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July 30, 2007 | by  | in Music |
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Vintage Groove’s: Old School Hip Hop (Volume one) (A quick lesson on old school hip-hop)

A while ago a friend asked me to make him a CD’s worth of definitive early hip-hop.

I never got around to it, but instead I offer this advice: listen to Vintage Groove’s Old School Hip Hop Volume One. Two discs jam-packed with some of the most influential hip-hop tracks from 1980 to 1993.

This is the first in the new Vintage Groove series, with many more on the horizon that will catalogue genre breakdowns by the decade. While the liner notes allude to the laborious licensing process hindering a few tracks from being on this album, all in all it is a must-have for those interested in the early years of hip-hop. One of my favorite things about early hip-hop, other than its more organic production and decipherable lyrics, is the clever sampling.

The tracks for this compilation were recorded before stringent sampling laws were enforced, so picking out the samples is part of the fun of listening – then checking if you got it right in the liner notes. James Brown, one of the most sampled artists in hip-hop history features prominently, as well as some obscure jazz, funk and a lot of 70s and 80s pop, such as Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ baseline on Old School Hip Hop’s first track, Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels’.

What’s more, these tracks, which rely on clever sampling, have over the years been sampled themselves, or influenced new artists to go dig out the samples again. Such as Dizzee Rascal’s recent ‘Pussyole’ which feature the sampled Lyn Collins ‘Think About It’, which is also on track five on disc two of Old School Hip Hop – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock’s ‘It Takes Two’.

‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash is the seventh track on disc two, and is considered one of the most influential hip-hop tracks of all time, as aside from its production values, it was the first hip-hop track to talk about life in the ghetto. It, and Grandmaster Flash (and the Furious Five) have influenced scores of producers and rappers today, evident by the fact that they feature four times on this compilation and this year were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

While the first disc features more early artists from 1981-84, such as the Sugarhill Gang, Slick Rick, West Street Mob and the original Run DMC’s ‘It’s like that’ (before that 1998 Jason Nevis remix with the wicked break-dance music video), the second is more spanning and eclectic in styles and time. This goes from 1988-93, where alongside “hippy rappers” De la Soul’s ‘Say No Go’ there’s NWA’s early gangsta rap, KRS1, Digital Underground, and white boys House of Pain end the compilation with their smash hit ‘Jump Around.’

Not so essential for those already familiar with the roots of hip-hop, but definitely worth checking out if you want to get educated on the genre for those future break-dance and block parties (they’re making a comeback).

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