO – Leader Of The Pack
08. GLOBE & Whiz Kid – Play That Beat Mr. DJ
09. Newcleus – Jam On It
10. Grandmaster & Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
11. Sir Mix-A-Lot – Square Dance Rap (Power Mix)
12. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Looking For The Perfect Beat (Instrumental)
13. Stetsasonic – On Fire
14. Biz Markie – A One Two
15. Run-DMC – Proud To Be Black
16. Shawn Brown – Rappin’ Duke
17. Skinny Boys – Rip The Cut
18. Run-DMC – Together Forever
19. Whodini – I’m A Hoe
20. Joeski Love – Pee Wee’s Dance Theme
21. Run-DMC – You’re Blind (Instrumental)
22. Eric B & Rakim – My Melody
23. Just-Ice – Latoya
24. Joeski Love – My Girl
25. LL Cool J – I Need A Beat
26. MC Boob – Do The Fila
27. Just-Ice – Put The Record Back On
28. LL Cool J – I Can’t Live Without My Radio
29. Beastie Boys – Paul Revere (Instrumental)
30. LL Cool J – You’ll Rock
31. Salt ‘N Pepa – My Mic Sounds Nice
32. Marley Marl – He Cuts So Fresh
33. Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew – Nuthin’
34. Skinny Boys – Feed Us The Beat
35. Whodini – One Love
36. MC Lyte – I Cram To Understand U (Sam)
37. Krush Groove All-Stars – Krush Groovin’
38. Whodini – Friends (Instrumental)
39. Doug E Fresh & MC Ricky D – La-Di-Da-Di
40. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Girls Ain’t Nothin’ But Trouble
41. LL Cool J – Rock The Bells (Original Version)
42. Skinny Boys – Jock Box
43. MC Chill – Bust This Rhyme
44. Whodini – Funky Beat
45. T-La Rock – Back To Burn
46. Fat Boys – Fat Boys Are Back
47. Run-DMC – Dumb Girl
48. MC Chill – Downbeats
49. Biz Markie – The Biz Dance (Instrumental)
50. Mantronix – Hardcore Hip-Hop
51. Eric B & Rakim – Eric B Is President
52. Biz Markie – Make The Music With Your Mouth Biz
53. Dana Dane – Nightmares
54. Heavy D & The Boys – Mr. Big Stuff
55. Run-DMC – My Adidas
56. LL Cool J – Dear Yvette
57. T La Rock & Jazzy Jay – It’s Yours (Scratch Party Death Mix)
58. Just-Ice – Cold Gettin’ Dumb
59. Mantronix – Fresh Is The Word
60. Run-DMC – King Of Rock
61. Run-DMC – Hit It Run
62. Beastie Boys – Hold It, Now Hit It
63. Mantronix – Needle To The Groove
64. Mantronix – Who Is It
65. Fat Boys – Human Beat Box
66. Fat Boys – Human Beat Box #2
67. Biz Markie – Nobody Beats The Biz
68. Fat Boys – Can You Feel It?
69. Beastie Boys – It’s The New Style
70. Run-DMC – Jam-Master Jay
71. UTFO – Split Personality
72. Fat Boys – Fat Boys
73. Force MD’s – Force MD’s Meet The Fat Boys
74. Kurtis Blow – AJ Scratch
75. The Freshmen – Who Me?
76. T La Rock – Breaking Bells
77. LL Cool J – Rock The Bells
78. Salt ‘N Pepa – I’ll Take Your Man
79. UTFO – Roxanne, Roxanne
80. Run-DMC – Rock Box (Instrumental)
81. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message (Instrumental)
82. Whodini – Freaks Come Out At Night
83. Fresh 3 MC’s – FRESH
84. Fat Boys – All You Can Eat
85. Roxanne Shante – Queen Of Rox (Instrumental)
86. Fat Boys – Jailhouse Rap
87. Grandmaster Flash – Larry’s Dance Theme
88. Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew – The Show
89. UTFO – Bite It
90. Whodini – Big Mouth
91. Run-DMC – Daryll And Joe
92. Run-DMC – Sucker MC’s
93. Mantronix – Bassline
94. Whistle – Just Buggin’
95. Fat Boys – Stick’em
96. Original Concept – Pump That Bass
97. Run-DMC – Peter Piper
98. Grandmaster Flash – Girls Love The Way He Spins
99. Word Of Mouth feat. DJ Cheese – King Kut
100. UTFO – Pick Up The Pace
101. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Renegades Of Funk
102. Paul Hardcastle – 19
103. Rockmaster Scott & The Dynamic 3 – The Roof Is On Fire
104. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock
105. Paul Hardcastle – The Asylum (It’z Weird)
106. Cybotron – Clear
107. Newcleus – Computer Age (Instrumental)
108. Egyptian Lover – Egypt, Egypt
109. Twilight 22 – Siberian Nights
110. 3D – Tommy Boy Megamix
111. The Real Roxanne & Hitman Howie Tee – Let’s Go Go
You see the kid in the cover art (below) for the CD Version? That’s me back in 1978. I was probably listening to my dad’s copy of Wings’ “Venus And Mars“. But don’t let the photo fool you… I was never “destined” to become a DJ.
I was like everyone else from this era who loved music… you eventually accumulated tons of cassettes, LP’s, and 12″ Singles. If the stores only had something on vinyl, then I would buy the LP. If they only had it on cassette, then I would buy the tape. If the song was only available as a single, then I would buy the 12″ Single. Where I grew up, you were lucky to find it in whatever format that you could. Which brings me to a disclaimer:
There are well over a hundred important/classic songs that were omitted from this mix. I simply did not own them at the time, but I will try to make up for some of them below (and others can be found in my “Electro Kingdom“, “Cultural Vibe 2003“, and “Machine Soul” posts):
Download Old School Hip Hop Bonus Pack 1 (Unmixed)
• Anquette – Ghetto Style
• Bad Boys feat. K Love – Bad Boys
• Bad Boys feat. K Love – Veronica
• Boogie Boys – A Fly Girl
• Divine Sounds – Do Or Die Bed Sty
• Divine Sounds – The Circus (Let’s Get Stupid)
• Grandmaster Flash – U Know What Time It Is
• Ice-T – Dog’n The Wax (Ya Don’t Quit Pt. 2)
• Kool Moe Dee – Do You Know What Time It Is?
• Kool Moe Dee – How Ya Like Me Now
• Krush 2 – Ghetto Jump
• Kurtis Blow feat. Run-DMC – 8 Million Stories
• Kurtis Blow – If I Ruled The World
• Marley Marl feat. MC Shan – Marley Marl Scratch
• MC Dollar Bill – Lifestyles Of The Fresh And Fly
• MC Shan – Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing
• MC Shan – The Bridge
• Roxanne Shante – Bite This
• Roxanne Shante feat. Steady B – I’m Fly Shante
• Salt-N-Pepa – It’s Alright
• Schoolly D – Parkside 5-2
• Steady B – Cheatin’ Girl
• Stetsasonic – Just Say Stet
• The Masterdon Committee – Get Off My Tip!
• Tricky Tee – Johnny The Fox
• Whodini – Growing Up
• Whodini – Last Night (I Had A Long Talk With Myself)
• Whodini – The Good Part
• World Class Wreckin’ Cru – Cabbage Patch
• Word Of Mouth feat. DJ Cheese – Coast To Coast
Download Old School Hip Hop Bonus Pack 2 (Unmixed)
• Boogie Boys – Run It (Remix)
• Boogie Boys – You Ain’t Fresh (High Noon Mix)
• DJ Watkins & Tony T – Show Me
• Fresh Force – Rock Me
• Hurby The Love Bug presents Super Nature – The Show Stoppa (Is Stupid Fresh)
• Ice-T – Ya Don’t Quit
• Kool Moe Dee – Wild Wild West
• MC Boob – Bring The Beat Back
• MC Holiday – The Gucci Man
• Mikey D & The L.A. Posse – Bust A Rhyme Mike
• Mikey D & The L.A. Posse – My Telephone
• Roxanne Shante – Queen Of Rox (Shante Rox On)
• Roxanne Shante – Runaway
• Schoolly D – Gucci Time
• Schoolly D – P.S.K. “What Does It Mean?”
• Skinny Boys – Get Funky
• Skinny Boys – Unity
• Stetsasonic – My Rhyme
• Supreme Force – Handling Things
• Supreme Force – You Gotta Come Out Fresh
• Symbolic Three feat. DJ Dr. Shock – No Show
• The Almighty RSO Crew – The Greatest Show On Earth
• The Real Roxanne with Hitman Howie Tee – Romeo (Pt. 1)
• The Real Roxanne with Hitman Howie Tee – Romeo (Pt. 2)
• Z-3 MC’s – Triple Threat
Anyway, I had all of these records, but it wasn’t until my late teens that I actually developed a desire to do something with them and put them to good use (i.e., for more than just my own personal listening). So I made this mix as a tribute to all of the songs that my friends and I used to listen to back when we first got into rap music. Since we had heard most of these songs a million times already, I challenged myself to do something a little more complex/creative with these songs in an attempt to breathe new life into them.
I decided to approach this mix from the perspective of a present-day DJ (circa 1996) who only had rap songs that were made between 1983-1987. Sort of like, “What if a DJ of today (with his/her current knowledge of mixing and advanced scratching techniques) traveled back in time and only had access to these old records… what sort of mixtape would that DJ make?”
Around this time, I was heavily inspired by all of the mixtapes coming out of the West Coast, especially from DJ Rip One. The main difference between my mixtapes and the one’s coming out from crews like the Innernational DJ’s, the Beat Junkies, etc., was that my scratching sucked. Totally. I couldn’t even rock doubles back then. Besides, scratching has never been my strong suit–I have always been better at blending, layering, editing, engineering, and putting songs together–but I did the best that I could.
It might be hard to believe, but I actually used this thing to record all of my early mixtapes:
This is what I used to make “Underground Hip Hop 1996 Volume 3“, “Fantasy Realm“, “Old School Hip Hop”, “Universal Magnetic B-Boy Scientific“, and “To Kill A Dead Man“. No EQ’s. Just volume up/down and pan right/left. I had to learn how to be creative with this machine and really push it (and myself) to its limits.
The recording and mixdown processes were extremely complex and required a lot of time and patience. Every volume adjustment for each song and scratch-sound had to be adjusted manually, on the fly, during the final playback. I had a hand written list of every song and scratch-sound, noting when each would come in and out, on what track number, and what each volume level needed to be. Insane.
A couple years later, I re-released my “Old School Hip Hop” mixtape and began selling it through the now defunct TrueHipHop.com website (later known as ATAK Worldwide). Between running into people that I knew, the record stores in Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit, and ATAK Worldwide, I sold well over a hundred of these homemade tapes.
It was because of my “Old School Hip Hop” mixtape that I eventually got the chance to tour Japan in 2004 as a member of the Starving Artists Crew. This might seem like quite a stretch, but the string of events that led me down that path all started for me with this mixtape! Let me explain…
This mixtape was responsible for me getting a residency DJ gig at Saint Andrew’s Hall back in 1999-2000, while the infamous “Three Floors Of Fun” night was still going on. In the late 1990’s, the event scheduler for Saint Andrew’s Hall was looking to switch up the “Three Floors Of Fun” Friday night format. He knew about me through my gigging and networking, and had heard my “Old School Hip Hop” mixtape and liked it a lot. He asked me if I wanted to DJ during the “Three Floors Of Fun” night and play all of the old school stuff that was on my mixtape.
It was literally a dream come true for me. Ever since my first visit to Saint Andrew’s Hall back in 1995, I wanted to play there. If you were into rap and lived in Michigan, then Saint Andrew’s Hall on a Friday night was THE place to be! One of my earliest memories of those nights was when House Shoes first played Das EFX “Real Hip-Hop” weeks before anyone could find it or get their hands on it. Dudes that I knew at the time were buggin’ out, “Shoes dropped a new Das EFX song last Friday and the place blew up!! You should’ve been there!?!!!”
The DJ Premier remix instrumental of “Music Evolution” (above) will forever be the soundtrack to my early years of hanging out at Saint Andrew’s Hall. I never knew what the song was or who made it, but House Shoes played it all the time and I remember him cutting up the snares, etc. When I finally stumbled across it years later, I was immediately taken back to those Friday nights in the mid 1990’s!
Between 1999-2000, I played upstairs in the Burns Room (replacing the Techno DJ that used to play up there) at Saint Andrew’s Hall. I would move all of the furniture out of the way to make room for the b-boys/girls that would always show up. I played nothing but old school rap/electro and funk/soul breaks upstairs in the Burns Room, while House Shoes and Slymfas were on the main floor playing all of the current rap stuff.
Sometimes on the main floor, they would had live performances from bigger named rap groups (as well as local Detroit groups), while I was upstairs doing my old school thing:
In 2000, during my residency at Saint Andrew’s Hall, I had the fortunate chance to DJ for Thes One (from People Under The Stairs) during one of the Friday night shows on the main floor. His partner, Double K, was stuck out in Los Angeles and Thes One needed someone to DJ his set. After the show, Thes One and the Starving Artists Crew ended up hanging out at the Verona (i.e., the place where some of us were living at the time).
The next day, the Starving Artists Crew recorded a song with Thes One called “Four Square”, and a year later (in 2001), the Starving Artists Crew independently released their first 12″ single, “Artistry Original b/w Four Square“:
Initially, the Starving Artists Crew had very low expectations for this 12″ Single. This was their first attempt at putting out a proper release and had trouble scrounging up the money to fund everything. Plus, this was their first time dealing with the music industry, distributors, etc., and they didn’t really know if they were going to sell 500 records… or only 10 records. They were taken completely by surprise when the first pressing (and later re-pressings) were selling out in record stores all over Japan. This gave them the confidence to continue recording songs and work towards putting out a full-length album, “Up Pops The SAC“:
“Up Pops The SAC” was first released in Japan in 2003, and then to the rest of the world in 2004. For more on the Starving Artists Crew, check out my “Cultural Vibe 2003“, “SAC Lunch: Up Pops The Mega-Mix“, “SP – Movin’ Along“, and “Starving Artists Crew – Efil4cas” posts!
With the success of the “Up Pops The SAC” album and all of the individual Starving Artists Crew 12″ Singles, Nujabes (RIP) brought us out to Japan in the winter of 2004 to do a five-city tour.
We spent two weeks in Japan, with our first show at Shibuya Nuts in Tokyo:
The crowd at Shibuya Nuts was totally bonkers! These kids were crazy/insane before the show, during the show, and even after the show when we were having our pictures taken, signing autographs, records, CD’s, t-shirts, cell phones, and anything else they had on them at the time.
Here is a photo that I took of Uyama Hiroto and Nujabes, chillin’ upstairs in the VIP room at Shibuya Nuts:
I have to give a special shout out to Takumi Koizumi, who was our tour manager, translator, city guide, and all-around awesome guy. Here is a picture of Takumi and his beautiful wifey Megumi at Mister Donut, our morning meet-up spot in Tokyo:
Our second show was at a club called Planet in Utsunomiya:
SP and Nujabes chillin’ after the Planet show:
I pulled double-duty, as both the DJ and photographer, during the shows. Although I was extremely busy DJing during our set, I still had time to take a couple of snap shots!
For Japan, I created a pretty intense routine for us to perform, and I’m thankful that SP and Brainstorm let me do what I felt would make for a really dope live show. I didn’t want to just stand there behind the turntables, playing Starving Artists Crew instrumentals from beginning to end, and then have a minute or two of silence between each song (while SP & Brainstorm talked to the crowd). That would’ve been boring for both me and the audience. So what I did was plan out a DJ set where there was always music playing. I strategically put jazz or funk breaks at certain points throughout the set to give SP & Brainstorm a chance to catch their breath, grab some water, to talk to the crowd, etc. But I never let the music stop.
Earlier in 2004, to make things a little bit easier for me, SP had special white label instrumentals pressed up for me to DJ with. It was sort of like all of the battle break records that were popular at the time, except that ours was made specifically for the sets that I played during the Starving Artists Crew live shows.
SP and I went to Sound Enterprises (above) in Westland, MI, to get the lacquers cut by Ron Murphy (RIP). This was also the same place where we got the lacquers cut for the first Starving Artists Crew 12″ Single, which was hanging up in Sound Enterprises on Ron Murphy’s wall of fame!
At the time, we didn’t have a lot of instrumentals from “Up Pops The SAC” on vinyl, so I put them on the white label. I also included a bunch of vocal samples and miscellaneous sounds (from the songs on “Up Pops The SAC”) so that I could scratch them in during our performances, as well as a couple of non-Starving Artists Crew instrumental that I would always drop in our sets…
So with just two turntables and a dozen or so vinyl records with me up on stage, I had designed a DJ set where I changed up the music 39 times within the span of our 50 minute show. And that didn’t include all of the cuts and scratches that I had to do… so overall, I probably switched records (or flipped them over) 50 or 60 times in each show!
We took this opportunity to play in Japan very serious, and it felt like we really had something to prove–not only to ourselves, but to Nujabes (for fronting the money for all of us to come out to Japan), as well as all of our fans in Japan. We couldn’t come halfhearted or half steppin’. Besides, I couldn’t let SP & Brainstorm be the only ones sweatin’ their butts off and doing all of the work!
Our third show was at a club called Whoopee’s in Kyoto:
Another smaller venue, but the crowd at Whoopee’s was amazing!
Our number #1 fan, Sawada Koichi, drove 5-1/2 hours from Nagano to see the show at Whoopee’s!
Our fourth show was at a club called Decadent Deluxe in Fukuoka:
It’s funny how the flyer (above) had IQ working, on a forklift (bottom left), while me, Brainstorm, and SP were huddled together, separate from him. I never realized it until now…
You see, IQ wasn’t able to come to Japan with us and perform (which meant that Brainstorm and SP had to rap all of IQ’s verses!). Since Corporate America doesn’t like it when employees take more than one week off for vacation, IQ couldn’t go to Japan without losing his job. So, IQ stayed back in Michigan and worked, while the rest of us had a blast in Japan!
Nujabes was also on the bill that night and DJ’d at the Decadent Deluxe show:
There were a couple of different floors in this club, which was pretty cool, but on the floor where we performed, we were all packed in pretty tight. The crowd was still great and totally into it:
A rare candid shot of Nujabes clownin’ around after the Decadent Deluxe show:
The fifth and last show was at a club called Itol in Osaka:
The layout of Itol reminded me a lot of the main floor at Saint Andrew’s Hall. The crowd at Itol wasn’t as hype as the ones at the other shows, but we were getting some pretty good crowd response and interaction by the end of the show:
Takumi, Megumi, and his Rockwell partner were representin’ at the Itol show:
Shin-Ski (right) was at the Itol show as well:
After the show in Osaka, it was a mad bullet train rush back to Tokyo to catch our flight back the USA. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will always cherish, and I have Nujabes (RIP) to thank for that!